Tips For Learning To Cook Better

I come from a family of cooks.  My father was Italian.  My mom, French cajun.  Both sides of the family enjoyed eating good food, and enjoyed cooking.

While growing, I didn't appreciate my lineage.  Now, however, I do.

Like my family, I like to cook and I like to eat good food.  However, my busy life does not afford me much time to fix complicated meals that take a long time to cook, so I have developed a method to still make cooking good food an essential part of my life without it "taking over" my life.

I am not a trained chef, however I love to cook.  I've learned through many, many years of experience a lot about cooking - ingredient pairings, methods of cooking, meal plannning and a variety of other topics.  I've also tried many recipes over the years.  Some good, some not so good.  I've always wanted to share the best of what I know with other aspiring cooks.

If you ever had the desire to be a better cook, here are some real world tips for learning to cook better:

1.  Trial And Error:  Cooking, to me is like art; the art of pairing ingredients to come up with that perfect dish.  Just as an artist that creates a brilliant work of art did not get to brilliant on his/her first piece of art (unless he/she is a prodigy), a cook does not usually become good on his/her first try.  Therefore, experiment.  Try pairings of different ingredients.  Some may not work.  Others may taste great.  Heck, you may find a new flavor combination!

2.  Learn Ingredient Pairings:  As you probably know, certain ingredients naturally go well together while others may not.   Over time as you cook, you'll notice many different recipes involve pairing the same ingredients together.  As you continuously cook, you'll begin to see patterns.  Make note of them and use them in your own recipe creations.

3. Don't Be Afraid:  Fear of failure is one of the big factors for inaction in all the world.  Don't be afraid to fail at one particular dish or another.  Believe it or not, I know some people where this IS an issue.  If a dish doesn't come out right, so what.  It's not that big a deal.  Just move on tomorrow and try something else.

4.  Use Recipes:  Use recipes as a basis for your learning.  Start with <a href="">easy recipes</a>&nbsp; from cookbooks or websites.   Once you get familiar with the concepts and methods of cooking, you'll start to become more confident and more proficient.  By then, you'll certainly want to progress to experimenting on your own.

4. Stock Your Pantry:  Stock your pantry with a wide variety of items, from the most common spices such as oregeno, garlic powder, cinnamon, poultry seasoning, and many others,  to boxed and canned foods such as tomatoes, beans, sauces, spreads, and many others.  Don't forget your freezer, where you can store meats, soups, gravy, and other items.  Once you have a lot of items on your shelves, it will be my easier to throw some items together for a quick meal.

5.  Just Do It:  Becoming proficient in anything requires practice.  Cooking is no different.  If you want to get better, you'll need to do it often.  Laziness and becoming a better cook just don't go together.  Don't think of it as a chore - something you have to do because you have to eat.  Look at it as a fun activity.  Look at it as a process of discovery - discovering a new great tasting recipe, for instance!  So decide now that you'll start doing more cooking.

For me, discovering a new taste or new recipe is very exciting!  I hope I can impart some of that excitement on you in future articles and give you some good tips for learning to cook better.