A lot of people I meet are always saying it is a goal of theirs to learn how to cook. I always tell them you just have to do it. Much like everything in life you never know how until you try. I sometimes think back to my sad little first day in culinary school. They asked us to make sautéed spinach. It took me literally thirty minutes to make the spinach and in the end I still didn’t make it right. I hadn’t blanched it to preserve the color nor had I removed the stems. I did all sorts of unnecessary things and skipped steps that were vitally important. I cook so much now that it’s basically seamless but thinking back when it wasn’t my profession I can totally understand the weariness of those to enter the kitchen.
Cooking is so personal and sensual I always stress there is no “right” way but a lot of the times there is a better way that tends to be more efficient and leaves you less frazzled and your food more visually appealing. It is my goal that this blog helps everyone who reads become a better chef in their own right. Below I highlighted 10 common mistakes that can make experience in the kitchen not so fun as well as how to correct it.
Ten Mistakes That Can Make Cooking Very Frustrating
1. You try to shop and cook in the same day.
If you are new to cooking the grocery store can be an endeavor itself. If you are making an extensive meal or meal prepping for the week it is best to do the two tasks on different days.
2.Your knives are dull.
Do you know how hard it is to cut a tomato with a dull knife? If the answer is yes buy new knives! Not only is it inefficient but also it is dangerous.
We’ve all been there, used a lid for straining boiled pasta, a fork instead of tongs, metal in our nonstick pan. At a certain point in life it you are no longer a genius for figuring out how to make do. More like the idiot who burns himself on steam, loses all the juices from your chicken, and ruins your pan by scratching the nonstick away. Buy the right tools.
4.Your garbage can is too far away.
When you are chopping there normally is a good amount of refuse. If you have to keep walking to the trashcan to throw it away you are wasting time. Not to mention all the food you drop on the way. Bring the trash to you or use a garbage bowl so your workspace does not become cluttered.
5.You aren’t washing as you go.
This is probably the number one mistake, food is ready but there is a sink full of dishes because you used every single item to cook. Try to begin to recognize when things can be re used or washed thru. Washing the dishes can give you a good break to think about your next steps.
6.You aren’t doing things in the correct order.
Before you start to cook, THINK! What takes longest too cook? Start with that. What can be done in combination with something else? Being efficient in the kitchen is like a well-choreographed dance, each step in line with each other.
There are basic things every kitchen should have just in case. Things like oil, butter, eggs, sugar and as you get to be a more extensive chef several spices, etc. This makes your trips to the store less of a headache when you actually decide to cook.
8.You don’t leave yourself enough time.
When trying to learn skills you don’t just squeeze in the time when you can. You deliberately set aside the time to get better. Just because you have to eat doesn’t mean your going to become a great cook by having to cook. Make time.
9.Your kitchen was dirty before you even started.
Don’t be a slob. Clean up after yourself. Fresh dishes are way easier to clean then an overwhelming pile of stinky two-week old crusty dishes.
10.You follow the recipe as law.
Next time you cook notice how many times you refer to the recipe. It is merely a guideline so try to just take note of the ingredients, basic steps and build your own recipe. The only exception is some baking. I’ve seen people freak out because they missed a step when in reality it’s not big deal. You are not a restaurant so your food does not have to be standardized it just has to taste good to you!
If you happen to do any of these things do not fret! The best way you learn is through your mistakes so just fix them. Time to polish up your culinary repertoire before the holiday season, AKA eating season AKA my favorite time of the year.