We know we need to eat better but struggle to make healthy meals. Maybe our moms weren’t the best cooks and didn’t have skills to pass on to us or maybe cooking wasn’t something we were interested in so we never took the time to learn or maybe it’s a little of both. Whatever the reason, here are five steps to get started cooking:
1. Get a decent knife.
This will always be my #1 recommendation when someone asks me how to get started. If you don’t have a good knife then cutting anything is a pain in the ass and you aren’t going to want to cook.
I recommend the Santoku knives. The blade is wider than regular chefs knives and that means you won’t hit your knuckles on the cutting board (ask me how I know).
8” is a good length, 10” is too long and can become unwieldy and 6” is just a bit too short for cutting longer items. You can play with the sizes and figure out which one you like. The best knife for you is the one you use.
Get on Sur la Table’s newsletter list. They have several sales a year and you can get a high-quality knife at a reasonable price. You can also see what Amazon has to offer.
2. Learn some basic knife skills.
If you know how to use the knife you just bought cooking will be much easier. You can go on YouTube and watch free tutorials showing how to cut an onion, chop garlic and dice a pepper. Knowing just these three skills will make meal prep easier.
Don’t just watch the video. You have to practice and the best way to practice is to cook. You don’t have to go for the perfectly homogeneous cubes. Just cut pieces to roughly the same size so they take the same amount of time to cook.
3. Get a good pan.
I found an 8” fry pan to be very versatile and use it almost every day to make breakfast. Stay away from Teflon (toxic, chemical shit-storm) but do find something that is relatively nonstick.
4. Spice blends.
Making fast meals is easier if you use spice blends. It can make eating the same meat and veggies each night taste different and takes the guess work out of what flavors go together. My favorites are Italian Spice, Indian Spice and Chorizo Spice. I usually make my own mixes but if I were going to buy them I would get Primal Palate’s blends or just see what’s available in the grocery store.
Stick to organic if you can, I’ve heard that non-organic spices can be a bit sketchy (like contain lead).
5. Learn how to prepare one dish that makes your friends go WOW!
Having just one go-to dish in your repertoire is a great place to start. Cooking takes practice and if you can get one dish down that people ooh and ahh over you’re going to want to make it again and that is the secret to cooking.
As much as we want to be great at everything the first time we try it that’s just not the case with cooking (really, it’s the not the case with anything).
Get good at the one dish and then find another. Your skills will improve and you will start to think of yourself as someone who can cook.
Do you have questions about where to start or do you have a recipe you want to share? Post in the comments below.
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