Things you should know from a cook about cooking but might not.
It’s really easy to watch cooking shows and really think that the world of cooking is glamourous. And in some respects that is true. But there are things about cooking and the kitchen that you learn from experience. As much as you do need to learn these things for yourself, part of me also wishes that I had known these before I really got into cooking and wasted time and even more money.
From how to stock your kitchen to how to store your food, these ideas range from the obsurdly simple to somethings that could take time and research about your area, but they all can help you expand your kitchen knowledge and time.
These “Rules” are not exactly what some would call rules, but they are guidelines that to some of us could be common sense. Still hearing them out loud changes things and could bring to light ideas that you didn’t think about before. As always, let me know any of your kitchen “Rules” in the comments.
You should almost never cook anything on high.
This is something so important. People tend to think that if you cook something on high it will cook faster. but it wont. It will burn or dry out. There is almost nothing that you should ever cook on high. The only things that should be cooks on high is when you are doing a quick reduce or when you are creating a rolling boil (Which you almost never need either).
You don’t need a million gadgets but you do need good ones
I am a firm believer that you don’t need a million gadgets in the kitchen. In fact it can really clog up your cabinets and pantry. I have a vita-mix which is the pride of my kitchen and something that I really blend and chop damn near everything in. Which leads me into the second part of this. When you do invest in a toy, knife or pan set, make sure they are quality. Heat conduction is a big thing in pans and pots. Balance is a important thing in knives. Don’t buy a lot. Just spend that money on quality.
Ingredients matter more then recipes
People are always searching for the best recipe but the truth is that if you are using good fresh ingredients, you don’t need a recipe that is complex. The best foods should be simple, fresh and treated with thoughtfulness. This means understanding what simple ingredients compliment each other and going with it as opposed to drowning out flavors with a muddle of complexities. This means finding the right places to get your ingrediants. There is nothing more cheffy feeling then finding your favorate cheese maker, butcher or farm. It also gives you a chance to explore your area through a culinary gaze.
You can ask your grocery store to stock things for you
A lot of people say that they can’t find things at their stores and that is totally true. Store carry things that they sell. But did you know that you can ask your grocer to get things for you? And most of them…like 99.9% will totally get them for you if they know you are going to buy them! So don’t be shy. Ask your grocer if they can get something for you.
Recipes take forever to come up with
When you see your fav blogger and chef post a recipe you can be sure that that was not the first time they made it. It seems like it sometimes but I assure you, it takes multiple times to get a recipe right and ready to share. Never feel like these people can come up with these things out of thin air. We are not super human tasters. But we also work hard.
Everything is easy once you figure out what it is
This might seem like a contradiction to the last piece of advise but I assure you it’s just as true. If you pay 30 dollars for a piece of Miso Salmon at a restaurant, once you learn how to make something you can make it at home for 10 dollars. Once you learn how to really cook and start harnessing that power, you begin to realize just how…doable food is. Sometimes it’s a shame because it takes the mystery out of it. But often, at least on my end, it gives you a appreciation for the thoughtfulness of food.
Preserve your sense of taste
In spite of what you see on TV, smoking and drinking can really mess up your sense of taste when you are experimenting. Tasting everything means actually being able to taste it and smoking, drinking or even soda can mess that up a bit. Stick with water if you are going to be tasting. You can drink or smoke after.
Texture is everything
Okay so taste is everything but a shitty texture can ruin a food just as much as a bad taste can. Just think about getting an oily or chunky sauce when it’s not supposed to be. Experimenting with textures is important and just like when you are learning tastes, you have to be open to trying things that might seem a bit strange to start with. Be curious with textures and take time to notice them.
Soups and sauces can sit
Actually its better if most soups and sauces sit for a while after you make them. Putting a soup in the fridge over night can give it that extra pop.
Raw is Fine
I LOVE raw food. I know that sounds weird and I’m not talking about licking raw chicken here. But a love raw fish, raw fruits and veggies and one of my favorate things in the world is a proper beef tartar (All prepared responcibily of course). These tastes and textures might be new to you but they really help you set the stage for how you might prepare these kinds of foods. Being safe, try your foods raw if you can and get a feel for the most natural, fundimental taste.
Make friends with room temperture/ know how your food should be stored
Knowing how to store your food is so important and can change the taste of food, reduce food waste and stretch your budget. This is a big thing in my house since I share the refrigerator and counter space with people that don’t exactly know what I do and are set in their ways. Know what should be refigerated and what shouldn’t to keep it the best tasting longer. Not everything will do as well as you think when refrigerated and the gases released from some in that combined space can make others around them go bad faster.