Be a Man. Learn to Cook.
Me…I like immediate results. I want to go from novice to expert in 5 minutes. However if there is one thing I have learned is that rarely happens. Whether it is golf, fishing, car repair, or the computer, it takes time and practice to “master” a skill. Cooking is the same.
When I first started I was a complete novice in the kitchen. I could barely use a can opener and I regularly burned toast. Life dragged me into the kitchen kicking and screaming. Over time, I became a good cook. Not a world famous master Chef but a “damn good cook”. Here are the most important lessons I learned along the way.
Learn to cook by making small changes. Cook (I mean really cook) one meal a week. Chop fresh garlic instead of using garlic powder or salt. Buy one fresh vegetable every trip to the grocery store. The road to a healthier diet and being a good cook is not a super highway. Becoming a good cook is more like a dirt road with many ruts.
Embrace Your Mistakes
Human nature tells us to avoid mistakes and that mistakes are bad. However, as you begin to master the kitchen you will make many mistakes. Even as you become proficient in the kitchen you will make mistakes. Mastering the old “Learn from your Mistakes” adage is key to your success in the kitchen. Julia Child, first renown cooking show host, was famous for breezing over her on-camera mistakes.
Remember Your Success
Remembering your kitchen successes is just as important as learning from your mistakes. Cook a great cheeseburger, perfect eggs, or a succulent chicken…Remember it. Decide what made your food great. Was it the ingredients? Was it the way you cooked it? Was it how you presented it on the plate? Remember the “good parts” and repeat them in other recipes.
Learn to Cook from Masters
We live in a media saturated world. The Internet, Cable TV, Streaming media and eBooks. Find cooking show hosts who intrigue you. Visit “foodie” blogs that interest you. Read cookbooks that relate to you. I started with “simple” meals and ideas. Cooking shows, blogs and cookbooks with elaborate recipes did not interest me. Here are a few suggestions:
- Cooking Shows: 30 minute meals (Rachael Ray) and Simply Ming (Ming Tsai)
- Food Blogs: The Pioneer Women (Ree Drummond) and Summer Tomato (Darya Pino)
- Cookbooks: How to Cook Everything (Mark Bittman) and A Man, a Can, a Plan (David Joachim)
Practice, Practice, Practice
This is a “no brainer”. The more time you spend in the kitchen, the better cook you will become. In the beginning, you may feel like you are wasting your time especially when that microwave dinner or that can of chili is just a few steps away. What can I say? Cooking is a skill. If you want to master that skill, you can learn to cook with a little practice.
Men (and women too) love to adjust, modify and tweak many things. Recipes and cooking is the same. Experimenting with new recipes or new cooking techniques is by far the best part of cooking. Learn to cook by asking “How can I make it better?”. When the experiment goes bad, refer to the Embrace Your Mistakes section. When it works well, refer to the Remember Your Success section.
Learn to Cook Starter Kit