October 29th, 2013
As we’ve mentioned, one of the best ways to watch your budget is to prepare most of your meals at home cooking enough for leftovers for lunches the next day.
But what if you don’t even know what temperature to boil water at?
Fear not! There are some simple things you can learn so you won’t need to buy microwave meals again, unless you want to.
Check your local kitchen store like Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma for classes in basic cooking. Your town’s recreation department probably offers adult cooking classes as well.
And don’t forget to look into your local community college, and online.
You don’t even have to take a formal class. There are a number of videos online like on YouTube that can demonstrate simple cooking techniques.
Better Homes and Gardens has this page full of how-to cooking videos such as how to make a hard boiled egg.
You may be tempted to go right for the section on extreme beginners cookbooks. If so, look for ones that have good photographs illustrating the techniques.
Don’t be put off by larger cookbooks like the Better Home & Gardens Cookbook and the Betty Crocker Cookbook. They have a large number of recipes that you can slowly learn from and grow into.
Don’t try to be Julia Child overnight. Start simply with meal planning, and make the sides. Buy a good rotisserie chicken from your local market or Costco or wherever sells a good one for less than you could buy and cook it. As you build up your confidence,
Take your recipe and read it through completely. If you don’t understand a technique, go find a video or a website that details it.
Then gather up all the ingredients you will need, and prepare them. So if you need one onion chopped, chop it up and put it into a small bowl. Then try to line up the ingredients in the order you’ll need them. If you want a fancy name, this is called mise en place.
It’s also great for not forgetting something.
Don’t make something for someone else if you haven’t practiced cooking it already, unless you’re living with that person. Let them know an honest assessment is what you want so you can get better.
Worst case? Keep a loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter around.
And don’t forget that even experienced people make mistakes. Julia Child may never have really dropped the roast chicken on the air, but she did her fair share of mistakes.
What mistakes have you made that you wish you could forget?