August 12 2015 – Meghan Ferrin
Just like with anything else, there’s a learning curve when it comes to cooking! While many dishes, like pasta and chicken, are quite simple to prepare, there will come a time when you’ll need to master more complicated dishes or prepare food for a large number of people. When that happens, you don’t want to feel overwhelmed or unprepared. Here are some common cooking mistakes that all chef’s make and how you can avoid them!
First, make sure your knives are sharp! This might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many chefs’ – professional and amateur – are using dull knives. Not only will a sharp knife provide better cutting but also it’s actually safer and will minimize your chances of making a mistake. If you don’t have a knife sharpener in your collection, pick one up to ensure your knives are always up to the task.
Another common mistake that chef’s make is not using enough salt. You don’t want to use so much salt that you overpower the flavors in your food but an extra pinch here and there will only enhance the flavors in your final product. When adding salt, make sure to taste your food after every addition so you can make sure you’re getting the amount you want without adding too much.
Speaking of rookie mistakes, this one is all too common: you don’t read the recipe the entire way through prior to cooking. Doing this will ensure that you have all the ingredients and the right equipment to make the meal and while this is an easy step to skip, taking just a few minutes to read the recipe will really save you time and frustration in the end. And when it comes to equipment and ingredients, don’t make the mistake in thinking that you need top-of-the-line equipment or expensive ingredients from designer grocery stores. For staples like sugar, flour, stock, and rice, you can stock up on a generic brand while splurging on better cuts of meat and higher quality produce. Invest in good quality knives, pans, and pots while your measuring cups, bowls, and utensils can come from a discount big-box store.
Finally, treat cooking like a marathon, not a quick sprint. Taking your time to prepare properly, read the recipe all the way through, and starting early for bigger meals will make a world of difference in how your final product turns out. For bigger family events like holidays and birthday parties, don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help – they can bring side dishes or other items like napkins and paper plates, to make things easier on you!
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