With lockdown in effect in many places, it seems more and more men are finding themselves unable to occupy their time. Whether it be scrolling through Instagram, doing some nice home exercise, or even spending time on sportbet trying to get rich, or even on spending too much time on Pornhub! People are trying to find ways to fill their time. Although many different people seem to find many different ways to do this, there is one activity that everyone seems to be needing to learn.
With shops and restaurants closed, it seems like everyone, perhaps for the first time in their lives, is trying to learn how to cook for themselves at home. This, of course, can be difficult for many people. The task of cooking an elaborate dinner or even a basic breakfast can seem daunting to many people. This leads to an obvious question on those people’s minds, “How can I make cooking at home easy and enjoyable?”
Tip 1: Keep it Clean
The simplest tip I can give to anyone just diving into home cooking is keeping it clean! What do I mean by this? Well, 2 very important things go into keeping your cooking clean. When cooking, it is important to keep your work surface clear of clutter, and possibly, more importantly, it is important to keep you, your tools, and all your work surfaces clean and hygienic!
First, I’ll start with how you can keep the clutter down. Sometimes, it can seem like dirty dishes are endless. The sink sits there full of dirty plates, utensils, bowls, and cups just daring you to clean them. The biggest tip I can give is to clean them as they come.
Whenever you dirty a dish, clean it! Now, you may ask, “What about if I have a large family?” or “What if I have a lot of dishes because I was just cooking something?” The simple solution? Clean the dishes right after you finish with them all. It may seem like a lot, but it will become a lot more if you let them pile up.
The second part, and perhaps the most important, is to keep everything hygienic! In these trying times of the pandemic, health and safety have become a prime concern for many people, and rightfully so. One thing that is of the utmost importance when cooking is to keep those hands clean. Either by wearing gloves, or washing your hands, it is important to make sure you keep your hands clean.
It is also important to keep your work surfaces clean. Did something spill while cooking? Clean it up right away. Just cut up raw meat or poultry? Clean the cutting board before using it again. This won’t just keep you and your kitchen clean and healthy, it will keep it looking, and smelling, beautiful!
Tip 2: Preparation
Another thing I find newcomers to cooking having trouble with is becoming overwhelmed when the cooking gets tough. You might be in the middle of sauteing something and need to add an ingredient, but then you accidentally burn what you’re cooking. Or perhaps baking, and you realize you didn’t have that teaspoon of baking powder you needed so you now have a big mess of sticky dough that you can’t use. What is the solution to this issue? Preparation.
Before any aspiring home cook gets started cooking, they may find it incredibly helpful to prepare everything they need beforehand. This helps in two ways. The first is it lets you know you aren’t missing any ingredients. The second is it makes adding everything together super simple. You could even go so far as to dice onions, mince garlic, chop carrots, or peel potatoes before you even start cooking!
As you get more comfortable in the kitchen, you will find it easier to multitask between many different things as you cook, but as a beginner, it will no doubt be challenging. Preparation is still important even if you are experienced in the kitchen. It just makes your life, and your cooking, a whole lot easier.
Tip 3: Don’t be Afraid of Baking!
Baking seems like one of the most challenging of all the branches of cooking to many people. I’ve known even seasoned home cooks to shy away from the seemingly daunting task of baking at home. Something about it just seems to frighten many people. I mean, I don’t blame them for thinking that. Bakers always seem to work magic with dough. Transforming simple ingredients into a magnificent pastry or bread. It probably doesn’t help that baking is thought of as the most “sciency” of the kinds of cooking. I mean, everything seems to have to be so exact! Well, I’m here to help you with that too!
Baking at home, once you get past the initial fear, is one of the most rewarding and wonderful things someone can cook. Delicious fluffy loaves of bread, the chocolatiest of chocolate cakes, and the most scrumptious of muffins are the ones made with love at home in my opinion. And, as it turns out, it’s not that difficult!
The trick is to keep it simple and keep it calm. Don’t take on a recipe you don’t feel you are ready for. Cooking is supposed to be fun, so don’t stress about it! Try starting with a simple recipe for maybe a cake, or even bread. Bread I say? Isn’t that really difficult? Thankfully, no it is certainly not! Bread has always been scary for many people. Many times they will hear about, “Developing gluten proteins” or “fermenting the dough” or any number of other things that could sound scary. But in actuality, it’s just complex names for simple things. All you need for a delicious homemade bread is some simple ingredients, and a bit of elbow grease if you don’t have a mixer. The end product will leave you floored with how simple yet satisfying it is.
Tip 4: Experiment
By now you’ve probably gotten a little mileage in your kitchen. This means you’re probably ready to step it up into something a bit more difficult than just basic recipes and dishes. The simplest way to start expanding your horizons is to experiment. Experiment I say? What do I mean by that? Well, a couple of things.
The first is to try exotic or different ingredients! My spice cabinet is full to the brim with spices from around the world. Of course, I have the classics like salt, pepper, garlic, and onion, but I also have some more uncommon ingredients. Some of these ingredients are real curry powder which goes great in any savory dish, fennel which is a great addition to tomato sauces, and hawaij a Yemenite spice blend which has a nice bit of kick and flavor to it. Or, if you want something a bit more classic, try soy sauce. It adds a huge boost of umami to dishes. Even adding a little bit can boost flavor without making it taste like soy sauce!
The second kind of experimenting is experimenting with recipes. Many people seem to stick to a recipe’s ingredients like its gospel. However, changing or modifying the proportions of ingredients in a recipe can have some wonderful results. It is also a great way to learn. See what happens if you add less sugar to that dough recipe, or maybe what if you used a bit more oil? What if you put in some spices with the flour? I think it’s a wonderful way to learn by actually seeing how ingredients affect your food. So, all that’s left is to get out there and get creative!