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Reclaiming The Kitchen






Tips For Getting Started

If you're new to the world of cooking, getting started can be an overwhelming task, and paging through a cookbook can feel like trying to read a foreign language.

If you simply choose a recipe and try to cook it, you might not have the basic skills required, and you also have no frame of reference. If it turns out poorly, it's hard to know if it is just because it's not a very good recipe, or if it's because of your own mistakes.


Build Your Repertoire of Recipes

If you are a beginning musician, you may only be able to play one or two songs. In fact, depending on how often you practice, it may take you months or even years just to perfect those songs. The same principle holds true for cooking. You can't suddenly flip a switch and just "be able to cook". You have to start with simple dishes, learn to perfect them, and then move onto more complicated fare. In this way you can begin to build a "repertoire" of things that you know how to cook.



Many of us fall into the trap of trying to cook something "from scratch" because we have a special occasion, like Thanksgiving, or a special party. However, this can be a "recipe for disaster"! You wouldn't expect a first year medical student to perform major surgery, so why would you expect yourself to be able to cook an entire meal from scratch when you have no basic skills to build upon.


The easiest way to get started is by practicing the fine art of doctoring. When you start this way, you're much more likely to come up with something that is actually edible, and you'll also be able to practice some of the basic skills that you'll need in order to cook your own dishes. Basically this means that you start with something pre-packaged, and add to it to make it somehow different, or fancier, or more to your taste. For example, maybe you sauté an onion and some garlic, and then add a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce to the mix. Your imagination is really the only limit here. As you get better at this, you can slowly make the creations more and more your own.


Replicating Your Favorites

Another great way to get started is by trying to re-create some of your favorite dishes. These may be favorites from restaurants, something your friends have prepared, or simply trying to make a home-made version of something that you can buy pre-made in the grocery store. The goal needn't be to create an exact match, you may find that you can make it even better by making a few changes to suit you own particular tastes. Try starting with something fairly simple. If you're replicating something from the grocery store, you can get a good idea where to start by reading the ingredients.


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