If you enjoy eating and like to experiment with new and creative flavors, learning to cook tasty is one of the most enjoyable and easy to get into hobbies. However, the benefits of polishing your cooking skills go far from only having a cool and fun hobby. Namely, research finds that people who eat home-cooked meals regularly tend to be healthier and happier. It is a great way to consume less sugar and processed foods, which can result in higher energy levels and better mental health. Also, a growing body of scientific evidence shows that home-cooked meals are an effective medical intervention for improving diet quality, weight loss, and diabetes prevention. Moreover, nowadays, scientists show great interest in studying the value of nutrition programs that include cooking instruction. Imagine that! So, since improving your cooking skills is a terrific investment in your health and lifestyle, here are the best ways to improve them.
Take cooking classes
If you want to learn the basics of cooking or hone skills you already have, you should consider a cooking class. A cooking class can teach you new techniques and shortcuts that can make you look and feel like a pro while cooking. It can also offer you a way to learn how to shop for and prepare many different exciting foods. Imagine bringing your family together while enjoying making and trying exotic recipes in your own home. There is no better bonding activity than that! On top of it, attending a local creative cooking school allows you to meet new people who share your love of cooking. Therefore, taking cooking classes has a fantastic potential to enrich your social life as well.
Now, you might say that setting aside specific hours during the week is problematic for you due to work or other engagements. If that is the case, you can enroll in online cooking classes and easily fit them in your work schedule. Online cooking classes give you the flexibility to enjoy mastering your cooking skills at your own pace. Sure, it requires self-discipline and responsibility, but the advantage is that nobody will grade you, and you will enhance not only your cooking but also your time-management skills. As an idea, check Gordon Ramsay’s course. It will give you so much more than delicious food recipes – it will teach you skills and show you how to apply what you have learned. Let’s face it – it will open a whole new world of possibilities.
Learn to use your hands (and your tools)
Hands are sensitive cooking tools. Kitchen tools are but an extension of your hands’ ability to control and use them to the advantage of the cooking process. With your hands, you can assess anything and everything. By touching the meat, for example, you can determine the degree of doneness – very soft when it is rare and quite firm when well done. Using your hands, you can discover the freshness of fruit and vegetables (the softness of zucchini, or the exterior feel of an avocado). If you want to refine your touch, you need to pay attention to how different foods feel. Every single time you cook.
Your hands are also a sophisticated cooking tool. You must become skilled at using a chef’s knife and exercise having good control over the blade. Learning to control the knife with a firm grip is an essential cooking skill. But, what is the right way to do it? Hold the knife’s handle with your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers, and place your index finger flat against the blade near the handle, curled back toward the handle. Position your thumb on the opposite side of the knife. Use your other hand to hold the food to keep it from sliding around on the cutting board. And, if you are serious about advancing your skills, you should invest in a professional cooking knife which you will always keep sharp.
Once you master the fancy cuts and speed, you need to learn how to cut everything to the same size. Now you may wonder why is this important? Well, for one, it will make your dish look better. Second, precisely-sized pieces cook at the same rate. Thus, practicing precision and evenness in your knife skills will get you farther than being able to dice an onion in 30 seconds.
Make the same recipe dozens of times
Yes, you heard us correctly. To become a pro in cooking, like in any other skill, you need to rely on experience and practice. Both come with trial and error. To excel (especially in making your favorite recipe), you probably going to need more than one attempt. Sure, cooking without a recipe is exciting and can unleash your creativity, but it will require a decent amount of self-confidence and relying on your senses. If you are still in lack of both, no worries, they come (as good cooking) with practice. Without a doubt, training will improve your cooking skills, so be ready to invest every free minute you have.
Use only the best ingredients
When cooking and eating, you want to get the most flavor possible from your food. That is the reason why it is so important to use fresh and quality ingredients. Cooking with seasonal ingredients, which are picked at the peak of freshness, means that you can provide a nutritional and varied diet for your loved ones. A seasonal menu is diverse and provides your body with a whole host of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which change regularly and benefit your health and wellbeing. Also, using seasonal ingredients means that food can be a little bit cheaper. And, if you are an adventurous type of person, experiment with ingredients that are out of the ordinary. Try saffron, white miso paste, or baby kale. Using various and new products can give your dish an exotic and authentic flavor. After all, a cook is only as good as the ingredients he/ she use.