- Read your recipe, not once but twice. Get familiar with the ingredients and the cooking steps.
- Get organized. Often 90% of cooking is the prep work. “Cooking is the culmination of a lot of little things done correctly.”
- Put on your apron, get cooking, and get messy! Have fun while cooking to take the chore out of it. Remember, the first time making something always takes the longest.
Have you ever seen a new recipe in a magazine or online that you really want to try? The recipe title peaks your interest, the cooking time seems short, and the photo, oh that photo; the perfectly grilled fish glistening with herb olive oil and the bright-beautiful-iridescent yellow tomato vinaigrette… it makes you hungry in an instant.
…. But wait, maybe you’re not familiar with an ingredient or there are just too many steps.
Is it worth it? Will my finished dish look as pretty and as inviting as the one in the article? Do I really want to put in the effort?
Yes, it is. Yes, it will. And, of course you do! Here, we are going to give you some basic guidelines to help you tackle that new recipe you’ve wanted to make for so long.
First off, read the recipe, not once but twice. This will help you become familiar with the list of ingredients and even more importantly, will help you understand the steps to create the dish before you get cooking. Believe it or not, many recipes require similar steps in a similar order and once you become just a little familiar with why you’re doing something, it becomes second nature. “Hey, I remember cooking those vegetables the same way as in the last soup I made. This isn’t so daunting.”
The dreaded preparation…. I’m slicing. I’m dicing. I have all these bowls with small bits of ingredients in them. When is this all going to come together? Well, cooking is often 90% preparation. So just remember that the hard work in the beginning will quickly pay off in the end. Chefs like to use the term French term “Mis En Place” or “Everything in Place. Once you have everything prepared, organized and within arms’ reach, it’s easier and more fun to create a dish. You will feel less panicky if you don’t have to run to the pantry to get that elusive ingredient, tucked away on the top shelf, as something is burning in the pan. Take your time, check your recipe one more time to make sure you didn’t miss anything, and now you’re ready to get cooking.
Put on an apron, turn up the music, and have fun! (see our article “Think Like A Chef — Demystifying the Kitchen”) Remember it will take longer the first time you make a new dish. Once you become familiar with the cooking steps and how it all comes together it will get easier and quicker.