The decision to learn how to cook and plan meals & menus can be an intimidating one. There are so many dishes and there is just so much to know. Plus, Food Writers make it seem so difficult. The important thing is to not feel overwhelmed. Focus on one category of cooking at a time. You can master specific dishes and build your confidence. At the beginning of your cooking studies, you will have many questions about food, cooking, and health in general. You can consult old cookbooks, Bestsellers, family, friends, and of course, the internet resources available to you.
o Is flavor more important than health concerns?
o Should organic foods be purchased, even if they cost more?
o What foods will please an entire family?
o Do I need to take a class or can I learn by trial and error?
o Is there a career for me in the culinary arts?
o How can Fish & Seafood be prepared safely?
The Basics of Cooking: Knowledge and Cooking Equipment
Before you even begin learning how to cook, you will have to make sure your kitchen is properly outfitted. Once you have the basic cooking equipment you can start collecting cookbooks that will increase your cooking knowledge. Eventually you will want to amass a large collection of Reference & Gastronomy cookbooks and Restaurant Cookbooks. Food & Travel Writing books are great reads. There are even cookbooks available that focus on a specific piece of kitchen equipment. When you purchase a cookbook that specific, like Slow Cooker (Pyramid Paperbacks) by Sara Lewis, you can be sure to make the most out of your kitchen device. A piece of kitchen equipment that sits unused in the back of the cupboard is just a waste of space.
o What are the basic kitchen tools needed to make most meals?
o If one is just starting out and trying to save money, what tools can he hold off on purchasing?
o Are fancy blenders and mixers really necessary?
Baking Delicious Treats
Few things are more delicious than a loaf of fresh bread pulled out of the oven. The smell of freshly-baked bread will bring your entire family into the kitchen, their mouths watering. Bread-making is not hard. There is some work involved, certainly, but if you follow the instructions and tips carefully you can certainly do it. When you master a few basic cooking skills, there will be no stopping you in the kitchen. You will, of course, need a basic manual to help you. Bake by Rachel Allen is an excellent text that can help you master some baking skills. Rachel Allen has some excellent cupcake recipes, especially. Baking is an almost entirely separate science from cooking and will raise its own queries.
o How do baking and cooking differ?
o Can I make substitutions in a recipe?
o Why do I need to mix wet and dry ingredients separately?
o What is the difference between cake flour, all purpose flour, and bread flour?
Baking can be a challenge but the treats you will learn to bake are worth the effort.
Barbecue: The Perfect Foods for Entertaining & Special Occasions
If you love to entertain, you should make mastering barbecue recipes a high priority. Everyone loves a backyard party in the summer. A plate of ribs, a few Drinks & Beverages, and a warm summer evening make for great memories. You will need some special equipment to barbecue successfully. A grill is a definite must have and a smoker is wonderful for imparting flavor into your cuts of meat. You will also want a set of basic grill tools, such as a grill spatula, brush, and tongs. For a complete list of barbecue tools, see Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-By-Step Guide to Expert Grilling (Sunset Books) by Jamie Purviance. This cookbook is sponsored by a grilling company that has been around for generations. It will certainly help answer your general grilling questions such as:
o Are cheap grills suitable for casual barbecuing?
o How do I control the temperature on a grill?
o What foods grill well?
o Are there any Puddings & Desserts that can be grilled?
Books are not the only place to get answers about barbecuing or cooking in general. Ask your friends and neighbors for their advice as well. One of the great things about cooking is that it brings people together. Barbecue specifically appeals to individuals of both genders. Even people who do not grill out personally have favorite dishes they would love to share with you. Grilling can bring together an entire neighborhood for food and fun.
Making Quick & Easy Meals For You and Your Family
Cooking every night when you get home from work can be exhausting. Eating out for dinner every night, however, is both expensive and unhealthful. What you need to master then, are quick, healthy meals that you can throw together on a weekday night. Ainsley Harriott’s Low Fat Meals in Minutes by Ainsley Harriott is a great combination of quick and healthy. Diets & Healthy Eating do not have to suck up all your free time. You can also learn how to prepare healthy foods for baby quickly. Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby.
Annabel Karmel is a great baby food manual for a new parent. Once you master some basic cooking techniques such as blanching and steaming vegetables, you can make healthy pureed dishes for your baby while you cook for yourself and the rest of your family. Healthy cooking, especially healthy Cooking for Babies & Children, raises a lot of questions.
o Does introducing an infant to a diverse array of foods prevent him from being a picky eater?
o What are easy, healthy meals that I can feed to an infant?
o Can I afford the fresh fruits and vegetables needed to be healthy?
o Are there healthy lunch options for taking to work?
o Are Vegetarian & Vegan meals more time consuming?
Cooking As a Way to Enjoy Life More Fully
Cooking is more than just a way to fill your belly. It is a way to enhance your enjoyment of life. The basics of cooking are really just the beginning. Soon you will be on your way to National & International Cookery, Wine & Winemaking and a world of culinary delight.