Cooking your own food is a wonderful skill to have. It can be creative, fulfilling, useful and benefit you, and anyone you cook for, on a physical level in terms of health. But let’s face it, it’s fun and anyone who likes to eat can get a lot out of learning to cook well.
It’s easy to mess up dishes when you start out. With no experience, you can makes something too salty by accident or burn it. Here are the most common 10 mistakes many people make in the kitchen.
You don’t sample your food
If you don’t taste your food while you cook it, you won’t know how it’s going to turn out! This simple error may seem obvious, but newbies and even more experienced chefs must either try their food, and/or get someone else to. Does it need more salt? More flavour? Don’t be shy about raising the spoon to someone nice while you’re cooking up your creations.
You don’t read the whole recipe
Preparation is important when cooking, especially when the recipe is complicated. You will need to know exactly how long it’s going to take if you’re making the dish for your family or friends, so read the whole recipe in detail and you’ll look like quite the master when you can whip up a sophisticated dish with finesse.
Not measuring ingredients
If you put too much seasoning into a tomato sauce, or go overboard with dried herbs, you can ruin a potentially impressive meal. When you’re starting out, don’t guess. Measure everything out, and when you’ve got it down, you’ll know which ingredients you can tinker with, without any disastrous results.
The pros sometimes give alternatives in their recipes, but they do this once they understand the specific textures, flavours and other characteristics of the different ingredients they use. If you run out of something and can’t get hold of it, ask someone who has more experience or just make something else instead of wasting your ingredients.
Frying several foods at once
Each type of vegetable cooks at a different rate, so avoid putting everything into the pan at once. Good recipes will often provide specific instructions that help you avoid the carrots being too crunchy while the onions are burnt, for example.
Using low-quality ingredients
When it comes to cooking, what you put in you get out. So buy the best quality ingredients you can. Organic is good. Fresh is best.
Leaving the broccoli on the hob for three hours will give you less nutrients, poorer quality fibre, and no real joy when you eat it. Over-cooking everything is a thing of the past. Use a timer or set an alarm so you can time everything perfectly and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
Not washing your hands
If you’re cooking for someone else and they’re watching, you better wash your hands! If germs get into salads or other food that won’t be cooked, you can make yourself and your friends sick. Oops. The other important thing to remember is that when you cook meat, you’ll need to wash your hands and everything you’ve used really well before touching anything else to prevent cross-contamination.
Salt is tasty and it makes food moreish, bringing out flavours and making the mouth water. However, it’s best to use a good quality salt, for starters. Table salt is toxic to the body and can lead to a host of nasty health issues. Try Himalayan or sea salt as a healthier alternative. Putting in too much may make you really thirsty and make food hard to eat!
Not washing your food
Gritty, soily food, anyone? Spinach or potatoes that haven’t been washed properly can make you feel dirty while you eat them. Yuck. Wash, wash and wash again, to prevent this from happening. Soaking muddy veggies loosens dirt and soil. If you pay attention to this important phase of the cooking procedure, you won’t go wrong.