This post is all about learning how to cook for beginners. Cook from scratch instead of phoning for a takeaway! It’s not as hard as you think.
Let’s be honest, who wants to spend an hour in the kitchen cooking a meal from scratch when they’ve just had a hard day at work, and a long and stressful commute home? But learning how to cook, even for complete beginners, isn’t as hard as you might think.
Why Don’t We Cook More Often?
Lack of time, combined with lack of knowledge, is the main obstacle that’s keeping us from cooking our own meals. Instead, we open the freezer and take out a box, or we phone up for a takeaway to be delivered. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are so many delicious meals that can be on the table in under 30 minutes. You will know exactly what’s gone into it, and that it’s been prepared properly, following basic hygiene rules. And, more importantly, you will know that the ingredients are fresh. No long lists of ingredients whose names you can’t even pronounce. And which are probably not good for you either.
There are hundreds of items available in the supermarkets to make cooking our own meals faster and easier. Things like ready-chopped onions, pre-cooked sachets of white and brown rice, ready-rolled pastry (both shortcrust and puff varieties) curry pastes, frozen mashed potato, ready-roasted Mediterranean vegetables, pre-prepared and washed salad leaves, jars of roasted peppers, artichokes and aubergines in olive oil, and much more. Next time you’re out shopping take some time to look around and see what’s available. It might surprise you. It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘convenience food.’
Links to Poor Diet and Health
Over the last few decades, there has been growing concern for the health of the nation, both here in the UK and worldwide; obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease are at record levels. Studies have shown that a poor diet is responsible for more deaths than tobacco and high blood pressure. Read more here.
Our diet is not the only cause of these unpleasant conditions, but it plays a significant role in threatening our health – and the health of our children. Parents often lack knowledge of proper nutrition, or budget plays a large part in what families eat. They just can’t afford to buy fresh, healthy food.
Even more worrying, dementia is on the rise. This could be because people are living longer and have access to better medical care than before. But recently, research has shown a definite link between a poor diet and dementia. Click here for more information.
By cooking our own meals we can make them healthier, and improve our own health and that of our families. We will be more in control of what we put into our bodies. There is nothing wrong with the occasional ready meal or takeaway, but keep it for an occasional treat, rather than a regular thing.
But learning how to prepare and cook fresh food can be a scary prospect for those reluctant cooks among us; they fear getting it wrong, under-cooking their chicken and giving their kids salmonella, burning the roast, or their cakes not rising. They imagine all kinds of culinary disasters.
These are minor problems and can be overcome. If your cake doesn’t rise it will still taste good. If something burns, throw it out and start again. As you gain confidence in your abilities these fears will melt away. I promise.
Practice Makes Perfect
Remember, cooking is like any other skill in life. Practice is needed before you can be a confident cook. After all, when you were learning to drive a car, I’m sure you didn’t do it right in your first lesson. Or the next few lessons. And remember how many attempts you had before you managed to tie your own shoelaces as a child? It’s a gradual process, and every time you practice something, whether it’s driving a car, or cooking a meal, you will get better at it with practice.
I was lucky enough to have parents who were good cooks and were happy to teach my brother and me how to cook all kinds of things, from cakes and desserts to main meals. They also taught us a love of good food and an appreciation of fresh ingredients.
Food is Love
Food can bring people together. Imagine sitting at the table with your friends and serving them a meal that you’ve cooked all by yourself. How good would it feel to see them enjoying your food and to hear them giving you compliments?
Or if there is someone at work who is always bringing in beautiful cakes, maybe you could take in one of yours and give the office baker a run for their money!
The best place to start is with some basic cookery books. (If you don’t want to buy them just yet then borrow some from your local library.) There are some good ones out there that show you how to do simple, basic things, like how to boil or fry eggs, chop an onion, make a sauce, or even prepare a full roast dinner. Delia Smith’s How To Cook series is perfect for the absolute beginner.
I love Jamie Oliver’s books too. He keeps things simple and his recipes work. And he shows you how to do simple things, like poach or fry an egg or cook a steak. His sheer enthusiasm is catching.
Another idea is if you have a friend or family member who’s a great cook, ask them if they can show you how they cook meals from scratch. Then you can practice with someone on hand if things don’t go to plan. This is a good way to learn as it will increase your confidence.
Just Do It!
The important thing is just to get started. Even if you do something small, like make scrambled eggs on toast or cook some pasta with a sauce, you can go on from there. But you must take action. Studying cookery books or watching auntie Jean make a cake is not enough. You have to get your hands dirty and actually cook something. I’m sure that once you get the cooking bug, there will be no stopping you.
Good luck and happy cooking! And as always, if you have any questions or comments on this article please get in touch.
Ready to start your cooking journey? Here are some recipes for fast easy meals.
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