french knife and organic tomato

Finding recipes and food ideas has become almost too easy as of recent. Long gone are the days when your Auntie cryptically guarded the recipe for her ridiculously tasty meatballs, and while you may never actually get that recipe, you can easily plop your cravings into a search engine and BING (Nobody uses Bing, but you get my pun) you now have a 350,000 specialty meatball recipes!  So now you have this awesome recipe and you set out on a journey through creation.

I have a few guidelines that have helped me ‘wow’ many a guest or potluck patron and I would love to share them below:

1.       If you are going to be cooking, you should be cooking…

That’s right, I am calling you out. I’d venture to claim that the majority of all cooking failures are the result of a divided attention. Save the multi-tasking for later in life. Once you have fully devoted yourself to cooking you will start to develop the ‘internal clock’ and ‘temperature meter’ (like when you know your alarm is about to go off… way cooler though). Until then, stop scrolling through social media and pay attention to the sizzle and pop!

2.       Get yourself a sharp knife…

I’m not saying you need to be able to julienne a cue ball but you should not need to saw a tomato. Keeping a knife sharp is not that hard and is truly pleasing when you need to slice, chop, mince, etc. If your knives are only good for spreading peanut butter then get them to a pro knife sharpener and give them blades some ZING! A sharp knife will make all the difference in your kitchen.

3.       Do NOT use the high heat setting…

Yep, don’t use it, particularly if you tend to burn your culinary creations. Reserve the top temps for boiling water only. I often see novices in the kitchen swing their burners to ‘High/Med-High’ as if they are competitors on Iron Chef. Cooking on high is a bad idea unless you are searing; in such a case see guideline #1.

4.       Ask for help…

Oh yeah, you can do that. I often observe the ‘lone warrior’ struggling through a recipe in the kitchen. The greatest Chefs on the planet work with a Sous Chef, why shouldn’t you? If asking for help is a pride issue then drop the ego, sir or ma’am. Having a helper is a great way to complete a meal and focus on the hard parts (like not burning the toast). Having kitchen independence is a good thing too, but having someone to, at the very least, clean the dishes and help you taste test is a huge relief! On that note:

5.       Taste your food during preparation…

Obviously you should always avoid raw/ under-cooked items (some chefs would disagree) but you need to know what you are working with prior to serving it! Don’t get down on a plate of uncooked food but you should certainly give your creation a little taster throughout the many stages of preparation.

6.       Have fun, get creative…

A lot of people are much too serious about their culinary creations. Cooking should not bring you to a negative emotional state. Keep it light, keep it fun, invite your friends or family and borrow tasty or helpful ideas (except from cantankerous old aunties)!

Remember, food selections are a privilege, not a right. Do not take for granted that you are able to choose, shop, and explore your culinary opportunities.

 

Now go make me a meatball dammit!

 

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