For some men, the kitchen can be a very scary and awkward place. For a small few, it’s even forbidden to step into the kitchen for anything other than a thoroughfare. The rest of us? We tend to find ourselves on one of two sides: the curious, closet chef or the unabashed kitchen connoisseur. Well, this post is for the former. It’s a big world in that little ol’ kitchen of yours, but with the right tips and tools, you can conquer almost any culinary frontier you find yourself in. For example:
Clean as you go.
Preparing a meal for a group of people can be a daunting task. To go a step further, preparing a meal for just yourself can be just as daunting. One thing I find that helps with the process is to take a few seconds during prep and cook times and clean up after yourself. Finished with a counter top for the time being? Wipe it down with a dish towel or damp cloth. Know you’re not going to be using that saucepan for the reminder of the process? Rinse it in some hot water and stick it in the dishwasher (if applicable). The point is to keep your cooking surfaces as a available as possible, it will help you transition seamlessly from one step to the next and reduce the amount you’ll be left to clean up at the end of the night.
Always have a Plan B.
It’s Murphy’s Law centered in the microcosm that is your kitchen space. Something will always go wrong. Granted, the degree of severity may vary, but that doesn’t mean it still won’t put something of a wrench in your original plans. Above all else, be prepared. If you’re running lower on a specific ingredient than you once thought, try and substitute. There’s nothing more reassuring than the confidence you’ll acquire when you make that spur-of-the-moment decision while in a pinch; extra points if everything turns out as if you weren’t in a dilemma at all.
Fill up first.
Like grocery shopping, wine tasting and exercising, you should never cook on a empty stomach! Prior to preparing a meal, indulge in a small, but light snack of some sort. This will “center” you, so to speak, when it comes time to create the main course. Think about it, when shopping while hungry, you tend to purchase things that you’d love to have right then and there, not taking into account all the things you originally came to the grocery store for; the same concept applies to cooking. You’ll be so adamant about finishing your dish that you’re bound to fudge it up somewhere. This will not bode well for the final product. Do yourself a favor and grab a can of Pringles or a few pieces of fruit. It will definitely help you out in the end.
Brian Wilder is a writer for Home Ec 101. You can also find him at Things My Grandfather Taught Me.
If you have a question you’d like Brian to answer send it to Brian@home-ec101.com.
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