I’ve spent a lot of time working in kitchens in my life. While I no longer do it professionally, I still very much enjoy cooking for my family and friends.
My time in the kitchen has taught me more than a few tricks, along with the ones taught to me by my family. I firmly believe everyone should know how to cook. And with that in mind, here’s 3 things everyone should know as they mature into an adult.
1. Always Check the Reduced Meat Section
Dude, I get it. The words “reduced meat” might be the least appetizing words one can think of. But I promise you, checking the reduced meat section of your grocery store will save you tons of money.
There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just nearing the end of it’s time frame by which the store is allowed to sell it. If your intention is to either cook it that day, or to freeze it right away, I promise you there’s absolutely no difference. One thing I particularly look for in the reduced meat section is a roast. Even if I have no plans on using it right away, if I see one, I’ll buy it and put it in the freezer. Roasts usually get made into meat for sandwiches or stews anyway, so it’s a great “rainy day” thing to have hanging around your freezer. And it can cost $7 less than it would usually cost.
2. Get An Air Fryer
I REALLY don’t wanna be one of those snobs that thinks the air fryer is the greatest invention on the planet, but it really is. For some reason, so many people are holding out on this appliance for no good reason. I get that “air fryer people” can sometimes be annoying, but it’s such a useful tool that should be in every kitchen.
As a family man, it’s a must. I have a 5 year old and a 1 year old. As you can imagine, there’s A LOT of chicken nuggets and tater tots at my house. The air fryer makes it so much easier. I also use it for chicken wings. My wife and I like wing nights at our house better than going out, and the great thing about the air fryer is that it’s healthier. Obviously chicken wings are never gonna be “healthy”, but I can at least feel less guilty about it when it comes from the air fryer as opposed to soaking in grease.
3. Cooking is Fluid. Baking is Rigid.
As you start learning how to cook, you’ll be looking at lots of recipes. Literally tons of them. But how closely should you follow those recipes? That depends.
If you are cooking, the recipe doesn’t need to be followed exactly. Many cooks like me are more “a pinch of this, a dash of that” kind of people. You can follow the recipe word for word if you like, but know that you are free to make edits as you see fit.
Baking, on the other hand, is a science. It’s also a science that I, myself, have not mastered. But one tip I’ll give from my wife, who is an excellent baker, is that you should follow the recipe word for word. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room. When they say 1/4 cup, they mean it. If you’re off by too much, whatever you’re baking will not come out right.
So there you have it. My 3 most basic cooking tips for beginners to remember.
Cooking is a talent that takes time to learn, so don’t be discouraged when you mess up. But once you get the hang of it, you won’t want to go out to eat as much. It’s cheaper to eat at home, and I’m not gonna pay someone $40 for something I can make at home better and for $15.