Simple Cooking Concepts: Part 1

Being a “young” twenty-something I keep hearing from my peers “cooking is so hard” or “I wish I could cook like my mom.” I used to say that all the time. When I first ventured into cooking I learned how to make two dishes spaghetti and, like every good Canadian, Kraft Diner. I was one lame cook. But then I realised something – cooking is easy!

Want to make new and tastier meals? Want to impress someone special? I have a few simple concepts for you. Hopefully you will find these useful.

Know Your Taste

Sure this sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget. It’s pointless to want to learn how to cook by cooking dishes that you won’t like. That said, you won’t be able to expand your personal recipe book without being adventurous.

Do you like Mediterranean cuisine? How about French? If so, then stick with those for now. If you don’t know if you like them then experiment. Once you know what you like or what you like to try then you can start getting somewhere with cooking.

Cook With Real Food

Again, sounds obvious but if you look at the so-called foods that are available in most grocery stores you’ll soon notice that you are eating more than just food but chemicals and weird additives.

Other than food with extra unpronounceable ingredients you’ll find cheaper food alternatives, like margarine. Butter is always tastier than margarine. So, stick with the real food.

Cooking with real food might be harder for those of us with allergies or food sensitivities. Getting around this just requires some research. For those with allergies to dairy or who are lactose intolerant olive oil makes a great substitute for butter. If you ask me it tastes better, too.

Olive oil is another thing. I hear so many people say that you are not supposed to cook with olive oil. That is such a sad lie. There is a huge reason why there is a long list of lies regarding olive oil, if you are interested check out truthinoliveoil.com, Tom Mueller is the man when it comes to understanding olive oil. Again, buy the real stuff, if you live in Halifax your best option is Liquid Gold.

Watch What You Cook

My biggest mistake when starting to cook was not paying enough attention to what I was cooking. Obvious concerns are all about safety – If you put something in the oven and leave you could burn your house down. Not good. Other concerns are about the flavour and the healthy aspect of a dish.

One common mistake is over boiling broccoli. When you boil broccoli it will turn a beautiful vivid green colour. Stop there. Boil it any longer and your broccoli will turn a duller green. Taste it and you’ll see that the colour isn’t the only dull part. Also, if you boil it too long you will lose most of the vitamins and good stuff to the water. Of course, you could just have a glass of broccoli water but why not just cook the veggie well instead?

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These are just a couple of simple cooking concepts which I’ve learned throughout my years of cooking. Of course I’m no Jamie Oliver or Julia Child, so if you are wondering why you should listen to my ideas feel free to drop me a line and if you want I can even cook you something.

I’ll have some more concepts next week. They’ll be more focused on seasoning and flavouring food. In other words, I’ll be talking about fat, sugar and salt.

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