Not everyone has the time and resources to go to culinary school. And even if you do have access to culinary school, unless you want to work as a chef or a prominent figure in the food industry, you won’t be using many skills you’ll learn in culinary school.
If you want to improve your cooking as a home cook and don’t want to spend hours of trial and error in your kitchen, here are a few small tips that can increase your culinary abilities by a noticeable margin.
Get a Digital Scale
If you want your food to taste consistent with the recipe you’re following, using a scale is an accurate and quick alternative to traditional volume measurements. You can use digital scales to measure dry or wet ingredients in the same bowl and save yourself the hassle of washing your measuring cups.
Digital scales won’t put a hole in your pocket either. A high-quality digital scale costs around $20 and can fit any nook or cranny in your kitchen. With modern recipes starting to call for measurements in ounces or grams, a trusty digital scale will save you a lot of time and hassle in the future.
Frequently Sharpen Your Knives
There’s nothing more dangerous in the kitchen than a dull knife. Dull knives lengthen the time it takes for you to prep vegetables and can increase the chances of you getting cut or losing a finger. A high-quality, sharp knife is the best investment you’ll ever make in the kitchen.
If you don’t know how to sharpen your knives and aren’t confident enough to follow a YouTube tutorial, you can check online if any good sharpening services are in your area.
Taste Food as You Go
Make sure to taste your food every step of the way as you’re cooking it. Tasting your food ensures that it isn’t under or over seasoned and that it suits your taste buds. Taking a few seconds to add more salt, spice, or a squeeze of lemon juice can elevate your cooking and make the flavors in your dish more pronounced.
Tasting your food is even more critical if you’re cooking a dish for the first time. Following the measurements of how much seasoning to use in a recipe isn’t always wise since the dish is supposed to reflect your tastes, not the original creator’s.
Adjust Cooking Times: Don’t Blindly Follow The Recipe
Whether you’re cooking something in the oven or stove, you should always use your judgment during the cooking time. There are loads of different factors that come with the cooking time. From your pan’s ability to retain heat to the heat that your oven and stove can produce—these factors can drastically change how long it takes for a dish to cook.
Keep an eye on what you’re cooking and frequently check it so it doesn’t accidentally overcook
Food Thermometers are a Lifesaver
An instant-read food thermometer is your extra layer of insurance if you don’t trust yourself enough to know when your steak or chicken is fully cooked by visual cues alone. Dial thermometers are much easier to calibrate, but digital food thermometers are easier to use and read if you’re a complete beginner.
A good food thermometer can be the difference between chowing down on a juicy medium-rare steak or a well-done leather boot.
Cooking Doesn’t Have to Require a Master’s Degree
Becoming a better cook requires a lot of time and effort. No one can become a chef overnight with just a few tips. Skill comes with experience so don’t give up and keep on cooking!