Cooking Basics for the Family

Learning to cook is much easier than many people realize. It’s often viewed as some innate skill that has been passed down by the culinary gods through some type of delicious, divine connection. When, in reality, people that are good at cooking have just gone through a lot more trial and error than the rest of them. Let me tell you that no one starts making tasty dinners and memorable desserts on their first go at it – that’s a fact. The best chefs out there are people that have tried and failed many times over. You’ll find that the best cooks have failed many more times that the people that “can’t cook” have ever even tried!

Anyone and Everyone Can Cook

The truth of the matter is that people who “can’t cook” are really just people who haven’t failed enough. The basics of cooking is really little more than following directions and emulating what other people have already done and figured out. We’re lucky enough to live in a time where a literal treasure trove of information is freely available online for the taking. All you have to do is start with some Google searches or YouTube videos and you will have detailed instruction right at your fingertips.

If you view yourself as one of the “I can’t cook people” then it’s time to take a long hard look at yourself. Can you really not cook? How often have you tried? I’m betting that you haven’t spent much time trying to coax out your inner chef that is just waiting below the surface for a little bit of stimulation. Don’t ignore your inner chef. Actually, on second thought, you can forget your inner chef entirely. There’s something much more basic than some fictional ‘inner chef’ character that you’re imagining. Everyone shares the same basic connection with food that is obviously essential for life itself. I found that I really started to love cooking when I took the time to think about this connection more deeply. You’re not cooking as some type of art form. You’re cooking for your health and sometimes more importantly, your pleasure. Not to mention that of your families as well.

Learn the Tools, Then Expand

There are a set of basic skills that you need to get a grip on, then you can really start to explore out in any direction and being to develop your own style that suits your taste buds. One of the fundamental skills that will aide in your journey is proper cutting. By proper cutting, I’m referring to knife skills – or the ability to use the proper knife as a tool to transform your ingredients into the proper physical form to be used in your creations. I have personally found that the better my knife skills become, the more foods I am able to enjoy and incorporate into my regular diet. For example, I’ve always loved the taste of and been interested in avocado. But, I never actually bought them at the store to eat at home. When I was eating out I would spring for the avocado addition right away, but never at the grocery store. Why was this the case, I thought to myself. I began to realize that I was avoiding the avocado (along with a list of other delicious and nutritious foods) at the grocer because I didn’t know how to turn it from its raw form into something that I could easily consume at home.

Angie's Realm Knife Skills

Credit: scott.af.mil

This was a very silly reason to skip out on any type of food, I told myself. I made a commitment to start to learn how to process the avocado, along with several other foods that I have been avoiding out of what was really pure laziness. Once I learned that it wasn’t hard to prepare these foods to eat, it opened up a whole new world for me. I now eat half of an avocado every single morning with my breakfast. It’s something that I love to incorporate into my family’s diet on a daily basis. The avocado is full of beneficial fats and oils that the human body thrives on.

The Healthy Avocado

Credit: maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

Identify the Basics, Then Build

When you’re putting together a meal for yourself or your family, there are some basic areas that you want to cover to ensure that diverse nutritional needs are met. You need to have a protein (which is generally the focus of the meal), a vegetable for vitamins and micronutrients, sometimes a starch for a belly-filling satisfying effect, and fruit will serve as an excellent substitute for any after-the-meal sugar cravings (dessert).

This knowledge gives you a roadmap on where to focus your learning. Find out how to prepare several basic proteins (vegetable based proteins like black/red beans, chicken, turkey, venison, and beef), a few basic starches (rice, potatoes, etc.), vegetables (broccoli, spinach, green beans, kale), and fruits. Even knowing just a couple preparations from these categories will give you the ability to mix and match to create a huge variety of different meals for your family. The variety that comes with mixing and matching will keep everyone interested and on their toes guessing what you will be able to come up with next. This can be the fun part! I know that it is for me.

Chicken Dinner Angie's Realm

Credit: maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com