Four Ways to Consistently Improve Your Cooking
One of my life goals is to always be learning new things. I don’t ever want to get to the point where I think I have “arrived”. Or, that I don’t have anything new to learn. For me, that means spending time reading, listening to others, seeking out areas where I know I need to improve.
I hold the same goal with cooking. I want to be constantly learning new things. Trying new recipes and looking for genres of cooking that I have never experienced expands my cooking knowledge. But, how can I make that happen? I want to give you a few practical tips that have helped me.
Read a cookbook
I’m not talking about searching for a specific recipe, or even reading a cookbook that is only recipes, no narrative. There are many cookbooks that educate as well as give recipes. Find a cookbook that catches your interest and read it from cover to cover (making note of any recipes you might want to try as you are reading it). Check out our cookbook selection here
I grew up in the American South, and have always enjoyed learning about regional southern cuisine. Several years ago I purchased Vivian Howard’s debut cookbook, Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South. I learned a lot about cooking with southern ingredients and why certain recipes resonate with me as a southerner. I recently bought a smoker, and I am working through Rodney Scott’s Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is A Good Day - A Cookbook. Yes, I am learning techniques, but I am also learning about an approach to cooking. These techniques sprouted and grew less than an hour from where I was born.
Learn from another intriguing cook.
In our new world of technology, many cooks have extensive material on YouTube or other websites. I always enjoy the wisdom and practical approach to cooking of a chef like Jacques Pepin. Search his name on YouTube and “dive in” - you won’t regret it.
Share stories and learn from others that are already in your life. Have a friend that makes a unique dish? Get their expert advice and learn techniques while chatting it up. Struggling with what to make for dinner each night? Reach out to friends for their tips, tricks, and recipes that might work for your timing and lifestyle.
Take a local cooking class.
We are enjoying hosting classes here at Kneaded Kitchens in west Michigan. I love the variety and knowledge that comes from spending time with local chefs, dieticians, and food artisans. Ask around in your area, search Facebook, and find a local business, library, or farmers market that hosts cooking classes. Search our list of upcoming classes here.
Find a source of recipes that stretch you.
My wife and I love recipes from Half Baked Harvest (www.halfbakedharvest.com). They have provided many a fun Friday of spending time together in the kitchen and then enjoying a meal that we would have never come up with on our own. We've tried recipes such as Sheet Pan Sticky Pomegranate Chicken or Crispy Honey Ginger Salmon Bowl from Half Baked Harvest. Using recipes that pair different flavors brings variety and fun!
Many recipe sites will send recipes to your email for free, giving you a never ending source of new culinary treats to try without sacrificing time surfing. Sign up for Kneaded Kitchens' free recipes below!
Of course, if you are going to try new things, you have to be willing to “fail” every now and then, but that’s a story for another time!
By: Robby Richardson