Ways YOU Can "Up" Your Cooking Game
We recently hosted our first cooking class here at our store in western Michigan. It was fun to see a group of people interact and ask great questions as they learned all about working with loose leaf teas. The class was a great success, and we look forward to hosting many more in the future.
Since that first class, I have been thinking about all the different resources that are available to help us learn a new area of cooking or to improve an area that we already love. I thought we would spend some time looking at a few of the ways that can help us “up our cooking game.”
1. Attend an in-person class!
An in person class with a subject-area expert is often one of the best ways for us to improve in different styles and techniques of cooking. The opportunity to interact, to ask questions, to see things close up … all this makes a cooking class a great choice for learning.
Look for local stores like ours here at Kneaded Kitchens that might be hosting classes. Check with local libraries to see if they ever sponsor a cooking class. My wife and I took a class a few years back on making Hot and Sour Soup at our local library - and we were able to eat the class work! Sometimes a chief at a local restaurant will offer a class or seminar in their area of expertise. Often there are cooking demonstrations or classes at local home shows. Take advantage of what is in your area.
2. Take part in online learning!
Some sites, such as America’s Test Kitchen and their online Cooking School, offer pretty extensive training in various skills and techniques. The America’s Test Kitchen site (www.americastestkitchen.com) also offers a variety of video instruction in cooking and baking skills. Much of this information requires a subscription, but I have found it to be well worth the investment.
Here are some other sites that also offer recipes, instruction, and equipment reviews:
The Spruce Eats (www.thespruceeats.com)
The Food Network (www.foodnetwork.com)
3. Follow food bloggers who have similar interests!
Food bloggers are also a great place to learn, often with a little bit more personal approach. Google the search term “best food blogs” and browse to find a few that catch your interest.
4. Ask YouTube if you have specific questions!
YouTube (www.youtube.com) is also a great resource for instructional videos on techniques or specific dishes. Type in a search term for a dish or a technique that interests you (e.g. - “lasagna” or “sous vide cooking”) and browse the results to find one that piques your interest or answers your question. And if you find an instructor you really like, you can browse his or her available videos or subscribe to their channel to be notified of future videos.
5. Don’t forget the “old fashioned” cookbook.
Take a trip to your local bookstore or library and browse the food section. I have a number of favorite cookbooks that I turn to often for inspiration or instruction.
6. Ask Grandma!
Seriously, there are some amazing cooks and bakers in my life, and I'm sure there are at least a couple in yours as well. Don't feel embarrassed to ask your sister, cousin, father, grandmother, friend, whomever, to show you how they make their go-to dish. Even more than expanding cooking knowledge, your relationship will grow as you create memories.
Make the effort to “up your food game” this year. You will enjoy it, and those around you will enjoy it as well.
By Robby Richardson