Don’t Fear the Kitchen

New to the kitchen? Or maybe you’re intimidated from some small mistake, accidental fire, or explosion of the past. Don’t fear the kitchen! Unlike so many areas of our lives, the kitchen is very forgiving. You are allowed to make mistakes as long as you learn from them that is. (I don’t think your family or the landlord are going to be so understanding if you have more than one minor grease fire.) As a matter of fact learning how to cook is as much fun as actually cooking. Even to this day, I experiment. I am always looking for ways to expand my collection of personalized recipes.

A Few Things to Remember

Cooking is chemistry at work! If you don’t recall your lessons from high school chemistry class, heat changes chemistry. Knowing the right amount of heat is paramount to the dish and your health. Too much heat and you burn your dish, too little and depending on what you are cooking, your dish will either be under cooked, not able to set, or be unhealthy to eat. Temperature is more that an assistant to chemical change but also kills nasty little critters you don’t want. Buy fresh, if you have a local farmer’s market, you may be able to find ingredients you normally wouldn’t find such as heirloom plants. Not to mention, that freshness equals better taste! If you are new to cooking, don’t be intimidated, just get a good cook book. A cook book usually consists of more than recipes, such as conversion charts and optimum temperature and cooking times. Remember, cooking is chemistry so you are going to need to learn to follow the directions or you may end up with mush rather than polenta.

Tools of the Trade

There are a few tools of the trade that you are going to find helpful. If you don’t have them already you should make a shopping list and go get the following items: cooking utensils, mixer, measuring cups, measuring spoons, cookie sheets, cake pans, roller, sifter, and very importantly several thermometers. There are different type of thermometers out there, and depending on what you are cooking they are design specifically for that task. For example, there are thermometers used for meat, candy, and grilling all of which can be found at any small local business. Having the right tools will assist you in having a better dish resulting in the confidence you need to keep in your kitchen.
photo credit: Mad Scientist cocktail via photopin (license)