6 Ways to Become a Better Cook
Like any other skill, cooking takes practice, whether you’re attempting to fillet your way through Julia Child’s recipes or just trying to nail down a few basics. Here, six easy ways to make your time in the kitchen more efficient and—dare we say—enjoyable.
This piece originally appeared on PureWow.
Keep Your Knives Sharp and Aligned
Fact: Every time you use your knives, the blades get pushed out of alignment. Keep them in their proper position (key for getting the sharpest edge and, thus, easier chopping) by honing them with a steel rod after every couple uses. Once or twice a year, get them professionally sharpened at a store like Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma.
Stabilize Your Cutting Board
And while we’re on the topic of handling sharp objects...always place a damp kitchen towel or non-slip liner under your board before you get to slicing and dicing. A few damp paper towels also work in pinch.
Calibrate Your Oven
Oven temps fluctuate greatly depending on whether yours is gas or electri—or how old it is. (Which explains why your casserole burned--even though you followed the directions to a T!) The easiest way to tell if the dial matches the actual temperature? Get thyself an oven thermometer.
And a Meat Thermometer, Too
Just because that chicken breast “looks ready” doesn’t mean it actually is. Take the guesswork out of the equation by using—you guessed it—a thermometer…and perhaps you’ll be ready to man the turkey this Thanksgiving?
Make Yourself a Cheat Sheet
Always forget how many ounces are in a cup? Print out a cheat sheet of commonly used measurements (and their equivalents) so you don’t have to waste time counting out all those teaspoons--or worse, losing count and messing up the recipe.
Do The Prep Work
Practice the art of mise en place, as pros call it. Basically, you just prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking. Dice those onions. Measure out those spices. It’ll streamline the entire process and save you time in the long run.