G…uest #19: Ways to Easily Improve Your Cooking Skills

Please meet Christy Birmingham Freelance Writer and Author from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada @ When Women Inspire

When you imagine improving your cooking abilities, you may feel overwhelmed with the seemingly daunting task. I am nodding as up until about a few years ago I often felt less than adequate in the kitchen. Here are some pointers to help you navigate more easily and efficiently around the kitchen.

Christy

You Are Not Alone

A great start to improving your cooking skills is by realizing that you are not alone in your apprehension towards the task. Not everyone is born with a love of cooking or an ease for kitchen-related tasks. Feeling ashamed of your cooking skills only limits your ability to improve them. You will feel less afraid and more open to learning new culinary techniques when you realize that not every adult is a deluxe chef. No one can be perfect at everything, including being a cook.

Create a Cookbook

Add a building block to the seed of self-confidence by grabbing a blank notebook to devote to your time in the kitchen. Write down the dishes that you have previously prepared on your own. These dishes can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner items. Write down the title and, if you wish, include notes underneath explaining how to make each dish. Notes are optional but serve as great references to jog your memory if you want to make the dish again, and you have not prepared it for some time. Simply grab your notebook and start cooking!

Creating a personal cookbook will also likely reveal that you are capable of creating more dishes than you realized! Make your notebook personalized and fun. My notebook, for example, is covered with M&M character patterns as I collect M&M memorabilia. The personal touch of the book makes you more likely to turn to it in the kitchen and continue to be enthused to cook.

Be a Helper

Another great way to improve your skills is to help someone whose cooking abilities you admire. No, I am not referring to Martha Stewart here, but instead to someone you actually know well (unless, of course, you are friends with Martha). Said person could be a parent, sibling, friend, or another acquaintance. Think back to meal invites and whose foods or techniques you enjoyed. Ask that person to make a meal together as a way to strengthen your independence and confidence.

Do not be embarrassed to approach him or her. Remember that person started out where you are now, searching for tried and true cooking techniques. Your contact person will likely be flattered by your request. Offer to buy the ingredients as an extra way to get him or her on board. When I asked my mom to help her make dinners, she said she appreciated the assistance and found dinner was prepared more quickly with the extra set of hands. Your contact person will likely also appreciate your help.

Plan to meet regularly each week, if schedules allow. Write the lessons into your daily planner and treat them as appointments you would not cancel. By writing down the sessions and conversing with your acquaintance, you will be held accountable to following through with improving your cooking skills. You will become more at ease cooking with someone else as well as cooking for more than one person.

Christy Cook Confidently
The dishes do not need to be complex four-course meals, but instead simple, affordable foods that you would be able to make on your own. By improving your basic cooking skills under close guidance, you will be able to build to more complex meals.

Build up to switching roles, with you taking the reins as lead cook and your partner becoming the helper. Reward yourself after a month of regularly scheduled cooking sessions as an incentive to keep learning new skills. A reward could include a new kitchen utensil or saucepan. The reward solidifies your achievements in the kitchen and encourages you to continue learning new skills.

Cooking Videos

Improve your skills further by watching cooking videos on websites such as YouTube. Try searching for “how to cook (insert ingredient name)” or “best cooking recipe for (insert dish name)” and you will find lengthy lists to begin your search.

Advantages of video include the ability to pause as you watch, save to view again and see procedures in motion rather than still pictures. Add the video’s recipe title and any useful notes to your personal cookbook so that you will be able to cook the dish without having to watch the entire video again.

With DVR for television (called PVR here in Canada), you can do similar tasks as on YouTube. For instance, save and pause shows while you take notes or try a technique. Multiple cooking shows can be viewed on the Food Network channel and other food-oriented channels.

Although I still do not consider myself the next Rachael Ray, I can make several dishes now and have more confidence standing in front of the stove. Progress has to have a starting point, so let’s start improving your cooking skills today!

Want to Connect Further with Christy?

Find Christy Birmingham blogging about ways to enhance your life and live fully at When Women Inspire. Also, you can find her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

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62 thoughts on “G…uest #19: Ways to Easily Improve Your Cooking Skills

  1. Pingback: September G…uest Post Roundup | The Recipe Hunter

  2. Hi Christy and Esme! This is a fantastic post! I am quite a bad cook, actually I should repharse, I am getting better with cooking. Like you mentioned, there’s heaps of videos on youtube and they are so easy to watch and copy. Since having a baby, I have learnt to cook more, and with practice, comes perfection. But, I am far from perfection haha! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Esme. Thanks for a lovely joint post.
    Christy is right about the practice. And yes, it does apply to almost any craft, or even talent. I always say that I “used to be” a good cook. It’s been many years since I’ve had time, or reason to do much in the kitchen. Have a great new week. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post Esme from Christy, Thank you Christy for sharing those tips.. Nothing like learning cooking skills from others you admire.. I learnt a lot from my Mother and Gran in the baking dept.. and Hope to pass it along to my Granddaughter 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sometimes simple cooking can really be wonderful too and having a good friend to cook with sounds awesome. My cooking heroine has always been my mum. She’s a fabulous cook, nobody can compare to her when it comes to asian cooking (she’s from Malaysia) but she can also make a very tasty shepherd’s pie and trifle!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on When Women Inspire and commented:
    Thank you Esme for having me over to her kitchen this weekend! With practice comes improvement, when it comes to cooking and other crafts. I took yesterday off for rest and rejuvenation and am doing the same today. Just wanted to share this one in the meantime. Hope you are enjoying a nice Labor/Labour Day weekend! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When teaching my now grown up daughters the life skill of cooking I used to ensure they started with very simple recipes and built their confidence from there. There’s certainly no shame in learning how to poach an egg before you learn how to do more complex meals.

    Liked by 1 person

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