Things I’ve learned as a home cook

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

(Sorry, couldn’t resist the photo. It’s ridiculous, right?)

I was watching “The Taste” on TV and I was really excited that a home cook made it SO far in the competition.  I shouldn’t be shocked, Nigella Lawson herself is a home cook.  But the big thing is, I really loved seeing someone with no formal training totally kicking ass.  Marina had lived on multiple continents, and wasn’t afraid to do crazy things… I mean, she made a soup with rooster testicles.  C’mon.  She’s crazy, but in a good way.

I’m not an expert cook, but my cooking is always getting better and better.  I have a couple of things that I’ve learned over my many years of cooking.

  • Play with your food.  If you’re at a restaurant and you’re eating something good (or bad!) tasting, figure out why you like it or hate it.  Pick it apart.  Is it cooked wrong?  Are you liking the seasoning?  Is this something that you could cook at home?
  • Try something crazy.  I’ve been cooking since I was tall enough to stand at the stove, and helped out with cooking since I could stand at all.  I’ve added some CRAZY things to my food.  My sister will tell you that I used to add cinnamon to the pasta water.  But sometimes when you try something crazy, something amazing comes out of it.  I discovered that adding orange juice to pancakes tasted amazing.  Obviously that’s not a LCHF food, but it sure tasted good back then!
  • Find a recipe site that you really like.  I love Nom Nom Paleo for savory dishes, and Comfy Belly for baked goods.  Their style is similar to mine.  If the recipes appear on their sites, I can be pretty sure that I will like them.  If I go to a catch-all site with user-submitted recipes, I don’t have as big of a success rate.
  • Challenge yourself.  I didn’t grow up eating a lot of these recipes.  My mom DID make amazing food (her chicken stir fry is INSANELY good) but I didn’t learn how to make chicken stock from her like most people do.  I had a desire to make it, and learned how to make it.  Maybe you’ll find a recipe that is unlike anything you’ve ever done before.  Maybe you’ll find a veggie at the farmer’s market that you’ve never cooked with (hellooo bok choy).  Whatever it is, jump into the water and man/woman up.
  • Perfect is for prissies.  My food isn’t always pretty.  Master cooking the food first, then worry about fanciness.  Food is no good if it looks good but tastes like crap.  Focus your energy.  You can be prissy later.

Home cooks, what are your tips for people trying to become better at cooking?

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