So, you’re experiencing the kitchen blues for the first time because you have recently started living alone. Perhaps, you moved out of your parents’ house without ever helping in the kitchen, or you’ve always had culinary-savvy roommates. Or maybe you had friends who cooked for you or you are just trying to develop a healthy lifestyle after a lifetime of eating takeaway. Whatever the reason may be, the endpoint is that you are a mess.
When you are new to cooking, you will find that there are many variables that affect the outcome of your dish. You will also find that it is a generally time-consuming task as well. And, it is inevitable that you will also accumulate a handful of cuts and burns in the new and unfamiliar environment.
But fear not, Ido Fishman, a culinary expert, and owner of the Fishman’s Culinary Institute, shares his best tips for newcomers to the kitchen to make sure that the food they cook is edible (tasty even!), has a good presentation while also staying safe from the complementary minor injuries.
Here are some of Ido Fishman’s best tips and tricks for beginners to be safe and efficient in the kitchen.
1.Make a Grocery List
Being new to the kitchen may also mean that you are going to do grocery shopping by yourself. You should make a list of things that you need before you go to the market as being sounded with so many products can be overwhelming and you will most likely get useless stuff and might go over your budget. Making a grocery list will help you shop efficiently and also save money. You can get extra treats if you finish get your necessary things under the total budget.
2. Prioritize Cleanliness
It is always important to make sure that you are working with clean hands and on a sanitized surface. The utensils and appliances that you use must also be freshly cleaned. Also, ember to thoroughly wash your produce before using it as they are laden with pesticides when they are growing or in the market.
3.Get a Chopping Board
If you are prone to cutting yourself while chopping vegetables, fruits, or meat, then you should invest in a chopping board. This will provide you with a stable and non-slippery surface to cut things at. Always make sure that you are using a clean board for fruits, vegetables, and, meat. If you find that your cutting board slips from the surface of your counter, then a simple trick of placing a damp paper towel under the board will rid you if the problem. Using stable surfaces when cutting things lessens the chances of your hurting yourself.
4. Avoid Spicy Fingers and Burning Eyes
A seemingly dumb yet common problem that everyone comes across is that of spicy fingers after cutting spices such as hot chili, green chili, red chili, etc. Oftentimes, people don’t wash their hands after dealing with such strong spices and end up rubbing their eyes or face with the same fingers. You can already imagine the dipterous events that take place afterward. To avoid this, use fresh lemon to completely rid your fingers of the spices as sometimes even soap can’t wash it off.
Cutting onions is also a painful process as the toxins from the onions make your eyes tear up, however, there are many ways through which you can avoid this pain such as wearing safety goggles. Or you can also adapt the avoid-the-root cutting method that is taught in many culinary schools.
5. Read the Recipe Twice
Read all recipes twice before you start cooking them. This is because mostly you tend to skim-read a recipe to see if it has any complicated procedures or uncommon ingredients. So, when we start cooking after a quick read through the recipe, you are surprised to find that you don’t have all the ingredients or appliances to continue. Fishman recommends talking out all the ingredients beforehand to identify any missing ones. This also helps you cook calmly without running around the kitchen to look for things while the food is cooking.
6. Save Time and Pre-prepare
If you are someone who doesn’t have enough time in the day to put aside an hour or two for cooking, then you can pre-prepare some of the time-consuming ingredients if possible. For instance, you can cut the meat accordingly for the dishes that you intend to cook. You can also chop vegetables, such as cabbages, carrots, etc. and store them in airtight bags in your fridge or freezer. You can also prepare doughs and store them for future use to save time.
Ido Fishman also shares some ways to make your food taste better, such as;
- If you like scrambled eggs in the morning, then this tip is for you. Salting your eggs at the right time defines their texture. Season your scrambled eggs after they are cooked to avoid ending up with a plate of dry eggs.
- Deseed your chilies and small peppers by rolling them in-between your palms. Remember the lemon juice tip here!
- Bring your meat to the room temperature by taking it out of the freezer. Allowing the meat to warm up will allow it to cook more tenderly.
- Boil your pasta in stock for a rich flavor. It also makes for an easy and quick dinner.
- Roll a lemon on your counter with a firm palm to make it easier to squeeze.
Doing new things and getting experience in them is what helps you learn better. Of course, you will have to go through some struggles before you become good at it, but it is the journey that makes your learning better. So, don’t be scared of experimenting in the kitchen. Follow Ido Fishman’s tips and tricks and you’ll be able to cook in your sleep in no time.