10 Ways to Become a Better Cook

Trying to eat healthy but not a very good cook? It's ok, you don't have to be. 

Here are my top 10 things to focus on...

1) How to select good quality produce (that is, ideally, in season)

2) Which cuts of meat are which, when to use them, and how to cook them

3) How to make a trip to the grocery store as efficient as possible

4) How to plan meals and a general menu (i.e. for a day or several days), what these meals should include and Why.

5) How to follow a simple recipe, including measuring ingredients

6) How to combine flavors and understanding what flavors taste good together 

7) How to time your meal preparation so that the food is ready by a certain time, and at the same time

8) How to taste and sample while cooking, and understand when dishes are ready

9) Proper food safety, handling, and storage

10) Basic cooking techniques (e.g. roasting, sautéeing, etc.)

This may seem like a lot and may seem daunting to you. 

Here is my best piece of advice. TRY. 

Just try.

If it sucks, try again.

Good cooks are made, not born. These skills come from doing. Practice. Ongoing experimentation.

Build the foundation and go from there. 

Try these things: 

  • Buy a new, unfamiliar vegetable and learn how to prepare it.
  • Buy an unprocessed version of a processed food (e.g. fresh instead of canned fruit).
  • Assemble the components of a familiar processed food (e.g. ingredients for soup, or pizza) and prepare it.
  • Find one meal that you’re able to cook from scratch, even if that’s just boiling an egg, and practice it. Read up on how to make that one meal better by improving your technique.
  • On days when you have more time (e.g. a weekend day), experiment with a new recipe.
  • Plan 2 meals you’d like to have in the coming days, and make a list of the ingredients you’ll need.Then go shopping for those ingredients.
  • Shop with a list in general. Start to get a sense of what foods are staples.
  • Develop a template of foods or meal types you like, and foods that meet your goals. Create a shopping list from these. 
  • Learn one specific preparation technique (e.g. steaming vegetables, grilling meat, etc.) and practice it.
  • Take a cooking class.
  • Find and work with someone who is confident with their techniques and is willing to teach you. 
  • Peruse healthy cooking websites/blogs. Buy and make recipes from a healthy cookbook.
  • Visit a local farmers' market.