How to cook a meal?

Cooking can be intimidating sometimes. When you hear these fancy terms like “mirepoix”, “confit”, “deglaze”, no wonder you think you’ll never achieve the sous chef status. But it’s food, which is often hard to ruin! By the way, did you know that the intimidating world “deglaze” means scraping off remains of vine and onion from the bottom of the pan? Yeah, that’s the thing with cooking. It all sounds complicated and hectic until you realize it’s just a bunch of meat and veggies under soy sauce over medium heat! You can forget about cooking forever if you start single mom dating, they often cook very well!

But if you want to learn how to cook good food ASAP, you’ll need to start now, using less intimidating food, processes, and utensils. Today we’ll talk about different ways to cook food and learn how to cook delicious food without worry or hesitation.


What do you need to know before cooking?
The main stages of cooking
Why is food tasteless sometimes?
Basic Cooking Tips

What do you need to know before cooking?

Before learning how to make good food you need to set adequate goals for yourself. How high do you aim? If you want to be an excellent cook, there should be years of practice, literature, and maybe a school or cooking course.
But if you want to just be a good cook who can make a meal out of scratches, you don’t need all that fuss. Cooking can be mastered in your kitchen without all the fancy food processors, torches, and foreign ingredients.

The main stages of cooking

1. Preparation
Before cooking food, you always need to make a mise en place. Mise en place is a French word all chefs use that means “putting everything in its place” aka your ingredients disposition. When you watch cooking shows, you always see a showdown of all raw foods, washed and put almost in alphabetical order. And it’s not made to impress you. A mise en place is made to minimize confusion and make you realize what you’re working with. The first mistake of beginner cooks is not preparing everything beforehand. When you reach for salt and pepper with greasy hands while cooking, you never weight them out, so the whole process becomes hectic. You need to run to the fridge to find butter, meanwhile, your pan is getting too hot and something inevitably burns. The butter is hard as rock, or course, so it doesn’t melt properly. Food doesn’t absorb butter because it’s already overcooked. Familiar pattern? To prevent that, always prepare your food beforehand in separate plates. Yes, you’ll need to wash a couple of extra bowls, but your cooking becomes organized.

2. Wash, peel, clean, cut
To make the process faster and more mobile, you have to start with squeaky clean vegetables, clean pots and pans, clean hands and kitchen utensils. Don’t rush to finish washing, grating, peeling, frying something when you are already in the middle of a process. That is what all beginner cooks are afraid of – multitasking. But it’s a wrong strategy from the beginning. Cook in stages. If you are already frying, you shouldn’t be washing or peeling something else. It’s confusing. If you have an ingredient that needs to be of room temperature, put it out of the fridge before anything. This is the stage where you need to make your food into the desired shape and form. After washing your food, blot it with a clean kitchen towel or paper tissue and start peeling and slicing. Always use a cutting board, don’t cut your food on a kitchen counter. You can ruin the furniture, besides, it’s unhygienic and dangerous. If your cutting board is slippery, put a wet towel underneath it. Watch your fingers while cutting.

3. Seasoning
This is the stage all cooks have a problem with. How much salt is too much? How to cook something without making it too spicy? If you don’t know how many pinches of salt and seasoning to put, always start from less and move to more. You can always add, but not take away. If you want to make it right from the start, Google the measurements based on the weight of your food.

4. Cooking
Cooking is the process of applying temperature to food. Not every food needs to be cooked. If you were to cook a salad, the whole process would end on stage 3. But if we are talking about baking, boiling, deep-frying, roasting, steaming, and so on, you’ll need to practice a little bit. First of all, heat your pan beforehand. Never heat your pan to the maximum temperature unless you are cooking with wine or boiling. Stewing should be made with medium heat. The slower the fire – the juicier and softer the food will be. Never throw wet and moist food into the hot oil. If it starts bubbling too much, cover a pan with a lid.

5. Serving
This process can’t be left out of the picture. Even the most mediocre food can be saved with good plating. Add all of your ingredients, sauce, garnish, side dish, sesame seeds, salad leaves – be creative! And whatever you do, plate your dishes right before consuming. Don’t be lazy and mean to yourself. If you cook food, make it beautiful and appetizing even if you’ll eat it alone.

Why is food tasteless sometimes?

Making food is a riddle sometimes. You may have followed through instruction, but the dish is still bland. Why is that?

Too little seasoning. Some seasoning evaporates with cooking, especially if you added liquid in the process. Sometimes you’re just using unflattering seasoning for a certain dish. Not all spices go well with meat or fish.

The food was cooking for too long. If you are afraid to undercook food, most of the time, you end up overcooking it. Calamari, as well as any other seafood, should be cooked for not more than 2 minutes. Meat can also taste like rubber, so if you want to check its stage, just cut a piece in half and estimate your cross-section.

Basic Cooking Tips

If you want to learn how to make good food, proceed to follow these tips:
1. Set a timer
It’s hard to remember when we put all ingredients into a pan. To not overcook or undercook your food, Google the appropriate time for each dish and never dismiss the instruction. If you are in a hurry, just prepare something that doesn’t require much time. Meat and fish should be always cooked through. The only steak can be medium rare and still safe.

2. If you are making soup, start from the hardest ingredients
The reason why your potato is either not cooked or falling apart is that you need to put your ingredients in a strict order. Hard-boiling foods first, meat second, and then some grated veggies, as well as greenery. If you are adding noodles into your soup, make sure you put them last if you don’t like them gooey. The same applies to other types of soups like ramen.

3. Always give the meat some time to rest
When your right-out-of-the-stove masterpiece lies on the kitchen table in front of your hungry eyes, it is very hard to resist not eating everything at once. It is mentally difficult, but necessary to let that meat rest. Do not cut juicy meat immediately after cooking, if you do not want to ruin the dish and your impression from the meal. Remember that in ten minutes, your steak will be on the whole other level. Allow it to rest at room temperature. Do not be afraid that the meat will cool down completely, as it is too hot from the inside. For chicken breast and small pieces of meat, only 5 minutes of rest will be enough, but it is better to leave a large steak, a whole chicken or ribs for 20-30 minutes. Then, the juice will be evenly distributed over the piece and will not ooze out when you slice it. The result will surprise you: you will enjoy a scrumptious and appetizing piece of art rather than dry meat.

4. Use more water when you cook pasta
Pasta has lots of interesting characteristics about it. Pasta quickly absorbs water and increases in size during the cooking process. A small amount of liquid in the pan will only cause the food to stick together. To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to use more water. Also, cook pasta over medium heat if you got more time. If you want to know how to make tasty food, just take time with every process. Stir the pasta while cooking. If you cook pasta, it is better to finish the meal in a large pan where you prepared the sauce and stir it with all ingredients. The dish will turn out especially fragrant and mouth-watering.

5. Always try out your food during cooking
It’s the saddest mistake we all do – not tasting our masterpieces before feeding them to someone. Remember that even if you follow the recipe with extreme precision, it does not guarantee a good meal. Sometimes things are just messed up by themselves. By trying, you increase your chances of immediately detecting a mistake and instantly correcting it, if possible. By ignoring this rule, you run the risk of finding out something is wrong with your dish together with your guests or family.
There is no universal rule on how to make the best food, but you definitely can learn how to cook good. Our taste palates are different, so stick to what you like doing. Experiment with sauces, play with ingredients, but most importantly, practice makes perfect!