Having the most essential cooking tools in your cupboard will make your life so much easier. Although the kitchen world comes out with sleek, trendy and exciting kitchen gadgets all the time, that doesn't mean you need to buy every single one to be able to cook well. In fact, the most basic tools are all you need to start cooking delicious meals. And after you've learned what tools to cook with and understand basic cooking terms and techniques, you are on your way to cooking delicious homemade foods.
Anyone can cook, but there is more to cooking than simply throwing ingredients together and hoping for the best. You have to understand basic cooking terms and techniques. Knowing how to prepare different components of a meal, and in what order, can help you learn to cook. Once you have the basics down, you can improve the flavor and texture of your meals with various sauces, herbs and other seasonings.
- To enhance your cooking use fresh ingredients whenever possible. When shopping for fresh produce or meats, be certain to take the time to ensure that the texture, colors and quality of the food you buy is the best in the batch. You should also try to stick to cooking with foods that are currently in season, as that is when they taste their best.
- Organize your tools and ingredients before cooking. The practice of getting all of your tools and ingredients together, prepared and measured is called "mise en place" (French pronunciation: [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) by professional chefs, and is considered essential to efficient cooking. Your "mise en place" should be ready and close at hand before the stove is turned on.
- Include contrasting textures in your meals. Some of the most enjoyable dishes include a combination of different yet matching textures. These textures work together in your mouth to make eating a more enjoyable experience.
- Season your food with salt and pepper. Adding the right amount of salt and pepper is the easiest thing you can do to improve the taste of your food. A dash of salt and pepper can really make the flavors of a dish come alive, bringing out the best in each individual ingredient.
- Use butter in your cooking. Butter adds a delicious, creamy, slightly nutty flavor to food and should be featured heavily in many types of cooking and baking. Use butter anytime a recipe calls for it, and even sometimes when it doesn't!
- Build a collection of go-to sauces. A good sauce can transform a dull, flavorless dish into something much more exciting and delicious. By learning a few basic sauce recipes, you can kick your cooking credentials up a few notches, with very little effort.
- Experiment with herbs. Herbs can single-handedly give a dish a distinct flavor, characterizing it as belonging to Greek, Italian, Mexican, Chinese or any other type of world cuisine. Herbs enhance the flavor and color of food, making it more exciting to cook and eat.
- Give spices a try in your recipes. Like with herbs, adding a single spice (or a combination of them) can impart a very distinctive flavor profile to a dish, and tie its flavor profile to a particular global cuisine. Keep your pantry stocked with a supply of commonly-used spices such as cinnamon, paprika, cumin, coriander and ginger.