The Adulting Series:
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A Beginners Guide to Cooking
Cooking doesn’t come easily to most people, but it is super simple to learn! It’s a wonderful skill that takes time and patience to perfect, but literally anyone can access the tools to work at it. If you’re tired of burning the biscuits or melting the Poptarts every morning, watching your family make funny faces as they tell you they “love” your cooking, or even if you just know you want to improve – learning to cook well isn’t as hard as you think.
You don’t have to have a grandma who bakes cookies with you every time you visit, and there’s no need for a mom to teach you everything she knows. It’s wonderful if that’s the case, but not a requirement for you to learn how to cook! There are so many other resources available to you. And that’s what we’re talking about today – all the different ways you can learn how to cook.
How I Started
Personally, I never had any interest in learning how to cook until I became a mother. Suddenly, I was thinking more about what I was actually putting into my body because I was nursing a little human. My whole outlook changed! I knew that home cooked meals made with wholesome ingredients were one way I could provide the best for my child. Putting healthy food in my own body, would nourish her in turn. That’s when I finally decided I would learn how to cook!
Now, when I set my mind to something, I don’t stop until I hit my goal! So once I made the commitment to myself, I immediately dusted off the Betty Crocker Cookbook: Bridal Edition that I had hidden away in a cabinet. I told myself I would try out every recipe that looked good, making my way through the entire book until I felt comfortable enough to fly solo.
Now keep in mind that when I started, I knew almost nothing about cooking. I could boil water, of course (which is more than I can say for some of the guys I’ve dated!) and I could cook a frozen Stouffer’s Lasagna just as good as anyone else. But that’s not the kind of “healthy” cooking I knew would be best for my family. Ha!
I had no idea what half the cooking terms meant when I first opened that cookbook. Deglaze, wok, cutting in, simmering, Dutch oven, springform, al dente, blanching, julienne… these words were completely foreign to me! Seriously – I was a baby! I had a looong way to go. (Probably longer than you!)
What I Learned
After six months to a year, I successfully made my way through the entire Betty Crocker Cookbook, (and became bored with conventional cooking!)
That’s when I discovered the world of veganism. January 2013, I made the New Year’s Resolution to go completely vegan. Suddenly I had a whole other world of cooking to dive into! Because going vegan is essentially altering the foundation of cooking – eliminating all animal products that help recipes thicken, rise, whip, etc – it was almost like starting from scratch again.
But with the help of Pinterest and a plethora of vegan blogs, I went for it full force! After another six months to a year, I felt proficient once again.
Years later, I would land a job at the famous Spiral Diner – a completely vegan American diner! Learning to cook on that grill was a pivotal moment for my cooking skills.
While I by no means have the knowledge of someone who went to culinary school, (there’s a lot I still have left to learn!) I have learned the ins and outs of basic cooking knowledge. Enough to create wonderful, delicious meals for my family each night without necessarily needing a recipe.
Learning How to Cook: Where do we begin?
Now, how do you want to learn to cook?
There’s no ONE tried and true method to learning a skill like cooking. Not everyone learns the same way. BUT, with unlimited resources just a click away these days, there is almost nothing standing in your way of success. So pick your poison! How do you wish to begin?
You could start out like me and pick a single, super-informative cookbook to work through at your own pace.
Or, if you’d rather not buy a book, you could peruse Pinterest and save tons of tasty looking recipes from lots of different blogs.
There are a ton of YouTube videos and cable cooking shows if you’re more of a visual learner.
Or you could take some cooking classes if you learn better with the help from someone in person. You could even bring your significant other along and make a date of it!
Whatever path you prefer, I’ll list a few examples below to get you started. Just remember that you are the only one who can hold yourself accountable when it comes to learning something new. Don’t give up!
Betty Crocker Cookbook
The updated version of the cookbook that started it all (for me)! It’s super informative and starts off kind of like a cooking textbook with tons of definitions and simple instructions.
It’s available on Amazon HERE.
If you like an honest foul-mouthed teacher who uses language to drive home the importance of healthy eating that tastes great, then this is the book for you.
Available on Amazon HERE.
The Complete America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
The cookbook compiling tons of recipes from the famous KERA show (mentioned again later). Not only do they teach you best practices, but they also explain the why behind it.
Available on Amazon HERE.
Check out their 25 Skills Every cook Should Know article.
Their recipe archives can be found HERE.
Check out the recipe archives HERE.
There are so many fantastic food blogs out there it’s hard to choose what to share…
check out our Recipes Pinterest board for over 1000 cruelty-free and/or easy-to-veganize recipe ideas!
For the more visual learner!
A Little Help from Gordon Ramsay
(He won’t yell at you, promise!) His YouTube channel is HERE.
Learn to Cook
Check out their channel HERE.
My Personal Favorite – Tasty!
There’s something so satisfying about watching Tasty videos. My oldest daughter and I love watching them together. Check out their channel HERE.
The best cooking shows are NOT reality shows, they’re informative and actually teach you how to cook. There’s no need for fake drama when you’re trying to learn a new skill!
The Pioneer Woman
The famous Pioneer woman! She was the very first blogger and famous foodie I’d ever heard of. (Surprising?)
Watch her Saturday mornings at 10/9c on the Food Network
America’s Test Kitchen
I just love how informative this show is! It’s conventional cooking, not vegan unfortunately, but it’s still fun to watch! You can see it on KERA (show listings HERE) or just watch all the episodes HERE.
Airing on the Food Network. Check your local air times HERE.
(Dallas) Cooking Classes
I am always looking for a good deal, especially when it comes to new activities! If you like saving money and would like to try out a cooking class, check local Groupon deals first!
Do a quick search HERE.
Sur La Table (pronounced taub, not table lol)
Yelpers seem to LOVE the experience they get when taking cooking classes at Sur La Table! Located in Dallas’s Knox District, they have all kinds of themed cooking nights. It’d be perfect for a special date night!
Central Market Cooking
Check out their featured classes HERE.
Now go impress your friends and family!
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Learning to cook, or learning any skill for that matter, takes time, patience, and practice practice practice! Go at your own pace and soak up the knowledge down whichever path you take. Of course, you can always utilize more than one learning method! Go through a cookbook, peruse Pinterest, take a cooking class or two, and check out YouTube videos. After a short while, cooking won’t seem so daunting anymore.
Good luck, Mama!
Until next time,