How to Get Started: Things about Cooking
Social medias are full of food pictures and posts about people sharing their discovery, like that new open restaurant or the new food trend. Unavoidably, there comes a moment in life where you want to get into cooking; by going to that magical realm called the kitchen, a.k.a. snacks kingdom, so you can create some beautiful dishes with your own hands. (or as you called it: creating a miracle.)
However, something is holding you back. Maybe it's because you don't have the right tools to help you get started, or because the thought of the cooking overwhelms you and makes you tired already. As you sat back down at the computer, open link that leads you to Tasty food tutorial videos. You wonder how those videos make cooking look so easy. You tell yourself that "Hey! I can make that too!" Yet, in the end, you rather kick back and watch more videos while daydream about that delicious food.
Honestly, cooking is not easy. But much like taking the first step of anything, it takes some courage and perseverance to do it. And once you step out that first step, you will discover that even YOU can make Instagram-able dishes.
First of all, I have to be clear: when I mention cooking, I meant all types of cooking. Even making an instant noodle is considered a type of cooking too. In some sense, everyone is an expert because making that cup of noodle edible takes some mad skills too. So when comparing a person who can only make an instant noodle and a person who only does take-outs, they are totally different. Former is half way into the cooking realm.
For the former, there are two types of person in the world: ones who think cooking is a chore, and ones who enjoy cooking and think it as a hobby. It is only the matter of time when you want to add more ingredients into that small instant noodle cup. Maybe an egg plus some green onion. You have slowly get the grip of being creative with mixing the ingredients. Then later, you would found yourself start making dishes that you won't even image back in the college years.
I am not a professional cook. But here I want to share how I feel about cooking, and give you some tips how to get started. There are three main reasons why most of the people cannot bypass the thought of doing fancy cooking: 1. it is time-consuming, 2. they are afraid of a failed result, and 3. the after clean-up sucks.
1. Cooking is time-consuming, or more like we need some time management skill!
Most of the recipes require more than 3 minutes, which is why you prefer making instant noodle instead. Also, since cooking is not on your normal schedule, you rather exchange the quality of meals with take-outs by willingly to wait for 20 minutes till the delivery man rings your doorbell. If shopping for food also counts as part of the cooking time, you would be even more unwillingly to cook.
For those who are not into cooking, time is more valuable than doing something they don't like in the first place. But for those who want to try cooking, this may be just another excuse for their laziness. There are many easy recipes out there. Recipes that require only acquirable ingredients plus it only needs few steps to complete. So seriously, if you really want to do something, you would make time for it.
One thing about cooking: it requires some time management skill. It is hard to determine how long you would spend on cooking a meal. Thoughts like "Shall I wake up at 6 today to prepare for breakfast?" or "Shall I prepare a day early for all the meals that I want to bring the party? Do I have time tomorrow?" are questions that we often ask ourselves. At the end, cooking can be really stressful. So how do we deal with that? The answer is time management. Or you can also think cooking is the time when you can practice your time management skill. A hobby that can benefit your work, how great is that? Anyways, if you want a thing to be enjoyable, it depends on how you think of it.
Yes, cooking is time-consuming and it does require other skills such as time management. It sounds seriously bad and tiring, but there is no harm if you some effort into it. You would be surprised how much benefit you would gain from it. So, say yes to cooking? I highly recommend you try it out. Why else you are reading this post? If you are someone who is internet surfing and don't know how you ended up reading this post, I thumb up for you being able to read this far.
2. Cooking is like science -- experiment away!
Have you ever had that moment when you are afraid of final revelation? Well, cooking is kind of like that too. You don't know how your cooking turns out until you open the pot lid or the oven door to see the result. Remember, there is no need to feel discourage if the result is bad. You could take a picture and laugh about it. Or find out where you made the mistake and learn from experience.
What I love about cooking is that I am able to see food transform during the process. For example, when making caramel, it only needs a second for the caramel to turn from perfect to a total disaster. It took me many tries to learn when to stop the heat and add cold water to prevent a disaster. As you already know, I am not a professional cook. I learn from reading recipes online or from some tv shows. However, those tutorial don't explain a lot of basic techniques or things such as food science. Why are some steps so crucial to the recipe itself? Why is some food are not compatible one another? Nope, they don't really teach you that. Although there is google that can explain your every question, but it is best to experience it yourself.
3. About that after clean-up
The most common excuse that I heard from people is that they don't want to do the after clean-up. Whether you are baking or BBQing, there is always a pile of dishes waiting for you to clean up after. I mean, come on, we are already tired from making the food. Why ask us to do the clean up too?
The most basic technique about cooking is that you always need to keep your counter clean while working, and that includes your sink too. For me, I like to clean the dishes while waiting for the food to be cooked. That is, there will be less shock in the sink when I finish cooking.
Maybe this kind of problem doesn't happen a lot for those who have a dishwasher. But being raised in an Asian family, my parents taught me that dishwasher basically functions as a drying rack. A fun fact about dishwasher: it actually saves a lot more water than doing dishes by hand. So, my friends, next time if your parents prevent you from using the dishwasher, tell them this fun fact. And for those who don't have a dishwasher, just remember to do dishes whenever you are on break during cooking. It may sound tiring, but it actually makes a lot of difference than doing all dishes at once.
Anyways, here are my thought about cooking. Share your opinion about cooking at the comment below. Last but not least,