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Beginner Cooking Know-How

I say "Beginner" because I'm barely even qualified to teach a beginner and most of these are obvious to seasoned cooks.

Okay, so to be honest I'm pretty sure my mom and Grandma tried to teach me all of these things. But for some reason I didn't listen and ended up having to learn the hard way.

1.  Read. the. entire. recipe. before you start. Okay, so a lot of recipes rely on the chemical reactions of the ingredients to produce the desired end result. Sometimes that means letting something sit overnight or doing things in a certain order. If you don't read the entire recipe you may find yourself in a bind and unable to complete the recipe or complete it incorrectly and getting a less than desirable result.

2.  Get out all of your ingredients before you start. Or at least make sure you have them all. I do like to get them all out in the beginning though. If the recipe contains different sections you can get your ingredients out in sections. But put them away as you use them. That way when you're done you won't have as big of a mess to clean up.

It can also be helpful to measure everything out before you start.

3.  If you have the opportunity to create a registry (whether for a housewarming or wedding or just because you want to)...first determine what tools you will most likely have use and room for and then do research about which ones will serve your family best. Sometimes the cheap Walmart version will serve the best, sometimes the high end kitchen store option will serve best. Be willing to invest in your role of "keeper of the home".  Having good tools will make life easier and make you more likely to enjoy being in the kitchen, or at least get you out of there faster!

4. If you have a dishwasher, unload it before you start cooking and load it as you go. That way when you're done you don't have a sink full of dishes. If you don't have a dishwasher, fill the sink with hot, soapy water and at least put the dirty dishes in it as you go.

5.  Margarine is NOT butter.

6.  Be a learner.  Don't be offended when your mom, grandma or mother-in-law takes over something you're doing...take it as an opportunity to watch and learn and hone your skill. Ask them questions and really listen when they answer. Then take that knowledge and apply in it in your own unique way. And who knows?! After you've gathered the wisdom and knowledge of a few women (or men), you may be able to combine the pros and cons of each method and blow them all away with your culinary prowess!

So there you go. I know I didn't cover everything that could be covered...I didn't want to overwhelm you all with my vast culinary knowledge (liar, liar pants on fire!). Juuuust kidding!

What do you consider to be essential cooking knowledge to a beginner?

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