If I were starting over on my cooking journey, here’s what I’d do first
They say hindsight is 20/20 and they also say it’s all about the journey, not the destination. And while all that is true, this video is a shortcut to what I’d focus on if I were learning to cook or starting over on my cooking journey. Or even if I was looking for a way to get organised in the kitchen and plan better for busy weeknight meals.
If you’re unfamiliar with how I got here, this has been my journey so far:
- It used to take me 3 hours to make a batch of corn fritters.
- I then started a catering business. I delivered healthy lunches around the Sydney CBD to busy time poor women.
- I’ve published recipes in a lot of cool places, like Vogue Australia and Harris Farm.
- Now I educate via my cookbooks, meal plans and courses, all designed to get you confident in the kitchen and to cook simple healthy meals.
My journey from cooking tragic to self taught Kitchen Coach is one I never planned for or expected but I’m here and I want to give you all the shortcuts so your journey doesn’t need to take as long as mine. So here we go…
Watch: If I were starting over on my cooking journey, here’s what I’d do first
Read: If I were starting over on my cooking journey, here’s what I’d do first
Pssst: this is the dot point version. All the gold is in that video, so plug your headphones in a go for a walk while you soak up some cooking truthbombs.
#1 I’d write out everything I knew how to cook.
For me in 2007, this was bacon and egg rolls, spagetti bolognese, tomato cream pasta, 3 hour corn fritters, a few salads.
#2 I’d then categorise this list by time – eg: 15 minutes to make, 30 minutes.
This is an under vauled reference point for recipe collating and organising. This step should be essential for every home cook. It acts as a reference point for when you’re busy and overwhelmed, you’ll have a place to come back to where you’ve already done the thinking. And it begins to organise ‘your brain’ or better yet, gets your thoughts and knowledge out of your brain and into order. This list will help you get organised which is essential to learning and mastering the skill of cooking.
#3 I’d then write out everything I wanted to know how to cook.
This could be, learn to roast a chicken, make sauerkraut. Whatever it is, it’s good to get these ideas out. You need to dream. You need to know what you’re aiming for.
#4 I’d write out a list of ingredients i love and try to find recipes that use that ingredient.
#5 I’d find trustworthy people online
And I’d cook their recipes. A minimum of 5 times each recipe. I’d read the recipe over and over and break it down into it’s components. Then I’d swap out the main ingredient for something else and see if it worked.
#6 I’d explore flavour
and really pay attention to how a squeeze of lemon, tablespoon of tamari or heaped handful of coriander changes things for better or worse. The best way to do this is to start with a dip.
#7 I’d cook with different cooking techniques (slow cooker, soups etc)
#8 I’d learn about the seasons and begin to buy produce according to them.
#9 I’d do all these 8 steps to build my foundation skills so I could ditch recipes asap.
Because the benefits of learning the proper skills of cooking so you can ditch recipes means you’re not bound to finding new recipes. It means you can buy what’s in season and save your money. It means you know how to use what you have on hand in your pantry, fridge and freeezer – which means you save money and reduce your food waste. It means you save time because you don’t need to search for recipes or even meal plan, unless you want to and have the mental space for it.
Ditching recipes is the ultimate goal for savvy home cooks and it’s not a skill that’s reserved for chefs or those with a massive love of cooking. It’s the way humans used to cook, before we forgot our skills and became addicted to convenience foods.