Wish You Knew How to Cook? It’s Easier Than You Think

I was 23 years old the first time I cooked a legitimate meal. Growing up, I didn’t cook, and in college my scholarship was such that it actually made it to my advantage to live in the dorms.

So, when the time came for me to spread my wings as a full-fledged adult, I had some people in my life who were skeptical about whether I could keep from starving to death or spending every dime on takeout. And, to a certain extent, I understood them; knowing if I could cook was one of many uncertainties that came with working life.

This is important background, because I literally came into my first apartment with no cooking skills other than making toast. In other words, if I could learn to cook, anyone could.

I learned how to cook. Decently. And it wasn’t hard.

Because, for the most part, the only skill required to be a decent cook is the ability to follow instructions.

That’s it.

Now, I’m sure culinary experts will say there’s more than that. And if you want to be a pro chef, that’s true. But if you’re looking to cook food you like, there’s a great chance that the skills are not only within your reach but relatively easy.

So, if that’s true, why do so many people seem to be helpless in the kitchen? I think it boils down to a few obstacles.

One is intimidation. Many people quit before they start. Maybe they think it’s beyond them. Or that it’s too much work. Or that they’ll botch it.

Another is energy. Good cooking isn’t always a ton of work, but it can be, and with a hectic, busy schedule, that can turn people off.

I’m here to tell you, though, that there is a payoff. Several.

One, it’s almost always cheaper than eating out. That savings can go to all kinds of things. For me, some of that savings goes to the occasional splurge on a really awesome cooking project, like crab legs and steak.

Two, it can be really satisfying, especially when you reproduce a restaurant-quality meal at home. I’ve been able to do great imitations of both fast food and sit-down fare, and it’s a great feeling, both in my head and my stomach.

So where do you start? I recommend simple. Easy stuff, things that can be made in a short time and with the tools you have on hand. Recipes abound online, and most of them are easy to follow. Skillet, Crock Pot, and oven recipes are my favorites.

As time has gone on, I’ve expanded my tool set, including a grill and, most recently, a deep fryer that does fast food awfully well.

So, my advice? Experiment. Have fun with it. And don’t be intimidated. Your taste buds will thank you.

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