There are some people who find it natural to be in the kitchen, and then there are others who have trouble using the microwave. If you are the latter, but you want to improve your cooking skills, there is hope for you yet.

The following are seven tips to help you become a good cook.

1. Educate yourself.

Find an online tutorial or pick up a basic cookbook and learn what all the cooking terms mean. You may not realize that blanching, roasting and sautéing are all different cooking techniques, and you need to have a basic understanding of these terms so that you can more easily follow recipes.

Good Cook

2. Buy your essentials.

A good cook needs certain cookware and utensils, so make sure that you have these items on hand. You’ll need a decent set of pots and pans as well as different knives, spatulas, spoons, measuring cups and spoons, whisks, electric beaters, food processors, graters and choppers. You’ll also need to invest in your common spices and seasonings, such as paprika, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Once you have all of your essentials, you’ll be ready to tackle any recipe.

3. Practice cutting.

Along with different cooking techniques, there are also different ways to cut. Make sure to learn the difference between dicing or cutting julienne, and the break out your cutting board, your knife and a few fruits and vegetables and start practicing. This is the only way that you’re going to improve your skills in the kitchen.

4. Practice cooking.

Along with practicing how to cut food, you also need to practice how to cook. This means that you’ll need to invest some time and choose a few recipes that interest you. Follow them step by step until you nail it. If you have to cook a recipe a few times to get it just right, that’s fine, because that’s how you learn.

5. Get creative.

Once you can follow a recipe and cut with the best of them, you can start expressing your cooking style by getting creative and creating your own recipes or altering existing ones. Did you recently make a dish but felt like it was missing something? Cook it again but put your own spin on it. This will help you get better in the kitchen, and it will also give you some great new recipes to work with.

6. Take classes.

Your local community college will probably offer cooking classes on a regular basis, so make sure that you take the time to attend one to learn new skills and improve on those you already have. You’ll also make some new friends and may even learn tricks and new recipes.

7. Have fun.

If you don’t have fun with cooking, you’re not going to improve your skills because you’re going to think of it as more of a chore. Blast your favorite music, buy a fancy apron and have as much fun as you possibly can.

Becoming a good cook can be accomplished no matter what your current skills are in the kitchen. Make sure to educate yourself and practice, practice, practice. And soon, you’ll be cooking the best meals.

Caroline Jones is a professional chef and avid writer.  She enjoys blogging about delicious recipes, healthy diets, and nuts nutritional information in her spare time.

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