57 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Cook Right Now

You don’t need culinary school. You don’t need expensive equipment. You don’t even need that much experience. All you need to be a better cook today is a little bit of knowledge. Or, in the case of this list, 57 little bits.

1. Buy an instant-read digital meat thermometer.

The quickest way to ruin a perfectly marbled $25 steak? Cutting into it to figure out if it’s medium rare. Yes, the Thermapen is $95, but four steaks later, you’ve broken even.

2. Write in your cookbooks.

Soup could have used more tomato? Chicken needed ten more minutes in the oven? Make a note of it and you’ll never make that mistake again.

3. Master the quick-pickle.

Whisk a little salt and sugar into some white vinegar. Pour over thinly sliced raw vegetables. Wait 20 minutes. Eat.

4. Get your knives professionally sharpened.

You may have a steel or a sharpener at home, but once a year, get a pro to revive those knives. Your chopping will get faster, more precise—and, believe it or not, safer.

5. Four words to live by: chicken thigh family pack.

Chicken breasts are expensive and can get dull after a while; thighs are juicier, cheaper, and more flavorful.

6. Toss most of your spices—especially that ground cumin.

Ground spices die quickly. So give them a whiff—if they don’t smell like anything, they won’t taste like anything. And if they don’t taste like anything, you’re cooking with a flavorless, brown powder.

7. Join a CSA.

At a minimum, you’ll learn how to cook kale fifteen ways. At a maximum, you’ll broaden your culinary horizons by finding ways to use up all that fresh produce.

8. Replace your non-stick skillet.

Do your scrambled eggs slide off the pan if you don’t use oil or butter? They should. Might be time for an upgrade.

9. Treat your herbs like flowers.

There’s nothing worse than limp herbs. Next time, trim the stems and put the parsley in a glass of water, fit a plastic bag over it, and stash it in the refrigerator.

10. Get a mandoline and don’t be afraid to use it.

 

Want gorgeous scalloped potatoes or perfectly julienned carrots? Buy a mandoline. Are you a scaredycat? Wear a cut-resistant safety glove until you feel comfortable bare-handed.

57 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Cook Right Now

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