By: Lo Bosworth
As a lifelong cook, graduate of the French Culinary Institute, and constant dinner party host I have a handle on my kitchen and what goes on in it. Seasoning is second nature to me at this point, knowing exactly how much salt and freshly ground black pepper to add to lamb meatballs or a fresh vegetable quiche. I can taste the food I’m making through my hands in a way. I’m simply connected to it in a different way than most people.
I recently hosted an Easter dinner for 25 friends and family. I prepared for almost 12 hours: cleaning and cutting vegetables, making chive oil from scratch, marinating meat over the course of 4 hours the morning of the party. Just because I’m good at putting it all together doesn’t mean it doesn’t require hours of effort, patience, and love. I’m good at this stuff, and my back still hurt for days afterwards. The point of all of this? Getting a meal on the table, whether it be for 2 or for 20 isn’t easy, effortless, or whipped up out of nowhere. I love what I do, but it’s still work.
For the uninitiated into the world of cooking, or their kitchens in general, here are my top 3 skills I’m passing on to you that WILL make your time preparing food just a little bit easier. No magically tasting hands are required!
Give Yourself Double the Time
If you’re making a recipe for the first time, or throwing a dinner party for 4+ people, I’d recommend doubling the time you think you’ll need to get everything ready to go and cooked on time. Go to the grocery store 2 days before, not the morning of your dinner. Prepare vegetables and things that can sit in the fridge overnight the evening before. Make it easy on yourself! Create a logical prep plan and follow it. It will help immensely.
Taste Your Food
This one sounds fairly straightforward but you’d be surprised how many people cook a meal and never taste it before they put it out onto the table. A teensy, tiny bit of salt is simply not enough. Taste what you’re making throughout the process! It’s really the only way to become a better cook, through trial, error, and tasting. Another great tip: if you’re cooking meat, take a tiny bit of it after it’s seasoned and quickly fry it up in a pan. You’ll know instantly if your meatballs or whatever need more herbs, salt, or pepper.
Want to mess up your meal? Keep the heat in your pan on high the entire time. This is a horrible mistake that all new cooks make and the result is heartbreaking. Pans and food all have a lot of “carry-over” heat and energy in them once they’re cooking. Turning the heat down in a pan in an almost-burnt emergency will frequently result in food that still gets burnt. Keep your pants in the medium range and only blast them on high if you need to brown some quickly.
Turn The Heat Down
- Lo Bosworth -
Founder of the Award-Winning TheLoDown.com, Lifestyle Expert, Professional Chef, YouTube and Television Personality, and Author.