Cooking Away from Home For The First Time
Are you a new student at a university, or otherwise away from home for the first time? One of the most important things you can do for yourself right away is learning to cook a few basic dishes for each meal time. While you are learning how to think critically, write better, or develop the skills you need for your career, you should also be learning the skills necessary to live on your own. One essential skill being cooking. With obesity rates rising the world over, learning how to cook is vital for your health if nothing else.
Reasons to Learn to Cook
- Cooking can save you money. It is nearly always more affordable to buy ingredients than it is to eat out. It may not look like it when you consider that you can get a whole meal for very cheap at the local fast food restaurant, but consider that with the same amount of money, you could feed yourself for the entire day, if not longer, by cooking.
- Cooking makes you self-sufficient, which is a necessary quality to have if you are living on your own. It also keeps you healthy, because you have total control over what you are putting into your body.
- Cooking can boost your social skills. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone in your adult life who doesn’t appreciate a home cooked meal. Whether that means you’re impressing your friends when it’s your turn to host a movie night, or you’re charming a date with a delicious meal, you’ll have the confidence to pull it off.
- Cooking can be a great way to get creative. Ingredients can be combined in an endless number of ways, and recipes can always be experimented with, tweaked for your taste, or created from scratch after you’ve gotten a handle on basic flavour pairing.
How to Learn to Cook
There are many ways to go about learning to cook and maybe even taken a commis chef job. If you are far away from home, or your family isn’t big on cooking, consider taking a few classes. In many cities, chef-owned restaurants host educational nights that include a lesson where you cook your own meal. You can also take lessons right at home via YouTube or other Internet resources.
Watch cooking shows and visit the blogs of the hosts. This is an easy way to both see a chef in action and to get the step-by-step instructions you need to copy the meal slowly. Cooking is something that can be easily picked up with a bit of practice. Have you considered a gap year job in the hospitality industry to pick up some valuable life skills including basic cooking?
Start with something fairly simple, if you’ve never cooked a thing in your life. Scrambled eggs, baked chicken, or a quick protein-and-vegetable stir fry with a store-bought sauce are great meals to get comfortable using your stove. As you get comfortable with these meals, you can start making more complex proteins like seafood or steak, and experiment with casseroles, pasta, and other cuisines and flavours.
A Note on Cooking Equipment
When you first start outfitting your kitchen, it can be tempting to buy every gadget or tool you see. This can become expensive, and in most cases, you don’t really need all of those things for an efficient kitchen. In fact, you can craft a world of dishes with just three simple tools.
The most important tools to have are a good, sharp chef’s knife, a frying pan, and a pot. That’s really it! With only these three things, in addition to your regular eating and serving ware, you can create tonnes of amazing meals. As you advance, you’ll want to consider things like a quality blender, and a baking dish or a slow cooker to help you make even more.