My Home Cooking Story
The number of shares on Instagram and other social media channels labeled “my home cooking” are tremendous. There is nothing better than crafting a meal that is Instagram worthy and sharing the image. As the likes pour in, your pride swells. Whether it is a batch of snacks for the kids swim team, or dinner for the in-laws, being able to label it my home cooking elevates your credibility as a nurturing human.
A lot of people want to be in the kitchen more but they struggle to make it happen because they have a “full plate” of obligations that keeps them from testing out their culinary skills. With a little pre-planning, your kitchen can become a setting that turns out the kind of meals you want to memorialize with some ink from the best tattoo shops. Now who doesn’t want tattoo worthy dinners?
Let’s talk about how you could be cooking more in your kitchen. There are easy ways you could streamline what you do in the kitchen to make throwing great photo op meals together with complete with beautiful flowers to enhance the staging simple.
A Word About Social Media And Food
There has never been a time in history where people have so fully immersed themselves in what other people are eating. Social media has made it possible to expand our palettes by opening up our world of food.
Through social media people are exposed to food ideas that they would not have considered before. Exotic ingredients or even common ingredients turned into delectable dishes can be inspiring. It can be the motivating force the makes other people think “I can totally do that”. Of course, every good thing has a not so good side.
On the downside of things social media foodies can make it a bit intimidating for those of us that stumble around the kitchen. It can be hard to live up to those Instagram posts that are a feast for the eyes. It can have the opposite effect of the “I can”, and leave viewers feeling like “I could never do that”.
Keep in mind no matter your skill level right now, you can be a better cook. With a little practice, you will display “my home cooking” proudly on your social media channels and feel good about it. Everything takes practice. Getting in the kitchen and rolling up your sleeves is how you start.
Know When You Need Some Help
Just because your kitchen cooking has been limited it does not mean it has to stay that way. Your first step is to decide what it is that is keeping you out of the kitchen. For a lot of people, it is not the cooking part that keeps them out of the kitchen it is the cleaning part.
If the thought of organizing and cleaning your kitchen is simply too overwhelming to think about, consider hiring a cleaning service. Many cleaning services will offer a one and done type deal where they will come in and deep clean space and get it organized for you.
This can be a great solution if you need help getting organized in the kitchen so you can try out some cooking ideas. Before you start turning out the best recipes, having someone come in and get you organized can take some of the pressure off.
Once you are organized it will be minimal upkeep to stay organized. You will know where everything is in the kitchen, and it will be a lot easier to get cooking.
If you are busy with other things in life but still want to prepare more of those my home cooking meals, enlist the help of a professional cleaning service that can do the heavy cleaning for you. Once a week cleaning, every other day cleaning, whatever it takes to help you balance your life so you can spend more time enjoying the things you want to do around the house like cook amazing Instagram worthy meals.
The Basics of Cooking
No one starts out as a master chef, everyone has to start somewhere. It is fine to experience fails. The fun of cooking is the process. If you set up your kitchen like the professional chef’s do it can make everything run a lot smoother.
Commercial kitchens have a specific way that food moves through the kitchen, it goes from storage to prep to cooking line to serving. Each area has a specific function, and the areas are laid out for convenience.
The fewer steps you have to take from one area in the kitchen to the next better for you. Make it a habit to do all the prep work first, then start cooking, then plate the food. It is a simple concept, but it is a concept that really works.
For example, you want to make an amazing breakfast. Take out everything that you plan on cooking at one time. Take all the ingredients out of the carton, and prepare them to be cooked. If you are making an omelet, slice dice and prepare the ingredients all at one time, including scrambling the eggs in the bowl.
Clean as you go. Return unused ingredients to storage before you start cooking. Wipe counters down as you complete each step in the process. If you have ever wondered are dogs good pets, they especially come in handy for the new cook that is dropping food left and right on the floor.
A dog will clean up the floor while you wipe down the counters. Of course, you do want to be careful what the fur baby is grabbing off the floor, some stuff can be toxic, and you do not want to have to stop your cooking with a trip to the emergency vet.
You can make cooking time family time, and assign everyone a job in the kitchen. Breaking up the prep work, the cooking, and the cleanup can make light work of meal prep, baking goodies, and keeping the kitchen organized.
Many families make cooking a ritual of sorts for special holidays, while others are creating cooking traditions every day of the week. Cooking with family or with friends makes the work easier, and it is a great way to unplug and really connect with each other. You can learn a lot about the people in your life in the kitchen.
Start Out Small
Give yourself a break, don’t start off with that Bearnaise sauce that requires a Bain-Marie (glass bowl placed on a pan of boiling water). It is tough to master and really easy to fail out. Leave the technical stuff that requires specialty ingredients for down the road.
Master the basics first. Baking simple cakes with minimal ingredients or the proper way to cook an egg. Simple stuff that you can master will help you to build your confidence to move on to bigger and better things.
Learn The Terminology
Spend a little time learning the different terms and what they mean in cooking. Baking, broiling, poaching, braising, blanching, steaming, frying, and a litany of other terms all mean to cook but it is in how you cook that matters.
Take the time to become at least familiar with the different cooking terms to ensure that you are taking the right steps when a recipe calls for you to “poach fish”. Poaching is like boiling but different. Boiling fish will not give you the same results as poaching fish. You get the idea, learn the terms, and double-check that you are understanding what the terms mean if you have to before you start the recipe.
Misconceptions About Cooking
One of the biggest misconceptions about turning out amazing meals and snacks is that you have to have all the “right equipment” in the kitchen. The fact is you can get by with some very basic tools that you can get for a few dollars:
- Basic knife set, slotted spoon, basic pot set, vegetable peeler, measuring cup, mixing bowls, spatula
- Electric mixer or hand whisk (you can get an electric mixer for about $20 and it is worth the investment)
- Basic baking set
All you need to get started is listed above. You can fully outfit your kitchen for about $100 with all the basics. Of course, as you become more skilled at cooking you will want to invest in some of the fancier equipment.
It is strongly suggested that you have fire protection for the kitchen. At a minimum, a fire alarm installation is warranted in the kitchen area just to keep everyone safe. A fire extinguisher is a good idea for the kitchen as well, you can take all the precautions and consider fire sprinkler installation on the list of fire safety enhancements for your kitchen, that is entirely up to you.
What is true about elevating your kitchen skills is that following recipes to a tee is an important part of getting the results that you want. Many of the best recipes are exacting. Substitutions can be allowed but in most cases, it will impact the taste and the look of the recipe.
Recipes are made to be followed if you want to get the same exact results as pictured. Cooking is often described as an art, that is only half the truth.
Cooking is A Science
Great cooking is great chemistry. Of course, there is an artistic side to cooking as well, but the taste 100% relies on the right chemistry between flavors. Professional acclaimed chefs strive to marry flavors together perfectly, and they base all their marriages on what they know about how flavors interact with each other.
It is important that you understand how to measure ingredients as per the recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for a teaspoon (tsp) it is a level teaspoon which means there is no mound on top of the spoon.
Exact measurements and precise amounts are what gets the best results in the kitchen. Of course, it is always fun to experience flavors. The beauty of turning out my home cooking that you can be proud of is that you should experiment with flavors and tweak recipes to make them your own but there are some basic rules of chemistry that are hard to avoid.
Chemistry rules are largely prevalent in baking. For example, baking soda and baking powder have two very different functions. Baking powder is created by taking baking soda and adding sodium to it (salt). Baking soda helps to give the dough a fluffiness, while baking powder reacts when exposed to heat and causes tiny bubbles to give cakes and other baked goods their fluffiness.
Chemistry plays a critical role in whether your cakes will rise or they will be flat. Following the recipe is vital to feeling good about your my home cooking journey.
Journal My Home Cooking
When you start your reboot in the kitchen if you have been away for a while or if you are just getting your feet wet for the first time, keep a my home cooking photo journal. Take pictures of everything, even the things you would not post under any conditions, just to keep a record of your progress.
If you stay committed to your my home cooking journal you will be amazed at the transformation your “my home cooking” photo journal will reveal. Do be careful when taking photos of food and beverages because water damaged phone repair can be a hassle.
Cooking is a great way to destress, and of course, there is the added benefit of creating meals friends and family will rave about. It feels good to use your kitchen more and take more control over what you and your family are consuming.
Get in the kitchen and start you my home cooking journal today.