How you can really learn to cook

Everyone can learn to cook. Really!

Your living proof is the person writing this.

Hallo, I’m Edie and I was a super picky eater that couldn’t cook. Now I coach people who want to make cooking a more important part of their life.
In this article, the first in a series for beginning cooks, I will convince you that you can become a more creative and confident cook too.

When I started my cooking journey, I didn’t know a thing about cooking.

Well, that’s what I thought, and what many of my clients tell me. But that’s not true.

You eat.

So you know very well what you like and what you don’t like. What flavors, what ingredients, what textures, and what dishes.

And then, you do have stepped into the kitchen, didn’t you? Maybe you build amazing sandwiches. Fry a mean egg. Have seen your dad cook hamburgers on the outdoor grill. Heard your neighbor explain how to boil pasta. That’s all cooking!

So let’s start here.

You know more than you think

The first step you can take when you want to really learn to cook is to realize that you already know a few things.

When I left home, I knew potatoes had to cook 20 minutes, but I had never actually cooked them. Now I know it depends on their size and variety, but it was a great starting point to try it out myself.

So let’s make a list

Grab that piece of paper, sit down and make that list.

  • Write down what you know about cooking.
  • How to cook your favorite dishes.
  • What do you know about cooking techniques.
  • And how to clean, chop and cook certain ingredients.

It’s totally okay if it’s only hearsay.

Now think about the dishes and ingredients you like to eat, and add them to the list too. That dish you always order at your local Thai. What’s your favorite pizza? Try to be specific. Don’t write tacos, but chicken tacos with salsa. What salsa? Or pizza with tomato sauce and fennel sausage. That one smoothie you always order, what’s in it? Your favorite bagel from that local store. How do you like your hamburger?

If you have other people at your dining table too, include their favorites too.

Now organize this list

Next is to have good look at your list. Some things you know how to cook. Of others you might have an idea or you know how to cook or prepare part of it. And there might be things on the list that you have no idea how to make, but would want to.

Turn these into 3 lists:

  1. Know it – include here also the things that you know how to make or have a recipe for.
  2. Need a bit of help – for example, you never cooked a patty, but know how to build a burger.
  3. Have no clue – speaks for itself, I think?

You can first mark them with a symbol or a color, but eventually it will work better if you create 3 new physical lists. That can be on paper, a digital list or a fancy database app. Whatever works best for you.

Time to reflect a bit

Well done! How does it feel to make these lists? Do you feel bummed your I get this list is so short? Or are you surprised with what you already know? Try to focus on the latter. Learning to cook takes time.

When I started to cook, I kept a paper note book. It was dark blue and I wrote all my favorite recipes in it. Later I glued printed recipes in it, but I always added my own notes. With things I liked, didn’t like, what I changed and what I kept. This was a much slower process than the one I am suggesting you could follow, as each of your three lists can help you become a better cook in their own way.

Click here for your next step and learn how these 3 lists can help you become a better cook.

Yeah, learning to cook takes time

But you definitely can speed up the process by cooking consciously and learning why you do what you do. The more you cook and learn about it, the better you can connect the dots and see similarities between dishes. On this site and in my classes, I will help you with that.

This article is part of a series for beginning cooks. Instead of adding more recipes to the internet or giving superficial tips about stocking your pantry, this series will provide a more philosophical, coaching approach.

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