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How to get better at cooking: Marie’s personal experience
Cooking is certainly one of my favourite hobby. I find it very soothing. It’s a time where I think about nothing but the meal I am working on. I have not always cooked though. I started slowly and awkwardly, following recipes found on Internet (thanks to Ricardo! Like REALLY! ). But with time, I have acquired confidence that now allows me to trust my instinct and prepare food with at least a certain success.
First, we cannot stress enough the importance of having some basic tools in your kitchen to enjoy cooking.
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Then, trying out new recipes is a good way to get more comfortable and get better in the kitchen. Sometimes I fail and do something not as good as expected, but even then, it is always eatable. I think this is the most important lesson I’ve learn about cooking: Even if we forget/add something, even if we put a little too much of this or a little less of that, it will still be perfectly eatable. There is no real risk in trying and testing. In fact, that is the best way to learn: by trials and errors.
The best way to learn to cook is by trials and errors!
How to fail a recipe… and serve it to your guest!
As you explore in the kitchen, learn new skills, try new recipes, or even just do as usual, you will fail. I have failed. Remember: trials and errors. It happens to everyone. Here is my best fail story!
I have been doing my bolognese pasta sauce for years. I use my mother’s recipe and adjust it according to my taste. That kind of sauce can be expensive to make, in time and money, as I always do a big batch.
That day, I do my sauce and oops I forgot it just long enough that it burnt and stuck at the bottom of the pot! Not too happy about it, I thought, Oh well, I am sure it will be eatable anyway.
Few days later, Maude comes to visit and we are having lunch: pasta…with my not-so-perfect-sauce. FAIL.
You know when your guest tells you it is not eatable, and that burnt recipe should not be eaten (even less served to guests!)… BIG FAIL!
It was still a worth-it fail, first because we laugh a lot on that day, and second, because even now, 8 years later, Maude still teases me about that sauce! After all, even a real fail became a very funny memory! (We are now best friends and business partners, so I guess it was not such a serious fail!) Bonus, on that day, Maude gave me her trick to avoid a sauce to burn and stick: let it simmer in the oven rather than on the element. Tadam!! Since then, my sauce have never burn again!
Sometimes a kitchen fail can turn into a good laugh!
Inspiring kids to cook: how I cook with my nieces
I love to cook, even more now that I am good at it, which means less fails!
I want to instill the same for my nieces. So a few months ago when my nieces came to visit, we wanted to cook something together. I decided to create a menu where everybody would have their own tasks in order to accomplish the whole meal. The goal was, of course to have fun, but also, for everyone to feel they were part of the cooking team. I wanted everyone to feel proud of the final result!
I had to consider 4 persons: my nieces (11 and 13 years old), my husband and myself. My brother in-law and his wife would be our official tasters/testers.
On the grill
- Italian sausages
- Chicken skewers
- Marinated tofu skewers
From the kitchen
- Rice and vegetables salad
Sauce for the meat
- Yogurt mint sauce
The secret to cooking with kids is to have a plan. Not as detailed as our weekly meal plan, but still a plan with some sort of directions! Otherwise, it can start being less efficient: adults lose their patience, kids lose their focus, and the meal takes forever to prep.
I had made a plan of who does what, with which ingredients and with which kitchen tool. My nieces are old enough to be experienced in the kitchen (they can use real knives!), but with younger kids, it would be important to match the task to the age and skill set.
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Print it and stick it on the fridge so everybody feels part of the team!
There was no fail! Everybody enjoy cooking and eating!
One of the favourite part for my nieces (and me!) was that their uncle (my husband) did not only participate in the cooking night, but he was the one who provided the rice salad recipe.
Sharing, laughing and bonding with my family was the real deal (with or without fail!)
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