When people learn I am a food blogger they always want to talk to me about cooking. This has always made me laugh and they realize why when I tell them the name of my cooking blog.
However, I was recently in the middle of an animated discussion with a friend of a friend about how to get the best out of their air fryer when I suddenly realized: I don’t not love cooking any more!
I haven’t always loved cooking
You can tell by the title of this blog that I haven’t always loved cooking. In fact when I started this blog it was a way for me to keep track of any easy recipes that I had come up, and recording basic recipes and cooking times for my air fryer. My own personal lazy persons cook book if you will.
I realized recently that now I actually don’t mind cooking anymore, in fact I actually enjoy it most of the time. Though I still don’t really want to spend more than around half an hour cooking in the kitchen tbh.
How to enjoy cooking more
I have had a few people express to me recently that they wish they were better at cooking, or would like to learn how to cook, but aren’t sure where to start.
There are a few things that helped me on my journey from “don’t love cooking” to “don’t mind cooking” which I want to share with you in this post.
1. Get some decent knives and keep them sharp
You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for top of the range Wüsthof knifes, but look for something with a decent guarantee from a well known brand. I have Zyliss control knives, which are super easy to use and have the added bonus of being dishwasher safe!
You don’t need to go nuts and buy up a whole range of knives, start with one or two (a large utility of chef’s knife and a small paring knife is a good place to start), then add a size if you think you need it.
I have a large chefs knife, a 5.5″ utility knife (my favorite), and a 3.5″ paring knife. These three knives cover all my cooking needs.
It is important to keep kitchen knives sharp. Sharp knives are much safer to use as they are less likely to slip while you are working. I run mine through a sharpener about once per fortnight to keep them at their best. You may need to more frequently if you do lots of chopping of tough vegetables like pumpkin.
2. Get a large clear working space
I have a huge wooden cutting board that I use as my working space when I am cooking. This helps me to stay organized while cooking. Also keep the area around you clear of items unrelated to what you are cooking.
3. Preparation first
Gather all the ingredients you need, measure them, wash them chop them, do whatever prep is needed so that they are all ready to go in the pan.
When I was just starting to learn to cook I would prep the first ingredient and start cooking, thinking that I could speed things up by preparing the next ingredient while the cooking process started. This rarely worked, and usually led to the food becoming overcooked as I fell further and further behind with my ingredient preparation.
Prep is a tedious but necessary part of cooking. I assure you that the rest of the cooking will be much easier and much much more enjoyable if everything is ready for you ahead of time.
4. Tools to help
If you can figure out what aspect of cooking you find the hardest or most time consuming there is often a gadget to help with that. For, I hate slicing onions and chopping garlic, so an onion slicer and a garlic press really helped me out.
Another great tool I depend on these days is a meat thermometer. It takes the guess work out of cooking meat, meaning you won’t ruin a nice piece of meat by overcooking it again (or serve us a rare steam to someone who likes it well-done!).
These days I have a Meater [affiliate link], which is a truly wireless meat thermometer. Really great to use with an air fryer.
Speaking (writing?) or which, I also find my air fryer indispensable these days. It is just so easy to use to whip up a quick side like roast potatoes, roast pumpkin or grilled corn without using the oven (waiting for it to heat up, and remembering to take the food out at the right time, haha).
And as a bonus my air fryer is super easy to clean (dishwasher), much better than dealing with a messy roasting pan!
5. Keep a record of what you have cooked and what worked
I love adapting recipes, switching up the ingredients based on what I have in the cupboard, or using my air fryer or Instant Pot to cook parts of meals. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work.
Until I started keeping a note of what I had done and how it had worked out my cooking was a bit random. I could never exactly remember what I had changed to make that dish so perfect when I made it the time before last.. And I ended up making the same mistakes over and over.
After I started this blog I began keeping meticulous notes about what I had done or done differently each time I cooked a meal. This helped me developing and testing the recipes I publish, but has also allowed me to refine my techniques, and learn something new every time I cook.
Print recipes, keep them in a big folder, write on them, refer to them often.
6. Start simple
Try starting with some simple dishes with a similar theme (stir-fries, pastas), cook a couple of times a week. When you have that style nailed you can try something new.
If you are ready to jump right in (and have the money) try signing up to a meal delivery service like Hello Fresh. They might be expensive, but you will be forced to cook a variety of types of dish, so you can really find out what you will enjoy cooking.
7. Remember: practice makes perfect
If you are just starting out learning to cook, don’t let yourself be discouraged too easily. It takes work to learn to cook good food.
Whenever you have a fail in the kitchen, try to learn something from it. make notes, and try again!