When people tell me they can’t cook, I tell them it’s nonsense. When someone tells me the cant cook well, I tell them that this is also nonsense. Surely being able to cook a healthy and nutritious meal is in our nature? All we have to do is tap into our instincts to cook, create and feed our offspring – we cant forget our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Everyone can cook an incredible dish if they put their mind [and heart] to it… And we have millions of free recipes all over the web to choose from.
I’m no expert on cooking – I do it because I love it and it makes me happy. I’m no pro. So when it comes to answering ‘What makes a good cook?’, I only have my own experiences to go on. On that basis alone, here’s my answer…
Cooking should be done with love! OK, it sounds silly but if you don’t put love into the food and like the people you’re cooking for… It will show.
Starting simple and learning the basics is also key for any good cook. Being able to master a pastry, pasta sauce, chilli, soup and season them is a real skill and takes practice. Making them and experimenting with herbs and spices is a great way to educate your pallet – and any good cook will never be scared or tasting and working with new herbs and spices – I’m trying to educate my pallet at the moment, which is fun. If you do this you’ll soon find yourself tasting dishes and working out what missing – it’s a great skill to hone.
Got a bit ahead of myself with the first few points. I forgot to mention that a good cook can chop with confidence – there’s no point delicately peeling and dicing potatoes when theres a Sunday roast for six to cook. Owning a good knife and using it well makes cooking all the more enjoyable.
A good cook never sticks to a recipe. A good cook will follow it to the letter first time round, then spend a lifetime trying to make it better. Even better cooks will merely look at a recipe and add to it straight away. I never stick to a recipe – but I wouldn’t say that makes me a good cook, I’m more of a ‘recipe renegade’.
On top of all else, a good cook is confident and unnerved. They follow a recipe (or not) and throw themselves into a dish full throttle, dealing with any hiccups and spillages along the way. A good cook owns the dish they place on the table – and they always cook it and serve it with love.
What do you think makes a good cook?
Hayley Jayne xx