You’d think that after so many years of eating food, I’d be able to create Pinterest-perfect masterpieces. This simply isn’t true and there’s been more than once that I’ve succumbed to serving dinner parties with takeout plated on my own dishware. (The blog IS called The Road TO Domestication – I most certainly haven’t reached my destination yet!) Throughout all of my trials and mishaps in the kitchen, I have come up with several common errors. Here are five cooking mistakes we all need to avoid:
Using the Wrong Tools
Have you ever successfully hammered a screw in? Me neither. It simply doesn’t work. The same is true in the kitchen: you always need to use the right tool for the job. (You can’t use a meat thermometer as a candy thermometer. Personal experience? You betcha.) That is why it is important to invest in top quality cookware. You will be amazed at the difference that good cookware will make to the ease, speed and quality of the fare that you’re producing in your kitchen.
Not Reading the Instructions Beforehand
Let’s face it: none of us like to read directions. We’d prefer to think that we can figure things out on our own. (Or if it’s something similar to a dish we’re familiar with, why bother actually reading the instructions in the recipe, right?) Sometimes this can work, but often you will end up with a product that would better suit your dog’s palate than your own. To avoid potential problems, take the time to review the recipe in detail before you ever turn on the oven. This ensures you have the right ingredients, equipment, and have all the steps in the right order. You don’t have to rely on recipes found online alone. Modern cookbooks are still a valuable resource in the kitchen that can help you take your meals to the next level.
Not Tasting the Food While Cooking
You know the saying “Salt to Taste?” How can you know just how much a pinch of salt is if you don’t taste your dish throughout the process? Sampling your supper often while cooking gives you an opportunity to change ratios and improve taste before it lands on your dinner plates. Because don’t you hate it when you finally bite into the creation, only to think…”This is missing something…” Don’t serve something you’ve left as a surprise. You could be setting your dog up for extra helpings again.
Nothing can be worse than executing every step properly only to have overcooked your food into oblivion. Be sure to keep an eye on your food’s progress while cooking and look out for the hints given by your recipe such as “browning” or “al dente.” Don’t think overcooking can happen just in the frying pan or with pasta. These problems can arise with slow cookers, as well. With directions like “cook on low for 6-8 hours,” it can be easy to think it will be okay to step away a bit longer. It could be those few minutes extra that takes your dish from savory to unsalvageable.
Under Heating the Pan
This issue arises often when cooking meats. If you want a nice sear on your steak, you have to wait the required time for the pan to heat up to the perfect temperature. Otherwise, you could end up with your meat sticking to the surface. You don’t want to scrape away the skin that would have been delectable if only you’d delayed adding the meat. For a mouth-watering sear, you might also want to opt for a cast iron or stainless steel. Ah, the whole right tool for the right job again.
Cooking can be a wonderful way to connect with others and keep a healthy diet. That is why it is important to avoid these rookie mistakes that leave you feeling defeated in the kitchen. By looking out for these mistakes and more when cooking, you too could be on your way to social media worthy dinners.
What’s the WORST cooking mistake YOU’VE made in the kitchen? Come on, don’t you want to share with all of us?!
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!