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We all need to eat three times a day, so it makes sense that each and every one of us would invest the time into learning about food. How to cook, how to shop and how to prepare meals, it’s really a fantastic skill to have and something you’ll use every day. So, if you rely on takeout and processed foods more than you should or are in just a bit of a rut with mealtimes it’s worth thinking about giving your skills a boost. Getting more creative in the kitchen will save you money, inspire you to eat healthier and generally make mealtimes more enjoyable too! Here are some of the ways you can become a more creative cook.
Get Inspired By Your Travels
Being able to enjoy delicious new foods is always a benefit of travelling. By visiting different places in the world you’re exposed to ingredients, cooking techniques and all kinds of customs around food and drink that are likely a lot different than what you grew up with. From fancy restaurants to street food vendors to cute, quaint eateries you’ve found tucked away in side streets, you’ve probably experienced all kinds of delicious and unusual foods when you’ve been away. So use this knowledge and experience to get inspired! If there’s a particular dish or ingredient you’d like to recreate then search for a recipe online. If you’re already a whizz in the kitchen, you could even have a go at combining cuisines for interesting and unique flavors and dishes. Getting out into the world and trying different things is always going to be beneficial; chances are there are certain foods that you’ve had that on paper you’d assume that you wouldn't like or just wouldn't give a chance to. But once you’ve sampled them yourself, will know that it’s something you do enjoy and is worth recreating. Go through your old travel photos and look for food pictures to remember some of the tasty things you’ve tried along the way.
Try Recipes With Underrated Ingredients
It’s easy to purchase the same ingredients week in week out. What this can lead to is meals that feel repetitive, even if you’re changing it up slightly. When the ingredients you purchase are always the same, you could end up lacking in certain things in your diet too- variety is always best. Have a look at what’s currently in season where you are located and choose ingredients that are underrated. Take cabbages for example, they’re absolutely packed with nutrition and so versatile! Forget boiling it up until it’s soggy and bland, something like this napa cabbage recipe which involves sauteing and combining with garlic, ginger and scallions will be a flavor explosion. Simple ingredients like chicken, eggs or tofu all make great starting points for dishes- while they’re ‘bland’ on their own, they will combine with so many other flavors and be used in so many different ways.
Do Your Research
Learning more about different foods such as ingredients and cooking techniques will all help you become a better cook. Understand how different flavors and textures need to balance together- such as sweet and savory, or soft and crunchy. These help to give you a much more balanced dish and better flavors overall. Certain ingredients pair well together- take tomatoes and cheese, pork and apple and rosemary and lamb for example. Understanding different cooking methods can really help too. For example, certain kinds of meat will be tougher and fattier and require a slower cooking process such as being cooked on low in a crockpot. Other ingredients like fish need to be cooked more quickly to prevent them from falling apart or developing an unappealing texture. You can learn about different elements of food and cooking by watching cooking shows, Youtube videos and even following cooking creators on social media like Tiktok and Instagram.
Finally, put all of your knowledge into practice and get into the kitchen yourself. Understand that it’s not going to be a success every time, but don’t give up. Not every meal will turn out exactly as you planned, and learning to cook is definitely a process. But when you have to eat three times a day, you have plenty of opportunity to put your skills to use. With the internet bursting with information and great recipes to try, it’s easy to start at the beginning and work your way up. If you’re a total novice, search simple recipes and follow the instructions until you’re confident. As your experience and knowledge builds you can start to switch things up. Change an ingredient or two and experiment with different techniques until it’s to your tastes.