Cooking is an art form, but there's a straightforward way to do it as well as a fanciful way. No one's going to say your slapped together grilled cheese made in a cracked sauce pan after a long day at work is a piece of beauty. If it gets the job done, then who cares, right? There's always a way to do it better, however, and usually it involves the simplest cooking methods no one really talks about.
Reddit user, u/squatchpotch, wanted to increase their chef skills when they asked:
Only Use The Good Kind of AcidGiphy
This isn't a secret or anything, but I think a lot of folks don't realize how important acid is in a lot of cooking. When you've seasoned something perfectly but it still tastes like it's missing something, it's usually acid. A bit of citrus juice or vinegar will take it to the next level.
Avoid The Kitchen Tornado
Clean while you cook!
Got five minutes while something is simmering, was a few items. Got 30 seconds, throw all scraps in the trash. Then when you're done the final clean won't be as bad.
Flip In A Consistent Way
If you're searing a bunch of little things in a pan, like scallops, set them in the pan in a clock-like circular pattern. That way, you'll be able to easily keep track of where to start flipping, and then you can just move clockwise down the line. Seems obvious, but I was just haphazardly throwing pieces of meat or seafood in a pan prior to seeing this done on a cooking show.
Also, use a larger pan than you think you need. Give each piece of food a little space. It allows the heat to properly circulate and juices to run off and cook away before mixing and essentially boiling the food when it should be searing, otherwise your food will end up pale and flavorless
Keep That Gravy Col
Always use cold water to mix with flour or cornstarch to make your gravy.
It won't get lumpy.
My dad was a chef & he always stressed this. He hated lumpy gravy.
Time Does Not Equal Temperature
Time is an ingredient. You cannot replace it most of the time (pun not intended) with something else. Especially, you cannot replace it with heat. Going "oh, I don't have much time, let's grill this at a higher temperature" is a perfect way to waste whatever you wanted to eat.
Also: Read your recipes completely before you start. It's a bit embarrassing, but I had to change my menu planning more than once because I only read the ingredients list in preparation and then came to step 1 or 2 .. "Marinate ingredient for 24 hours".
Keep The Blade SharpGiphy
Always scrape the ingredients from the cutting board into a pot with the back of the knife, it will help the blade stay sharp longer
Tip To Slip The Honey:
I like to spray my measuring spoon with Pam before I scoop up some honey. Comes right off the spoon
Get a good knife. One good knife is everything. Spend good bucks on it and learn how to keep it sharp (any YouTube tutorial). And never ever lend it or forget it anywhere Wilson :'(
Know Your Tools Before The Trade
The MOST important tip I can give to anyone is to setup all of your ingredients before you even turn the stove on. Also known as 'mise en place' in the culinary world.
Everything. Salts, spices, veggies, proteins. Everything should be on your counter and easy to reach.
It's seriously probably the biggest thing keeping someone from becoming a 'meh' cook into a good one.
Ex. If you want to put chives into your omelet, you obviously dont want to start cutting them when your eggs are already on the pan. You'll overcook your omelet.
P.S: Wash your hands ya nasties.
Rhymes And Science!
Courtesy of great-grandma to mom:
To get the smell of garlic off your hands, grab your (stainless steel) faucet like it was your man.
The reason this works is because when you run water over the steel small amounts of iron atoms come off which has two valance electrons, and you hand has quite a bit of sulfur from the garlic or onion which has 6 valance electrons. Since elements want a complete valance "shell" of 8 the two will "bind" and share electrons. Causing the sulfur to leave your hands and go for a water slide.
Side note sulfur is one of the few elements that can expand to 12 electrons but that's not super applicable here