During the pandemic, more people are trying various hobbies than ever before. Some are painting, reading, or writing. However, many are cooking for the first time or are sharpening their skills in this area.
Maybe before this year, you couldn’t do much besides adding milk to cereal. If you’re stuck in the house and can’t see your friends, though, all that can change.
While everyone should know how to cook pasta or open a can of soup, you might want to master at least a few more advanced cooking skills. Here are a few tips that should help you in your culinary endeavors.
Make Sure You Don’t Undercook Meat
One of the first cooking tips people might tell you is that you should always cook meat appropriately. That goes for things like:
Generally, you should cook ground meat until the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have fowl or poultry, like chicken breasts, a turkey, and so forth, you can safely eat it at 165 degrees. If you have roasts or chops, the internal temperature should be 145 degrees.
As you start out, use a meat thermometer. Make sure that it is clean, though. Don’t just take it out of the drawer and stick it in the meat. Wash it first.
As you get some more experience, you might not need the thermometer any more. You can cut into a chicken breast, and if you see any pink, you will know it needs more time. If you cut into a pork chop, it’s the same. You need to cook these meats all the way through.
Don’t Ever Leave the House While the Oven or Stove Are On
Amateur chefs also sometimes leave the house while they have something in the oven. However:
- You might start a fire that way
- You may start a smoke situation
Even if you’ll only be absent for a minute, don’t ever leave the house if the oven is on. You don’t know when something will go wrong. You might get away with it forty-nine times out of fifty, but that last time, you might come back to a kitchen fire.
You should never leave when the stove is on, either. A pot could boil over, or whatever you’re cooking might fill the house with smoke. That can damage your possessions or harm your pets.
Read Through the Recipe Before You Start
Cooking without a recipe is the same as tightrope walking without a net. You might have a positive result, or it might turn into a disaster.
Assuming you have a recipe, make sure you read through it before you start. That way, you can check and see whether you have all the necessary ingredients and cooking utensils.
You could also check to see if you feel uncertain about any of the steps. You probably are not going to try something delicate, like a soufflé, right off the bat. You will also avoid anything the recipe says you should flambe.
Put Damp Paper Towels Under Your Cutting Board
Your recipe might need you to cut up some meat, fruit, vegetables, etc. You might enjoy this step, but it can also get a little messy.
You should put some damp paper towels under your cutting board. That will sop up any flying bits or excess moisture.
You should also remember not to chop up raw meat on the same cutting board that you use for fruit or something similar. Uncooked meat can contaminate a fruit salad. You need to either use a different cutting board or else wash yours in between each ingredient usage.
Don’t Leave Smelly Garbage for Too Long
If you are cooking using raw ingredients, you might put some scraps or unwanted parts in the kitchen trash can. That’s fine, but you should not leave them there for very long.
Raw meat scraps, potato peels, rotten fruit parts, etc., will decompose at room temperature. Maybe you don’t want to throw out the trash bag until it is full.
Even if you have not filled it all the way, though, it’s best to throw it out and put in a new trash bag after ambitious cooking projects. Otherwise, you might have an unpleasant house aroma before too long. Also, you risk your pets getting into the trash and eating something they should not.
In a challenging year, learning to cook can be a silver lining. You can create art in your kitchen and then eat the results.