By donR July 8, 2015
Seventy five years ago it may have been easier to compile a list of Affordable Basic Cooking tips. I remember my mother and neighbors using local produce, with beef, pork and poultry. The limited variety of food was simply boiled, roasted or fried. In comparison, today’s supermarkets are filled with foods of all kinds and cook books with recipes for every occasion and ethnicity. With all those choices, people learning to cook find it difficult to keep it simple and easy. So now you know my first tip for a beginning cook.
Tip #1. Start by preparing a simple meal. You’ll feel good when you sit down to a simple green salad and home=made soup with fruit and harvest bread.
Soup is easily made by pouring water into a pot, adding a flavoring like Better than Bullion® or an equal amount of canned soup stock. Then throw in any veggies, meat and/or spice mixture. Simmer until cooked. Next time try a different soup base or a pasta salad. Try making and storing different dressings and sauces to be used later with rice, grains and veggies. Keep it simple and gradually try other basic foods from our website.
Tip #2 Purchase just a few good pots and utensils from a second-hand store. A cast iron deep fry pan (with lid) can be used for any number of meals and it holds heat well. If you can afford it, buy an enamel coated cast iron stew pot for rendering sauces, slow cooking and braising meats. Be sure to learn how to season and care for cast iron pots and pans so they will last a lifetime. For most meals, I favor just four different pots and pans, the others just clutter the kitchen. Add More pots and pans as you feel the need but you do not have to go out and buy an expensive set in the beginning. If you prefer appliances read this fist.
Tip #3 Study a food handler’s guide at your county health department. Safe food handling prevents food-borne illness in your family. Don’t forget to buy a food thermometer.
Tip #4 Feel free to experiment by modifying recipes to fit your taste or what you have stored in your cupboards. If a recipe calls for acorn squash, any winter squash will yield similar results. It is easy to experiment if you add your own home-made spice mix for flavoring. See our post on spice mixes.
Tip #5 Cook with a friend or a family member. You can share ideas, cook big batches and exchange with friends, Taking about your successes and disasters is a good way to learn how to cook from scratch.
The FMP website offers 25 basic cooking articles. When you are ready to try new technique, visit this post.