These are the mistakes I’ve faced on my journey so far. Sometimes I like revisiting this list and reflecting on how I learned from all of my experiences. It feels good to make progress, even if its just a little bit!
1. Letting your fear of mistakes stop you
After one bad experience in college, I gave up on cooking for 10 years. Believe me, I wish I could get back all that time and do it differently. But, you live and you learn, right?
Even if you’re only slightly interested in cooking, I encourage you to make cooking a priority in your life from this moment on. The reason is one I’m sure you’ve heard many times: it’s cheaper and healthier. By making cooking a part of your lifestyle, you’ll save money and feel better.
The solution: If you’re hesitant to start because you’re afraid of what could go wrong, just dive in — every mistake is an opportunity to get better. Just as when children learn how to walk… it takes time. You’ll fall a few (dozen) times, but eventually you’ll have a valuable, lifelong skill that will bring you, your friends, and your family happiness.
2. Getting ahead of yourself
With all the food-related ideas out there, it’s tempting to want to try everything — like eat healthy, use a slow cooker, try food hacks, do some weekly meal prep… Talk about information overload!
During my first attempt at learning, I fell victim to this and spread my efforts out too much. I tried to learn too many dishes at once and ended up not remembering anything.
The solution: When you’re starting out, be hyperfocused on one thing at a time. I suggest first learning the centerpiece of each dish: the protein. To help you focus, use shortcuts like using frozen vegetables as sides. Once you master the steps to cook your favorite proteins, you’ll have the hardest part out of the way. Then, you can mix and match flavors & ingredients, and learn new side dishes to add variety.
3. Not being fully present
So far on my (short) cooking journey, I’ve caught myself multitasking (listening to music) and only semi-paying attention to what I was doing. This is how I burned myself.
I also remember when I used to skim recipes instead of reading them all the way through. I missed key ingredients and measurements this way.
The solution: Pay Attention! The more you pay attention, the better your end result. And you can potentially save yourself a trip to the hospital. 😳
I thought my knife skills were ‘good enough’, but I actually had much room for improvement. Just a little bit of focused studying would have made me a faster and safer cook.
The solution: Invest an hour in improving your technique, even if you think you’re already good enough! Embrace the fact that you’re a beginner. When you look back after a few months you’ll be proud of how far you’ve come.