What a wonderful whirlwind the holidays were around here! In recent years, that has not been the case, as our holidays were relatively quiet at home. While those quieter holidays bring special memories of their own, this year’s whirlwind of visiting with family/friends and activities was a fun one. Happy New Year, y’all!
I was reading my newest cookbook a couple of nights ago (more about that book to come later) and started thinking about some of the kitchen and cooking tips I’ve read/heard in the years since I started paying attention. See, once upon a time, I was a boxed-hamburger-helper-and-a-can-of-peas/corn/green beans cooker…and called that supper. I know!
While I am far from gourmet, I did learn to cook from scratch and do so most of the time. My current point is that kitchen tips are plentiful on television, in cookbooks and online. While many said tips make sense, some don’t work for me or I don’t want to be bothered with them.
I think this is the key for truly helpful tips: realizing that your kitchen and your cooking style is yours and what works for a Food Network chef on teevee or your best friend’s family might not work for your family . It might, but it might not.
Here are a few tips/comments I have found to be not only useful in daily cooking around here but also in keeping me inspired in the kitchen:
- As cliche as it sounds, starting the day off with a clean kitchen really makes a difference for me. Mind you, I am not one that likes to bother much with the kitchen clean up after supper–I get food put away and dishes stacked and head over to the couch. However, on the occasion that I start the dishwasher n clean up the sink, it brings a smile to my face the next morning. I like to cook and I find it is so nice to come into a clean kitchen the next morning–quite inspiring, really, to come up/choose with great recipes and spend time in the kitchen if I don’t have to clean it before cooking.
- Treat your sink as a valued utensil or kitchen gadget. I first heard this from Rachael Ray awhile back. This means keeping the sink clean and clear of clutter. Not just clean, but sanitary. Ooo. This is a tough one for me to accomplish on a regular basis (see above after-supper habits) but it really does work.
- Stock your pantry with basics that will give you options your family enjoys. There are basic pantry lists all over the Internet, in books, and many cooks and chefs will gladly tell you their list. However, your pantry needs to be tailored to how you cook and how your family eats. Take some time to browse some of these lists and make your own. Some Wednesday night when you can put together a hearty supper with minimal effort, you’ll be so glad you did. Trust me.
- Pick a recipe or two and learn to do them well. There are SO many good things to choose from, I know. This doesn’t mean you can’t do a variety, have at it. But if you perfect a couple of family favorites to where you can do them amid one teen telling you about an ebay auction while also helping prep food and commenting on your cooking method, the dawg(see pic to the left–aaww) underfoot hoping you’ll drop tidbits, the handsome husband you haven’t seen all day coming in the door, the other teen asking when we’re going to the library, the tv, the laughs, the yells and so on, a good supper ends up on the table in the craziest of circumstances.
While those are just a few of the many tips and tricks that have come my way over time, they are the ones that came to mind easily as they are truly helpful and useful in my daily life.