Photo by Tim Douglas

The new year brings with it an opportunity to expand our horizons and learn something new.  The cost of food today makes eating out more of a luxury as restaurants have raised their prices consistent with grocery stores.  Profit margins are slimmer due to basic overhead, the cost of food and menu prices. There is a viable alternative – learn to be comfortable cooking at home.  During the pandemic lockdown when restaurants closed, and grocery stores closed delis many families started spending time in the kitchen preparing meals.  Many still enjoy the family time together and the fruits of their kitchen labors.

My book, Generations of Good Food, has a bit of everything for everyone who wants to spend time learning to cook or learning new things to cook.  The book is a compilation of 200 recipes from main dishes, breads, pies, cookies, cakes and candy.  My kitchen has lots of handy gadgets to make the time enjoyable when cooking and baking. If you are a novice cook, you will need basic essential kitchen tools. Here is an example of the items you should have in your kitchen for comfortable home cooking:

Set of knives,

Pots and pans of varying sizes with interchangeable lids,

Roasting, baking, cake, loaf, cookie pans, muffin tin and cooling racks,

Mixer – hand or stand,

Can Opener – hand or electric,

Food Processor,

Toaster or toaster oven,

Cutting boards,

Measuring spoons and cups,

Serving spoons, forks, ladles, spatulas, tongs, and a whisk, and a

Food scale.

There are many more items you might want to purchase as you become more comfortable in the kitchen.  Buying the various ingredients called for in recipes becomes more of a challenge.  Some recipes call for spices beyond salt and pepper.  You might want to visit a spice store and ask an employee to explain the various types of salts and peppers, and the various spice blends are helpful in many cuisines.  Baking spices comes in all varieties with several different types of cinnamon leading the way.  Italian spices differ from Latin, Asian, or Mid-Eastern spices.  Comfortable home cooking requires home cooks to take an adventure plunge and explore the various spices and determine what they like or not.  There are many more things to cook besides American, Mexican and Italian dishes.

One of the easier places to become comfortable in the home kitchen is making desserts.  Once you master a box cake and homemade frosting, then the next step is to bake a cake from scratch.  Make your own spices or spice blends.  Learn the art of cooking to your taste but remember that baking is a science and recipes must be followed as written.  In Generations of Good Food there are many desserts and the easiest is the banana bread recipe.  Did you know there are over 200 known recipes that call for chocolate chips?  Learn to use versatile ingredients and make versatile recipes.  There is so much joy to be had once you become comfortable in the kitchen.

Now is the time to resolve to become more comfortable at home cooking in your kitchen with your family.  Make 2023 the year you learn to enjoy spending time in the kitchen and indulging in foods you cook or bake.  Your family will thank you!

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