Before we get started on rules, it’s important to remember that there is freedom in the kitchen. The beauty of having a kitchen is that what you get to eat—from how it tastes to how it looks—is only limited by your imagination and skill.
There are certain rules, though, that one needs to follow. If you’ve got kids, it’s important to teach them some of these rules as well so they know what to do—or not to do—in the kitchen.
1 Love Your Ingredients
What you eat is only as good as your ingredients. After buying the freshest ingredients at the wet market or grocery store, you still have to take care of your ingredients when you get home. Knowing how to clean and store your ingredients is essential to keeping it as fresh as possible until you need it.
2 Know Your Appliances
It’s important to know the type of stove you have—if it’s an induction, gas, or ceramic stove—as heating mechanisms differ. You should also, through experience, get a grasp of or learn how fast or how slow your pot will heat up. For gas stoves, you can gauge heat by the visible fire, but it may be trickier on an electric stove. Knowing how your stove works will make sure you’re cooking your food correctly and won’t accidentally burn the bacon you’ve been waiting to eat.
For refrigerators, it’s important to know which each part of it is best suited for certain ingredients. For ingredients that easily spoil or can be kept fresh longer, always keep these in the areas where the temperature is most consistent such as the back area or in freezer. Since the doors are often exposed to warm air, it’s best to store less perishable and less temperature-sensitive items, such as water and beverages, here.
3 Master Using Your Knives
They say that cooking is simply cutting, heating, and seasoning ingredients. Cutting takes the most time, and therefore, if you master using your knife, you’re already winning at the most tasking part of cooking. Knowing how to use your knives (and keeping it sharp!) will not just give you skills, but will make cooking faster as well as keep your hands safe from future accidents.
4 Season to Taste
Food is all about taste, so it’s good to learn to cook by tasting your dish. Learn to season little by little as you cook. Most importantly though, when you’re at the last stages of cooking, never forget to taste your dish before serving it. Only by tasting will you know what else a recipe needs to make it delicious.
5 Keep It Clean
Whatever you do in the kitchen can affect your health. Make sure that what you and your loved ones consume is clean and safe to eat. Wash your hands before, during, and after cooking. You may need to wash your hands as well as your prep equipment before and after handling certain ingredients. This is especially true when handling raw chicken.
Also, make sure that you make it a habit to clean and wash the sink and around the prep area as those surfaces may have been splashed on as you worked. Making sure you clean as you go is the safe way to keep your food safe to eat.
6 Stay Organized
If you need kitchen tips on how to organize your kitchen, consult KonMari. Staying organized will help keep the stress away. It makes clean up easier and cooking faster.
7 Make It Child-Safe
If you have children, it’s important to make the kitchen a safe space for them as well. Make sure your knives are properly stored and out of reach of your children. Cleaning solvents should be out of reach as well. If you have liquor, store these bottles under lock and key just to be safe. Finally, when not in use, stoves should be disabled, the gas valve turned off, electric stoves unplugged.
8 Be Ready For Emergencies
If you think about it, the kitchen is a room filled with possibly dangerous items. “Possibly dangerous” to those who do not know how to use or handle these machines and items. However, even the most experienced cook can meet a mishap. Knowing what to do in a kitchen emergency is one step towards making the kitchen a safe place to work.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- 1 Always have potholders on hand when dealing with heated pots and pans so you don’t burn yourself.
- 2 Handle a knife and anything sharp with care. Always walk with the knife tip pointed down and should it slip from your grasp and fall to the floor, never try to catch it. You may just cut your hand unnecessarily, so let it fall. A good knife will be able to stand the shock.
- 3 If a fire breaks out on your stove, know what to do to quench the fire (by throwing salt or baking soda on it) to prevent it from spreading. For electric fires, always turn off the appliance first before covering it with a damp cloth and stomping or patting it down. Do not try to put it out with water as water conducts electricity.
- 4 The best practice is to keep a fire extinguisher meant for the kitchen ready and learn how to use it!
Remember that it’s easiest to control a fire—or any emergency situation—before it gets any bigger, so it’s a good idea to know what to do so you can react quickly.
9 Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
When a recipe you’re trying to make fails, you almost always learn something: what you did wrong, what may have made it taste bad, and what you could have done, added, or did not add to make the dish a success.
Sometimes, failures can also be really delicious or lead to new discoveries. It’s completely normal to fail. Being open to making mistakes while cooking is what will make you into a better cook.
10 Have Fun
Invite your loved ones into your kitchen. It’s a unique bonding experience to cook with other people. Aside from being a learning experience, it’s also deliciously rewarding. What is better than seeing your food being eaten with gusto by loved ones? If you’re going to be in the kitchen more often, you might as well make wonderful memories while you’re in there.