Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 5/27/2021
With the rise of delivery apps, ordering food has never been so easy. Though it’s incredibly convenient to hop on your smartphone and get food sent to your door, there’s something that’s timeless and uniquely rewarding about cooking for yourself. According to Forbes, getting delivery from a restaurant is five times more expensive than making your own meals.
On top of being financially beneficial, a study published by The Nutrition Study found that cooking at home leads to a more nutritional diet. Despite these clear benefits, cooking for yourself can feel daunting. How do you know which ingredients are right? Where do people find recipes? What equipment do you actually need? Don’t worry! We’ve written a guide that will make you a inner Michelin chef in no time or the very least, guarantee you’ll learn how to cook an omelette.
Unless you’re a naturally gifted cook, you’ll probably need some instructions and help. Luckily, there’s a treasure trove of information online to help first-time cooks. The New York Times has a fantastic cooking section that’s filled with a wide-range of recipes. Their website is also easy to navigate and organized by intriguing categories like “10 Ways To Make Street Food At Home” and “39 Bright And Beautiful Summer Pastas.”
Another helpful food resource is Life of Strawberry, a food blog that’s focused on sustainability and cooking with fresh ingredients. If you prefer the old fashioned way of getting recipes, here are some popular entry-level cookbooks:
How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
Salt Fat Acid by Alice Waters
The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation by Mollie Katzen
Simple: The Easiest Cookbook in the World by Jean-Francois Mallet
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the recipes you would like to cook, now comes up a crucial step — getting the right materials. Buying your first cooking materials can be hard because they tend to be expensive and not explicitly marketed for beginning chefs. However, there’s now new technologies like smart devices that are specifically tailored to make cooking as simple as possible. If you’re not ready to buy a bunch of new gadgets, here are the basic materials you’ll need:
Cutting Board: Any recipe will instruct you to cut up ingredients (garlic, onions, cilantro). But if you don’t have a board, you will be left making a mess.
Skillet Pan: These are absolutely crucial for almost any recipe, whether its a simple omelette or a complex pasta sauce. Some cooks prefer different kinds of pans for various recipes. There are stainless steel, ceramic, aluminum, and copper options.
Pot: You will need a pot for cooking pasta, soup, or rice. Much like skillet pans, there are many different kinds of pots. We recommend that you start off with a simple and cheap option.
Sieve: Sieves aren’t as well-known as other cooking materials. But if you’re going to cook a lot of pasta, a sieve will come in handy. After thoroughly boiling your pasta, you will pour your pot over your sink. Sieves help you sift the water out so you don’t have to accidentally throw raviolis down the drain.
Measuring Spoons: These will come in handy when you want to start baking or move onto more complicated recipes. Though your grandmother may have been able to eyeball measurements, save yourself the hassle of messing up a dish and grab some spoons.
Knives: You don’t need to get the fanciest sushi knife. However, you will need a nice set of knives for most recipes. Since knives can get dull, buying a sharpener is also a worthwhile investment.
Knowing where and how to get quality ingredients can be tricky. With online services, however, its become simpler to find produce, herbs, and seasoning you’ll need. You can order groceries off Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and Boxed. In addition, there are many services that deliver ingredients for specific meals. For beginner cooks, these services are ideal because you will be able to easily plan out your meals and have instructions, portion sizing, and know that you’re getting quality ingredients. Here are a few fantastic ingredient delivery services:
If cooking becomes one of your hobbies, you could even get into growing your own ingredients and set up your own urban farm in your backyard.
When you start to cook for yourself, you’re bound to make some mistakes. Luckily, there are a bunch of online classes out there that could help you go from an amatuer to a gourmet cook. These classes vary in terms of intensity, specificity, and pricing. Since these classes get a bit pricey, they could make for a good holiday or birthday gift for a loved one. Here are a few online classes:
If you’re looking for more lifestyle tips beyond cooking delicious meals, check out the hims blog.
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