It's time to eliminate the idea that you have in your head that you don't know how to cook and possibly can't even learn how to cook! In fact, I say that you already have some cooking knowledge and I'm going to prove it to you. How? Well, you are eating something at home right? We all have to feed ourselves at some point, even if it's opening a can of soup and heating it up.

Opening up a can of soup, emptying it into a pan, mixing in some milk and heating it up was one of the first meals I was ever able to make for myself. When I was a kid, I used to love Campbell's Cream of Shrimp Soup and I played hockey. Somehow, along the way, I had convinced myself that eating Campbell's Cream of Shrimp Soup made me a better hockey player and I had to have a bowl before every game. (I know, some people think they play better with a new pair of shoes, I played better when I cooked myself something…go figure.)

Adding Variations

After some time went by, I realized that there really weren't that many shrimp in the soup, so I added some whole fresh shrimp. I didn't have the cooking knowledge at the time, but I was poaching the shrimp in the liquid. Then, I noticed that while I had more protein, now the soup itself seemed thin. So, I added some American cheese to thicken it and then some cayenne pepper for a little more flavor. Eventually, I put some sherry in the soup to give a little smoky flavor. I took something as simple as opening a can of soup to expanding on the method and created variations.

If you can open a can of mushroom soup and pour it over a pan of chicken breasts, that's a method! Maybe you could do that with fish instead. Or you could decide that the cream of mushroom soup is a sauce and make the sauce better by adding different items. Add variations to a method that you already understand and you're increasing your cooking knowledge and learning how to cook.

Each time you make a new variation, you'll gain more confidence and as you explore, create and discover, you'll increase your cooking knowledge and be where you want to be as a cook.

Grilling Example

Let's say that you're great at grilling but you're not a good cook inside the house. So, here's what you do…pay attention and make a mental note of your grilling steps. Perhaps you heat the grill, put a burger on, look for grill marks. Now, go inside and put yourself in a zen-like state (you can do it!) and pretend as you look down into the sauté pan on the stove that it's actually the grill. Perform the same steps or method as you would outside.

Really, this works! Grilling is a conductive heat method and sauteing is a conductive heat method as well. Because the transfer of heat is the same, you can simply try variations.

If your one dish is mac and cheese, you make it great, but you might say you can't make a good alfredo sauce. If you examined the method, you'd see that making a white sauce and putting cheddar for mac and cheese is no different than adding parmesan for alfredo sauce.

Variations…Like Driving a Car

You do this already in other areas of your life. Let's take driving for instance. Think about it. You drive the same way to work everyday: start on Main Street, take a right on Jones St., left on Smith St. and you're at work. One day when you're driving, you notice a cool place that's closer to your home but it's on the way to work. Well, you may not realize that if you took Washington St. from work you would get there quicker, but if you don't know the route, you will take the route that you know and make a slight change to get to your destination. You will make a variation on the driving route or method that you already know.

You do know how to cook, eliminate the doubt, because you do know how. You might not have a wide range of cooking knowledge, but you have a start. Experiment, learn and build on it.


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