6 Ways to Fake Your Way to Appearing to be a Better Cook

How to Fake Being a Better Cook

Let me start this off by saying that I’m not big into telling lies.  It’s just not my thing.  So, I’m not suggesting that you lie about your cooking skills when you have to take a dish somewhere.  However, let’s just think of this more as honing your skills on just a few dishes to start off, shall we?  There is nothing dishonest about that.

On the up side, you’ll not only improve your kitchen skills, which will help you on other dishes, but you’ll also probably get to the point where when you go to a potluck, people will say things like, “Can you bring that delicious pasta salad that you make?” instead of, “You know what we could really use?  Some paper plates and napkins!  Could you bring those?”

Really though, I’m serious about this: This is not just about appearing to be a better cook than you are.  Mastering a few recipes for a variety of types of dishes will help you as you grow as a cook.  And, if along the way, it helps you to feel better about your skills at the next church pitch in, then that is a great reward for your work at mastering some new recipes.

Tips for Appearing to be a Better Cook by Mastering a Few Dishes

1. Don’t start out by attempting to master complicated dishes.  Look for recipes that are harder than you make right now, but not so hard that you feel panicked just by looking at them.  This is about improving your skills, not setting yourself up for failure.

2. Enlist help, if possible, from someone that you feel that you can talk to about even the most simple cooking questions.  On the up side, the Internet offers lots of solutions, so you don’t have to be afraid to call someone and say, “How do you hard boil an egg?”  (Not only did I have to do that, but I had to write down and save the instructions to refer to at later occasions.)

3. Start with learning and practicing one appetizer, one main dish, one type of salad, one side dish, one dessert, and one full meal.  This will save you from ever having to get anxious while a hostess is asking if you can bring an appetizer.  “No, I’m sorry, I only can really make a dessert.”

On the one full meal mention, this is especially good if you are ever in the situation when a friend or family member has had a baby or a serious medical illness and you want to help by taking a meal.  Even if you always take the same meal when you take these to people, they will appreciate it – especially if you make that meal well!

4. Once you master one dish of a certain type, then start working on a second dish of that same type.  Not only is it good to keep building your repertoire, but then won’t have to always take the exact same things somewhere.

5. After you master some dishes, you can expand on your cooking skills by looking for dishes that use some similar skills to ones you’ve already learned and been working on.

6. Presentation matters when taking a dish somewhere.  What you lack in skills you can sometimes make up for in presentation.  While I’ll admit that this is something I typically don’t worry about too much, it definitely makes a dish appear to be more special when it is beautifully presented.

What are some tips that you would give to the kitchen hopeless to help them fake it until they make it, especially when taking a dish somewhere?  (If you yourself are kitchen hopeless, feel free to share some of your techniques in this situation.)

Hope for the Kitchen Hopeless

10 Days of Hope for the Kitchen Hopeless is part of the Autumn 2013 Hopscotch from iHomeschool Network, which features 10 day series from a variety of blogs on topics including household management, parenting, homeschooling, family life, and more.


List it Tuesday at Many Little Blessings and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


  1. says

    This is a great series! I have learned over the last few years to love to cook but it was only after pushing myself and trying things that scared me. The first time I made couscous, oh my gosh I was terrified! But yum! I love it! And so did my family (except for my mom who can’t get past the texture of it.) Pinterest is my favorite place to try new recipes, but only after I’ve read the comments by others who have tried it first!

    • says

      Thanks for the compliment on the series! :)

      I agree – it can be a little tricky with recipes on Pinterest. I’ve had more than a few times where I’ve pinned something and someone has commented a warning about how it turned out when they tried it.

  2. says

    I always think of the beginning of the book I Don’t Know How She Does It, where the woman is putting a storebought pie into a real pie plate and like hitting it on the counter to make the crust look less perfect. Hehe. I’ve been tempted sometimes to do that just because I have a reputation as a great cook. My pride will tell me I can’t “let people down” by bringing something storebought. But I also have three children under 5 … and you know what? It’s OK.

    I just finished reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, and I would definitely recommend it to those looking to build up a list of things she can cook that aren’t too difficult. Her recipes have a bunch of variations but are good staple dinner-party things.

    • says

      I totally agree about feeling guilty to bring something store bought. I have noticed that people have begun to do it more and more, but it’s just not my thing. I’d rather make myself crazy and make something very simple if I have to, rather than to send in something prepackaged.

      I just looked through that book on Amazon. That looks really good. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Jenny says

    #4 is so funny! If I make a dish and it comes out not quite right, my husband accuses me of making it and making it and making it until it’s mastered and delicious…then he complains he never sees it again!