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.)
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.