I’ve written before how I think recipes are not the be-all end-all when it comes to home cooking.

However, if you are just getting started in the kitchen, trying a new cuisine, or simply want to learn a new skill following a recipe is really useful.

If you’re following a recipe, there are a few things you should know:

The first time you follow a recipe, follow it the way it was written

You won’t learn anything from a recipe if you make changes before you have even made it once. There is nothing worse than someone who changes 4 out of 10 ingredients and then calls a recipe ‘bad’ on the review section.

A recipe could be terrible or great, but you’ll never know unless you do it the way it was meant to be done. Once, you’ve tried it, start making changes.

Read the recipe before you start

Don’t do anything until you have read the recipe thoroughly, and you understand what you’re supposed to be. If there are steps or terms you don’t understand, check online.

Have all your ingredients ready

And by that I mean: have them all ready to go in the amounts and way the ingredients list specifies before you start the actual cooking.

If the recipe calls for 100 grams of sliced onions, don’t just prepare an onion. Prepare 100 grams of sliced onions.

Find a recipe that is at your level, or just above

A challenge is always good, but you don’t want to discourage yourself by trying a recipe that is way above your current skill level.

Some recipes will list the skills needed. If the one you want to try doesn’t, read it and see if all the steps seem ‘doable’.

Keep your recipe accessible

You’ll need to check the recipe throughout the process. Make sure you have your recipe book open on the correct page, or if its online print it, copy it, or keep it on a screen that won’t turn off automatically.

Give yourself plenty of time

Most recipes are made by people who are extremely experienced homecooks or professionals, and they often don’t include prep time (the time you need to do things like cutting vegetables). Make sure, you give yourself lots of time to prepare the recipe.

Have your tools at hand

You don’t want to have to xxxrumble through your drawing to find that one measuring spoon you need.

Be clean

Wash your hands before you start, wash your hands after handling meat, wash your produce, wash your tools as you go, wash, wash, wash. And keep things tidy.

You will have less work once you finish cooking and it will make your coking safer.

Don’t try a new recipe on a busy day

You might run into unexpected problems or delays. After work when you’re hungry and only have 30 minutes to prepare dinner is not the time to try something new.

Be ready to fail!

Sometimes recipes just don’t work out. Luckily most can be rescued somehow.

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