Not all of us can channel our inner Julia Child or Martha Stewart in the kitchen. Some of us just need a little more practice to get our kitchen skills mastered. Like most things in life, the more we cook, the better we get at it. Here are a few basic ways to be more efficient in the kitchen and maybe have more fun, too:
- Keep your knives sharp and aligned – Every time you use your knives, the blades get moved out of alignment. So to keep them in their correct position so you get the sharpest edge and easiest cutting, hone them with a steel rod after you use them a few times. Then take them to be professionally sharpened once or twice a year.
- Stabilize your cutting board – While you’re handling those sharp objects, put a damp kitchen towel or non-slip liner under your cutting board before you start slicing and dicing. You can use a couple of damp paper towels, too.
- Calibrate – If you’re always burning cookies and casseroles, even when you totally follow the directions, it could be your oven. Temperatures vary a lot, depending on if yours is gas or electric and how old it is. So get yourself an oven thermometer and find out how hot it really is in there.
- And get a meat thermometer, too – Why guess if that chicken is actually done when you can get another thermometer and know for sure. Not the pop-up variety, something digital perhaps – it’ll do you right every time.
- Make yourself a cheat sheet – You don’t have to remember how many ounces are in a cup if you just print out a cheat sheet with commonly used measurements and their equivalents. Save your time and energy in the kitchen for the big stuff and stop counting teaspoons and losing count, then starting over again.
- Do the prep work – The pros call it “mise en place” and it means to prep everything you need and have it ready before you start cooking (you know, like they have all those little dishes of ingredients ready to go on cooking shows). That’s what you want to do. Measuring all the spices and dicing everything ahead of time saves you time overall.