The 7 Essential Cooking Methods, Or…
Why Cookbooks Don’t Work
A few years back, I decided that I wanted to be a great home chef. For years, I’d been following recipes out of my cookbooks and not getting the results that the cookbooks said I should be getting.
I’d follow them to the letter:
- Add 1/4 cup of diced onions and cook for 4 minutes over medium heat
- Add 1 tsp of garlic and cook for another minute
- Stir in 1 tbsp of soy sauce for two minutes
- And so on…
The end result was typically decent, but rarely mind-blowing.
My Two Problems
It took some time, but I figured out that my approach had two main problems.
The first thing was the irritation of constantly running to the store for one or two ingredients to complete a recipe. It forced me to meticulously plan my meals so that I had the tablespoon of this and 1/2 cup of that on hand.
Second, like many people, I didn’t actually understand the cooking methods that the recipes called for. I’d never taken the time to learn the actual cooking methods involved in these recipes so that I could get the right results.
So I decided it was time to step back and actually learn how to cook. Luckily, I didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to go to culinary school.
All I did was take the time to learn how to use the tools I already had in my kitchen properly.
What Are The Essential Cooking Methods?
You really only need a few tools to create a nearly infinite variety of meals. I use these 7 cooking methods to create everything my girlfriend and I eat.
The great thing is now that I’ve learned to use all of these different methods properly, I never get bored with dinner. You really only need a few tools to have tons of options and cook for your own tastes.
- Grilling – Open-flame cooking for an authentic smokey taste
- Roasting – Long, slow, cooking for vegetables and tender cuts of meat
- Broiling – It’s like indoor grilling for the cold months
- Sauteing – High heat cooking for perfect side dishes and quick one-skillet meals
- Stir-Frying – High heat cooking for making quick meals
- Pan-Frying – High heat, dry cooking for meats like chicken pieces, steaks, and chops
- Braising – Long, moist cooking to break down tough muscle fibers and connective tissues
How To Use The Essential Cooking Methods
Of course, I thought I knew the cooking methods. I was pretty sure that was I was doing was sauteing and pan-frying. It wasn’t…I was just heating things in a skillet.
Let me show you where I was screwing up (for years) and how quickly and easily I was able to fix it with just a few minor changes to what I was already doing.