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.