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cookingThis summer, I have finally decided to stop calling myself a “terrible cook” and officially try this food-making thing. How could I be terrible if I have never really tried it?

Both my grandma and my mother have always had a culinary interest and they have always tried to spark my curiosity in cooking, too. I’m a major foodie, so I will find any excuse to go out to eat at a restaurant. However, I have been out of school for almost two months, and I have realized the financial and personal benefits of cooking at home.

With this new interest, I have found that cooking not only involves food and an entire load of dishes, but it involves some other things, too.

Here are 5 life lessons my short cooking career has further taught me:

  1. Time management – The best chefs are highly organized. They clean up as they go along and they don’t get distracted with every single step involved in a meal. They plan in advance and they know exactly the amount of prep time and cook time to set aside for a meal. If you don’t have enough time to do something, then you’ll be stuck with a bunch of unfinished projects.
  2. Learn how to improvise – Last night, I ran out of garlic powder for the coating on my homemade chicken fingers. Panic mode! I guess the meal was ruined. Plot twist. Instead of garlic powder, I used garlic salt and bypassed the extra salt that the recipe called for. Get creative!
  3. Trying to be perfect will ultimately cause you failure – Apparently, there is a difference between corn oil and olive oil. No one is testing your cooking abilities. Live your life by being the best you, not some unrealistic perfect you. When you feel like your kitchen is heating up, sit down and take a breather (a sip of wine is fine, too). Either see what that meal tastes like with the corn oil, or start from scratch, learn from your mistakes and move on.
  4. Be patient – Cooking takes patience. Learning a new recipe takes practice, and one day you won’t even need the recipe in front of you. People go to culinary school for this, so don’t expect every single meal to be a success. Cooking is an art, and art takes a lot of time. Who else didn’t know that cooking wasn’t throwing an Easy Mac in the microwave for three minutes and calling it done?
  5. You are the executive chef of your own kitchen – Take responsibility for your own successes and failures. Everyone will think their mama’s fried chicken is the absolute best – that doesn’t mean you have to make your fried chicken exactly like hers…figure out a way to make your own fried chicken! Use the ingredients, experiences and family traditions that relate to you. That is what will make your fried chicken special and be worthy of those extra calories.

I hope you can take these lessons as some inspiration for life or when that new recipe just isn’t going as planned.

So with that being said, please feel free to send any favorite recipes and/or cooking tips my way. Some entertaining kitchen fiasco stories are welcome, too!

Grace Flemer
Grace Flemer
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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