You are an adult and you don’t know how to cook? You are not alone. The greatest key to cooking success is to first learn how to read a recipe. Soon as you do that, all it will take is a little bit of practice to gain true cooking expertise.
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Many simple dishes do not require a recipe. Tackling a birthday cake from scratch, though, or creating elaborate dinners with special homemade sauces are best made by following a recipe. These recipe reading tips will help you to make sense out of it.
For you adults who do follow recipes just fine but want to teach your children how to cook, these recipe reading steps should be of great help as you enter into the teaching process.
Tip 1: be sure to get your FREE PRINTABLE table of equivalents before you leave. You don’t have to do this but I am laminating mine to tape inside of a cabinet door in my kitchen to keep it handy. It is just a suggestion.
Whether you are an adult who just has not had the opportunity to learn how to cook or a parent teaching your child how to read a recipe, there are certain steps that all beginners should learn how to follow.
Tip 2: Find an easy to read, tried and true cookbook for starters. There are many but this one is a particular favorite >>> Better Homes & Gardens’ New Cookbook. It includes a “Secrets to Success” feature that helps identify key ingredients and ways to make each recipe most successful.
How To Read A Recipe Step-By-Step
1. Read the recipe all the way through. Do NOT skim it. Read it through. Assess what ingredients are included in the recipe. Locate them or go to the store to buy what you don’t already have on hand.
2. Take note of the tools you will need, such as:
- measuring spoons, cups or pitchers
- mixing bowls
- pans, skillets, baking sheets
- mixer, blender, whisk
- rolling pin, cookie cutters
3. Find those tools and put them out on the counter.
4. Follow your recipe like a ROAD MAP. Recipes are step-by-step directions on how to create a particular dish.
Good recipes will take you from the very beginning, such as “preheat the oven to 350°” to the end such as “allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.”
Recipes also tell you how many servings they will make or how many people you can serve. That is all relative. Big eaters may take exception with the serving size advice. I have many recipes that I double or triple knowing that it will never be enough for my family. Guess that makes us big eaters!
5. Do not get distracted. Forgetting a pan of something on the stove can result burnt food or, worse, a kitchen fire! Be sure that you are cooking at a time and place where you can fully concentrate on what you are doing.
6. Do not cut corners. Good recipes have been prepared over and over again before they have ever been printed in a cookbook. Trust the author and do not veer from the plan. As you gain experience, you may want to make some changes to fit your particular preferences but, while in training, stick with the plan!
Use this cooking equivalents sheet while you learn how to read a recipe and afterward. We all use equivalents tables!
Tip 3: print either the colorful or black & white copy of the table of equivalents on white card-stock instead of copy paper, if possible. The heavier paper is more durable. For extra protection, you can laminate it. I would especially recommend laminating if you will be referring to it throughout the cooking process. Food spills on your table of equivalents can be easily wiped clean with a laminated copy.