Healthy Beginnings

6 Simple Ways to Get Cooking… And Keep Your Kitchen Stocked with Local, Healthy Foods

Love to eat, but hate to cook? Tired of spending all that money eating out or ordering in? The good news is that it’s never too late to learn to cook. And, you don’t need to go to a fancy culinary school to master the craft. In fact, many highly successful celebrity chefs, including Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver and Ina Garten, are mostly self-taught. And while you most likely won’t land a cooking show, maybe you’ll be inspired to learn to confidently prepare a great tasting meal for your family.

We put together some ideas to get you started:

Like so many other things, there’s an app for that! Many cooks, from novice to professional, use apps for cooking tutorials. Check out apps and websites from Big Oven, All Recipes Dinner Spinner, Cookpad and Food Network. You can also find great cooking tutorials on YouTube.

Taking a class is another great way to learn. Lara Richie, owner of Nothing to It Culinary Center in Reno, believes that mastering a few skills such as dicing and slicing is a good way to start, and then move on to cooking techniques such as sautéing and roasting. You can often find a variety of cooking-related courses at your local community college. An online search could turn up several options in your community.

Consider investing in a few good tools. The right ones can make the job much easier. Start out with a good knife, a couple of good pots and pans, and maybe a meat thermometer. You can often find deals on high-end products in discount stores in your area. A good pan can make a world of difference when you are sautéing, and a good knife will make it so much easier to make clean slices.

Keep a well-stocked pantry. It should include plenty of canned goods such as tomatoes, beans, broths and tuna, plus dry starches like pasta and rice. Don’t forget the condiments and your favorite dried herbs and spices.

Remember to keep it simple. Don’t try to recreate a fancy restaurant meal right away. Focus on basics. When looking at recipes, search out those with five ingredients or less. Don’t stress, and don’t fret about making a mistake or two. Even the best chefs have their o days in the kitchen.

A final but important consideration. Buy local when you can, it will be the freshest and tastiest. Charlie Abowd, chef/owner of Café at Adele’s in Carson City, recommends shopping at your local farmers market and asking the grower how they like to prepare a particular fruit or vegetable. He says that the best meals always start with the best ingredients.

You can find a list of local farmers markets and farms at www.NevadaGrown.com.