Up until the age of twenty-three, my cooking skills, and subsequently diet, was limited to smoothies, runny egg sandwiches, and Bagel Bites (they really did a disservice to themselves and society by not naming them Pizza Bagels or even Petite Pizzas).
When I first decided to learn how to cook, I went with the least destructive method possible — a crockpot. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s probably in the best interest and safety of myself and others around me that I should cook in a crockpot at all possible times.
But at some point you gotta get out of your comfort zone if you want to improve your craft, right? And, you know, have dinner ready in less than six hours.
As I made a giant leap from the dump-and-go recipes to recipes involving flames and careful observation, I learned the hard way some things you should absolutely under no circumstances ever do when cooking.
Some of these mistakes may seem obvious, but let’s not forget that I didn’t know how to boil water for approximately 82% of my life.
1. Do not cook everything on high.
Look, don’t ask me why I cooked everything on the highest setting or how it turned out because you already know the answer — crispy.
2. If you’re heating up oil to fry stuff in, don’t dump water in the pot to check if it’s hot enough.
Believe it or not, this actually wasn’t my idea but that didn’t prevent me from doing it. I was attempting to make a falafel recipe I had found on the interwebs. I’m not gonna say what website it came from, which makes me sound like a classy and mysterious gal but really you can’t expect me to recall the exact events that went down in a Pinterest rabbit hole.
The recipe said something along the lines of, “Add 2 inches of frying oil in skillet. When 1 drop of water makes oil sizzle, it is ready” which I interpreted as, “Fill halfway to the top with oil, turn on highest setting, fill up a shot glass with water and see what that puppy does!”
It’s truly a miracle I didn’t burn my face off, not to mention my entire house. If you’re a visual learner or like watching shit blow up, watch this.
3. If you’re melting chocolate in the microwave, give it a stir every 15 seconds.
Do not, I repeat, do not microwave a bowl of chocolate chips for six minutes.
The key, which I would have known if I didn’t just assume I was born knowing how to melt chocolate and spent 30 seconds looking it up on Google, is that you must keep a close eye on your chocolate.
Give it a stir every 15 seconds to evenly distribute the heat and you will not crack your bowl in half.
4. You cannot bake a cup of maple syrup for an hour.
Which leads me to my next point ...
4a. Maple syrup is not a substitute for balsamic vinegar.
It’s like I never attended a science class, ever. I swear I listened most of the time, Ms. Gregory.
5. Do not cook bacon topless.
At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Jesus Christ, she should’ve stuck to the crockpot” but I’ll let you know that I’m an expert at cooking bacon now.
After I learned to cook it at a normal temperature with a shirt on.