10 Essential Cooking Rules

November 4, 2019



The Bon Appétit test kitchen crew are sharing their essential cooking rules so I wanted to join the fun. Here’s what I’ve learned to be true in my years of kitchen adventures.

1. Wear an apron.
Every recipe in my kitchen starts with putting on an apron. It helps protect your clothing (no grease splatters on your silk shirt!) and is a handy place to wipe your hands. I love this sturdy, striped one.

2. Make mise your meditation.
Mise en place (aka getting everything ready before you start cooking) is so calming. I lose myself in the methodical nature of chopping and love parceling out ingredients into their appropriate amounts. Not to mention, it makes the actual cooking process go quickly!

3. Sharpen your knives.
Dull knives make it hard to chop, dice, and mince. Learn how to sharpen knives with the help of this French master or get them sharpened regularly at a store like Sur La Table.

4. Keep it simple.
Big cooking projects have a time and place but my favorite recipes are the ones with simple preparations and ingredients. It could be the faux Frenchie within but most revered dishes and cuisines from around the world tend to lean on simplicity.

5. Avoid kitchen gadgets.
While we’re on the topic of simplicity, keep it simple when it comes to you kitchen tools. A good knife will get you far while most gadgets end up gathering dust in the cupboard.

6. Salt as you go and salt often.
Seasoning your food as you go helps bring out the best flavor of each ingredient by reducing bitterness and enhancing sweet, sour, and umami. I add a little at every step of the recipe and make sure to practice the next step to avoid oversalting.

7. Taste as you go and taste often.
One way to ensure your food tastes great is by tasting it along the way. You’ll quickly figure out if an ingredient is missing or if you need to adapt something in the recipe.

8. Umami is your best friend.
As a savory girl, I’m always on the hunt to add a layer of umami to my dishes. Get that caramel color on your sauteed onions or mix in a little bit of tomato paste. Other foods like soy sauce, mushrooms, miso, and cheese are also packed with umami.

9. Cook it low and slow.
All of our favorite recipes are a result of the low-and-slow cooking. It turns your favorite foods into a creamier version of themselves without using cream! It’s also semi-foolproof as it’s hard to overcook something when the temperature is that low.

10. Make and remake your favorite dishes.
Just like there is no shame in wearing the same outfit, there is no shame in cooking the same dishes. You’ll get the pleasure of eating your favorite foods on a regular basis while you get better and better at cooking them.

P.S. A good list if you’re looking to maintain a minimalist kitchen and six great podcasts for foodies and cooks.