With the holidays approaching, many of us will be spending more time cooking than any other time of year. If cooking is a stressful and unorganized experience for you, break your bad kitchen habits for a much more enjoyable time.
One of the first things you learn in culinary school is to maximize your efficiency. This means not running around the kitchen to search for equipment or getting halfway through a recipe to find out you needed to have juice from a dozen lemons for the next step. While you may not need the efficiency of a professional cook, who often has several different meals in progress at the same time, these tips will improve your cooking skills and eliminate mayhem in the kitchen.
Reduce stress in the kitchen by creating an organized atmosphere. A messy kitchen makes cooking more difficult. It’s an annoying task at first, but the next time you’re cooking, figure out which utensils, pots, and pans you use the most and then move them to more prominent convenient locations. The muscle memory of reaching for the same pot every time you want to fry an egg, for example, will help you put food on the table faster and increase efficiency. You’ll also get less frustrated when you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to track down the immersion blender or rolling pin.
Many bad habits revolve around cleanliness. When you have a pie in the oven, a soup on the stove, and are simultaneously working on appetizers, a messy kitchen is your worst enemy. While you may not want to clean as you cook, less clutter in the kitchen will help you focus on the task at hand. If you keep surfaces free of garbage and clutter, you’ll be able to whiz through recipes with ease.
Bad habits can also be dangerous; whether it’s not washing your knife after cutting raw meat or leaving dish rags next to an open flame, you’re putting yourself and your family in harm’s way by committing these kitchen sins.
When everything runs smoothly, cooking is a fun experience that you can share with your family and friends. Break your bad habits in the kitchen by heeding this culinary school advice before the holiday season begins and fully enjoy your time in the kitchen.
Keep a Clean Countertop
Messy surfaces in the kitchen can be dangerous. Wash pots, pans, knives, and cutting boards as you cook, and use a large bowl to collect garbage as you cook, so it’s all in one place and doesn’t end up all over the floor.
Don’t Leave Dishrags or Potholders All Over
Dishrags and potholders should go back in the same place every time you use them, so you know where to get them without even thinking about it. They should never be left out on the counter, both because they're dirty and because they’re a fire hazard near the stove.
Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.