I am a firm believer that if you can read a recipe you can cook. I have talked to so many people who say “I can’t cook.” Often this is just an excuse because either (A) they are lazy and don’t want to cook or (B) they are actually afraid of cooking. I think so many people are afraid of making a mistake and that’s what keeps them from the kitchen. Who cares if you have to throw away some food….and maybe the pans too…you are learning a skill which will help you and your family.
I told my blogging partner, Miss Adventures, last week that I was going to write about how to read a recipe. Let me tell you why….she was preparing meals last weekend as part of her Once a Month Mom cooking that is has started doing. Well, she didn’t really pay attention to the yield (number of servings) of the recipe so she didn’t have as much food in the end as she was anticipating. But she learned something through it all. Read the recipes. Read all the directions before beginning!
I am bad for skimming through directions myself, especially if I “think” I know what I’m doing. There have been many times when I have had to “alter” a recipe because I didn’t read the directions completely before starting. Let me give you an example: several years ago I was going to make meatloaf. I found a recipe that looked really good for a sweet and spicy meatloaf. I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that the brown sugar was supposed to go in the glaze for the meatloaf. Instead I put it in with the meat so we had a very sweet meatloaf!
So let’s take a look at how to read a recipe.
*The very first step in cooking is to read the recipe all the way through, from beginning to end. This way you will know that you have all the ingredients and tools on hand. You will also be able to look up terms you don’t understand so cooking proceeds smoothly.
*Most good recipes start with the ingredient list, and the ingredients are listed in the order they are used.
*Measurements in recipes are critical. When a recipe calls for a tablespoon or teaspoon, the author means for you to use actual measuring utensils, not spoons that you use for eating and serving.
Here are the abbreviations I use that are fairly standard:
Tbsp. = tablespoon
tsp. = teaspoon
oz. = ounce
*After you have read the recipe, gather all the ingredients, pots, pans, bowls, and measuring utensils you will need. Go slowly and double check all the steps and ingredients.
*Next is the body of the recipe. This contains the instructions about combining and heating the ingredients.