If you’ve been wanting to hone your cooking skills, this is the perfect time to do it.
With everyone being stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most people have developed new hobbies while in quarantine. Some individuals turned to arts and crafts to distract themselves from the craziness outdoors, while others gravitated towards the kitchen to try out new recipes or start their cooking journey altogether.
The current health crisis further highlighted the importance of home cooking. More consumers now prefer to prep their own food at home instead of taking out or ordering in amid fears of contracting the virus. This is evident in a recent poll done by Influence Central. It found that 88% of Americans have been cooking more meals at home since the lockdown started in March. Of these, nearly half are making their dishes from scratch.
More people are expected to join the home cooking craze even after the pandemic subsides. This comes as health and wellness become the top priorities of consumers across the globe. In fact, as early as now, only 5% of Americans are making use of precooked and packaged meals. In contrast, most individuals now prefer organic food products to make their meals at home.
Cooking can be quite overwhelming, especially for beginners. You might be someone who only knows the basics, or, a budding amateur chef who wants to take her skills up a notch in the kitchen. Regardless of which category you fall under, here are four, aside-from-the-basics kitchen essentials that you must invest in to make your home cooking experience an enjoyable one:
1. A Wide Array of Measuring Tools
Most recipes call for a specific measurement of ingredients, especially in baking. If you don’t have accurate measurements, chances are the end-product would be a disaster. Consider investing in both dry and liquid measuring tools like a good measuring cup, scoops, measuring spoons, and a digital scale. Also, go for tools that are made of glass or stainless steel for easier cleaning and higher durability.
2. A Good Quality Knife Set
Knives are one of the most vital hand tools in your kitchen. A good quality knife could make or break your home cooking experience at home. If you find investing in a knife set to be too expensive, you can always opt to buy at least one good knife. Professional chefs suggest having an eight-inch chef’s knife as a kitchen staple. Consider getting a versatile knife that can do the basics like chopping, mincing, slicing, and dicing, as well as the heavy-duty work like cutting hard vegetables or meat.
Most knives are made of stainless steel and ceramic blades. Aside from the material, you should also pay close attention to the handle’s shape, the knife’s grip, the blade’s curve, and how it fits in your hand when purchasing a knife. However, if you want to feel like a real professional chef, you may consider investing in a set of personalized knives. This makes your home cooking experience even more authentic. Also, you pass it down to the younger generations of your family, making it a kindred treasure.
3. Blenders and Mixers
Some meals may call for pureed ingredients, while most baking recipes may require some heavy-duty mixing or kneading. Having a blender or a mixer at home can make any meal prep faster and more efficient. While such equipment may come off as expensive, blenders and mixers can lessen your cooking time by half, which can be vital especially if you’re working from home. Also, investing in good quality equipment can help you save money in the long run. They tend to last longer than cheaper ones, with proper use and maintenance.
4. Kitchen Thermometers
Many food handlers rely on physical indicators like color and texture changes to determine if the food is cooked to the point that no traces of bacteria can be found. However, these visual cues aren’t accurate most of the time, leaving consumers with undercooked dishes. Once consumed, they can be extremely harmful, especially to children.
Using kitchen thermometers can help you combat such food safety issues. Aside from this, it also prevents you from burning, undercooking, or overcooking your meals, especially in baking. There is a variety of kitchen thermometers in the market — from meat thermometers to digital and oven-safe ones. Investing in a good kitchen thermometer can help save your family from unwanted food poisoning while letting you perfect that medium-rare steak.
You don’t need to have the most advanced kitchen tools to develop your cooking skills at home. However, having the right tools and equipment can make a big difference in your home cooking journey, as well as in the dishes that you produce.