Mastering Cooking Through Basic Dishes

By Kevin Gibbons

Some people enjoy cooking. Some people find it no more than the necessary chore to keep their family alive. I love cooking, creating and trying new recipes, trying to copy my favorite restaurant dishes, or just thinking up new twists on classic dishes. But even I sometimes don’t have the time or inclination to dive into a full-blown meal preparation. Sometimes, I just want to cook something to feed myself and my family and move on to other things.

Fortunately, Katie Macdonald at Food52 is there to save me (and you). She has a list of 13 Basic Dishes to Learn by Heart. She covers all meals from breakfast (pancakes and frittatas), through lunch (salads and fried rice) to dinner and snacks (soups and granola). Note that clicking on each picture in her article takes you to a new page with step by step instructions. Each one of these dishes (by different authors) covers a basic concept in meal preparation (like remembering the 1 cup of flour:1 cup of milk:1 egg ratio for making pancakes) . Katie’s goal with each dish is to get you comfortable cooking without having to pull out a cookbook or download a recipe. If you can commit these fairly straightforward rules to memory, you can whip up tasty nutritious meals on the fly. My personal favorite is Sara Jenkins’ Classic Soup dish. There is so much information here on the basic essentials of making a cold-weather soup. While it may seem overwhelming at first, after you have made two or three soups through the season, you’ll be freelancing in no time!