It’s so simple….just like this photograph. There are so many complex ways you can season a dish to make it taste just the way you want it. For the regular cook or mother or father who tries to get the meal on the table, let’s make it simple.
A few years ago, I went over a new friend’s home. She is a single mom and with 4 children and tried to prepare meals for them everyday. She hated to cook. It showed. They didn’t like her cooking and she didn’t know why and was extremely frustrated. “They tell me what they want, I make it, and they still don’t like it”. She invited me to dinner, so I could try her food and find out why things weren’t working out for her and the children. “Food to me is food. We need it to live, so I make what I can afford, and that’s what they get. Even if they don’t like it, there’s nothing else I can do. I’m not a chef”.
Yes, we do need food to live, but we can also make it a memorable experience by adding some simple touches. You don’t need to be a chef. Many cooking superstars are self taught! There will be times where the picky eater won’t want everything that you make, but the rule of thumb is to make it simple for yourself and you will change the way you cook forever.
I tried her chicken, canned green beans and mashed potatoes. None of these items were seasoned at all. It was bland and plain. Whenever you cook, add salt and pepper (always follow dietary restrictions from the doctor if you have them and use substitutions where necessary). The salt and pepper enhance the flavor of what you are eating and make sure you taste as you cook. When you are cooking chicken, this is extremely bland without seasoning, so season with salt & pepper, and make sure you have a temperature gauge and the inside temperature is 165 degrees F. As you are cooking potatoes, taste as you go. Take a pinch or two of sea salt and pepper and make sure you don’t add too much. Add a little at first, because you can always add more if it needs it. Try to use sea salt or kosher salt instead of regular iodized salt. Iodized salt carries more sodium and you end up using less sea salt because the flakes are larger. The pepper adds a little kick when used moderately. When she used green beans in the can, depending on what one can afford, try to use fresh ingredients wherever possible. Fresh green beans are healthier when they are cooked and you control the sodium amount. They also have a pleasant crunch when cooked correctly, rather than a mushy texture. Vegetables in a can have preservatives and additional sodium added to keep them edible until the expiration date.
Follow these simple rules and you can take simple ingredients and make an amazing meal each time. Adding salt and pepper after the unseasoned meal has been prepared is ok, but it won’t have the depth of flavor as if it is used during the cooking process. Try out these tips and feel free to comment and let me know how things are working out for you! 🙂