How to Cook: Why

How to cook? Gee, I’m a youth worker, I don’t need to cook, I order pizza and buy those ready baked chocolate brownies from Sainsbury’s!

Bare with me.

I’ve been reading A Meal With Jesus and am convinced by it. Sharing food with other people is a joyful, grace teaching, Christian thing to do and inviting people into your home, including the young people you work with, is a good thing to do. To steal just one bit from his book; he cites 1 Timothy 3:2-7 where it lists a bunch of qualifications for leaders in the church and includes in them ‘hospitable’. We often ask for youth ministers who can play an instrument (and there is good reason for that) but we rarely ask for youth ministers who are hospitable. Now being hospitable doesn’t mean you need to know how to cook. You can clearly be hospitable by ordering in a bunch of pizza or asking a volunteer or young person to cook, but you know what, cooking’s not hard. Cooking for large numbers of people isn’t that hard either. There’s no reason why you can’t be pasable at it and know the joy of it. So this entire week I’m going to devote this website to teaching you how to cook.

But before we do that, some points. The best way of learning how to cook is to see how good food is. This may seem obvious but also quite useless, as don’t most people enjoy food but don’t seem that fussed by cooking? But next time you eat food cooked in someone’s house, take your time over it and think how good it is. Stand in the kitchen and chat to them while they cook it. You’ll see how good food is, and then you’ll realise you can probably cook it as well.

The other thing to say is that things that seem hard initally aren’t really that hard when broken down and done slowly. You might think dicing an onion is hard, but in reality if you do it slowly with a sharp knife it’s one of the simplest things you can do. What’s hard is doing it with any measure of accuracy. It’s a bit like playing the piano. Playing a C on a piano is not hard. It involves you pressing a key down. Playing a whole scale is not hard. It involves you pressing 7 or so notes down one after the other. What is hard is doing it with any speed and precision. That’s why people practice for hours. Learning takes minutes, being good at it takes years. It’s the same thing with most skills in cooking, you just need to practice. There are no magic tricks to make you brilliant at anything really fast, and as long as your knives are semi-decent and sharp, no tools that’ll make everything really easy. Nothing in cooking is magic (apart from thickening sauces and making mayonaise. That is a bit magic, but you don’t have to worry about that.), it’s just practice. If you’re rubbish at cutting an onion then you’ll get better.

And that’s my advice really. Tomorrow, we’ll actually talk about cooking. Today I’m going to home to cook a load of Mexican rice stuff.