How to learn to cook

The kitchen can be the sexiest room in the house, if you know how to work it. A good home cooked meal is a total aphrodisiac – whether you’re the one who cooked it for your love, he cooked it for you or you both cooked it together. If you don’t quite have your kitchen skills together, don’t worry. It doesn’t take much to go from zero to hero when it comes to food prep. Here’s how to up your kitchen game.

Watch experts

YouTube is an invaluable resource when it comes to learning to cook. So is the Food Network or any cooking show. Watching real experts work is the best tutorial you can get. I’d say avoid using social-centric videos – like the 30 second Facebook or Instagram videos – as cooking 101s. While they’re super entertaining, they’re designed to be sharable, not informative. They’ll skip key steps and a lot of the prep work, which is really where the magic happens.

Keep it cheap and easy

When you’re first starting out with cooking, don’t buy anything fancy in terms of tools or kitchen gear. Really, all you need to make good meals are a working oven, stove, two pans, one pot, a roasting dish and a good knife. Save buying anything else for when your skills are more developed. Instead of finding workarounds for recipes that call for big ticket equipment, stick to recipes that don’t require anything beyond what you have. Forcing yourself to do something like hand mixing bread dough instead of using a mixer will definitely ensure that you fall out of love with cooking ASAP. And that’s not what we want here.

Set goals

Just like starting anything else, it’s important to set small, attainable goals to keep you motivated. With cooking, you can set goals like trying to cook a certain amount of new recipes a week. One new recipe a week is completely fine! You could also try working with a different protein each week or learning a new knife skill every month. Another way to go is to perfect a specific recipe. Just keep iterating on chicken parmesan until you find a version you couldn’t love more.

Share it

The best thing about cooking is that you can share it with other people. Don’t hold back just because your dishes aren’t perfect yet. Invited groups of people over. It’s a great way to establish or recharge friendships and if you ask friends to bring people, you can meet new potential romantic connections. A home cooked meal is also a great third, fourth or fifth date, depending on how comfortable you feel with the dude.

Just start

Don’t overthink cooking. Just jump into it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You order take out, right? Wasn’t that what you were going to do if you didn’t try cooking anyway?

Food is one of my favorite non-official love languages. Get fluent in it!