Cooking for beginners

Nobody is born knowing how to cook. I asked local food blogger Andrea Winchester, who writes Rookie Cookery (, to give suggestions for those trying to become confident cooks:

1. “Learn to make soups and stews. There is a reason why soups and stews are part of basic cuisine over the entire world: They are relatively easy, simple and delicious. This basic skill will wean you away from prepared foods and make you want to cook from scratch.”

2. “Learn to roast a chicken. It doesn’t get any more satisfying or easy, and the cooked meat can provide the base for many more meals.”

3. “Buy good cooking equipment. Cheap, dented or ugly aluminum pots and pans are dispiriting and hard to work with or clean.”

4. “Ask a competent cook if you can help them prepare a meal or two. Watch and learn. Over time, you will pick up information about cooking on an intuitive level. Or visit the local library and ask the librarian to show you where the cookbooks are. You’ll also find numerous DVDs … of cooking instruction at your fingertips.”

5. “Invite someone over for dinner! It’s fun, and provides even more motivation to put into practice what you are learning.”