How to Cook if You Tend to Burn Water
It has been brought to our attention that there are people who do not understand the directions on the side of a Kraft mac and cheese box. It’s okay. Calm yourselves. You’ve got this.
BASIC GENERAL TIPS
- Google is your friend. You will never go wrong by searching “how to cook [whatever you’re cooking]” and clicking links til you find a simple recipe that you can pull off.
- Preheat the oven. First. Before mixing any ingredients. Preheating means setting your oven to whatever temperature the directions say to cook at (often 350F) and waiting until the oven says it’s preheated. Usually there’s a light that turns on when you turn the oven on that goes off when it’s done preheating. If you forget to preheat the oven you’ll go to put the cookies in and the oven will be room temperature and then you have to wait for it to preheat while doing nothing of use.
- Spray the pan. Unless it’s a nonstick pan (they’ll usually say, although the majority of pans now are), you need cooking spray or plain old butter to keep your delicious eats from gluing themselves to the metal. Nonstick pans and cookie sheets are usually darker and have a slightly rougher texture, whereas metal that is not nonstick is lighter, smoother and feels more like metal that you would find on a car or something. If you’re not sure whether or not it’s nonstick, spray it anyways. Better to be safe.
- Do not walk away from what you are cooking. Unless it is in the oven for an extended period of time, don’t leave your food. Not even if you’re sure you’ll remember. You won’t. I know this as fact. Watch it.
- Stir occasionally/frequently/often really does mean just that. It does not mean stir constantly.
- You’ll rarely go wrong with a medium-sized pot filled halfway up with water. I chronically ignore precise measurements for the amount of water required unless it’s ramen. If you’re draining the water out, all you need is enough water to keep what you’re cooking submerged.
- Just follow the directions. Really. Just that. Follow the directions and nothing more or less.
- Boiling is when the water is bubbling a whole lot. Just before it boils, it’ll simmer, which means lots of little bubbles. You’re looking for a “rolling boil,” which is right after it starts making big bubbles and a lot of steam. IMPORTANT: many directions have you boil the water and immediately throw in whatever you’re cooking. After you add the food, turn the heat down to medium (for noodles and the like) or low (for rice, rice is a fickle thing).
- Use a timer, not a clock alarm. And do use something. Do not under any circumstances assume “I’ll just keep checking the clock” or “I’ll just keep checking the food.”
That’s really all there is.