Sometimes it can take a lot of practice to learn to cook well. We don’t always get something right on the first go. Too many people give up and say "I can't cook" without giving themselves time to develop the skill.
I found this great excerpt from an essay writing book (of all things) that explains the learning process well…
The first time we do something new, synapses fuse a pathway in our brain. It uses energy. You know that feeling of being mentally exhausted the first day of school or at a new job? Next time we do the same thing the pathway is strengthened, and every time after that until we have created a highway on that topic in the brain.
A chef recently illustrated this for me. He said, “to be a good cook, choose a recipe and make it, not once, but THREE times in one month. Next month choose a new recipe and do the same thing. In a few years, you will be a good cook.”
What struck me was the repetition – making the recipe three times would strengthen the pathway in the brain. Each time you would adjust your ingredients, method and time better until you created that dish with ease.
R. Berenyi, 2010, Essay Maker – For Exams Too!, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, Vic.
Mother Hubbards Cupboard is the back-to-basics of cookery. Learning the fundamentals is imperative to cooking success. There is lots of repetition in my cookery and many of my recipes are all variations of a master recipe. When you cook the same recipes over and again you will learn basic skills and techniques as well as developing your own style.
If you make many of these recipes again and again, over time you will no longer need to reference the recipes. For example: béchamel sauce. You'll learn that to make one cup of sauce you need one tablespoon butter, one tablespoon flour and one cup of milk. You’ll learn the basics and automatically have knowledge of the quantities and be able to adjust accordingly. This will open the door to many good recipes - easy mornays and lasagnes for example.
Trends come and go but many of my recipes are based upon timeless master recipes that you can experiment with using your own combinations. You can easily create your own favourites when you know the fundamentals.
Don’t be disheartened if a recipe fails. Just make it again. Good cooking is a skill that needs to be developed like any other. Success in cooking is like success in anything else—you have to work through your failures and then try, try again.