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Five Ways to Become a Better Cook

Five Ways to Become a Better Cook

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“Cooking is one failure after another, and that’s how you finally learn.” 
– Julia Childs

World famous chef, Julia Childs, hints at the patience required to master the art of cooking. For some, it comes naturally, for the rest of us, success is a process. If you’ve repeatedly attempted to prepare a delicious meal for your family, only to end up ordering take out, rest assured – there is hope. Here are five ways to become a better cook.

1. Professional Classes

Luckily, plenty of professionals are willing to share their expertise. Look online or at a community center near you to find a culinary class that ranges from basic to advanced. If you have a favorite discipline (like cake making, pastry work or bread making), feel free to start there. Enrolling in a culinary course will ensure that you learn how to do things properly, while granting you the liberty of asking questions in real-time. Upon graduation, you’ll leave with both confidence and know-how, starting you on your way to becoming the cook of your wildest dreams.

2. Media

Fortunately, there are many media forums that can help sharpen your kitchen skills. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are perfect for collecting recipes. Simply search relevant hashtags to instantly receive hundreds of posts to inspire your home chef pursuits. If you’d prefer explanatory videos, YouTube has countless channels to teach you the ins and out of cooking.

But let’s not forget about the most traditional cooking inspiration in media: television culinary demos have helped millions of people all over the world impress their families with tasty dishes. Whichever your preference, you’re bound to find whatever you need through culinary media.

3. Hands-On Practice

There’s no better method than practice. Undoubtedly, cooking can be daunting and overwhelming when you don’t have a ton of experience. But the only way to conquer that setback is to get in the kitchen and get to work. You may not knock it out of the park on your first, second or third try, but eventually, your efforts will pay off. Don’t give up!

4. Start Slow

Because we have so much experience eating complicated dishes, it can be tempting to start out by cooking similar dishes. However, taking things slow is a better approach. Start with the basics. Practice boiling water, making one dish at a time instead of multitasking, and getting familiar with staple ingredients. Although perfecting these elements may not be the most fun part of cooking, doing so will help you in the future.

5. Get a Tutor

We all know someone who dominates in the kitchen. At family events or holiday parties, you can bet that everyone will be raving about their food. Instead of simply dreaming you could cook like your favorite chef, be bold and ask them to be your cooking tutor! Go to their house and watch them cook. Take note of how they set up their kitchen, how they pace themselves, and what resources they use. Interview them about their growth and best practices and ask for hands on help.

No matter how many times you fail, remember cooking is a skill and all skills are strengthened through experience. Continue to invest time and dedication in the kitchen, and little by little, you will grow. Keep in mind, cooking is a lifelong pursuit and there will always be more to learn and new tricks to try. Use these five cooking tips to get started!

Howie and Theresa DanzikFive Ways to Become a Better Cook
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Graduation Gifts for Every Age

Graduation Gifts for Every Age

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Graduation season is fast approaching. Family members of all ages will be cheered and congratulated as they strut across stages to accept hard earned diplomas. You want to reward their tireless efforts – the seemingly endless nights of homework, dedication to attending classes, and stressful study session. But how do you find the perfect gift? Look no further, here is a complete list of graduation gifts for every age.  

Elementary Graduation

Pre-K, Kindergarten

Although your little one won’t remember their first academic graduation, you will. Any small toy or treat will spark enough joy to satisfy your youngster, allowing you to devote your remaining attention to their true gift- a keepsake. First graduations provide the perfect opportunity to start a memory binder, scrapbook or email account that can be passed on to your graduate at their final graduation as a young adult. For each major occasion over the coming years, add another page or entry to your memory collection. When your child is all grown up, they will love the thought and effort you put into creating such a meaningful gift.  

Upper Elementary

Moving up to middle school can be scary. Your little scholar is transitioning from ruling the school to suddenly needing to find their footing in a strange new world of class changes and social pressure. Choosing a gift that can ease their fears will be greatly appreciated. Cool tech, gift cards to trendy apparel stores, and even upgraded school supplies are all error proof options.               

Junior High Graduation

So your teenager is heading to the big leagues? Every freshman needs gear that proudly displays their future alma mater. Head to the spirit store and stock up on apparel and supplies that don the name of your student’s new high school. Such a great gift will not only build the excitement of embarking on the final years of grade school, but will also help your teen blend right in to their new surroundings.

High School Graduation

After surviving twelve years of school, your teenager deserves a proper celebration. For many, graduating highschool is their greatest accomplishment to date. Consequently, it’s okay to go big! But it’s equally okay to prioritize sentiment over expense. No matter which category fits your gifting style, the effort you put in is what matters most. If you’re leaning toward a financial blessing, cash is always appropriate. There are countless expenses that arise after high school graduation, no matter which academic (or career) path lies ahead. If you want to lead with emotion, try an inspirational book, a handmade gift or a framed letter of advice and encouragement.

College Graduation

Tech/Trade School, Undergrad, Graduate

Because college students’ studies focus on a specific discipline, it’s much easier to personalize their gifts. Start by identifying your graduate’s major (and minor). Consider their chosen profession and any recent job acceptances. Do a little research to learn exactly what may help start their career on the right foot. Here are a few ideas:

-A yearly subscription to a helpful magazine, software program or application

-A giftcard to help purchase a new professional wardrobe

-A contribution to pay toward student loans

-A ticket to a networking conference or career event

Orrin Hatch once said, “Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.” From the first day of preschool to the last day of graduate school, our children toil over their studies in preparation to become the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Although there is no greater gift than that of an education, there’s nothing wrong with offering a celebratory nod to a job well done. Choose a gift that will show your graduate just how proud you are, while giving them a head start toward their new beginnings.

Howie and Theresa DanzikGraduation Gifts for Every Age
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