Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: If there were ten commandments in cooking what would they be? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
1. Fat is flavor.
Do not fear it – rather, learn to harness it, and don’t skimp.
2. Although time and logistics will impose varying limitations, as much as possible/practical, start from the rawest, most basic ingredients rather than using prepared sauces or ingredients.
The results will be tastier, healthier, and cheaper. A corollary: If an ingredient didn’t exist in 1800 somewhere in the world, you probably shouldn’t use it.
3. Waste nothing.
With few exceptions, every single ingredient you use required at least one living thing to die. Make the most of that sacrifice.
4. Be ready and willing to improvise.
It is said that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Similarly, no recipe survives contact with the actual preparation of a meal. This is no reason to panic.
5. That said, never turn on a stove without having first planned out how everything is going to happen.
6. Get a few great knives.
Keep them sharp. Get a few great pots and pans. Keep them clean (and when applicable, seasoned). Equipment-wise, just about everything else is proverbial gravy.
7. Have a glass of wine while you cook.
It’s good for you and your cooking. (Unless you’re grilling. Then you should have a beer.)
8. No matter how good you think your dish was, it wasn’t perfect.
Try to do better next time.
9. Don’t rush.
Whoever you’re cooking for will wait until it’s ready. (This assumes you’re not cooking professionally.)
Cooking is fun. Eating is fun. Even if the results were sub-optimal, you should already have had a good time. Worst-case scenario, there’s always delivery. So don’t stress it.