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Feeling Comfortable in Your Own Kitchen
by Nikki Roberti

The day and age where a woman’s place was in the kitchen has long passed, but that doesn’t mean us modern chicks shouldn’t know how to cook.

However, while we don’t want to be the stereotypical woman whose purpose in life was to make meals, it is still very important for everyone (guys included) to learn how to cook in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a sense of independence, and a way to cut the cost on the food bill. It always amazes me how many of my college girlfriends don’t know how to cook, complain about it being too hard or confess how the kitchen intimidates them.

But never fear, cooking is not as hard as it looks and if you follow these few tips, you’ll be well on your way to being as comfortable in the kitchen as you would be ordering take-out in your fuzzy slippers.

Keep your pantry stocked

There are a few items you should always have in your kitchen, depending on what you like to eat. For me personally, being raised completely Italian, I always have a large bottle of olive oil, a couple different boxes of pasta and a couple jars of different sauces for that quick fix.

Bisquick is also a must. With Bisquick you can make anything from pancakes to rolls to even deserts in no time flat. Other ingredients that are complete life savers are your favorite spices. Invest in a spice rack so you’ll be prepared to use that one spice necessary in that new recipe you want to try. Eggs and butter are also a must in any kitchen. If you keep your pantry stocked with key things, then you’ll be able to throw together a meal in no time.

Whenever my boyfriend has been eating the same thing for days, or even if I’m just bored and want to make something yummy for my friends to snack on, I raid the pantry to see what I can conjure up. You have no idea how great it is too see that box of rice or jar of sauce I bought a while ago with no recipe in mind. It’s always great to be prepared!

Don’t marry the recipe

I was raised by a woman who never followed a recipe. She considered them foundations for meals, but never the guidelines. I honestly believe it was that mentality that made cooking so easy for me since now I don’t look at a recipe and become intimidated by it.

Instead I look at it, think about what I like or what sounds interesting to me, and then go for it. If I make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. The recipe isn’t the end all be all. No matter what happens, you can make it work. You just need to believe you can do it. Remember, you are the one in control -not the recipe.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Once I found out my boyfriend had been eating burger patties on wheat bread every night for a month. I asked him to let me make him a meal instead one night but he just complained he had nothing in the house to eat. After raiding his kitchen I found a box of red beans and rice, a jar of salsa and of course his beloved burger patty.

I ended up cooking the burger and simmering it in salsa to serve over the rice for his dinner. Not the most conventional meal, I’ll admit, but the look on his face was priceless when he didn’t have to eat the same thing again and actually had something unique and with flavor.

Experimenting is the best thing to do in the cooking world. It’s how the art was invented in the beginning anyway. Think about everything you eat. Who the heck thought jelly and peanut butter would go good together? Someone had to try it first. Don’t be afraid of your kitchen or ingredients. Be creative. At times when I need inspiration, I’ll look in my kitchen for a couple of ingredients and Google them. Sometimes I’ll find a recipe I can do or at least something I can follow and modify myself.

You don’t need to be a master chef to feel comfortable in the kitchen. Be prepared, flexible, and creative. If you follow those three tips, you’ll have your friends considering you a master chef to them in no time (plus you’ll save yourself from a few nights of the same old same old).

About the author:

Nikki Roberti is a junior journalism major at Appalachian State University and online editor for The Appalachian student newspaper. She is a seven time award winning playwright, loves making films, and finds her zen while baking cheesecake.

ChickSpeak (http://www.chickspeak.com/) is an online womenapostrophes magazine, social networking site and organization that aims to inspire big dreams, strong morals and success in the world through informative and uplifting information. Check out ChickSpeak for articles about every part of your life, from relationships and dieting to entertainment and careers.