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Develop Your Cooking Skills with This Simple Tip

A woman and man prepping a dish in a sauce pan on a kitchen counter.
BAZA Production/Shutterstock.com

People have been cooking at home more than ever before over the last year. If you’ve decided to continue this trend to save cash, or just because you enjoy it, trying out some “mystery” ingredients can help you innovate and develop your skills.

Whether you’re a kitchen novice or becoming a gourmet, buying mystery ingredients can make you a better cook. When you buy ingredients you’ve never heard of or tried it becomes a personal cooking challenge.

Adding some variety to your cuisine teaches you how to be more creative. You’ll learn and develop new skills and recipes to use your new ingredients in. Not only will you get to try different dishes, but you’ll also improve your “seat of the pants” cooking abilities.

To get started, just pick up a new-to-you “mystery” ingredient each week or once a month. The spice aisle is a good place to start—we all have a few of those we’ve never used.

Hit up the produce section next and look for an intriguing fruit or vegetable. You can also pick up an unfamiliar sauce or a different kind of rice. Whatever you choose it’ll be fun experimenting with something new and learning how, and in what dishes, to use it.

To find even more new ingredients to play with, you might want to shop at a different grocery store or sign up for a CSA box. Of course, you can also order many ingredients online, like herbs, spices, and sauces. To get some ideas, browse recipes until you find something you’ve never heard of.

While you’re at it, you might also want to pick up a new kitchen gadget or two to help you experiment—here’s the trendy one that experts recommend.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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