How to Fool People into Thinking You're a Good Cook
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How to Fool People into Thinking You're a Good Cook

Alright, Junior. You've grown up. You have that good job. Or maybe you don't, but at least you've got someone to impress and ramen noodles just aren't cutting it any more.

I myself am not a very good cook. I have some basic kitchen skills such as don't put tinfoil in the microwave and cook chicken thoroughly to prevent accidental poisoning. However, whenever I cook for other people, they can't help but sing my praises. Here are my three simple rules to fool anyone into thinking you're a good cook.

  1. Don't get too ambitious
  2. Learn to use spices
  3. Buy Smart

Rule #1 is almost blatantly obvious. No one is asking you to bake a soufflé, and if they are you had better just admit defeat. The essence of this rule is this: you can really impress people by dressing up simple dishes. This is achieved with Rule #2; spices.

The following are the essential spices to fool anyone into thinking you've got a clue about what you're doing. There are many more. Don't waste your time. These are all you really need. If you have less than these, you really are a caveman and should just quit now.

You must have these spices at a minimum

  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Flakes
  • Cumin

Using the spices I've just mentioned you can make Mexican, Italian, or nondescript herbal something-or-other to bluff with.

Say you've got a top round steak on the George Foreman and a side of steamed asparagus when suddenly you need to make it seem like you put some effort into it. Throw a dash of basil and a dash of thyme onto both the steak and asparagus. Magically, you will give off the appearance of a man who cares at least one iota about what he puts into his body.

Let's say you've got that same steak and asparagus, but this time you throw on a dash of chili flakes, thyme, and cumin. Heat up a side of pinto beans, seasoned the same way and, Presto! You've got Tex-Mex! This maneuver is especially convincing if performed while in the state of North Dakota.

If rule #2 is just too daunting for you, then there's a remedial version that involves buying McCormick spice grinder blends. But if anyone finds those, you're back to square one and I'm not helping you anymore.

Now let's assume you've honed your basic spice skills and move on to Rule #3: Buy Smart. When I say this, I don't mean “buy the cheapest stuff ever.” Not at all. Just use your brain. You can buy a loaf of tasteless white bread for $1.50. Maybe you step it up to $2.00 for the store-brand wheat, while a good loaf of French bread fetches up to $6.00. I advocate the flat, Italian, herb-covered focaccia. These typically sell for about $3.00; comparable to a loaf of good bread. At the same time it's affordable to buy regularly, and will impress your guests more than a slice of Wonderbread.

Now, armed with these basic skills you won't convince anyone you're a trained chef, but at least it beats ramen noodles.

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Comments (1)

well done! I love this article!