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31st December
written by admin

Well, I did it. I cooked 52 (and more) things this year. Sort of.

I cooked at least 52 things, I include baking as a part of this. I also even had some bonus items cooked/baked this year. And there were even a couple that I didn’t post about. Part of the goal was that I wanted to use my kitchen more, so cooking or baking accomplished that. I also wanted to eat in more, and when I would eat in, I wanted to not have it be a frozen pizza or pizza rolls.

One thing I learned is that it’s hard to cook once a week in the summer. There are so many things going on, especially in the Pacific Northwest during the summer that being inside, in the kitchen, is not high enough on the list. So, in the aspect of actually using the kitchen once a week, I failed. But I’m ok with that. The whole idea of doing something 52 times was to get more practice. Saying once a week was a way to track it.

There were some neat things I learned about cooking and being efficient by getting all this practice.

Read the recipe ahead of time. I learned how important it can be to read the recipe first. You can figure out what tasks can be parallelized. You can figure out if something needs to be cooled 2 hours, or marinade overnight, or set to room temperature before you’re ready to start cooking.

I prefer to measure out and prepare all the ingredients first. When I first started this challenge, I would measure, chop, etc as items were needed in the recipe. But that was very time-consuming. It also didn’t help in cases where you needed to heat something and add an ingredient right away. I would spend too much time preparing the next ingredient and end up over-cooking something, or having to turn off the burner, and then wait around for the item to heat up again. By measuring and preparing all the ingredients first, you can just move through the recipe by adding the items when needed.

By cooking/baking often, you end up accumulating the items you need. When I started this challenge, I usually had to buy everything from the store for the whole recipe, because I didn’t have anything myself. But as time has gone on, the number of items I need to buy has lessened. There have even been times where I’ve already had everything I needed! In general now, the only things I buy are produce and meat. But I already have spices and such. It’s great. It makes cooking more enjoyable when you already have everything.

Cooking for one person is tough. I ended up with a lot of leftovers. And even then, I wouldn’t eat enough of it all the time, and some of would end up going bad. Near the end, I started cutting recipes in half so that I wouldn’t make 4, 6, 8+ servings and I’d be able to eat it all within the first couple days.

I’m looking forward to making some of the recipes from this past year. As part of the challenge, I wanted to make something different every time, so I wouldn’t remake things. Now that the challenge is done, I’m looking forward to making some of the recipes that I found this last year that I really enjoyed.

Overall, it was a great experience. I learned a lot. I got to taste of a bunch of interesting things. I’m looking forward to using my new skills and cooking more in the future. I really excited about getting to a point where I can make up my own recipes or start altering them because I just know what tastes good together. :)

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