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Of course, you love to eat, but you may not necessarily love to cook. Some people find it intimidating to step into the kitchen and get started preparing a meal. The tips contained in this article will take some of the mystery out of cooking and make it seem more doable for you.

Protect your spice and herb collection by storing your jars at room temperature in a dark place. Their flavor will suffer if they are exposed to heat, humidity, and light. Ground spices, when stored correctly, can retain flavor for up to a year. Whole spices are hardier, and will retain their robust flavoring for several years. If stored correctly, they will remain fresher longer.

Freezing meat slightly before cutting it will help you to get a nice, even thin slice. This works great when you are cutting steak thin for philly’s or if you need to cut pancetta into thin slices or strips. Do not freeze it solid; freeze it just enough that it is slightly firm.

Try to plan for a week’s worth of meals. If you can get in the habit of planning a weekly menu, it will save time on grocery shopping, and will reduce the stress of having to come up with a meal idea at the last minute. Also, keep a magnet-backed notepad on the refrigerator, and jot down any items that you are running low on. This way, your kitchen will always be stocked with the ingredients that you use regularly.

If you feel that a piece of food you are about to cook does not look right or may be rotten, always error on the side of caution and throw it away. It is better to lose a few dollars than to cost yourself the next couple of weeks from food poisoning.

If you are cooking pasta and are tired of the same taste, you can add a hint of lemon. Lemon will give it the extra taste that you desire, and this additive is also a very powerful antioxidant. Adding spices and different flavors can help improve the quality of your meals.

After you have cooked a meal for someone, never rush them into eating as you should always take your time and engage in conversation to give your body a chance to digest. Part of the meal is the smells and aromas it gives off while the other part is your actual consumption.

In brief, learning how to cook is learning how to avoid pre-packaged foods and meals. These convenience food products, all too common today, have speed as their solitary real benefit. Home-cooked meals will always beat them in taste and cost. In most cases – even with meals that are not especially healthy – the version made in the kitchen will be healthier than the packaged version.

As you can see, cooking does not need to be unnecessarily frightening or intimidating. Learning to cook is really within the grasp of anyone with enough interest to learn a few of the basics. Try some of the tips you have learned in this article, and get started cooking today.

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