I’m starting to teach my daughter the basics of working around the house. Already an admirable bathroom cleaner and staircase vacuum-er, I’ve decided to progress on to the kitchen. Along with all the family traditional foods I will be teaching her to make, I decided to figure out what she needed to be able to do at a minimum. Here is the list I came up with:
Sharpen A Knife
My mother maintains that it is dull knives that lead to accidents. I have to agree with her, because when you use a dull knife, you use much more effort than with a sharp knife and things can slip. Sharpening knives is not difficult. (Reference: Instructables)
Recognize Basic Spices
It amazes me that some people cannot tell the difference between basic spices: salt and sugar, onions and garlic. I want to teach my daughter to recognize, both by taste and smell, what I consider the basics: salt, sugar, pepper, chili powder (vs. cayenne), garlic, onion, basil and oregano.
Measure Without A Spoon
By learning to guesstimate the amount of things without measuring spoons, you can adjust as you go, and also save a lot of cleanup.
Clean A Burnt Pan
I don’t care how good of a cook you are, at some point, something is going to burn. Knowing how to clean a burnt pan can save a lot of money on cookware. (Reference: eHow.com)
Make One Dessert From Scratch
For potlucks and dinners, people are often asked to bring a dish. Having one great dessert you can fall back on solves this issue. Desserts can be hard or easy, and easy ones often can fool people into thinking you have great skill.
There is a time and place for frozen non-dairy whipped topping, I will admit. But nothing beats the taste of freshly whipped cream. (Reference: eHow.com)
Set the Table…Properly
A great table setting can make an ordinary dinner seem special. Learning how to set the table properly isn’t hard, and gives a great impression. (Reference: eHow.com)
Clean A Toaster
Our shared toaster in college had started smoking. One of my college roommates was amazed when I popped out the bottom of the toaster and cleaned out the crumbs. This is an easy one, and not only can it prevent smoking, getting rid of crumbs in the kitchen leaves less for critters to snack on. (Reference: WikiHow)
Make a Good Sauce Or Dressing
Making sauces and salad dressings is a bit more challenging, but well worth the effort. When I was a teenager, I learned to make hollandaise (I was on an eggs Benedict kick). My grandfather’s French dressing recipe is delectable, and easy. Having a good sauce recipe up your sleeve can give you a great taste experience.
Make Good Coffee or Tea
This will be for my daughter in a few years (no caffeine allowed!), but I consider it essential to be able to make a good pot of coffee or tea for guests. Tea is easy. Just make sure you boil the water fully, and don’t let the tea soak too long. Coffee is also fairly easy, especially if you have a French press. (Reference: eHow)
It will take some time before I can teach my daughter everything, but she is showing an aptitude in the kitchen. With these skills in her bag of tricks, she will be able to handle the basics of the kitchen soon.
Photo by alvazer