Happy Nat’l Cooking Day! We’ve Got 11 Helpful Tips To Enhance Your Culinary Skills and Entertaining Prowess

Given that September 25th is National Cooking Day, we reached out to culinarian Lauren Lane to ask why she considers this one of the holiest of days of the year—and more importantly, to give us 11 things you can do to enhance your culinary skills and entertaining prowess.

Lane

“Today is a day I support with all that I’ve got! It reminds me that nothing quite matches the taste and memories behind a good home-cooked meal,” she says. “Memories like these have led me to want to inspire others to cook more. I want to bring people together, create a sense of community and connection that helps people relax and truly enjoy the meal, much like the Italians do with their long, lingering meals. There is something so great about being in the moment and enjoying those you love around a dinner table.”

11. Clean off your kitchen table! Yes, move the homework, the laundry, or any other projects that have somehow found their way to this gathering place.”

10. Invest in a good chef’s knife. “Everyone really only needs one good knife that can be kept sharp. Here are a couple of the best knives you can buy on a budget. Wusthof Pro Cook’s Knife, 8-inch and Victorinox (Both under $50). And please don’t use your chef knife to open your next Amazon shipment. I’m already rolling my eyes just thinking about it.”


9. Invite just a few friends over for dinner. It doesn’t need to be a big crowd. I’m finding that smaller dinner parties make for great conversations, are easier to prepare, and can be served on that freshly cleaned kitchen table!”

8. Keep a good extravirgin olive oil on your counter. Cervasi olive oil, for instance, is the one that works for me 98% of the time. It’s a high-quality olive oil imported from Italy. (PS. They’re locally owned.)” #shoplocal


7. Practice cooking one thing that you can perfect. “Pick your favorite dish, find a few recipes, watch a few YouTube videos of people preparing it, and get started creating your version of this perfect dish. Practice makes perfect right? Trust me, it will become super easy with time and practice.”

6. Turn. On. Music! “Play your favorite tunes when you’re in the kitchen. I only cook with instrumental jazz. Who knows why—but it makes me focused and totally relaxed!”

5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. “Trust me—don’t go overboard. I like to pick one dish to cook, and I don’t beat myself up if I need to purchase the appetizer, bread,or dessert. I sometimes put my store bought sides in a pretty dish and call it good.”


4. Don’t be bummed if dinner doesn’t go the exact way you planned! “Most of the time, your guestswill not notice. I once dropped the entire main course for one of my dinner parties. Ugh. The fix for a major blunder is to have your favorite pizza place or Chinese delivery number on speed dial. (I’m not even kidding.) Your guest will laugh about it for years to come and great memories will be made, I promise!”


3. Go to your farmers’ market or grocery produce section. “Stroll through and pick out what looks bright, fresh, and delicious. Cooking with seasonal produce makes your meal taste so much better. So. Much. Better.”

2. Follow people that can teach and inspire you. “There are tons of blogs, magazines, and Instagram feeds that are inspiring and knowledgeable. It is my life’s passion to help my readers get cooking and entertaining with confidence. Or—follow me!” #shamelessplug


1. Cook with wine! “Not necessarily in the actual dish, but with a glass in your hand. Okay, maybe that’s just me. Either way, you’re welcome. Happy cooking, my friends!”