Cook your own food and you’ll eat better for less money. But cooking may seem daunting if you’ve never tried it. Oldways wants to help new cooks get started. Here’s all you need to know about cooking, to create your first meals:

  1. Exact measurements aren’t usually important, unless you’re baking cakes. That’s why many of our recipes say things like “1 can (~15 oz.)” meaning around 15 ounces. We’re telling you it doesn’t matter if your can is a little bigger or a little smaller. One good way to learn to cook is to follow the recipe fairly closely the first time, then start experimenting a little more each time you make that same recipe.
  2. There are two main ways to cook things on a stove: in a lot of water, or in a little oil.
  • To cook things in water (or broth), turn the burner on high until the water bubbles rapidly (boils), then turn it down until the water barely bubbles (simmers), and cook according to directions.
  • To cook things in oil, heat a small amount of oil in a pan. Never let oil smoke; that means it’s too hot. Cook according to directions. Some foods just sit in the oil, while other times the directions will tell you to “sauté” which means to keep moving the food around while you cook it.

We’ve used three common abbreviations in our recipes:

  • TBS means Tablespoon (the largest measuring spoon)
  • tsp means teaspoon
  • oz means ounce

Beyond these basics, most everything else is explained in our recipes. Go forth and eat well.