Cooking can be fun, therapeutic and profitable. Of course, that’s only the case if the person in question is a good cook.
Surprisingly one of the most common mistake cooks make is neglecting to test the dish they are preparing. There are several tests that a cook can do to make sure that the dish they present is flavorful and cooked thoroughly.
First, the taste test. The most important thing to remember when following a recipe is that most of the measurements are approximate. Sometimes a person cooks a dish and then realizes that the amount of pepper has raised the heat index so high that it can’t be eaten. Or they might find that the amount of salt is too low and the dish is bland. These problems and others like them are easily cured. Add the ingredients slowly to avoid over seasoning, mix the dish carefully so the flavor gets into every inch of the food, and be sure to taste test frequently until the flavor is perfectly balanced.
One warning about taste testing is that recipes that involve raw meat, or raw eggs should not be tasted before they are cooked. This means that cookie dough is off limits, as are other batters or sauces that have raw eggs in the mix.
The final test that a cook must perform is the test to see if the dish is cooked thoroughly. When fish is done it will be opaque in the center and it won’t flake or fall of the bone. Chicken should also be opaque and firm. Beef can be eaten while it’s pink in the middle if the chef prefers it that way, but all meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. A meat thermometer is an excellent investment for any cook regardless of expertise.
Vegetables should be cooked until they have reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When they are done they will look slightly shiny. They should be soft but not wilted and they should have the same texture all the way through with no hard or mushy spots.
This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list of cooking tests. There are many more things a person can do to get the best from their cooking, but these should get any cook on the road to recognizing the flavors and improving the quality of their food preparation.