Whether you're an amateur cook or a seasoned chef, it can often seem like you need to spend years in cooking school and build a first-class kitchen to prepare the best possible food. However, regardless of your level of culinary experience, there are a number of simple tips you can use to make every dish a success. Read on to learn a few of the best cooking tips to become a better cook!

Invest in Good Tools, and Take Care of Them
You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on the best set of knives or the highest-quality pans, but switching over to the right instruments can making your culinary experience more pleasurable and more effective. Start with metal measuring cups, which won't warp over time, a solid and sturdy wooden cutting board, and move up to a reliable set of knives, non-stick skillets, and maybe even a mandoline. Once you have these items, make sure to keep them in good shape by cleaning and sharpening them regularly. There are even professional sharpening services you can visit once a year or so to keep your tools in the best possible shape.

Prep Your Work Space
Make sure your kitchen is well-lit and all of your tools are laid out before you start cooking: you'll spend less time squinting at your cookbook and rummaging through your drawers. Consider keeping a bowl for refuse right on the counter while you cook to make clean up easier, and make sure you have a sponge and dishtowel close by so you can start on the dishes while you wait for your recipe to cook.

Make Spices and Seasonings a Priority
Everyone should know how to cook with spices. After all, these herbs are not only delicious, but often contain unique anti-oxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phyto-sterols and many other plant-derived nutrient substances, which help our body fight against germs and toxins. However, if you open a jar and you can't smell the seasoning, throw it out; if you can't smell it, you won't be able to taste it either. With a number of exotic spices for sale, there is no reason to settle for lackluster seasonings, and there are plenty of opportunities to try something new. Take fennel pollen, for example: the most potent form of fennel, a licorice-like plant with high levels of fiber and Vitamin-C, fennel flavor is a great addition to any dish, from fish and meat to unique desserts for the holidays. If you don't have time to pick up new ingredients, however, you can further enhance flavor by heating your seasonings in a dry pan for a few minutes. Make sure to stir constantly and transfer the spices to a plate to cool before using.

Take Notes
Did you notice that a new recipe could have used more salt? Did your oven over-cook the chicken? Improve your next attempt by making notes in your cookbook or simply on your phone. Once you start this habit, you'll notice that you pick up a number of tips from talking to friends and family and will likely see yourself experimenting more, improving your culinary experiences as a result.

What tips do you use to improve your culinary experience? Share them in the comments below!

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