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Help! I have a kitchen, and I don’t know how to use it!

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But the heart of the statement is absolutely true—I’m more than a little lost when it comes to cooking healthy for myself (I do make a mean batch of ultra-chocolate chip brownies, but—sadly—they’re not CL-approved.)

I blame this on two factors:

1) I’ve been in college and living in a dorm for the last four years. As a result, any meals I cooked often didn’t get more complicated than “Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.”

2) My family was never one that cooked often. My mom rarely cooks anything that doesn’t involve a slow cooker, and my dad’s cooking usually involves a hot grill, an appliance I never learned to use due to the fact that it terrifies me.

But now that I’m out of college and on my own, nutrition and finances (mostly finances) have dictated that I start making the majority of my own meals. This necessity has since resulted in many instances of me standing in my kitchen wondering what in the world I’m supposed to do.

Thankfully I’m in a job (I’m the new digital fellow here at Cooking Light, hi!) that exposes me to gobs of new and tasty recipes every single day. Combined with Google and the glory that is Pinterest, I’ve finally found the motivation to stop making my umpteenth bowl of pasta and actually teach myself to cook.

It has been an interesting little journey so far. I’ve learned how to caramelize, (which was much more eventful than it should have been), I’ve been introduced to at least three new cheeses, and I have not once cut my finger when mincing garlic. Not everything has turned out pretty and perfect, but even a little cooking success is a big personal victory in my book.

My status as a kitchen novice is still very much intact, but I’m going to keep working on it. My next goal is to go an entire week without resorting to making a PB&J. Wish me luck!

Tell us about your first cooking experience! When did you learn to cook and who taught you?