12 Things Everyone Should Know How to Cook

Not everyone is a perfect chef. Some people thrive on takeout, clamshell-packaged salads from the grocery store, and delivery. But there will come a time in your life where you’re ripped away from these conveniences, and forced to fend for yourself. This is when it pays to have a few recipes in your back pocket that you can whip out to make sure that you don’t starve to death. These recipes can be as basic or as fancy as you wish, but by having a cache of solid recipes you know off by heart, you can ensure you get a hearty meal whenever you need it. Here are a few things that everyone should know how to cook.

1. Balsamic Vinaigrette

Let’s start simple. A basic vinaigrette only requires two ingredients — oil and vinegar. You can change it up by swapping in different oils and types of vinegar. Just pick these two base ingredients carefully. Because it’s such a simple recipe, it pays to start with excellent ingredients. Don’t use plain white vinegar because the taste is too harsh and overpowering, but any other vinegar should do. Once you’ve mastered the proportions, there are plenty of variations you can dream up to make things interesting — whisk in ingredients like mustard, spices, yogurt, or even jam to change the overall flavor.

kazoka / Shutterstock

2. A salad you don’t hate

There are some people that thrive on big, hearty salads while others struggle to choke down even the most basic Caesar. As we grow into adults and realize that we have to consume vegetables in order to survive, one great thing to have in your back pocket is a recipe for a salad that you don’t hate. Take some time to experiment and see what you like. Maybe spinach isn’t your thing, so swap it out for some arugula or Bibb lettuce. Top your salad with fruit, chopped veggies, lightly dressed pasta, seeds, nuts, cheese, or anything in between.

Ekaterina Kondratova / Shutterstock

3. A dip to feed a crowd

Everyone should have at least one recipe that they can bring to a party, and a dip is the quintessential party food. Pick up a loaf of bread or a bag of chips at the grocery store and you have the perfect potluck fare. Dips can vary hugely by region, from the pimiento cheese of the South to the crab dip of the Northeast, so take some time to do your research and find one you like. Then, figure out how to make enough to take to a party, while still leaving some in the fridge for yourself the next day.

Africa Studio / Shutterstock
1 of 4