Becoming a good cook isn’t about being flashy or complicated. I think the best cooks are a ones with a few simple techniques that they do well. There are some things that will give any cook confidence.
Reading a recipe. Knowing how the recipe will flow helps you be a more confident cook. And also knowing if you have the ingredients/equipment on hand is good to know too.
Knife skills. Learn chopping, dicing, peeling, and the right knife to use.
Measuring. Liquid measuring cups are different than dry measuring cups. They should not be interchanged. Learning the abbreviations for measurements is important too. And how to accurately measure dry ingredients like flour. Math is important here, because you want to try your hand at doubling or tripling recipes or seeing if you have enough of an ingredient on hand.
Greasing and/or flouring pans. Not hard, but useful.
Methods for mixing. Whipping, folding, stirring, etc. are the most basic food preparatory skills.
Reading food labels. Eating healthier begins with knowledge of what you are buying.
Planning a menu. Food choices are fundamental to good cooking.
Culinary lexicon. It is necessary to know terms such as braise, simmer, saute and soft ball. Learning basic terms will make you a better cook because you will know what you need to do.
Equipment. Know what basic tools are and how to use them. These are basic tools like whisks and electric tools like blenders.
Food safety. This is a biggie. Know when food is unsafe, how to store food properly and first aid too (treating burns and cuts, for example).
Cleaning up. Sanitation, or how to properly clean cutting boards, counters, non-stick pans and knives. You may want to include stain treatment/removal.
Next: Part three–the top ten tools to have for a cook’s basic kitchen.