Everyone wants to be a great cook, but just the thought of cooking evokes fear in many would-be chefs. Whether you want to whip up quick meals for the family, fill the perfect picnic basket or throw an elegant dinner party, you are sure to learn things here that will increase your culinary skills.

Learn to use your hands when cooking (after washing them thoroughly first of course!). Hands are the most sensitive yet versatile cooking utensil you will own. They can be used for mixing, measuring and testing whether a product is cooked enough. A cake, for example, will show that it is done by springing back when touched lightly with a finger on its top.

Make sure you store all of your spices in cool and dark places. Make sure they are not over the stove. Humidity, light and heat, will cause them to lose their flavor. That will not make for a good tasting meal. Get a spice rack and store it in your pantry.

Rub your hands against your sink after cooking with garlic. Garlic can be an undesirable smell to have cling to you. It might sound a bit odd, but next time you are cooking with it, rub your hands against your sink. If your sink is stainless steel, it should remove the smell.

Save sauces in ice cube trays. If you make several meals during a week, consider saving sauces from them in ice cube trays. This will allow you to add some interesting variety to any dishes you might be making later in the week. It will also make the process simple.

Now that you’ve read the basic tips that you need to become the talented cook that you’ve always wanted to be, practice tonight in your own kitchen by making a meal that will knock their socks off. In time, you’re going to be the best cook in the whole neighborhood!