Prior to last March, I would've rated my cooking skills as "fine, just fine." I knew enough recipes to not get bored, and I knew how to make them taste good enough to look forward to after a day at the office. But then I stopped going to my office—or anywhere, really— and started spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Literally: The best spot for me to write and edit stories for work in my studio apartment is at the bar-height counter that separates the kitchen from the living space.
So, like many, I started trying out new recipes, from baked mac and cheese with pesto and peanut sauce-topped crispy tofu, to pecan pie muffins and cucumber sorbet. And not to downplay the importance of high-quality ingredients or proper cooking techniques (not to mention plain old practice), but what's really helped to build my confidence in the kitchen throughout the pandemic is acquiring the cooking tools I didn't know I needed.