How to Cook from Scratch 

Learning how to cook from scratch is something everyone can do. As our economy worsens, many people are cooking their meals at home to save money. Basic cooking by ingredient will produce many dishes. I prefer to teach how to cook from scratch because you are less likely to get fillers, additives, and chemicals in your food. Most of the time there will be fewer calories and almost always it will be cheaper to make.

Cleanliness and food safety in your kitchen is of the utmost importance. The last thing you want is for your family or friends to get sick. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Clean vegetables thoroughly and make sure all utensils and dishes are properly washed. These good food care habits come from learning from experienced family, friends and colleagues.  

When I was growing up, most women stayed at home. Much of the day was spent in preparing food such as baking bread. Most households raised a garden that they later canned during harvest. Often what they didn't grow was purchased from a local farmer, and also preserved. Most gifts that were given were food products. Today is different. Almost everyone has to work. We need to learn how to cook from scratch for today's generation. Such as, cook in larger quantities when time is available and save to use later.

Many people are learning how to cook from scratch who have no knowledge at all. To begin, one must start with the basics. First, you must have some basic understanding of the cooking terms and cooking conversions. When following a recipe, this will give you the general idea.

Second, you must have the necessary cooking utensils and bakeware to cook with. A few things will get you started and add to them as you go. This method will save start-up money. A cheap hand mixer will do. Later, you might add a large stand mixer. I did this but still use my little hand mixer, also. With a hand mixer, you can get by using one of your regular large bowls, instead a mixer bowl. You also will need to have some bakeware available; the wrong size pan will change the final product.

When learning how to cook from scratch some form of cup and spoon measurements are necessary. A regular teaspoon and tablespoon from your silverware will work if you can’t afford to purchase right now. Same with the cup, a teacup is about one cup, and a regular size mug is about two cups. It is always best to have exact cooking measurement, but sometimes it is not possible.

When you are learning how to cook from scratch, after choosing the recipe, read, read and read. When you choose a recipe, read, read, read. Make sure you understand it. Do you need to melt something and cool it? Do you need to pre-heat oven? These are important to know before starting.Especially when trying some of the more complicated dessert recipes.

Always consider the advice of people who learned how to cook from scratch years ago. The best cooking tips come from those years of experience and education; use their advice. Don’t be afraid of trying new recipes and culinary techniques; there are plenty from which to choose. If you don’t like the results of something, think of how it can be improved the next time you make a meal. Read all of the cooking tips you can. You will be surprised when at some point you will refer to what you have read. Soon you will say “I can tell you how to cook”.


When many learn how to cook from scratch, they like to make homemade biscuits; these are easy.

  • 2 Cups sifted flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons solid shortening
  • 3/4 Cup milk

Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
Sift dry ingredients together; cut in shortening with pastry cutter.
Add milk gradually mixing with a spoon to soft dough.
Toss on floured board; pat and roll to ½ inch thickness.
Cut with biscuit cutter and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.
NOTES: If supplies are limited, biscuits can be cut with a glass, empty clean can or even a cup. If no pan is available, biscuits can be baked on heavy foil or double layer regular foil. If no sifter is available remove a tablespoon of flour from the recipe.


How to Cook from ScratchHow to Cook from Scratch

Often cooks will get confused over canned “sweetened” condensed milk and canned condensed milk. Making a mistake like this will change the outcome of your recipe. Here is how to make homemade sweetened condensed milk.

  • 6 Cups whole milk
  • 4 ½ Cups sugar
  • ½ Cup butter
  • 1 Vanilla bean (slice down to open)

Combine and cook over medium heat until thickened stirring occasionally; cool.


  • 1 Cup instant nonfat milk
  • 3 Tablespoons melted margarine
  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/3 Cup boiling water

Combine all ingredients in blender or processor.

Process until smooth stopping to scrape sides several times.

Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 1 ¾ cups.


  • 6 Level tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • ¼ Cup cocoa powder
  • 4 Cups milk
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Combine and mix cornstarch and sugar; set aside.
Slowly blend milk in cocoa powder with salt in top of double boiler stirring well.
Heat milk mixture; pour some of warm mixture into sugar and cornstarch stirring to blend.
Add sugar mixture in remaining warm milk in double boiler and stir to blend.
Return back over hot water; stir and cook until thickened.
Beat egg until light in bowl; pour some of the hot putting into the beaten egg while beating.
Add egg mixture back into pudding pan; add vanilla and beat well.
Pour immediately into wet mold; refrigerate until cold.
NOTES: Before I bought a double boiler I cooked pudding on my stove top over medium low heat (stir constantly until thickened); it always turned out good. If a pudding mold is not available, use a bowl, pan etc.


When you are learning how to cook from scratch, you will read many wonderful old stories about food. Many cities claim the ownership of the recipe for city chicken. This one coming out of Cincinnati during the Depression era. At that time chicken was more expensive than pork or beef. Scraps of the less expensive meats were passed off as mock chicken.

  • 1 Pound lean pork
  • ½ Pound veal
  • 6 Wooden skewers
  • ½ Cup flour
  • ¼ Cup cornmeal
  • Salt/pepper
  • Oil for frying

Cut meat into bite sizes; thread onto wooden skewers.
Place flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper into a bag; toss in the meat to cover with mixture.
Fry meat until browned on all sides; about 20 to 30 minutes. (Cook pork well done)
Drain skewers on paper towels.