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    30 Qualities Of A Good Home Cook

    Pick and choose.

    A good cook...

    1. Can make something out of nothing and turn scraps into a meal

    2. Respects—in all senses of the word—food: Where it comes from and how it's traditionally used, how it got to him or her, how to best prepare it

    3. Has a desire to nourish and please, and focuses on the enjoyment of the people eating their food

    4. Has no fear (or is at least able to set fears aside)

    5. BUT also knows his or her limits (you can be a good home cook even if you have a comfort zone)

    6. Is curious, with a tendency towards experimentation

    7. Is at peace with eating a less-than-amazing meal in the name of learning

    8. Is patient

    9. Can scale up quickly (is able to cook for 10 or for 2)

    10. Knows a few techniques that are transferrable and that work for what he or she likes to eat: roasting, stir-frying, making a dressing

    11. Brings people together over food

    12. Has respect for the freshest and best ingredients that his or her budget allows

    14. AND has an encyclopedic knowledge of what's in his or her kitchen at any time

    15. Is willing to try again

    16. Knows which foods/flavors complement one another

    17. Follows recipes

    18. BUT can adapt recipes as he or she goes along and is willing to think outside their boundaries

    19. Loves cooking as much as eating

    20. Develops a broad vocabulary and understanding of cooking as his or her knowledge develops

    21. Tastes as he or she goes

    22. Does not overcrowd the pan

    23. Isn't afraid to use high heat and really char things

    24. Uses a tiny bit of acid (lemon, vinegar, etc.) to brighten up a dish

    25. Adds enough salt but does not over salt

    26. Learns from his or her mistakes

    27. Has a healthy appetite

    28. Wastes as little as possible

    29. Respects those who have come before him or her and the knowledge they can impart

    30. Embraces the mundane: enjoys chopping a carrot, boiling water, and (maybe) washing dishes

    Catherine O'Donnell contributed to this post. For more, visit Food52.