Test Kitchen Tips
8 Unforgettable Lessons We Learned in Home Ec Class
Remember your first home ec class? While you might not remember all the recipes, I bet you learned a thing or two (or eight!) from your home economics teacher. These are lessons I value as a cook and an educator myself!
Study your recipes ahead of time
Ever get halfway through a recipe and realize you’re missing an ingredient or a pan? In home ec, my teacher taught me to always read the recipe start-to-finish before starting—sometimes encouraging the class to highlight parts or take notes. This isn’t the easiest lesson to learn, though! Just last week I accidentally made banana bread without the vanilla extract—whoops!
Shutterstock / Thomas Holt
Patience is a virtue
Remember waiting around for your recipes to be finished. Sure, you were mostly anxious to see how they turned out to get your grade, but you also learned to be patient. This is a skill we need in the kitchen, especially if you tackle any of these all-day bakes.
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Save time with a team
It was so easy to cook meals because there was more than one of us doing it! Get your family involved and you’ll more efficiently and quickly make a meal you all love.
Shutterstock / Nina Buday
Think on your feet
With your grade at stake in home ec, you might have become great at problem-solving. No lemon zest for those lemon bars? You might have relied on these substitutions. Want to use honey instead of sugar? You might have figured out the right way to swap these sweeteners out. I’m sure those experiences have helped you master quick thinking and hone your culinary intuition—an invaluable lesson.
Shutterstock / Dmytro Zinkevych
Always have eggs on hand
In some home ec classes, mastering the fried (or scrambled or over-easy) egg is a must. In my home economics class, I can’t remember a single recipe that didn’t use them. Now I always make sure I have eggs and other pantry staples on hand so I can have a good start on any new recipe.
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Live and learn
Home economics classes often expose you to all sorts of dishes. After spending all of fifth hour whipping up everything from scrambled eggs to chocolate cake to spaghetti sauce, you start to learn what your strengths are. I learned in class (and I’m still learning) what recipes I can make flawlessly and which I just don’t have the skills or patience to master. I like to stick to my strengths, let the rest go and focus on my favorites.
Shutterstock / Leszek Glasner
Class isn’t over until the kitchen is clean
In my home ec class, we couldn’t leave until we cleaned up our space. Try to apply the same rule in your kitchen! As soon as dinner is done or your cookies are baked, tidy up right away. Hey, this is another great way to get the family involved—share the chores and try cleaning up just a minute at a time.
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Enjoy a job well done
After mastering every dish the teacher threw your way, you might have gotten an A. While you don’t get grades anymore—even when you make the perfect chocolate cake—you should still get enjoy for a job well done. Be sure to reward yourself when you’ve tackled a difficult recipe or mastered a new cooking skill.