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Tips for New Gluten-Free Cooks

Part of the Student’s Gluten-Free Cookbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Sticking to a gluten-free diet during your college years can be especially hard. Living and food-prep spaces are often cramped and shared, and not all university dining hall personnel are hip to the needs of gluten-free students and staff. These circumstances make it tough to rely on others to feed you safely. Yet what a terrific opportunity this presents for you to learn to cook! Cooking may seem intimidating at first, but it can be quite rewarding — after all, the result is delicious food!

Here are some tips for new gluten-free cooks:

  • Cook with other people who know how to cook or want to learn.

  • At first, choose recipes that don’t rely too much on flour. Adjusting a recipe that calls for a tablespoon or two of flour is an easy substitution issue, but baking an entire gluten-free cake from scratch takes a bit of practice.

  • When you’re cooking for someone important, don’t try out a new recipe. Stick to gluten-free dishes you know how to prepare and that you know turn out well. Do a trial run with the recipe if you need to.

  • Take the time to read through the whole recipe before you begin cooking.

  • Use parchment paper for lining baking pans, especially when baking gluten-free. Parchment makes removing your baked goods from the pan much easier, and it makes cleanup a dream — no butter-flour mixture or errant batter to scrape off!

  • Always use sharp knives. Not only are sharp knives safer (because they’re less likely to slip), but they make your work much more efficient.

  • When cooking meat, make some extra to use in the next day’s meal.

  • When cooking on a stovetop, make sure that the handle of your pan is turned away from you so you don’t accidentally hit it and cause the hot food to go flying off the stove.

  • If your recipe flops, consider how you can change the food into something good. For example, you can turn flat gluten-free cookies into an ice cream topping or cookie crumb pie crust.

  • Clean as you go to save time at the end.

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