Cooking This Thanksgiving? Your Worst Enemy In The Kitchen Is You Dana Cowin, author of Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, offers some helpful tips for the reluctant or unpracticed cook who may be entering the kitchen on Thursday.
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Cooking This Thanksgiving? Your Worst Enemy In The Kitchen Is You

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Cooking This Thanksgiving? Your Worst Enemy In The Kitchen Is You

Cooking This Thanksgiving? Your Worst Enemy In The Kitchen Is You

Cooking This Thanksgiving? Your Worst Enemy In The Kitchen Is You

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/366851871/366851872" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Dana Cowin, author of Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, offers some helpful tips for the reluctant or unpracticed cook who may be entering the kitchen on Thursday.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

I'm Ari Shapiro with a reality check about your cooking.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM "NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION")

CHEVY CHASE: (As Clark Griswold) If this turkey tastes half as good as it looks, I think we're all in for a very big treat.

SHAPIRO: Yeah, I'm sure most of you know exactly what you're doing - you have studied for Thanksgiving, you've practiced, you've prepped.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

But let's be honest. There are some of you who haven't even been in your kitchen a since last Thanksgiving, and you have delusions of grandeur.

SHAPIRO: As in who needs a recipe? I have silicon oven mitts and a bottle of sriracha. I'll just wing it.

CORNISH: Do not be that guy or girl.

DANA COWIN: Improvisation from a not great cook can lead you to food you don't ever want to eat.

CORNISH: Oh, so true. As a public service on the eve of Thanksgiving, we asked Dana Cowin for some advice. She's the editor in chief of Food and Wine magazine and author of "Mastering My Mistakes In The Kitchen."

SHAPIRO: And we expected she would give us turkey tips or secrets for perfect potatoes, but Cowin's advice for the inexperienced overconfident cook is way more basic. It boils down to this.

CORNISH: Your worst enemy in the kitchen is you. Her first tip - stay focused.

COWIN: You cannot cook as though, you know, it's one of three sports that you can do simultaneously. Like, you can't play tennis, soccer and swim at the same time, nor can you cook a big meal for your family and correct your kid's homework and be on Twitter at the same time.

CORNISH: Seriously, no multitasking. Step away from the smart phone.

SHAPIRO: Tip two - really read the recipe before you start.

COWIN: Read it all the way to the end. Sometimes recipe writers in the second to last line have something very important like - this needs to be refrigerated overnight. If you haven't gotten to that second to last line, you are sunk when you're trying to serve your dinner in three hours.

SHAPIRO: Then, once you've read the recipe, ask these two questions.

COWIN: Have I made this before? Has it turned out well? If you answer no to those questions, you can get some help.

SHAPIRO: And help is everywhere - Google.

CORNISH: YouTube.

SHAPIRO: Your mother.

CORNISH: Your father.

SHAPIRO: Anyone you know who cooks. Pick up that smart phone and message them. Or better yet, call them and talk it over.

COWIN: Do not be shy. Do not be embarrassed. Do not feel it's humiliating. Feel it's empowering because you are going to get it right.

CORNISH: That's Dana Cowin, cheerleader for inexperienced, overconfident cooks everywhere. She's the author of "Mastering My Mistakes In The Kitchen." Follow her advice today and no one at your table will ask this tomorrow.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM "NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION")

CHASE: (As Clark Griswold) Does your cat by any chance eat Jell-O?

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