How To Avoid Cooking & Baking Disasters

Have you ever added too much salt, pepper or some other ingredient that ruined your cooking or baking creation? I sure have! Learning to cook has been a real eye-opening experience for me. All it took was a few minutes of time in the kitchen to produce fantastically delicious meals. The first step is knowing the tools of the trade.


Feeling like a big of a goof or dweeb in the kitchen? Well, no worries. You’re not alone. Maybe you’ve been stumbled by a few acronyms like Tsp and Tbs.  Get those two things confused and it could ruin the entire meal. I know… it’s happened to me – many times!

This Cooking Dweebs Advice

Before you begin cooking get to know the cooking and baking terms and tools of the trade. Otherwise you may experience…

The Curse of The Cup

OK, so besides the “time” thing, as in not having enough of it to bake a cake or cook a Lasagna, my resistance to cooking has to do with feeling like a total dweeb in the kitchen.

And I’m sure it’s not 100% just me!

I’ve seen the “Worst Cooks in America” show on the Food Network and on one episode I watched this lady read the recipe that called for a “cup” of water. She did EXACTLY what I did when I was about 12 years old.

She grabbed a “cup”, filled it up with water and dumped it into the pot.

The problem?

It was a measuring “cup”. I think that “cup” held as much as 3 total “cups”.

So, you see the confusion here right? Yah, a measuring cup should NOT be called a “cup” at all.  Why didn’t they name that thing something like the measuring container. That way in the recipe it would say something like…

Use your measuring “container” to “measure” out 1 cup of water. Now THAT would clear things up for those of us who take things a bit too literally in the kitchen!

The image above shows just how confusing this could be for some people. It is a container that holds 8 total cups. 😉  I learned that lesson the hard way when I was a kid. But you know what? I still have to pay very close attention to Tsp VS Tbs.

Those are two really tricky acronyms that can really mess up a meal!

tools of the trade

What you need in the kitchen are pretty inexpensive to get. And depending on what you’re going to be cooking and baking, you’ll want to add to this list. The most important things you’ll need are the measuring utensils such as a measuring “cup” which varies in the amount of liquid it can hold.

Measuring set of spoons.My kitchen includes a measuring cup that holds 2 total cups of ingredients (meant to hold liquid ingredients), a set of measuring cups that all fit inside each other; the biggest one holds a single cup (meant to hold dry ingredients). And I have a few different sets of spoons.

Recently I purchased an oven thermometer and  to be more accurate when cooking meats and certain types of deserts you’ll need a liquid thermometer too.

It helps to understand how many teaspoons equal a tablespoon; 3, and how many liquid tablespoons equal an ounce; 2. And knowing the difference between a fourth of a cup and a single cup. Things like this will come up as you are working with different recipes.

It’s super easy to learn the answer. Just go to Google and type in what you need. Try asking this, “how many teaspoons are in an ounce of powder?”

The results are pretty cool. You’ll get your answer in less than a second. It really helps to understand these things when you’re putting together recipes you’re not familiar with, especially when it calls for ingredients you have little experience with.

And don’t feel like you have to have every item at once. I have all the above but have yet to get a liquid thermometer. But even without it activating yeast for my bread and pizza dough has not been a problem.

I do plan on getting one, just not worried about getting “everything” all in one shopping spree.

Practice Results in Perfection

Or at least it produces the results you and your family will love. Rather than trying to master a lot of different things at once, I’ve been working with dough. There are so many different things you can make with dough. Bread, pizza, empanadas, calzones, and lots of other items both savory and sweet that you can work with.

I’ve been making bread and pizza. OMG!!! The bread is delicious but the pizza is soooo good it’s addictive! I have been missing out on this creative outlet for far too long. This recipe I put together is so good if I put the pizza in a Round Table box you’d never know the difference!

Yah… it’s just THAT GOOD! So good in fact I’m going to create my first cartoon video for YouTube using my experience in coming up with the recipe for both the dough and the sauce. Believe it or not I did not follow any ONE recipe for the dough or sauce.

And here it is

(Jaw drops) Yah… I KNOW! But once you start baking and working with dough you begin to realize there are many ways of doing it. And the cool thing about dough is it’s so versatile and forgiving.


OK, enough chat, it’s time to get back to baking!

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  1. It took us a while to get used to the American ‘cup’ measure! Now – we have a set of measuring cups and can use them when recipe books refer to this measure. Very useful actually! we also have a set of measures for things like teaspoons, dessert spoons and table spoons. Accuracy is everything!

    We love making our own pizza too and use a breadmaker to make the dough. A bit of a cheat – but it tastes good!

  2. Great article about preventing disasters in the kitchen. Careful preparation and good tools are two really good recommendations. It helps sometimes to watch videos about cooking if you are new to it or to cook with an experienced cook. But you get better at it the more you cook and as you add new recipes to your repertoire. Good advice.

  3. I can definitely relate to this article, with measurements you also have to know the origin of the recipe as a cup can mean different things in different countries i think! However i am a bit of a rogue in the kitchen and tend to make things up as i go alone, this works better for cooking compared to baking, but so far no major disasters – fingers crossed!