Might be a good idea to sticky a thread like this to the top of the subreddit. Kind of like an FAQ?
I have been cooking for around 10 years now and I've got the basics down pat, but unfortunately I didn't have a very good resource for learning cooking and I had to learn pretty much everything from trial and error, so I thought it would be nice to list some of the basics that I see newbies mess up, so they can progress a little faster than I did.
Please post any other tips you've picked up over the years, or anything else you think I missed!
First thing, the most common mistake I see: A higher temperature does NOT mean it cooks faster. A higher temperature means it BURNS faster, or ends up cold on the inside. Until you're more experienced, always err on the side of low heat and a slow cook, because it doesn't matter how fast you cook it, if it ends up burned or raw inside.
Second, all the flavor is in the spice/herbs. When I started cooking I thought you could just put in the main ingredients and produce something that tasted right, without having to fiddle with all those fancy spices. Boy was I wrong. Do NOT try and make a pizza without any herb/spices... Honestly as long as you aren't using anything super strong, like garlic or actual jalapeno, you can usually go wild with those spices. When I started cooking, I was never able to put in enough herbs/spices and everything turned out bland until I just started putting a shit-ton in and toning it down from there.
Three. Follow the recipe. Every time. You are not going to be the next Michelangelo of cooking instantly. It takes a long time to know how to properly alter a recipe, so trust that the original author knew what they were doing. Cooking is chemistry. You wouldn't mess around in a chemistry lab, so don't mess around here. If you want to get really accurate, cook like a pro and get yourself a scale and measure by mass rather than measuring by volume all the time.
Those were my biggest three. What else have you guys learned over the years????