16 Things you should be able to cook before 30

“Will you throw together some guacamole?”, someone asked me at a birthday party this weekend. Sure, no problem. I prefer to be in and around the kitchen at birthdays anyway; stowing away glasses or serving something or other. I don’t know why that is, it requires less socializing I guess. That something I am just not so good at while rummaging around in the kitchen is.

In spite of this I still dread the moment I’ll have to cook up something else for dinner every day for my kids (yes I worry about that and no I’m so not there yet). This always surprised me about my own mother. How did she manage to come up with something new all the time? And she did so without a cookbook! I suppose it’s a matter of practice makes perfect and having fun. To ease my nerves (and maybe yours too) I’ve drawn up a list of culinary arts you should be able to master by the age of 30. You’ll find some of my favorite and easiest recipes in here. Well, here they come:

Een good vinaigrette

As a good base I mean. Oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, pepper and salt. And you can vary with that. Is there goat’s cheese in your salad? Add some honey to the dressing.


“Yes well I still can’t manage one, it’s always snotty and falls apart when I flip it”, said May-Britt(42). So let’s get cooking. It works the same for scrambles eggs; you can do this, right? I think it’s a matter of patience. First turn up the heat and melt butter or (coconut) oil, make sure the pan is really hot then throw in the egg mix and turn down the heat. Sometimes you’ll have to loosen the rims. You can put a lid on the pan if you’re looking for a firmer omelet.

cooking a steak

Very difficult. Red but warm on the inside. I still goof up occasionally so I’ll have to keep watching those cooking shows.


This is something everyone should be able to make. It requires a lot of in-between tasting and figuring out what’s missing on the spot. If still in doubt here’s a good recipe.

baking pancakes

Okay, you’re allowed to read the instructions on the box and you first pancake can be a mess, but after that it should be a piece of cake.

boiling an egg

It’s still a bit of a bother for me to cook the perfect egg. I have a diagram that will come in handy.

mashed potatoes

“Give’em a good fright”, is what my grandmother used to say when mashing up a batch of cooked potatoes and giving them a cold milk shower.

chicken out of the oven

Preferably Jamie’s. 


If you have a good food processor it’s child’s play. Great for pasta, fish or on a sandwich. Really everybody can do this.

Tomato sauce

And this is so easy to make. Even more so when explained by Jamie.

Macaroni with ham and cheese

This was the first dish I could make all by myself. So unbelievably simple and so good. Kids think so. Cook the macaroni, cut the ham into cubes, the leek into rings and buy grated cheese. Put the leek into a colander and pour cooked water over it to soften it up. Add the ham and cheese to the cooked macaroni. Then in go the leek, the pepper and the salt. Done.

Dutch sand cookies

You’ll only have to make this recipe once and it will be engraved in your memory forever.

cooking  rice

The kind where you don’t drain the rice. This is how: take some rice and add one and a half as much water. Put the lid on and cook for 13 minutes, done. One water glass of rice will feed two people.

Soup on the house

Read this. Cooking up a pan of soup is something everyone should be able to do before hitting thirty.


500 grams of mixed mincemeat, a chopped onion, a little mustard, some breadcrumbs, an egg, nutmeg, pepper and salt. My grandmother (and she swears by this) would even add some walnuts or some anchovies. Mix up everything together and knead well before rolling it into little balls.

whipped cream

No packets or sachets. For on the cake or over the strawberries or whatever. And don’t you dare turn it into butter.