Food can bring together families and friends, teach history, express creativity and of course, fill your tummy. Cooking can give you joyful memories with loved ones, be the passageway to late night conversations and family stories, and help you self-explore creativity, patience and self-reliance. So ditch those takeout menus, stop by the grocery store, and make yourself a delicious home-cooked meal. Not sure how? Don't let that stop you. Check out these five ways to learn how to cook:

1. From Family 

Bringing out old family photo albums, I found a treasure of photographs of my grandmother, my mum and me cooking feasts for each other and the rest of the family. From learning how to clean potatoes as a baby, to chopping onions while crying rivers, to creating yummy sugar-free desserts for my grandmother, cooking has allowed me to create the best memories and the strongest bonds. Learning how to cook from family is the easiest, most enjoyable and fool-proof way–that's how it has always been done. In the olden days, family recipes were preserved through generations and knowledge about food and technique was passed down from parents to children. The family secrets about how to make the perfect pasta or the recipe for the best chocolate cake will never fail you. Therefore, number one on my list is learning to cook from family. 

2. From YouTube 

coffee, tea
Khadijah Jacobs

The internet is so distracting, but what better way to distract yourself than by watching yummy food videos? Recently, I attempted to cook a cherry tomato and basil tart. I watched different recipe videos on how to make the perfect short-crust pastry and how to make a vegetable/fruit tart. Some videos emphasized the importance of keeping the butter for the dough extremely cold, while others stressed minimally kneading the dough. The range of videos gave me a macro-level understanding of how the dish can be created and cautioned me against some serious baking disasters. Also, watching videos on how to make a certain dish helps you confirm whether your cooking is going the way it should. You can compare the size of the butter pieces in the dough or the color of the tart. These comparisons can help you catch mistakes and correct them immediately, instead of ending up with a failed baking experience. Some of my favorite YouTube channels are: 

1) Everyday Foods - Kitchen Conundrums

2) Tasty 

3) Tastemade 

4) Jamie Oliver 

3. From Professionals

Yashasvi Kathotia

Professional classes can be a great way to learn how to cook. The chefs explain the scientific reasoning behind why a cake rises the way it does, or why onion make you cry so much. Such information really helps you cook by giving you an understanding of how ingredients interact with each other. Although these courses can be expensive, if you are serious about cooking, a few classes are a great way to master the basics. From learning how to chop to creating sauces, these classes are the best opportunities to ask questions and learn from professional chefs. You can find some great classes at:

1) Sur La Table 

2) The Culinary Institute of America 

3) Institute of Culinary Education

4. Through Trial and Error

Although the most risky, this method can also be the most rewarding way to learn how to cook. I would recommend approaching this method in conjunction to any other method listed above. Trial and error can be a great way to experiment with different flavors and techniques. You can discover your own flavour combinations and tweak recipes to your own taste. Recently, I met up with some friends and attempted to make chai-flavored macaroons. We failed. Miserably. But we had so much fun in the process–from screaming to figure out what we had done wrong, to finally realizing that we had mixed in too much flour and too little sugar, we learned what mistakes not to make the second time around. Attempt a recipe you like and see what happens!

5. From Cookbooks  

Hannah Cather

This method is great for those who want to gain in-depth knowledge about the different ingredients and techniques. Again, I would recommend this approach in conjunction to the methods listed above. I find it difficult to learn how to cook a dish just from a book, without watching any videos or talking to my mum about it. Cookbooks can be a great way to acquaint yourself with basic lingo and ingredients, but I think they're most helpful when you already have a handle on cooking and want some inspiration. Some great books to begin with would be:

1) How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

2) A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones

3) Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver

4) Flour by Joanne Chang

Go splurge at the grocery store and make a yummy home-cooked meal. You–and others who live with you–will be glad you did. If you want some inspiration, check out Spoon's recipe page.

Ready to get cooking? Check out:

-19 Healthy Dinner Recipes Anyone Can Make

-The 15 Most Popular Spoon Recipes of 2015

-7 Easy and Healthy Meals You Can Cook at Home