Shelby Seward
Updated August 14, 2015 11:07 am

When we were old enough to not require a baby sister during the summer, my brother and I would have to make our own lunches. Macaroni was a huge challenge. I either burnt the noodles and they stuck to the bottom of the pan, let the water overflow when it was boiling, or poured way too much milk in when I stirred in the cheese. Ramen noodles were also a challenge, so we mostly stuck to easy things, like sandwiches, chips, bagel pizzas, etc. Those things were pretty impossible to mess up.

Throughout my life I have managed to blow up two microwaves and start a fire in a third, all from popcorn. When I was young, my friend and I cooked popcorn one night and once we finished the bowl there were still a bunch of kernels left. Why not put them back in the microwave in the tin bowl with a towel over the top? They’ll be sure to pop right? False. They did not pop but they sure did start a pretty sweet fire.

Luckily, I’ve learned a couple tricks since then. My years cooking have also taught me more than what things you should or shouldn’t put in a microwave. Here are some life lessons I learned in the kitchen.

Patience really matters

Over the years I have learned how to be patient when baking/cooking new things. There’s a hot chance you won’t get it right on the first time and seriously, that’s OK! Practice makes perfect in just about every arena. You can’t hurry along a cake; it just needs to bake until it’s done. You can’t hurry along life, either. Be patient and enjoy the journey.

You can make changes as you go

One of the cardinal rules of cooking is that exactness isn’t always what makes something good. You can tweak a recipe or throw in some extra spice. You can add those vegetables you have sitting in the fridge or try baking instead of frying. You’re in control, and you can change the situation as you see fit. As with life, it’s important to remember that the course you’re on isn’t set in stone. We all have certain circumstances we can’t change but for the vast majority of life, we are in control and we call the shots. The power of choice is amazing; use it to your full advantage!

It;s not always going to come out right, no matter how hard you try

I can still never get my cake to come out of the pan without tearing or make the perfect amount of spaghetti. Usually I make enough for the whole neighborhood or I’m a plate short; I can’t ever get the perfect amount. That’s totally OK. Life isn’t about getting everything totally perfect. You have to make mistakes or mess up a little bit to learn where you are. You have to trust the struggle.

It’s OK to try new things.

I used to hate pineapple upside down cake and any pasta that had vegetables, especially onions. Now I use veggies in cooking all the time, and I’m in love with pineapple upside down cake. It’s totally okay to try new things in life, how else are you supposed to find out what you are good at? Life’s about learning, so try new things, learn what you like, don’t like, and absolutely hate. It’s worth it!

[Image via iStock]