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These are a few things that I’ve found to be game-changers. Simple things that make cooking better, easier and tastier.

1. Never use iodized table salt. It’s yucky and tastes like chemicals. Use kosher salt for cooking and sea salt for finishing. My very favorite salt of all time is Maldon Sea Salt. It has a wonderful briny, not-too-salty flavor and a great crunch.

2. Use sharp knives. Seems obvious, right? Well, until I bought a sharpener, I thought that just flapping a knife against one of those round honing-things was enough. I was wrong!. A well-sharpened knife is a revelation. We use an inexpensive Wustoff sharpener.

3. Use a reliable thermometer. How can you tell if that heritage turkey is perfectly done or I-don’t-feel-so-well pink? You stick it with the pointy end! (I apologize for the first of many Game Of Thrones references). Seriously though, you may be able to tell if a steak or a pork chop is done by poking it with your finger but a larger piece of meat requires fancier technology. We really like the Thermapen. It’s insanely expensive but if you cook a lot of roasts (or make candy), it’s really worth it.

4. Don’t be afraid of the dark. When browning, there is a very fine line between beautiful deep, dark color and bitter, black and burned. Learning how to bring something right to that edge but not going over is worth the practice. More color = more flavor. To brown well, you do need a good, heavy bottomed skillet. My all time favorite is this Le Creuset pan. Yes, it’s not a cheap pan, but if you take care of it, it should last forever. We also got ours on mega-sale so I would keep my eyes open discounts.