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Primer of Basic Kitchen Skills

Provides information about basic kitchen skills to prepare students for cooking in the classroom.

Teach this information to your students for a successful classroom cooking experience.

Rules for a Good Cook

Before You Cook

  • If you have long hair, fasten it back.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Read the recipe all the way through.
  • If using an oven, preheat to temperature in the recipe.
  • Get all the equipment and ingredients you will need.
  • Wash ingredients as needed (i.e. fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, etc).
  • Now you are ready to begin. Follow the directions carefully.

As You are Cooking

  • Follow the recipe step by step.
  • Try not to spill while you are measuring, mixing, and stirring.
  • Measure carefully. Use the right measuring spoon or cup.
  • Keep the kitchen clean and neat as you work.
  • Do things calmly and quietly.
  • Cook as the recipe directs.
  • Follow time and temperature instructions exactly.

Clean-up Time

  • Scrape, rinse, then wash all your dishes and put them away.
  • Clean up table or counter.
  • Store leftovers properly.
  • Sweep the floor and wipe up any spills and splatters.
  • Be sure you have turned off the stove and oven before leaving the kitchen.

Safety is a Good Habit

  • Keep your hands dry. Slippery, wet hands may cause you to drop something.
  • If something spills on the floor, wipe it up at once. Someone may slip and fall.
  • Use a potholder in each hand when you take hot pans or dishes from the oven.
  • Turn pan handles away from edge of the stove, so they cannot be bumped.
  • When using the vegetable parer or knife, always cut away from yourself.
  • Place foods to be cut on a cutting board. Cut down, onto the board; never toward your hand.
  • Avoid contact with steam. Tip lid away from you when you raise the cover to check contents of a hot pan.
  • If food or grease should catch on fire, smother the flames with a lid, a cookie sheet, or foil. Never pick up or carry a pan of flaming grease.

How to Measure

Liquids
  • Place measuring cup on the table or counter.
  • Make sure the liquid is level with the mark on the cup.
  • View from eye level rather than from the top. This will make the measure more accurate.
Dry Ingredients
  • Put ingredients into measuring cup or spoon until it is slightly overflowing.
  • Carefully level the ingredients by running the straight edge of a knife or spatula across the top of the spoon or cup.

Abbreviations Chart

Abbreviation Measurement
tsp teaspoon
Tbsp tablespoon
oz ounce
cup cup
pt pint
qt quart
lb pound
min minute
sec second
hr hour

Measures and Equivalents Chart

Measure Equivalent
3 teaspoons 1 tablespoon
16 tablespoons 1 cup
8 ounces 1 cup
2 cups 1 pint
4 cups 1 quart
4 quarts 1 gallon
8 tablespoons or ½ cup of butter 1 stick of butter


Adapted from Kids Can Cook, Dairy Council of California

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | CArecipes@cde.ca.gov | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 2, 2023
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