10 Recipes You Should Know How To Make By The Time You Turn 30

I celebrated my golden this year: I turned 30 on April 30th. The landmark age that began with a flood of ambivalence, almost six months later, has left me with the acute understanding that there are things you most certainly do know by 30, there are things you definitely do not know by 30, and there are things you should know by 30. If you're like me, this applies to your skills in the kitchen — and also out of it. Yes, this is a "life is a recipe" cooking metaphor, so get those measuring spoons out, because I'm calling for one part butter and one part existentialism.

As painfully cliche as it all sounds, the big 3-0 really does fill you with a profound sense of self-awareness, acceptance, and all-around ease. Of course this doesn't mean that at the stroke of midnight your 29-year-old pumpkin self magically turns into a Zooey Deschanel clone, parading effortless bangs, endearing quirkiness, and the voice of a nightingale. No, 30 means you've been working your ass off for 10 years learning lessons the hard way, and guess what, you can now apply those lessons to real life, bettering yourself at every opportunity. But don't kid yourself, you're only a third of the way there, and there's so much more to learn. Covering all life verticals is extensive, and the modern adult attention span is around 15 minutes, so for the sake of brevity and sanity, I'm limiting these should-knows to 10 kitchen how-tos. But before I get all Julia and Julia on you, go ahead and take one of those 15 minutes to pat yourself on the back, acknowledging a few hard truths you do know:

You know what you like. You know what you don't like. And perhaps more importantly, you know that you don't know what you don't like yet, so you'll try it. As the old Chinese proverb goes, you can eat anything in the rainforest, once.

Giphy

So without further ado, here are the 10 cooking how-tos you may not know, but definitely should know by 30.

1. Poached Eggs

Poaching an egg sounds and looks far more complicated than it is. All you need is a pot of water, some colorless vinegar, and utensils. The culinary wizards of Five and Spice pair their yolks with sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. Need a little more help? The Food Network's Alton Brown shows you the step-by-step poaching process below.

Food Network on YouTube

2. Frittata

If you can poach an egg, you can surely scramble and bake some, too. Frittatas are a great (classy) twist on the everyday omelette, and you'll be sure to impress your guests with toppings like roasted asparagus and blue cheese. Need a place to start? Check out this recipe by Naturally Ella.

3. Butternut Squash Soup

Workplace sandwich-salad lunches get real old, real fast. Surprisingly, the prep for a roasted butternut squash soup is just as fast, and free of all those harmful chemicals in processed lunch meats. Naturally Ella shows you how to blend your squash with ginger and garlic for an added weekday kick.

4. Hummus

Store bought hummus is what, like $4.99 a tub?! That's about three solid weeks of Netflix right there. Go homemade hummus. You'll save money and win bonus points with your neighbors as your apartment fills with the soothing smell of roasted rosemary. A Spicy Perspective has the perfect recipe.

5. Pesto

Homemade pesto gives you the perfect reason to put that basil plant to use from your last housewarming party. Make it in bulk and freeze the remainder. Your future sandwiches, pastas, and omelettes will thank you. The Kitchen Alchemist provides multiple ways to pair this healthy spread.

6. Chicken Soup

There's truly nothing worse than being sick with the flu as an adult. By 30, you'll accept the fact that no one loves you enough to don the hazmat suit needed to bring you soup. And that's OK, because thanks to all those Groupon-induced cooking classes you wasted half your rent on in your 20s, you now know how to make your own damn soup. I've always been partial to matzo ball, but The Kitchn's Chinese Chicken Soup proves to soothe just as well.

7. Quick Jam

Think you need to chop, boil, wax, and can in order to make delicious homemade jam? Think again. The Kitchn's 30-minute stovetop jam is a great way to use up that last bit of summer fruit. No more summer fruits? Simmer some apples or figs as a sweet autumn condiment.

8. Anything Quinoa

Why is quinoa featured in nine out of 10 food blogs? It's healthy, that's why. And not only is quinoa healthy, it's also super versatile, allowing for endless zesty additions like jalapeños, goat cheese, or cumin. Try stuffing it into a butternut squash boat like Naturally Ella does here. It's an atypical potluck addition that tastes great and travels well on the train.

9. Homemade Stovetop Popcorn

First party trick? Dazzle guests with homemade maple butter and sea salt popcorn. Second party trick? Saber that champagne bottle like a boss.

10. Hot Toddy

This classic warm whiskey drink can get you through those long, cold 30-something nights wondering if your kindred spirit really does exist. Besides, how are you going to invite your date up for a hot toddy if you don't know how to make one? **wink**

Images: Elton Harding/Flickr; Giphy; Five and Spice; Naturally Ella (3); A Spicy Perspective (2); The Kitchn (3); The Kitchen Alchemist