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How recipes on the Web can make you a better cook

Want to improve your skills, be more efficient in the kitchen, discover a new recipe or simply connect with other cooks? The Internet can help.

Trying to improve your pastry-making skills or make professional-looking cupcakes and cookies? No longer do you need to attend pricey schools and classes. Now that the Internet has taken over our lives, you can learn pretty much anything online — for free — whether you’re a beginner or an expert.

“I always feel a bit more secure in what I’m undertaking,” says Toronto home cook Wendy Rozeluk, who works in communications at Google, of cooking with the laptop nearby. “I feel much more confident in being able to try something new with guests the first time rather than having to try it on my own.”

Ready to improve your own skills? Here are eight ways to use the Web to get there.

1. Don’t go it alone?
Want to try a new recipe from a cookbook or magazine but daunted by some of the steps — or considering making some changes? Search for that recipe online and you’ll be sure to find blog posts from other home cooks who’ve already tried it.

Instead of cooking blind, learn from the successes and failures of others who’ve been there before, and see photos of what their dishes looked like during cooking and at the end.

2. Convert measurements
?Rozeluk points out a cool use of Google — type in, for example, “5 ounces to grams” and you’ll get the conversion at the top of your search results, without having to use a calculator or find that page in that one cookbook you know has a conversion chart. (It’s 141.7476, if you were wondering.)

3. Get visually inspired
?Have you tried Pinterest yet? It’s a social bookmarking site that helps you save, share and browse images — and recipes are huge on the site. All you need is to sign up for an account and you can save recipes you find online into groups by their images — then browse through your “pins,” or other peoples’, next time you’re looking for a recipe to make. (Don’t forget to follow Canadian Living on Pinterest once you’ve signed up.)

4. Learn techniques through video
?Rozeluk recommends browsing and searching YouTube to find videos on all sorts of techniques and recipes. “Understanding the techniques can be so visual,” she says. For instance, she found a video on how to cut radishes to make them look like a flower — a lovely decorative touch on a spring or summer meal that will really impress your guests.

Page 1 of 2 — Learn how to document and organize your recipes on page 2

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