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If you were going to ever commit any sort of recipes to your memory — if you were going to ever cook things so often that they become second nature — you should look to these twenty. (Or, if they won't all fit in your brain, at least have them at the ready). Because while we're all into big parties and fun experiments and playing around in the kitchen, we've got our staples. We've got the things we turn to for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert — all week long, when we're hungry or when we're tired or when the mood suddenly strikes. So here are Food52's most essential recipes: The things you really should know — or strive to learn! — how to cook.

Scrambled eggs

Pancakes

Chili

Roast chicken

Tomato sauce

Grilled cheese

Salad dressing

Mashed potatoes

Steak

Stir-fried noodles

Pesto

Roasted vegetables

French toast

Puréed vegetable soup

Hamburgers

Macaroni and cheese

Chicken cutlets

Frittata

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate bundt cake

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