Learning to Cook

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 03, 2012 10:57 PM GMT
    What's the best way to learn to cook? I just boiled an egg and the whites somehow leaked out into the boiling water and cooked themselves. There's probably a fancy word for this if it's done on purpose. I burn Poptarts. Can anyone recommend a good book that teaches the basics of cooking or a P90X type dvd for cooking? I tried watching Paula Deen but she was too advanced and all I ended up doing was going to Walmart and buying a dozen doughnuts.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Apr 03, 2012 11:01 PM GMT
    My first job, aged about 21, was cooking on a fishing boat that was at sea for two months. Before then, I'd mastered cornflakes and boiling water, and could sometimes produce a toasted cheese sandwich. I got a copy of Betty Crocker and simply did what she said for each/any recipe that sounded good. I got re-hired the next year, too!

    Get a basic cookbook and read the intro, which usually will have some how-to sections, then plunge in and learn by doing. it won't take long till you start venturing off on your own and gaining confidence.

    If you like Italian, anything by Marcella Hazen or her son.

    In six weeks you can invite us all to dinner!

    best of luck!
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Apr 03, 2012 11:48 PM GMT
    The egg whites leaked out into the water because your egg's shell was cracked.
    Don't drop the egg into the water.
    Carefully place the egg into a dry pan.
    Add enough cold water to cover the egg.
    Bring the water to boiling, then turn the heat down to low.
    Let it simmer until the egg is done (5 minutes? 10 minutes ?)

    Every cookbook teaches you to cook.
    The secret is to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.
    Seriously.

    Good luck.
    You can do this.
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    Apr 03, 2012 11:49 PM GMT
    I think cooking is a talent, much like singining, drawing, etc.I didn't learn how to cook until recently, and I'm not a very good cook at that. There are some good cook books around that can teach you the basics (e.g., Joy of Cooking), but don't expect to produce gourmet food.
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    Apr 04, 2012 12:28 AM GMT
    Lower the egg into the water with a spoon.

    Donna Hay is a good author that has really simple recipes. I use her book Modern classics (Book 1) a lot. Cooking is all about timing and proportions, just add things slowly and taste often. A lot of guys cook on one setting: the highest, but even that needs to be in proportion to what you're cooking.
    And try recipes that you already know first. Eventually you'll get the gist of what goes with what.

    Paula Deen is crazy, that damn cackle of hers. I don't know how anyone can watch one episode of her show in a single sitting. She's like the country bumpkin cousin of Dr. Phil. I'd drink with her, but I won't watch her cook!
  • MarvelClimber

    Posts: 511

    Apr 04, 2012 12:45 AM GMT
    If you want to keep it interesting yet simple, get a subscription to Everyday Food. It's a little monthly magazine from Martha Stewart Living. It's the size of a Reader's Digest, so you can easily keep it on you when you stop by the market for food. She uses a wide variety of vegetables and the cooking methods involve very little oil.

    I also have a cookbook called 'Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking For One" by Joe Yonan, the current food and travel editor at The Washington Post. Those recipes are a bit more elaborate for a first-timer, but they definitely hit the spot when done right.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Apr 04, 2012 1:08 AM GMT
    Look up episodes of Good Eats with Alton Brown on the web. Watch them for fun. You will learn a lot. You don't necessarily have to try the recipes, but the show is great for learning about cooking techniques and it really is funny.

    The Betty Crocker book is really good. If the adult version is intimidating, etthe kid's version. Nothing wrong with starting simple and it is a really solid book.

    As for that egg,do as above and when the water boils turn off and let sit for fifteen minutes. Then run cold water into pan to cool the eggs. PERFECT hard boiled egg.
  • billbos

    Posts: 68

    Apr 04, 2012 1:21 AM GMT
    I agree - watching the Food Channel occasionally really helps with giving you some basics and some comfort in the kitchen.

    I also like the website America'sTest Kitchen - gives you an idea of the actual process.

    As far as cookbooks - I really like Ina Garten's books (Barefoot Contessa) - the food looks complicated but the recipes are actually very simple.

    AVOID PAULA DEEN -.......honestly.

    Good luck - I really only started cooking 5 or so years ago and have come quite far.......I too cud barely boil an egg.
  • cameron1987

    Posts: 4

    Apr 04, 2012 1:27 AM GMT
    A good amount of cook books out there really just teach you how to make recipes. What my little brother likes to do(he wants to be a chef and awesome at cooking) goes to a store called "Williams sonoma". Depending on where you live, they give complementary cooking classes. You dont cook but, you see chefs cook the food and you can ask questions and take notes. Plus, you eat all the food in the end. The est part is they give you a 10% off coupon at the end on a purchase. To make a long story short, i suggest that you take a 101 introductory cooking class to teach you the basics instead of reading on it. Hands on experience is the est way. Not saying reading is bad but will help. Lastly, make sure you get the best things you can afford. Knoves and cutting boards are essential. Get a good chefs knife and a cutting board (i recommend Epicurean boards) because there made from wood composite, dish washer safe and will not dull your knife. For knives, i suggest you go into a cooking store and just hold the knives to feel what is best. Sorry if its long but, this is one of the best ways to learn hoe to cook. Good luck with your culinary adventure!!!
    - cameron
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    Apr 04, 2012 1:31 AM GMT
    Here is what you want. Tiny gifs that show you the most basic techniques needed for cooking.

    This is the In Home Healthy Cooking Class where we demonstrate quick and easy techniques of the healthy cooking methods. Regardless of how much cooking experience you have, you will be able to prepare healthy foods that taste good.

    In-Home Cooking Class

    Poached Egg

    Recipes

    And to see how nutritous the food is:

    Food List
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 04, 2012 1:31 AM GMT
    Take a class at your local community college. You'll learn the basics. Everything after that is essentially following instructions on recipes.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Apr 04, 2012 1:36 AM GMT

    There is a scene in Julie and Julia which is historically accurate: the author of The Joy of Cooking, Erma Rombauer, meets Julia and Simone Beck (Julia's co-author) in Paris, and in the conversation she admits that she never tested a great many of her recipes.

    I've tried a few of them, and a great many are seriously wrong. Measurements are wrong. ingredients sometimes wrong. And even when they're successful, the food in the book is strictly 1950s-style cooking.

    I survived the 50's - cooking was like that then!

    Eeek!
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Apr 04, 2012 1:36 AM GMT
    billbos saidI agree - watching the Food Channel occasionally really helps with giving you some basics and some comfort in the kitchen.

    I also like the website America'sTest Kitchen - gives you an idea of the actual process.

    As far as cookbooks - I really like Ina Garten's books (Barefoot Contessa) - the food looks complicated but the recipes are actually very simple.

    AVOID PAULA DEEN -.......honestly.

    Good luck - I really only started cooking 5 or so years ago and have come quite far.......I too cud barely boil an egg.


    +1

    This is how I learned and I watched everyone on Food Network to learn techniques. Cooking is really very simple and you just have to go in with the mindset, "I'm gonna do this."

    Thank you for the Ina Garten plug. I have all of her cookbooks, watch all of the Barefoot Contessa shows and relive all those through You Tube. I'm an Ina-phile, I suppose. Paula Deen has some good recipes (her "Not Your Mama's Banana Pudding" is featured in my profile---:lolicon_smile.gif, however, moderation is the key.......She also has a wonderful and stupidly easy recipe for "Georgia Cracker Salad" in one of her cookbooks. Simple as it is....so wonderfully good!

  • Parker817

    Posts: 359

    Apr 04, 2012 1:38 AM GMT
    If I may engage in a little shameless self-promotion...

    http://poormanscupboard.blogspot.com/

    It's a work in progress...
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Apr 04, 2012 1:38 AM GMT
    One other thought. Do you have a grandma or could you rent one? They are amongst the very best cooking tutors.
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    Apr 04, 2012 1:48 AM GMT
    LJay saidOne other thought. Do you have a grandma or could you rent one? They are amongst the very best cooking tutors.


    Oddly enough, my grandma does not and has never cooked. I loved her chocolate pie when I was a kid. I found out years later she bought it at Ukrops.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Apr 04, 2012 1:59 AM GMT
    And Martin"s ain't much.
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    Apr 04, 2012 2:10 AM GMT
    Coach_Mike saidWhat's the best way to learn to cook? I just boiled an egg and the whites somehow leaked out into the boiling water and cooked themselves. There's probably a fancy word for this if it's done on purpose. I burn Poptarts. Can anyone recommend a good book that teaches the basics of cooking or a P90X type dvd for cooking? I tried watching Paula Deen but she was too advanced and all I ended up doing was going to Walmart and buying a dozen doughnuts.


    Ummmmm... Paula Deen? Seriously? You want to use her cooking as a guide? Are you effing insane?

    If you do, please post pix when you've reached double your current body weight.
  • denverdiveguy

    Posts: 39

    Apr 04, 2012 2:40 AM GMT
    I'd start with Rachael Ray and watch her show.
    http://www.rachaelray.com/

    She has an unbelievable amount of enthusiasm for the craft... it's contagious.
    Besides all of that, she's not a classically trained chef, so she goes back to the basics everyone remembers when they were a kid and watched their Mom cook (well, mine burned water, so not a good example).
  • araphael

    Posts: 1148

    Apr 04, 2012 2:46 AM GMT
    Start with something simple dude, may be like spaghetti. Easiest dish in the world to make. Just make sure you don't over cook your noodles. Once you gain your confidence with that, then move on to something a little more complicated. You'll find your confidence growing. And if you mess up a dish, don't panic, just throw the food up against the wall and say, "damn it! I hate incompetence in the kitchen!" hahaha
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    Apr 04, 2012 2:55 AM GMT
    intensity69 said
    Coach_Mike saidWhat's the best way to learn to cook? I just boiled an egg and the whites somehow leaked out into the boiling water and cooked themselves. There's probably a fancy word for this if it's done on purpose. I burn Poptarts. Can anyone recommend a good book that teaches the basics of cooking or a P90X type dvd for cooking? I tried watching Paula Deen but she was too advanced and all I ended up doing was going to Walmart and buying a dozen doughnuts.


    Ummmmm... Paula Deen? Seriously? You want to use her cooking as a guide? Are you effing insane?

    If you do, please post pix when you've reached double your current body weight.


    I'm a southern boy with a major sweet tooth. Paula Deen isn't a demon as far as I'm concerned. As long as I remember two principles I'll be ok: Everything in moderation, including moderation; and calories in< calories burnt. I teach elementary PE. I burn a lot of calories every day. I can have my Paula Deen cake and eat it too.
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    Apr 04, 2012 3:05 AM GMT
    Cooking is one of my passions! I've been cooking since I was 8, helping prep food for dinner and learned how to make scrambled eggs at 9.
    You could learn a lot from cooking shows and from friends too. But first things first; start with simple things and work up from there. A lot of cooking is simply common sense, science and knowing how start cooking different foods at different times in the recipe. The seasoning, ingredients; along with presentation make it an art form. You don't have to make every plate a masterpiece or you can make even the simplest meals a masterpiece if you want! It's your game. The best thing about learning how to cook; is learning to cook with others in the kitchen with you. It's good practice for cooking together with your boyfriend; or when you're having company/ a date over who you want to impress. Learn as much as you can about what YOU love to eat, and make those recipes your own. Your stomach, and friends will want you over more often! icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 04, 2012 3:05 AM GMT
    araphael saidStart with something simple dude, may be like spaghetti. Easiest dish in the world to make. Just make sure you don't over cook your noodles. Once you gain your confidence with that, then move on to something a little more complicated. You'll find your confidence growing. And if you mess up a dish, don't panic, just throw the food up against the wall and say, "damn it! I hate incompetence in the kitchen!" hahaha

    My spaghetti is either crunchy or mushy. If I threw my food against the wall every time I f'd up my kitchen would be condemned. The Betty Crocker for Kids cookbook is probably the best advice for me.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Apr 04, 2012 3:32 AM GMT
    Big things about cooking spaghetti noodles:

    Use plenty of water in a big pot.

    Get the water boiling well.

    Scatter the noodles as you put them in the water.

    Notice the time on the noodle package and pull out a single piece of spaghetti to test for doneness [eat it]

    When done, pour the noodles into a colander in the sink to drain. Do not rinse.

    While the noodles are cooking, warm up sauce from a jar in a saucepan. medium heat is plenty.

    Plop drained noodles on plate, add warm sauce.

    Eat, eat, eat...

    Put the leftovers in a bowl and cover in the fridge. Warm in microwave when you get hungry.
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    Apr 04, 2012 3:34 AM GMT
    Coach_Mike said
    araphael said[...] Just make sure you don't over cook your noodles.[...]

    My spaghetti is either crunchy or mushy. [...]


    Pasta continues to cook after it is drained and is still hot. With experience you'll learn exactly when to strain it (different pastas have different cooking times depending on thickness) and add sauce/oil/butter and what its' consistency will be like when it's served. Preparation and cooking is a fun science to do and learn!