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Old 07-09-2013, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
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I have heard that cookbooks are an easy buck for celebrity chefs. I heard that not all the recipes are actually tested and the publisher will not know that, so they just trust the 'big name'. People buy the book and find that the recipe does not work. They often blame themselves. Before buying a cookbook, check out some reviews in Amazon. A chef I hold in high esteem wrote a number of books and it seems as though there are a lot of complaints about his bread recipes.

Yes, these cooking shows should often emphasize healthy cooking. Doesn't Rachel Ray do that a lot?
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:15 AM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
54,145 posts, read 38,225,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joke Insurance View Post
I figured seeing that I am in my early 20's, I should learn how to be everyday cook, one who would like to first learn the basic recipes and such. Can you guys recommend any good websites and books that I can look into? Thanks
Jacques Pepin has a coupla books titled Fast Food My Way and More Fast Food My Way you can probably find at your local library. The food's good, many recipes are not too difficult to prepare, and you'll learn techniques that easily transfer to more complex recipes.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,185 posts, read 10,131,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EugeneOnegin View Post
I would start with learning basic classical French cooking techniques. The Julia Child books are good for this. Then you can pick up cooking techniques from other cuisines and start incorporating them, but the French techniques are the best place to start.

Watching cooking shows on PBS and The Cooking Channel is a good passive way to pick things up, build your knowledge base, and get ideas. There are a ton of good youtube videos as well. Chowhound discussions are very informative, the users there really know their stuff.

Learn your ingredients. Learn the different cuts of meat and how best to cook them. Learn about all the different fruits and vegetables, how to choose them, when they're in season, how to process and cook them. Smoke points and properties of oils. Which herbs are good fresh, which are good dried, when to add them. Wikipedia is a good resource for these things.

Start acquiring some tools and equipment. A good nonstick pan, a good food processor, a stick blender, a spice grinder, a dutch oven, some pots, citrus zester, mortar and pestle, various knives, a LARGE (can't stress this enough) cutting board, pizza stone, cheese grater, strainer, colander, etc. Stay away from the gimmicky things like slap choppers and egg cookers that you'll never use that will just clutter up your kitchen. Spend more for quality things that work well and will last, you'll be glad you did. You don't have to buy everything at once, just add something every now and then.

Build up a stock of basic shelf-stable ingredients. Herbs, spices, nuts, dried beans and lentils, canned tomatoes, honey, vinegars, oils, dried peppers, rice, bouillon, etc. These are an upfront cost, once you build up your stock it's pretty cheap to maintain it since you don't have to buy these things very often. It's essential to have these things on hand so you don't have to run to the store for 17 things every time you want to cook a meal.

Hit up the Indian and Mexican stores for spices (preferably unground) and dried herbs. They're a lot cheaper and better quality at these places. I usually buy them in ~6+ ounce quantities and store them in jars. It's a whole lot better than buying tiny 3-ounce jars of stale, ground, grossly overpriced McCormick's spices.

The Flavor Bible is good for learning which combinations work well together.
This is really excellent and very complete advice. I will add that good cookware is a must. Buy heavy aluminum or copper clad in stainless. You'll never regret this. But you don't need expensive cookware for everything. You can use nonstick for certain tasks including the best scrambled eggs you've ever eaten. Buy the cheap stuff so you can abuse it and toss it.

Leave your pizza stone in the oven. It will maintain temperature when you open and close the door. Buy three different oven thermometers. Check your oven at different settings with all three and take the average. This single step will save a gallon of tears down the road.

Butter is your friend.

Try growing a few herbs. A sunny breakfast room off of the kitchen is ideal. If you wish to be a bit fancy have a coffee plant and a miniature citrus or two just for fun and aroma.

Prick your eggs at the large end before you boil them.

Joy of Cooking is good for basic information. But if you wish to start out right as an amateur chef start with the best amateur the English-speaking world has ever seen, Julia Child. She attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris, wrote cookbooks, and cooked on TV. But she never worked in a restaurant or similar business. She cooked for pleasure as we all should. It's fortunate that there is a mammoth excerpt from her first cookbook on amazon. You can try it for free. When you start cooking French you'll never go back.

Read her books; watch her videos. You CAN do it. In fact, look through the excerpt and cook something today. If you don't have much time cook some scrambled eggs. You'll think you died and went to Heaven.

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Fren...ds=julia+child

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Art-...ref=pd_sim_b_1

Amazon.com: Julia Child - The French Chef: Julia Child: Movies & TV

Here are a couple of other books I've recently found and one from the excellent post I quoted. Cooking for Nerds is full of interesting and useful advice. The book on fat is both fun and inspiring to read. The previously posted spice book will teach about these wonderful bounties of nature.

You're going to eat every day of your life. Why not eat well?

Amazon.com: Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes (9781580089357): Jennifer McLagan, Leigh Beisch: Books

Amazon.com: Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food (9780596805883): Jeff Potter: Books

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs: Karen Page, Andrew Dornenburg: 9780316118408: Amazon.com: Books

Now here's a great movie to watch; it's about cooking and eating.

Amazon.com: Julie & Julia: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina: Movies & TV
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Michigan
2,198 posts, read 2,150,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post

Try growing a few herbs. A sunny breakfast room off of the kitchen is ideal.
This is definitely a good idea. Fresh herbs go bad very quickly and unless you have an international market nearby, the selection and prices are usually really poor. A lot of herbs grow well in small pots indoors over the winter, and are easy to start from seed. A $2 pack of basil seeds can supply all the basil you can use for a decade compared a $3 clam shell of basil that lasts you 3 days. You can buy a $3 clam shell of oregano that lasts a week or buy a $3 oregano plant, stick it in a pot and have fresh oregano for years and years. Growing your own is a lot cheaper and more convenient, and a handful of parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, chives, etc. at the end of the cooking process can make all the difference in the world. A bottle of dried bay laurel leaves costs about $3 too. I bought a bay laurel tree for $3 instead that provides fresh bay laurel leaves whenever I want for years and years and years, and it makes a really attractive houseplant in the winter.

Many herbs are perennials in most of the north (thyme, oregano, mint, lovage, sage, marjoram, winter savory, chives,etc.). These you can grow in a bed or pots and leave them outside and they'll normally come back the next year. They're really low maintanence, you just have to spend a few minutes picking out some weeds every now and then.

Many of the non-cold hardy plants like basil, at the end of the season you can dig them up, trim the foliage and the roots, and stick them in a 1-gallon pot and keep them throughout the winter in front of a window sill (though it won't work for all herbs, for example parsley goes to seed the 2nd year then dies). I have a 4' tall basil plant that's on its 4th year. Or you can take cuttings. With French tarragon you can dig up the plant and divide the rhizomes to make new plants.

You can buy a bunch of green onions for 50 cents at the grocery store, use the green parts, then stick the white parts in a small pot and the green parts fully regrow in about 2 weeks. I did this several times and then the white parts developed into full-sized bulbs that I used as white onions (a lot of the green onions in the grocery store are just immature common onions).

A lot of people aren't into gardening or don't want to put the work into it, but growing herbs is really easy and not very time consuming at all. If you cook fairly often it can make a big difference in your cooking and save you a ton of money.
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Fairfax County, VA
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My apologies for the late reply but why did you suggest that (back then) I start out with herbs first? I just went with what I was more comfortable with.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:46 AM
 
Location: morrow,ga
847 posts, read 1,174,295 times
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Default Questions about learning to cook

How did you learn to cook? Did you learn from someone else or did you teach yourself ? If you taught yourself , how did you do it? Any tips you want to share?

I'm a 32 year old male and I have decided that I am tired of frozen dinners and over priced processed foods. Plus I have high cholesterol and my doctor wants me to watch my fat intake, so I basically need to know how to cook so that i don't rely on unhealthy fast food or processed food. Sometimes I find recipes online and they look intimidating or call for materials I don't have (a zester, a large skillet- I only have a 10.5 inch skillet w/ no lid, a dutch oven, etc. ) . Cooking from scratch can't be that hard . It's just hard getting started because if you don't have a fully stocked pantry , you have to run out and buy a bunch of stuff to get started , so it can be expensive at first. I just feel like I am late to the game because most people learn to cook when they are kids or early in adulthood.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:27 AM
 
5,413 posts, read 4,816,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninersfan82 View Post
How did you learn to cook? Did you learn from someone else or did you teach yourself ? If you taught yourself , how did you do it? Any tips you want to share?

I'm a 32 year old male and I have decided that I am tired of frozen dinners and over priced processed foods. Plus I have high cholesterol and my doctor wants me to watch my fat intake, so I basically need to know how to cook so that i don't rely on unhealthy fast food or processed food. Sometimes I find recipes online and they look intimidating or call for materials I don't have (a zester, a large skillet- I only have a 10.5 inch skillet w/ no lid, a dutch oven, etc. ) . Cooking from scratch can't be that hard . It's just hard getting started because if you don't have a fully stocked pantry , you have to run out and buy a bunch of stuff to get started , so it can be expensive at first. I just feel like I am late to the game because most people learn to cook when they are kids or early in adulthood.
Most people do learn from their parents as they are growing up...but as they didn't teach you....it's not too late.

I guess the best thing to do is start with a dish you want to learn.....find a recipe and try it. Ask specific questions here...you might hear all sorts of things but you'll get ideas and tips and the vast majority hereally offer excellent advise. Don't be afraid to fail.

It sucks to waste food...but most likely what ever you make won't be inedible....just not perfected yet.

The biggest thing is to learn a few basics and build from there. Cooking really isn't hard..it just takes a bit of practice.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:36 AM
 
17,158 posts, read 22,167,733 times
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you have 4 billion recipes and youtube at your fingertips,,,

if you want to eat healthy....

most people will eat more fruits and veggies, again, youtube is your friend

drink fruit smoothies,,,these are quick easy and tasty,,

do veggie stir fries..


cutting out fat doesn't mean cutting out meat...pick the leaner cuts of steaks- top round, eye round, round tip

trimmed bnls chicken breasts, lean ground round, lean ground chicken or turkey




here is one of millions of recipes at your fingertips


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GY-ZzdF_jEA





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuizQTGpPZU

and being a guy, you can watch some easy on the eyes' cooks





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESBYlitWUMY
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:46 AM
 
163 posts, read 238,586 times
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My mom cooked everything from scratch when we were kids. So it pretty much just happened gradually. I work for a family where the mom (at 63 years old) hates to cook and never learned the basics. I taught her a few years ago how to make a roast after they bought half a cow and she realized she didn't know how to use anything but the hamburger. So you're not that late to the game.

Don't start with crazy recipes that have you "zesting" things . Start with the basics. Chicken, hamburger, veggies, potatoes.

What do you want to learn to make?
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:03 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
33,555 posts, read 51,767,813 times
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If you didn't learn how to cook watching and participating at home, you can still learn a lot from the thousands of tutorials and step-for-step guides on the internet. Start with simple things, and build your own experience.
This should be helpful:
https://www.google.com/#q=site:+greatist+how+to+cook
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