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Old 04-19-2015, 10:27 AM
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,831 posts, read 57,830,396 times
Reputation: 29215


Originally Posted by ninersfan82 View Post
I'm a 32 year old male...
so I basically need to know how to cook

Sometimes I find recipes online...
Cooking from scratch can't be that hard .
First thing... don't confuse "good cooking" with nutritous or even tasty.
Second thing... most of cooking is about **chemistry*
Third thing... processes and techniques tend to repeat.
Fourth thing... yeah, you'll need to stock the pantry.

Learn how to heat the water/milk for grits without boiling over or scalding...
and you're qualified to make pastry cream too.

Start with ONE source of objective data and advice.
On this I'll suggest Alton Brown of GoodEats

Then pick ONE menu item or dinner platter meal at a time.
Break it down. Learn/Do the elements. Repeat.
Keep it simple... THEN get creative.

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Old 04-19-2015, 10:41 AM
1,266 posts, read 1,443,204 times
Reputation: 3324
I learned by watching my Mom, reading cookbooks, and of course just doing it. At first, some things I tried were flops but over time and with practice, my dishes became better and better. Living in Mexico for half of the year for awhile now has also added to my repetoire since those I am exposed to there cook from scratch. My Mom did the same.

I agree with the others who said start with the basics. Refer to cookbooks, cooking shows, youtube vids, etc. to absorb the knowledge of what ingredients go well together. Then give it a try. For basics, here are my suggestions:

Stir-fry. Lean meat or tofu with a variety of vegetables, oninon and garlic and good quality cooking oil. There are tons of variations on the stir fry---so start off easy and build from there.

Rice, potatoes, pastas and other grains. For rice--follow the package instructions exactly. For pasta, start simple---and add some store-bought pesto or other sauces for toppings. Add/toss in some zucchini, mushrooms, spinach--whatever you like and just create! Once you're comfortable with this, scrap the store-bought stuff and practice making your own sauces.

Egg dishes. Omelets and breakfast scrambles, for example.

Goulash style dishes.

Oh, there are a ton more to try, so just dig in and try some basics and so on. GOOD luck and bon apetit!

Last edited by TotallyTam; 04-19-2015 at 10:52 AM..
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:08 AM
Location: SC
1,875 posts, read 1,038,809 times
Reputation: 2997
I didn't learn to cook till after I was married. But MIL took me under her wing and taught me all of the basics of good homegrown country food. But I still teach myself new recipes...and sometimes.....even a good cook can create a flop. I have been cooking since 1979, but I get tired of my own cooking so am always looking to learn something new.
Start with the basics. Learn what goes into spaghetti..for instance. How long the noodles take to cook, how to combine the meat and sauce and extras to turn out a dish you'll eat and enjoy. Then, go on to something else! Eggs? Bacon?
Don't over do it and scare yourself back out of the kitchen.

Oh...and an FYI- not everything cooks on the "High" setting on the stove. Experiment with different lower settings on those burners. You'll thank yourself later
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:32 PM
Location: morrow,ga
847 posts, read 1,173,928 times
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Originally Posted by yip812 View Post
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?
I want to learn various pasta dishes, roast chicken, salisbury steak, sweet and sour chicken, mac and cheese..lots more .

Originally Posted by Sgoldie View Post
Start every meal with a salad. Buy a bag of salad greens and cut up into it a bit of onion, carrot, green pepper, cucumber, or whatever you like. You can add croutons, raisins, nuts, cottage cheese, and fruit too.

Get a crockpot. Add an inch of broth from a can or box to whatever meat, poultry, or pork cut you like and sprinkle on top with a little bit of one of those seasoning packets appropriate to what you want to make. You could add steak seasoning, bbq sauce, teriyaki, or even one of the many kinds of salad dressings during cooking or afterwards. --I have a three section one I love, one section for meat, one for cut up potatoes with butter and sometimes cheese, and another for canned fruit, add a dash of cinnamon. Be aware that crockpot cooking can take much longer than oven time.

You can use your dutch oven both on top of the stove and in the oven in place of a roasting pan. Add onions and/or garlic, salt and pepper. Poultry seasoning, steak seasoning.
I definitely need to get a dutch oven and crockpot. There are so many crockpots out there and I have been looking around. Not sure what is a good deal on one. I don't need a big one since I will just be preparing meals for one
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:57 PM
Location: League City, Texas
2,812 posts, read 4,310,305 times
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I taught myself to cook (as an adult--pre-internet & pre-food TV channels ).

You have tons of resources. Like previously pointed out, you tube videos, internet searches, etc. Just watch, take notes if you like, & go for it!
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:15 PM
30,312 posts, read 31,181,855 times
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I learned from my mother whom I asked her to tell me how to cook our family meals back then.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:39 PM
Location: The World
3,012 posts, read 1,809,321 times
Reputation: 7773
Just do it, man. Start simple. Stir fries are easy and are pretty much impossible to screw up, for example.

Also, I know a lot of people aren't going to agree with me here, but I'm not totally against using convenience foods to build your confidence when you're first learning. I don't mean TV dinners, obviously, but maybe an easy casserole dish that includes frozen veggies and cream of chicken soup. You'll learn and move on later, but it'll give you confidence and a rather tasty dish for now.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:55 PM
Location: Los Angeles>Little Rock>Houston>Little Rock
6,488 posts, read 6,596,921 times
Reputation: 17327
You can probably get most of what you need at the Dollar Store or something like that. A zester can just be the fine grating section on a simple cheese grater. I would invest in a few good pans, though.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:30 AM
Location: Pittsburgh
21,461 posts, read 22,692,102 times
Reputation: 45123
I've always thought that something like chili is a great "maiden voyage" for someone who doesn't know how to cook. You can find all kinds of recipes online: meatless, meatful, spicy, not spicy, red, white, etc. But since it all goes in a pot and simmers for a while a beginner doesn't really have to worry about if the veggies aren't chopped perfectly or about timing different dishes or about presentation. In the end you've got a dish that's fairly easy and loaded up with beans and vegetables and protein and other good stuff.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:50 AM
Location: Austin
668 posts, read 459,806 times
Reputation: 887
My mom is a great baker, she has professionally done wedding cakes and such. She was such a poor, bland cook though. I learned to cook from working in professional kitchens back in my college days, watching lots of cooking shows, and reading a ton on the subject, along with a natural knack for it. I also have a couple of brothers-in-law who are pretty good cooks and I learned some from them as well.

Now, while my mom's cooking is quite ... bland ... as I mentioned, I have taken some of her recipes and transformed them into signature dishes of my own, so I can at least credit her with that.
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