Jump to content

Beginner In The Kitchen


diddy
 Share

Recommended Posts

i've decided that i want to learn how to cook things other than grilled cheese sandwhiches, but i don't really know where to start. my first few tries have been ok but not great. any tips for a beginner?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i've decided that i want to learn how to cook things other than grilled cheese sandwhiches, but i don't really know where to start. my first few tries have been ok but not great. any tips for a beginner?
Do you have a tivo? Watch all the Good Eats you can.

Don't be afraid to fail.

Try to have fun with it.

Pay attention to what you're doing. Observe.

Practice practice practice.

Take a knife skills course. Trust me. Nothing makes cooking more frustrating than spending an hour chopping an onion, or burning said onion because you threw it in a hot pan and you've got another half hour of garlic slicing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i've decided that i want to learn how to cook things other than grilled cheese sandwhiches, but i don't really know where to start. my first few tries have been ok but not great. any tips for a beginner?

1)Do some research and sign up for a series of basic cooking classes--there are numerous cooking schools in the area, and evening, adult and extension classes. 2)There's a show on Food TV called "How to Boil Water"--look it up on their website and program your Tivo to record it. 3)Get some books: There are probably a number of very basic cookbooks; you might browse a big bookstore or on Amazon. I really like *The Making of a Cook* by Madeline Kamman. She ran a cooking school in Boston for a zillion years, and has put everything she knows in this book. Pick a simple recipe and she will walk you through it step-by-step, explaining what to do, what not to do, and how it all works. I emphasize simple--if you get too ambitious and try to make something that is beyond your capabilities it can get very discouraging. That one book can teach you everything you ever need to know to become a great cook, but it isn't laid out in order from beginner to advanced. She explains everything very clearly. Jacques Pepin did photographic "how to" books that have been re-issued in a single soft-cover volume called *Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques* where everything is explained and illustrated with photographs. 4) If you know someone who is a good cook, volunteer to be their assistant and dishwasher, and buy some of the groceries.

By the way, I noticed a couple of copies of Madeline Kamman's book on the downstairs sale shelves at Politics and Prose, for like $13--which is a ridiculous price. It's a huge book and the original price was $35 or $40.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing that I found helpful in learning to cook without using recipes (well at least most of the time), is to read the articles in Cook's Illustrated. I don't agree with everything that they do, but the articles walk through how each step was developed and why certain ingredients were chosen. They also detail why certain steps or ingredients did not work.

Also, buy a couple of good sharp knives and a decent cutting board.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I learned to cook as a child, my Mom had me choose my favorite dish (spaghetti in red sauce), and that is what I learned to make step by step. I think that "cook what you like" is excellent advice. I would go a little farther to suggest that you choose a particular dish or a meal that you really like (Mom is always right ;) ), and start looking up recipes and techniques on the web or in cookbooks. YouTube is fantastic for little videos of people cooking various things - that's where I learned how to make pupusas. Make your one meal a few times until you are happy with it, finding out along the way how different ingredients or slight changes in your cooking techniques change the flavors, and before you know it, you'll be an expert at that dish and you will be moving on to new things!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found that for folks that are TRULY beginners, not just looking to boost their skills, but get skills in the first place, that children's cookbooks are a good start. Better Homes & Gardens has a nice one. They have easy to fix recipes and menu planning advice that is easy follow, tips on techniques and basic measuring and substitutions information. Follow the advice of the others in the thread and practice, practice, practice!

Good luck and welcome to the kitchen!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Master one or more techniques. Understanding a technique such as braise, brown, saute or sweat can be applied to many dishes. Take a few begining classes at lacademie de Cuisine, they gave some great beginer series where you'll make an enture meal in 1+ hours. After the class try to replicate it at home. You'll then appreciate the prep and discipline that goes into good cooking.

My wife thinks I am nuts when I cook as I'll prep most of the ingrediants so that when it comes time to cook, it is all technique. It's the little thing like dicing garlic, onions or cubing potatos that take a while. Watch Emeril, his prep is great and so is his techniques.

Good luck and there a few failures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...