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Old 07-10-2006, 09:31 AM   #1
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Cooking Rules

This is for those of you who learned to cook at your mother's (or grand, or aunt, or family friend's) knee, as a child.

What did they tell you that follows you to this day?

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Old 07-10-2006, 09:34 AM   #2
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don't take shortcuts and use the best ingredients no matter how much they cost.
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:38 AM   #3
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Mom taught me a lot. There is always a salad. Period. She taught me that peas and corn count more as carbs than as veggies. The table has to have every color of the rainbow that you can reach for in order to make a nutriously sound meal. The darker or brighter the color of anything, the more nutrition. Deserts and sweets were not a given, they were a treat that happened a couple times a week, not every meal. We were allowed -- are you ready for this? -- TWO cookies after school, and because of budgetary reasons, she bought the very cheapest ones she knew we weren't crazy about (and yes, we did make cookies for holidays and such, but even then they were basic sugar cookies that required us to cut and decorate and work at, not just masses of highly caloric stuff you plopped on a sheet!). We almost never had frosting on our cupcakes! I'm overweight, don't get me wrong. But when I was having a little conversation with my husband's doc, he mentioned something about our diet. I replied that virtually all we eat is very healthy, we just eat too much of it! Mom taught me old-fashioned healthy eating, not fads, and it follows me to this day.
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Old 07-10-2006, 02:40 PM   #4
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In Italian cooking, you can never use too much garlic!!
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Old 07-10-2006, 03:27 PM   #5
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Take chances, make mistakes and that is how you learn and become a better cook. I was never reprimanded for ruining a meal.

You eat what is cooked for everyone else at home. I follow this rule with my kids and have made my life a lot easier and not to mention raised kids who are less picky then some others I know.

Everything in moderation and a balanced meal - Growing up since my mother was a housewife and so was her mother and her mother for generations they could spend time and prepare a good meal. They incorporated meat and veggies, beans and legumes and rice and the meal was always healthy and well rounded with ingredients that were simple but good for you.

No carbonated drinks of any kind period. All we drank was water and lots of it with our meals.
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Old 07-10-2006, 03:48 PM   #6
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Clean as you go. Run a sink full of hot soapy water, put all utensils, measuring spoons and cups in the soapy water as soon as you use them. Wash them while you wait for the pan to get hot or the water to boil. After you use the flour or milk or cumin, put the top back on, and put it right back in the cupboard or fridge.

By the time my meal is ready for the table, the only things left to be washed are the pots and pans I used to cook in, and they are in the sink soaking. The counter and stove are wiped down, all ingredients are put away.
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:00 PM   #7
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While I definitely agree that "clean as you go" - if possible - is a big help, I don't think there are any "rules" for cooking (except for some baked goods).

Perhaps that IS the rule that my parents told me (both uber-EXCELLENT cooks). That (except for baking) there are NO rules for cooking - lol!!!!!!

I've followed that mantra to this day, & by doing so have discovered & re-invented many dishes to my own personal satisfaction.
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:03 PM   #8
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SparrowGrass,

I learned your mom's technique of keeping everything clean, washed and put away during the cooking process in spite of my mom's "leave it till after dinner" attitude. It is so much easier to keep on top of everything as you go. It keeps the stress level down and is so satisfying to not have to spend another hour in the kitchen cleaning up after the meal. I tried to pass this on to my daughter but to no avail.

I vote your suggestion as No. 1.
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:11 PM   #9
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While my mom was a great cook while I was younger I do not think I really learned much in the kitchen from her as far as cooking goes.

What I did learn was how to eat tasty nutritious meals and not eat junk. Not once did she ever buy any kind of sugared cereal for us. The only time there was soda in the house was when we had company. Snacks consisted of fruits and veggies. Fast food was something we would have once or twice a year.

Once I got out on my own I started eating a bit least healthy, but those values are still in me and my wife and I plan on instilling them in our children. We are very conscious of what we give Rachel to eat and so far we are very lucky that she loves all the healthy stuff.

Another thing I learned from my mom was that just because you do not like something does not mean you will not like it forever. Tastes change. Do not be scared to try something you did not like in the past. You just may love it now.
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:00 PM   #10
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Sparrow, I am with you.

First thing I do when I am going to cook is make sure the dishwasher is clean.

The chef's knife I mostly use for almost all prep work, gets rinsed, or washed as necessary, and used for the next task.

As do the cutting boards, plates, spatulas, measuring cups, collanders, you name it, and pots. Will often use the same pot several times during the preparation of a meal.

Those tools I think I am not going to use again get rinsed and tossed into the dishwasher, to be pulled out and and quickly washed if and when I need them again.

There is always a garbage bag open by my feet, and a smaller plastic bag on the counter for discards.

Having a sink or more of pots and pans, utensils, you name it at the end of meal to be washed is not a joy.

So do it this way and it makes the clean up a breeze.
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