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Old 09-09-2006, 06:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
Stay organized.
OH NO! Not the dreaded "O" word. Seems like everything needs orginization - and I'm sooo not orginization sazzy...sigh.
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Old 09-09-2006, 07:43 AM   #12
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The most important skill you need is: opening doors, if you can't open the kitchen door you won't be able to do anything in the kitchen...

Seriously: you have to have a sense of safety, there are a lot of dangerous things in the kitchen: heat, sharp knifes, water + electricity. Make sure you know some basic first aid stuff in case things go wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ps8
OH NO! Not the dreaded "O" word. Seems like everything needs orginization - and I'm sooo not orginization sazzy...sigh.
Here's my organization of kitchen tools: All kitchen tools are in the big kitchen tool drawer (and I mean BIG! )
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Old 09-09-2006, 10:04 AM   #13
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Heat control took alot of time for me to get down, and in hindsight, it's a very important skill. I used to not have the patience for it, but, when you're doing a dish that needs low heat, just wait- it's worth it.

Knife skills- also important. I think alot of folks can probably manage to do most of your basic cuts, but I know alot of folks who don't hold their knife correctly. Start with the basics.

A good sense of time... develop an internal timer that rings automatically to let you know when its time to pull something out of the oven, fryer, pan, etc. This is probably more important in restaurant work, but its quite handy in the home when you've got a large spread you're putting on the table by yourself. Actually it's handy most of the time.

Creativity- Get crazy. Not insane, but crazyis good. Don't be afraid to throw together some odd ingredients together and see what happens. If it comes out terrible, just remember that BBQ sauce can fix a lot of things... or if it's really terrible you can always throw it away or feed it to your dog; trust me when I say they appreciate it.

KISS Philosophy- I think it's important in the home kitchen, but depending on your style, everyone may not agree. KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid. I did just say get crazy, so this sort of sounds like it contradicts that... I suppose what I mean is that you don't need to throw every spice in your pantry into a dish for it to be crazy... and you don't need to sample a finished dish and try to jazz it up in 10 seconds before you serve it. At that point the dish is finished, it is what it is, and last ditch attempts to make it something else are likely to be futile. Also, if something's done and you want to change it, don't cook it longer... b/c then it's just overcooked.
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Old 09-09-2006, 11:09 AM   #14
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I think at the most basic level, a good cook is someone who appreciates good food. This means he/she is equipped with a keen sense of taste and smell and knows what good food tastes like so that he/she can adjust seasonings, be able to correct or improve a recipe, etc. Even better if the cook already has an educated and sophisticated palate (which would come from having tasted many different types and quality of food.)

All great cooks have got to be passionate about food.

Also, I like being around people who love good food. They usually have interesting personalities. I'm a bit wary of people who are not interested in food and would be quite content to eat blah food, refusing to try new tastes. I think it says something about how they must lack passion for the other areas in life.

Sorry I digress...
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Old 09-11-2006, 07:48 PM   #15
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Hello,

I am one of those newbies, and what most of my problems I encounter do involve the "heat control", meaning while cooking on top of the stove, how "high" the heat is and "how long to cook something", and in the oven, most of my problems occur, I go by the time the recipe says to cook something but I always (almost) have to cook it longer, (sometimes 2 to 3 times) as long as the recipe calls for........

Sounds crazy, but the heat control, knowing how much, how long to cook something is very hard.... I haven't mastered it yet!!
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Old 09-11-2006, 07:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
To be perfectly honest, I can think of only two absolute essentials.

1) Being able to read a recipe for comprehension from start to finish (even if you have to do it several times) & patiently research any terms you're not familiar with.

2) Not only cultivate patience, but also a sense of fun & the absurd when things don't always go the way you planned, & be willing to try again. Julia Child, the master of masters, had this 2nd one down pat, & touted it often on her tv series.

If you have the above, the rest - regardless of how complicated - will eventually fall into place easiily.
I don't believe an ability to read is a necessary skill when it comes to cooking. Some of the earliest great cooks were illiterate. Consider the slaves of the american south... Having an ability to read implies it is necessary to follow a recipe to be a good cook.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
... Having an ability to read implies it is necessary to follow a recipe to be a good cook.

Talking about the basic skills to get by in the kitchen these days, reading is a lot more than following recipes (which is not a bad thing). It's a basic way to acquire information, including techniques, processes, equipment operation and cultural backgrounds for different cuisines.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:11 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Andy M.
Talking about the basic skills to get by in the kitchen these days, reading is a lot more than following recipes (which is not a bad thing). It's a basic way to acquire information, including techniques, processes, equipment operation and cultural backgrounds for different cuisines.
All valid points, Andy...but I think we're going to disagree on this point. I don't see reading as a basic skill at all. I see it as a learned (taught) ability. To further my point, stories (which could easily include recipes and cooking instruction) were handed down verbally from mouth to mouth for generations. It wasn't until recently (barely more than 200 years) that recipes were penned to paper.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:20 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by VeraBlue
All valid points, Andy...but I think we're going to disagree on this point. I don't see reading as a basic skill at all. I see it as a learned (taught) ability. To further my point, stories (which could easily include recipes and cooking instruction) were handed down verbally from mouth to mouth for generations. It wasn't until recently (barely more than 200 years) that recipes were penned to paper.
Isn't a skill a learned ability?

The original poster's question was "What are some basic cooking skills necessary to get by in the kitchen?". I assumed that was in today's world rather than speaking historically. If we're talking about the historical perspective, I agree with you.

My thought process was that if you know nothing about cooking, you could learn just about all of it through reading. I'm not saying that's the only or the best way.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Isn't a skill a learned ability?

The original poster's question was "What are some basic cooking skills necessary to get by in the kitchen?". I assumed that was in today's world rather than speaking historically. If we're talking about the historical perspective, I agree with you.

My thought process was that if you know nothing about cooking, you could learn just about all of it through reading. I'm not saying that's the only or the best way.
I think our points differ at the word 'basic'. I do thank you for the intelligent and thoughtful conversation on this point. I appreciate your banter, as well. Others (other boards, specifically) would find it easire to take offense and enter battle rather than discuss. Again, I do appreciate your thoughts.
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