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Old 09-13-2010, 12:19 PM   #11
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I can highly recommend the Betty Crocker cookbook. Back in 1964 I knew nothing. This cookbook was there for me. I made my first Thanksgiving dinner using it's recipes, and the turkey came out right, as did the stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. The recipes are delicious and are easy to follow.
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
I can highly recommend the Betty Crocker cookbook. Back in 1964 I knew nothing. This cookbook was there for me. I made my first Thanksgiving dinner using it's recipes, and the turkey came out right, as did the stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. The recipes are delicious and are easy to follow.
Amazing Zhirara...you and I were both making our first Thanksgiving Dinner from the same book in the same year!!

here's where we both heard about "rattling those pots and pans"..........

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Old 09-14-2010, 12:22 AM   #13
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Find the spices that you like and then try small recipes with different amounts of spices to show how much the difference is until you have an idea what each spice adds. Then experiment and have some fun
Do you recommend that I buy one of those spice racks? The only spices that I have are: salt, seasoning salt, pepper, cinnamon, basil, coriander, cumin and garlic powder. If so, any particular brand I should pick up. Excuse the silly question. I think I saw one at Bed Bath Beyond for $40, but that seemed kind of pricey to me.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:35 AM   #14
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Welcome back to Discuss Cooking, Rob. I see that your earliest post with nearly the same title was in Feb. of 2008. I read from those posts that you were on the way then, what happened? Was there a reason why you didn't continue cooking? As with anything else, cooking takes practice. I think one of the best things about learning how to cook today is the vast collection of cooking videos.
Youtube has thousands of them, and most people learn better by being shown how to cook, although cookbooks are wonderful.

All of us are only too happy to help you Rob, but you have to "get into that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans" You're much too young to know that song.
Good question. I think that I got discouraged early on. I tried cooking a series of things a few times and they were failures. For example...

Johnnycakes Recipe - Allrecipes.com

I tried this recipe last night for Johnnycakes, which is pancakes with cornmeal instead of flour. They tasted horrible, but that is perhaps because I had the cornmeal for one year past the date on the package. I also tried scrambled eggs, which I half way burnt. However my second attempt was much much better. I just need to develop some confidence with cooking and not become so disheartened with setbacks. Thanks man.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:49 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by rcald2000 View Post
Do you recommend that I buy one of those spice racks? The only spices that I have are: salt, seasoning salt, pepper, cinnamon, basil, coriander, cumin and garlic powder. If so, any particular brand I should pick up. Excuse the silly question. I think I saw one at Bed Bath Beyond for $40, but that seemed kind of pricey to me.
Buying one will give you a jumping off point to try different flavors, but just know that you may not like all of them so some might go to waste. Also, who knows how long they've been on the shelf & most lose their flavors over time. You actually have my favorites there, though I prefer fresh for the basil and garlic. I Highly recommend keeping some fresh garlic around. It keeps for a long time in the fridge and makes such a difference! (Garlic powder can be handy too, don't get me wrong.) Unfortunately herbs and spices can be expensive, but they last quite a while because most of the time you only use a pinch or two. If you don't want to fork out the $40 all at once, look for a recipe that uses some you already have (cumin and coriander for example, or basil and garlic) that also has one or two new herbs or spices. Buy those. If you like them, experiment with them a little, and when you're ready, do the same with those as your base herbs & spices. Btw, in my opinion dried parsley and cilantro are entirely useless, always use fresh. Most other spices can be substituted either way, just know that it will change the amounts you need to add and the end flavor some, but if fresh basil and garlic taste good together, so will dried. I've recently started buying tubes or jars of minced herbs in the produce section. They're not quite the same as fresh, but they keep a lot longer so I can always have some on hand and just buy the real thing when I'm planning something special.
I know this is rather lengthy, but one last thing: Complicated does not mean better. Sometimes a little garlic, fresh diced tomato, oregano, maybe some capers and a pinch of salt, sauteed, tossed with pasta and topped with fresh mozzarella and parmesan impresses far more than a sauce that had a list of ingredients the length of your arm and more steps than a ballroom competition. Keep it fresh, keep it simple, and try out risky dishes on family and close friends. They don't need to be impressed & will be honest about your results. :)
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