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Old 04-24-2013, 07:25 PM   #11
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Welcome Steve! What DC has here are some of the most knowledgeable and skilled home and pro chefs on the web. And then there's me.

What^ Katie H and vitauta^ said. I've been cooking for decades and I still measure and line up all my ingredients before starting when it's critical to the outcome - that's what making pumpkin pies for the entire family does to you when you forget the sugar. So what did we do that Thanksgiving? Just put a lot more whipped cream on top and it was fine. Cooking is like American football - when you have to, just punt.

Even though I've been cooking a long time and feel fairly comfortable with my skills I still find many cooking shows a bit daunting. When I watch I feel like I should be making the dish right along and in the same time span that they do it on TV. If you want to cook along I suggest you either find a particular dish in an online video or get a cooking disc from your local library so that you can pause the play while you cook along.

Like some others said, when all else fails get take-out. And, like Katie H., my Julia Child quote is another good motto to cook by.
There's a lady on YouTube that has videos from beginner level to advanced. The name if her channel is Noreen's Kitchen. I have a lot of respect for her abilities. Give her a try and see if you like her.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:40 PM   #12
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For what it's worth my own .2

1.) Never ask your MIL for a recipe.

2.) cookbooks with good illustrations. Definitions. Read them at your leisure. Not when your rushed to impress someone unexpectedly.

3.) last, but not least the best one I've ever learned. Still live by it day to day. Be a prepared loser. If all else fails you can at least laugh at the whole experience.

Good luck!

Were open 24/7 around here. Yell if you need help.

Munky.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:46 PM   #13
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I watched this because fairy girl had mentioned her, and you had said that you wanted to make a roast. If you have a crock pot, this may be a first meal to try. I think it should be something you should be able to pull off. It actually looks really good to me.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:55 PM   #14
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Welcome to DC - I find reading a good cookbook helps. Familiarizing yourself with cooking terms and methods and what spices combine well are a good way to start. I find The Joy of Cooking and "encyclopedia" type cookbooks are best for learning. Then start with simple recipes and work your way up to Top Chef type stuff. Starting with a really complicated recipe can lead to disappointment and dampen the desire to want to cook. Good luck. It's a life-long learning experience.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:10 AM   #15
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Steve, several people have mentioned getting good books and you said you were going cookbook hunting soon. I have another one to suggest, "The Wise Encyclopedia of Cooking". It has been around for ages, bought for me by Himself when we were first married because his Mom had a copy. jabbur said one with definitions is helpful. This book is mostly definitions, LOTS of them, but it does have some easy to follow recipes. All these decades later I still find myself pulling it off the shelf to check something.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:53 AM   #16
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For what it's worth my own .2

1.) Never ask your MIL for a recipe...
Not always the case. I have a spaghetti sauce recipe I got from Mom-in-law that would make you swoon! And if my son ever gets married (don't hold your breath ) my DIL should be able to make the same claim. Of course, over the years I've tweaked it so that it's yummier than the original version.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:23 AM   #17
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Steve, several people have mentioned getting good books and you said you were going cookbook hunting soon. I have another one to suggest, "The Wise Encyclopedia of Cooking". It has been around for ages, bought for me by Himself when we were first married because his Mom had a copy. jabbur said one with definitions is helpful. This book is mostly definitions, LOTS of them, but it does have some easy to follow recipes. All these decades later I still find myself pulling it off the shelf to check something.
Gee I love to read cookbooks. I'll have to find this one.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:29 PM   #18
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In the beginning, it's really a lost of small steps, small chunks of knowledge. At first, you'll be put off by terms you're not sure of in cookbooks or by the complexity of some recipes. But still read them for inspiration. As you pick up techniques, they will become reliable guides. And one day in the future, if you've worked at it, the cookbooks are back to being inspiration, something that gives you ideas when you no longer need the directions.

Watch the cooking shows for inspiration too, and to see what's possible. Some, like the Cook's Country programs, are better are explaining basics, explaining why it's done in some particular way. You learn the basics by taking on basic recipes. Maybe you braise some beef tips. The critical knowledge is that, to brown meat, you drop it in a hot pan and leave it strictly alone until it releases by itself. Then you know that, and it's one of the most important things to know. And you're ready to take on a more elaborate recipe based on the same skill, maybe adding a new one, like how to thicken pan juices as a gravy.

And yes. Be prepared to fail sometimes. But if your mashed potatoes turned out to be a glue-like disaster, you're moved to look into why it happened, and you maybe learn some valuable facts about how to stabilize potato starch cells and how not to mash them, and you never make bad mashed potatoes again.

At some point, you'll kind of settle on what level of cooking practice you want to achieve. Good, basic cook is just fine. The good, basic cook knows a good range of dishes with some simple variations and can crank them out over and over, and they turn out good every time. There are cooks who can tackle any recipe but who need to be started off with an idea, and there are cooks who can open any random pantry and produce a good meal from whatever is in there, no matter if they've made that combination before or not. And there are cooks who can tell you what's happening at the molecular level with any food or technique. You don't have to be any one sort. All that matters is if you serve good food and that you enjoy producing it.

But no latter what, the way you keep moving ahead is to always seek to learn something. If you don't know a term or realize you don't really know what it means in actual technique, you go to YouTube of a techniques book and find out.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:43 PM   #19
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I watched this because fairy girl had mentioned her, and you had said that you wanted to make a roast. If you have a crock pot, this may be a first meal to try. I think it should be something you should be able to pull off. It actually looks really good to me.
I just realized that I forgot to put the link on here.

YouTube
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