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Old 02-13-2009, 12:51 AM   #21
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I will second the advice on getting a basic cookbook like Better Homes and Gardens. My mother started me on that book many years ago, and you really can't go wrong with some of the good, standard recipes inside. I'd suggest trying a basic roasted chicken recipe, as mentioned by another poster. An inexpensive meat thermometer will save you some headaches down the road, by the way.

Cooking is also about timing. So remember to try and work it out so all your food (main course and any hot side dishes) is finished cooking at roughly the same time.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:43 AM   #22
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What one thing would you like to cook first?
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:16 AM   #23
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I also recommend getting one or more basic cookbooks. For absolute beginners, I'm a big fan of Betty Crocker Cooking Basics: Amazon.com: Betty Crocker Cooking Basics: Recipes and Tips to Cook with Confidence (Betty Crocker Books): Betty Crocker Editors: Books but also recommend the regular Betty Crocker Cookbook: Amazon.com: Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, New Tenth Edition: Betty Crocker Editors: Books.

If you want to start out with some free online information, I highly recommend the Cooking Dude website: http://www.cookingdude.com/ .
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:48 AM   #24
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I am also new to cooking. I haven't gotten a cookbook yet because money is tight for me at the moment and 20 bucks spent on a book is 20 bucks I'm not spending on groceries. So my main source of knowledge comes from the internet and from tuning in to the food network.

You said when you find recipes online you don't know what some of the ingredients are, I am the same way. For example I came across what looks like a simple chicken dish. It asked for 4 cloves garlic, minced. Well what the heck is that. I know what garlic is, it is the stuff vampires hate. So I googled the garlic plant and learned that a clove garlic is just a bulb of the garlic plant. Ok makes sense, now minced? Googled that and learned it is a way to to prepare food by cutting it certain ways. Easy peezy.

Going down the recipe it called for freshly ground black pepper. I thought, hmm, I have McCormicks Black Pepper so what is the difference? Thus after another Google adventure I learned all about the Black Pepper plant, what peppercorns were and what a pepper mill was (though I've seen pepper mills in restaurants never knew what they were called, lol). So obviously that is something I could substitute for the time being.

Currently I am starting by building a foundation of experience. Not really producing full fancy meals just yet. Just getting to know how to cook vegetables, meats, poultries, fish by baking, broiling, stove top or any of those other nifty terms. It's kinda like learning to swim. First you learn to float. Then learn to kick. Then learn to paddle. Then comes the full strokes. With the basics well mastered then it is not too scary to just jump in.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:10 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonne View Post
I am also new to cooking. I haven't gotten a cookbook yet because money is tight for me at the moment and 20 bucks spent on a book is 20 bucks I'm not spending on groceries. So my main source of knowledge comes from the internet and from tuning in to the food network.

You said when you find recipes online you don't know what some of the ingredients are, I am the same way. For example I came across what looks like a simple chicken dish. It asked for 4 cloves garlic, minced. Well what the heck is that. I know what garlic is, it is the stuff vampires hate. So I googled the garlic plant and learned that a clove garlic is just a bulb of the garlic plant. Ok makes sense, now minced? Googled that and learned it is a way to to prepare food by cutting it certain ways. Easy peezy.

Going down the recipe it called for freshly ground black pepper. I thought, hmm, I have McCormicks Black Pepper so what is the difference? Thus after another Google adventure I learned all about the Black Pepper plant, what peppercorns were and what a pepper mill was (though I've seen pepper mills in restaurants never knew what they were called, lol). So obviously that is something I could substitute for the time being.

Currently I am starting by building a foundation of experience. Not really producing full fancy meals just yet. Just getting to know how to cook vegetables, meats, poultries, fish by baking, broiling, stove top or any of those other nifty terms. It's kinda like learning to swim. First you learn to float. Then learn to kick. Then learn to paddle. Then comes the full strokes. With the basics well mastered then it is not too scary to just jump in.
It sounds like you're on the right track, Sonne. Check out the Cooking Dude website. I think it will be a big help to you until you can afford to buy a cookbook.

Incidentally, black pepper looses much of its flavor and aroma very quickly after it's ground. In the spice section of the supermarket, they sell whole peppercorns in an inexpensive disposable grinder. McCormick and Alessi are the two brands I'm familiar with. It's much better to buy pepper this way than pre-ground.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:24 AM   #26
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The Food Network helps to get you started, definitely. I am heading off to college next year, and I have been watching my dad cook for ages as well as the food network. I cook things for the family from time to time, and I also take part in the food shopping. The thing that really turned me on to the kitchen was baking. I'm rather interested in chemistry, so it was a natural pairing! Really, just buy a cookbook and see how it all turns out!

Might I suggest Alton Brown since he describes the processes involved in cooking in a scientific way, so you really understand what you're doing. It allows you to make future alterations on recipes, etc.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:04 AM   #27
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I learned by watching others cook and starting
to cook different dishes which use different techniques -
Roasting, Sauteeing, Frying, Braising , etc.

I suggest you watch PBS cooking shows like
American Test Kitchen, Jacques Pepin, Lydia Bastionitch, Rick Bayless
and you'll pick up a lot. IMHO Food Network shows
are more like entertainment than instruction.

Also - don't be afraid of making mistakes.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:06 AM   #28
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PS: In my generation "The Joy of Cooking" was the basic bible.
Get from your library
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:11 AM   #29
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my grandmother and mother were both terrible cooks.........just a fact......they were beyond measure in love and caring and other wonderful gifts........my mother-in-law was a great cook but I didn't see her often so she gave me the next best thing......a Betty Crocker cookbook which I still have held together by rubber bands and a collector's item......I learned so much from that as far as all the basics and good simple recipes.....then I felt confident to branch out and try other cuisines (Asian is my favorite esp Vietnamese and Thai)..now I can look at a recipe and pretty much tell if it's going to be good or not (yep, I still goof up from time to time but it happens to most) Allrecipes is one of the sites that I like to visit as they have viewer ratings and they will give you hints on what they did to improve upon it which are very helpful
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:32 PM   #30
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I almost forgot to mention one of my very favorite "celebrity chefs", internet Chef John Mitzewich. He's developed almost a cult-like following. Not only is he a great chef, but he's an excellent food writer and teacher, as well as being incredibly entertaining. If you like watching the Food Network chefs/cooks, you've got to give this guy a try.

He has a wonderful video food blog: Food Wishes Video Recipes - Free Video Recipe Blog with tons of recipes, all very well-filmed with clear explanations of exactly what he's doing. Some are also hilariously funny, such as his "Iron" Chef Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich, prepared in his hotel room using an iron. Among other things, he's also the American Food Guide for About.com and has a lot of great recipes and info there: American Food - American Recipes and Cooking - American Cuisine . I really like this guy and hope you will too.
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