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Old 10-16-2014, 07:36 PM   #21
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I'm sorry but I can't believe that you really are so clueless that you don't know that butter comes as a solid. That would lead a person to believe that you don't even know how to add butter to pancake that has been placed in front of you and that someone has already melted the butter for you. If that's the case, you really need to relax and look around to see what is available to you and let common sense suggest what you do, in fact, know but are refusing to recognize.
Just like a covering a garbage can, you cover a pot with a lid. Your kids don't need you fooling around with an indoor grill right now. Stick with the can opener and get out the instruction book for the microwave. Line up a row of cereal boxes and keep plenty of milk in the fridge. When you've mastered that, start on the stove burners. Watch the pots and pans to make sure you don't set the house on fire. Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:49 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by CluelessDad View Post
All right,

I appreciate the eggs suggestion as well (that's gonna be messy but it makes sense). I have hope now that I might be able to figure out enough to keep us from starving anyway. If I do have to be Mr. Mom I'm sure I'll be back on here a lot. In the meantime, I think I've got a better grasp at least on what homework I can do before then. Thanks for all of your help.
One of the first things you need to learn is that cooks make messes, and they then clean up those messes. As you get more experience, your messes will be smaller, you will learn to clean as you go when there is a pause in the cooking process, and the messes will become manageable.

Also keep in mind that everyone who cooks started somewhere. None of us was born a chef. We all had to learn how to crack an egg. In fact I thought that I had learned it many years ago, then I took a cooking class 12 years ago and found out that my mother taught me wrong. Go figure.

Basic cooking is simply knowing a few basic processes. Once you have made a roasted chicken, you can apply that knowledge to doing a pork roast. Or a beef roast. The fundamentals are the same, temperature, cooking time, seasonings may change slightly, but that's what recipes are for. They tell you how to modify what you did with the chicken to make it work for pork. Once you get a handle on the terminology, the rest is just following directions.

As you have already found out, Google is your friend in cooking as in so many other things. I can't imagine many things you need to know for family cooking that can't be covered in a Google search. I Google something home related, whether cooking or handyman or whatever at least a couple of times a day.

Lastly come around any time you run into a conundrum in your journey. There are lots of really knowledgeable folks here who love to help out. Just keep asking questions and we will do our level best to give answers you can work with.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:22 PM   #23
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some really great info and a few justifiably snarky or doubtful comments.

ball's in your court, dad.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:36 PM   #24
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I was a little surprised by some of what CluelessDad said too, but was giving him the benefit of the doubt...
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:36 AM   #25
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Make what seems like a big deal done right and congratulate yourself, then do it again, only make it more a regular thing than a big deal. I found that helped me when repeating a dish when I'm not in the mood to make it a "big deal". I made myself regard it and approach it as an everyday thing. That really helped me in my approach to cooking.
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:35 AM   #26
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...Regarding ovens: I don't know what a broiler is. My oven doesn't have numbers, on the knobs for the top part, just "High" and "Low." Nothing says "Bake" that I can see but the center knob does have temperature settings. It's a gas oven and I need to make the top burners click for a minute before I get fire. I can't seem to make the bottom part click. I'm not sure if I need to or if it has a pilot light - I'll ask, later....
Welcome CluelessDad. Nothing better than a challenge for both you and us! Lucky you, DC is full of people who like to tell you how to do stuff. Most of it is extremely helpful too.

IF you haven't figured out your oven/broiler yet AND you haven't found the owner's manual stuffed into a drawer somewhere (or online, almost all manufacturers have them online anymore), take a photo with your camera and post it here. It's likely someone has something similar and they can walk you through it.

Finally, as long as none of you have peanut allergies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are lifesavers. If the kiddos like and eat PB, you an also smear it on apple slices, Ritz-type crackers, banana pieces - all sorts of options to quiet their grumbly bellies and provide decent nutrition. Good luck, and don't hesitate to ask for help. And more help. Eventually, you'll look back on your initial post and say "that was ME???".
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:39 AM   #27
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I am overwhelmed by the help you guys have offered here. I'm generally cynical so I don't mind the snarky comments.
Oldvine, I knew butter came as a solid in a tub but not that it came as a stick. I had never given thought to how it might be measured but inches didn't seem right - I am that clueless.

So here's the update: I used up about three dozen eggs and have not mastered cracking the shell without breaking the membrane but I have now learned that I can crack it on the table rather than the bowl and saves me from having to pick shells out (mostly).

My wife says I have represented her unfairly and I should clarify that she is willing to help. She helped me make scrambled eggs. Unfortunately her instructions included using "the right amount" of milk, salt and pepper and that's probably why my kids didn't like them (I thought they tasted OK but that was definitely a minority opinion) but they weren't burnt and they looked like scrambled eggs anyway.

I didn't use the whole 3 doz. on the scrambled eggs. I also tried an omelet. To the everlasting surprise of my family, I was able (after several attempts that looked more like my scrambled eggs) to make an omelet that not only tasted good but was even more omelet-shaped (if that makes sense) than she makes. I made 3 of these and feel pretty confident. For the record, she now believes I am likely the only person on the planet who can make an omelet more successfully than I can make scrambled eggs.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:02 PM   #28
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Hi, Dad. Glad to hear you're making progress

Here's another resource that might be helpful. A site called The Kitchn just started a series of online cooking classes - one for each day from Oct. 6-31. For each topic, there's a short reading, a video, tips and several options for homework for practicing the skills. (They're also promoting their book with this, so they're encouraging people to take pictures, etc. - ignore that part ).

Scroll down and you'll see the list of lessons. You can click on the ones they've already posted.
The Kitchn's Cooking School | The Kitchn
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:08 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by CluelessDad View Post
My wife says I have represented her unfairly and I should clarify that she is willing to help. She helped me make scrambled eggs. Unfortunately her instructions included using "the right amount" of milk, salt and pepper and that's probably why my kids didn't like them (I thought they tasted OK but that was definitely a minority opinion) but they weren't burnt and they looked like scrambled eggs anyway.
When someone gives you vague directions, like "the right amount" or "season to taste," ask, "How much should I start with?" You can always add more, but you can't take it out.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:10 PM   #30
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Well if that wasn't a timely find, I don't know what is.

I'm surprised by the technique shown for using a kitchen knife. It's pretty much the way I've taught people NOT to use a hammer.
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