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Old 02-01-2009, 04:33 PM   #11
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...my palette is very, very simple. I just need basic ideas. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
What do you like? Cooking isn't really very hard, and with a few helpful hints, it's mostly a matter of practice. Give us a few menu choices and I'll bet we can walk you through the basics.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:10 PM   #12
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I've noticed some of the sites have videos of some of their recipes. I haven't watched any of them since I'm usually just looking for the recipes, but it could be a start. Also some cookbooks have very clear instructions and some of those are visual. I think everyone should know how to cook enough to serve themselves well. Both of my kids could cook good meals before they left home - not a wide variety, but they added to them soon after leaving. I think most of us learn to cook by trial and error. There are many professionals here, but there are many who are not.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:49 PM   #13
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Taking a cooking class is a great idea but, to me, isn't really necessary if you start with the basics. The internet is also a great source for information but there is no substitute for a couple of good basic cookbooks.

My suggestion is to go to a bookstore and browse through several basic cookbooks. Mark Bittman's book "How To Cook Everything", mentioned above, is a modern classic and deserves consideration. However, I'd recommend it as your second or third cookbook, not your first. Why? Because it's too big, too comprehensive and and too advanced for most of what you need to learn at this stage. At this stage, you don't NEED to learn how to cook everything - you need to learn the basics. Other excellent general purpose/reference cookbooks include Joy Of Cooking and the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. There are many others.

The best cookbooks I know of for absolute beginners are those from Betty Crocker. I highly recommend "Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics", which is the best basic beginner's cookbook I've ever seen. I've given numerous copies as gifts.

Here's an excerpt from the publisher's description: "Today, many people find they don't know kitchen basics, much less know how to cook a meal. Betty Crocker comes to the rescue in Cooking Basics, covering all the information anyone needs to cook, whether they are just leaving home, or discovering a need to cook at any age. Using the 100 appealing recipes here, anyone can learn to cook a complete meal. Nothing is intimidating, and every technique, term and ingredient is clearly explained....Also covered is how to set up a kitchen, how to read a recipe, a glossary of ingredients and a complete explanation of food preparation terms. Learn about fresh herbs--what they look like and how to use them -- plus complete easy-to-read listings of pasta shapes and salad greens. Sections on grilling, entertaining, table setting, and refrigerator and freezer storage guides complete the book, and make new cooks feel confident on all fronts." A new 2nd edition of this book was released in October 2008 but I haven't seen it yet. The version I'm familiar with is the original 1998 edition.

Alternatively, consider the classic "Betty Crocker Cookbook", which has most (but not all) of the same basic information but includes many more recipes and advanced techniques.

You can read reviews and comments on Amazon but really should try to go to a bookstore and look through them and others to find one that you like and that suits your learning style. The advantage to starting out with a basic cookbook is that the recipes and techniques are generally simpler and the number of ingredients are more limited.

Good luck!
with a little help from me, and the betty crocker book my adult granddaughter is learning to cook. she is doing very well, put on a killer thanksgiving with just a little help with sides. this took about a year. a little challenge is its own reward. go for it.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:52 PM   #14
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how about your local newspaper. I know our has a section (ones a week) where they publish about cooking classes in the diferent stores. Usually couple of hours class. And at the end you get what was cooked. Also there those cooking places. It's usually in a store of a sort. That has big kitchen in the back, ingredients and you come and cook with bunch of other people and take home what you made. Actually, now that I think about, this might be just what you need to star.
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:42 PM   #15
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People have different learning styles, and I recognize that not everyone can "get it" from reading a cookbook. Some of us need to be more "hands on". They pick it up quicker by doing it. Fortunately for me, I watched my Mother for years and had her coach me through some recipes before I bought my first cookbook.

You can't go wrong with a class, if you don't have an experienced cook to work with you.

The hardest thing for me was getting everything done at the same time.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by toni1948 View Post
People have different learning styles, and I recognize that not everyone can "get it" from reading a cookbook. Some of us need to be more "hands on". They pick it up quicker by doing it. Fortunately for me, I watched my Mother for years and had her coach me through some recipes before I bought my first cookbook.

You can't go wrong with a class, if you don't have an experienced cook to work with you.

The hardest thing for me was getting everything done at the same time.
I think you hit the nail on the head Toni. The OP said that she/he learns well from classes, and that her/his family didn't cook. Thus the OP evidently didn't have the opportunity to watch cooks in action while growing up. Those of us who were fortunate enough to learn the basics from our mom, grandma, dad, etc. are able to pick up a cookbook and learn. Having not had that basic education, the OP might benefit more from a class to start.

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Old 02-02-2009, 01:26 AM   #17
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let me suggest Home Ec night class at your local high school. But start with one or more of the suggested books, and NEVER be embarrased to ask one of us for advice. There's no such thing as a dumb question, just dumb answers! We all had to learn, too.

And Welcome to DC!
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:20 AM   #18
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I don't know how to cook either, but I'm starting to get the hang of it.

What I did was to grab a few recipes for food that I like and then adjust them to make them better.

My first meal was Baked Ziti

It's very simple, the timing isn't critical and there's good leftovers.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:37 AM   #19
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If you are in a small town, like the one I live in, you may want to contact the local high school. Many times, the Home Ec. teachers will offer a night class that could help you. Would be like getting a GED.
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