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Old 08-14-2012, 11:29 AM   #1
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Question I've never cooked before. Where do I start?

I'm 23 years old and grew up in a house where nobody cooked. My family ate almost all of our meals from the drive-through. I'm not trying to eat "healthy" or lose weight, I'd just like to be able to prepare a tasty meal (the 'flavor' of grease is testing my sanity).

I am a bit intimidated by the preparation and need for equipment. I have an electric conduction cook-top (glass surface) which I know is against what most cooks prefer (natural gas). I have minimal cutlery and am not sure if I need to buy particular knives (I have seen chef knives selling for ~$100). Are there cheap knives useful for learning and what dishes would be a good starting place?


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Old 08-14-2012, 11:35 AM   #2
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Welcome to D.C.
We all had to start somewhere. No need to be intimidated at all. Take a look around D.C. and see if you can find a recipe you would like to try. If you have questions, there will certainly be someone here to help answer them. While good knives are certainly a plus, they are not an absolute necessity. and any heat source will do. Those glass tops you speak of certainly have their own requirements. I, personally, prefer wood to cook over, but I can find my way around any sort of heat source.
Again, welcome !!

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Old 08-14-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
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Welcome to DC! Hoot's advice is spot-on. Your stove is just fine.

To start out, simple is good, not too many complicated ingredients, and read your recipes carefully. Many times, the recipes on the back of the box or can are a good place to start. Eggs are a great staple to play around with, they're so versatile. Salads are great too. Soups and stews are very forgiving: a can or box of stock, some vegetables, some meat, and a starch like noodles, Ramen, barley, rice, or potatoes, and you're good to go!

Have a look around, and feel free to ask any questions!
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:46 AM   #4
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Hi Thunder,
Welcome to Dc.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness ( RAK ) Makes you feel great too
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:46 AM   #5
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Just remember: It's lunch and dinner, not life and death. It takes quite a mishap for a meal to be 100% uneatable, so even if you flop here and there, you still won't go hungry, you will just have to suffer through the mistake. Could be worse!

Welcome to DC!
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:52 AM   #6
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firstly hello & welcome from manchester uk thunder.
i cooked this last night
Harry's waterbath chicken
i'm a self taught cook with a few good quality pans,a few good knives & a 20 years old electric hob with 4 solid iron plates & a single oven/grill combo below it.
my advice is to buy a few good pans/knives rather than loads of cheap stuff that won't last,won't do the job & will put you off cooking.start off with the basics...roast a chicken,griddle a steak,boil an egg.....you'll soon progress & be cookin' your socks off before you know it.
good luck matey
I spent a lot of money on booze,birds & fast cars.The rest I just squandered.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:55 AM   #7
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Expensive gear will not make you a better cook. electric, gas, glass cook top. None of it matters. Various folks here cook just fine on all these choices.

Start off slowly and learn some techniques and cook some simple dishes. Worry about the gear later.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:08 PM   #8
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My advise is a little different. Eat out. That is, eat at sit down restaurants that serve real food, not fast food. Select meals with veggies, meats, and a desert. Find out how good real food can taste. Then, you are prepared to start cooking.

After that, the advise given in previous posts is very good. My youngest daughter started with soups. Her soups consisted of a small amount of some kind of meat, chopped and stir-fried, to which she would add various cans of veggies. She learned how to put flavors together that were complimentary, and then started adding other veggies such as diced potatoes, carrots, celery, etc. I had her learn to recognize the herbs and spices in my pantry, and then learn to pick them out of foods that I prepared for meals. She became adept at recognizing flavors in foods, and then had some idea of how to make similar dishes of her own, using her own flavorings.

My other children became wonderful cooks after they moved out of the house, experimenting with flavors, textures, and techniques. Each of them have slightly different preferences as to their favorite flavor profiles. But each of them are very creative, and well versed in technique. They can all cook for me anytime.

As you cook things, your knowledge will build. And when you don't know the proper technique for preparing what you want, we are here to help. We've all been there, and have all had success and failure in our culinary adventures. The good new is, unlike people like me, who always had to reinvent the wheel, You don't have to suffer those same mistakes, because you can use us as a resource.

The most important aspects to successful cooking are, IMO, the willingness to try new things, be it foods that are unknown to you, or cooking techniques. After that, you need to love what you are doing, that is, treat cooking as a hobby, a good time where you learn to created new, or favorite dishes, and then get to enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your work. And then, take pride in what you are doing, with the knowledge that whether you are preparing something for yourself, or for friends, of family, you are giving your best.

With your desire to learn, and a willingness to ask questions, you will learn quickly, and be rewarded with healthy, and great tasting meals.

Welcome to DC.

Seeeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:09 PM   #9
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Start by learning to boil water without burning it.
Life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party - Jimmy Buffett
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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Welcome to D.C.

Bienvenidos ...

I would suggest an exemplary Culinary Course, perhaps at a kitchenware shop in your nieghborhood or at an Institute. I could advise that you check out the Library and borrow some Technique Basic Culinary Skill Books ...

Then, go out to eat, and take fotos and notes ... This shall open up a whole new world ... Aromas, pairing, visuals, sauces, flavors, and be a reviewer ... positives and negatives -- write them down ...

Spend some time investing your energies in learning ... And find some good Mentors and Coaches ...

Best of luck,

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