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Old 06-11-2009, 09:40 PM   #1
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Question Learning to Cook - Recipes and Things to Cook

Hi All,

So, I am 30 and just in the last several years or so have started learning to cook and bake.

I am looking for recipes and things to cook that will help expand my knowledge a bit and perhaps help me to be a little more self sufficient in the kitchen. By self sufficient I mean able to put something together without a recipe and able to substitute.

I realize that most of this is practice-trial-error and that my self sufficiency may not come for many years, but it seems like there are many people on here that work as chefs, have been to culinary school and/or have spent their lives cooking.

I am a horseback riding instructor so I have tons of "exercises" for people to do that will help them to ride better.

I'm wondering if there are "exercises" or recipes and things to make and practice on that can help a person develop better skills in the kitchen.

For example, I heard on tv that the ability to cook eggs well, in a variety of ways is a "basic" for a chef so I have almost done that.

I've also been trying to do everything from "scratch" (as in shopping the outer walls of the grocery store).

I am not desiring to be a chef or anything like that, but if anyone has any advice in this area, I would really appreciate it!

Oh, and I have TOO MANY cookbooks. Not that I'm not willing to take suggestions (because there will be more in the future), but I am somewhat of a "book collector" and one of my favorite things is cookbooks :)

This forum has helped me greatly already so THANK YOU I really appreciate it.

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Old 06-11-2009, 10:16 PM   #2
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You can have a lot of fun getting to where you want to be.

One way to do it is to choose a cuisine such as Italian. Grab one of your Italian cookbooks and cook few recipes. That will give you an idea of which combinations work well for some of the foods of Italy.

Do the same thing with a Mexican cookbook.

In the cold weather, start making soups. You'll see that many soups have common procedures, ingredients, etc. The same goes for stews and braises.

By cooking a wide variety of recipes, you will begin to get a feel for winning combinations and the proper steps to follow when you want to throw something together using stuff you have on hand.

Watch cooking shows and try some of the recipes you like there.

Bottom line - experience with cooking will give you the knowledge and skill to become an intuitive cook - someone who can throw something together without thinking too much about it.

You'll make some mistakes. Don't tell anyone. Just tell them that's the way it was supposed to be. It will usually be edible, even if you don't like it very much.

Write things down so you can correct your bad recipes and repeat your successes.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:48 PM   #3
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Howdy neighbor. I have a deal for you, you teach how to ride a horse, and I'll teach you how to cook. Where about in MN are you?
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:42 AM   #4
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As usual Andy M gives good advise, from me I would say firstly write down what you like.
Look up the recipe and give it a go
Follow the recipe as best you can but be mindful that the person who wrote the recipe won't be giving you a guarantee that it will work.
Andy or myself could give you a recipe that works for us but it may not work for you.
Trial and error and don't worry about the flops,
SO if you want to be able to cook like Andy you will have to work really-really hard at it. If you want to be able to cook like me, be prepared for some failures, but when it turns out good it's sensational. It doesn't matter what I cook I always seem to vary from the recipe, it's a personal taste thing.
The biggest downfall for me is that I can rarely repeat the recipe because I never write things down.

Good luck Jeni
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:07 AM   #5
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trial and error are important learning tools. the first time i made homemade ravioli (i rolled the dough by hand). my table was bent in the middle so when i did the make a well in the flour and drop an egg in method, the egg rolled out of the well and into the crack and onto the floor. the cat was happy i wasn't!! well i got the dough mixed and made my raviolis not a one broke open!! BUT you could only fit ONE on a 9" plate. i have gotten better at the size thing and i still like to roll my own dough out because they never leak the filling into the water.

the first time i made swedish meatballs well............ my hub still refers to them as swedish bowling balls.

they tasted good!!

after i had my first daughter (at the begining of december) i was told i still had to bring lemon meringue pie and pecan pie for holiday dinner (mine were the best i was told). well i was so tired from nursing the baby and little sleep. i made my pies. they looked beautiful. the pecan was perfect but when my uncle cut into the lemon and it was soup he just rolled with it and said thats ok just give me a spoon this is mine!! accidents happen!! this happened AFTER i was making lemon pies for years so even experienced cooks have off days. no worries. learn to laugh at the boo boos!! and never apologize.
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:26 AM   #6
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I loved your post msmofet.

Yes, this is what it's all about, To be a professional cook be professionally trained.

To be a home cook, practice on the family, do not be afraid to experiment, but remember to write down the successes.
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attie View Post
I loved your post msmofet.

Yes, this is what it's all about, To be a professional cook be professionally trained.

To be a home cook, practice on the family, do not be afraid to experiment, but remember to write down the successes.
thank you sweetie!!
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmofet View Post
thank you sweetie!!
You are most welcome, it is nice to get a response to a post so early in the evening for us when you blokes are normally in bed --- I'm posting this at 6.50pm Friday evening here.
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attie View Post
You are most welcome, it is nice to get a response to a post so early in the evening for us when you blokes are normally in bed --- I'm posting this at 6.50pm Friday evening here.
it is 5am friday here. it has been raining and i don't sleep well (insomnia and pain keep me awake till i pass out from exhaustion. which sometimes takes 2 days+). at the moment i also have the beginning of a migraine argh!! it is nice to have someone else posting at this time, i am usually very lonely. LOL


btw were you laughing at me or with me? teehee

i am thinking about putting on a pot of coffee (fresh ground bean blend) and then making katie's devils food cake.
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:12 AM   #10
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Laughing with you msmofet, I to am a poor sleeper, I guess it's an age thing.

No coffee for me at this time of night, scotch and pepsi max to warm the bones. We are in the midst of a cold snap Brrrrrr! down to 4C today, I tell you, that is cold for us
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