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Old 03-14-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
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Unhappy Need help for super simple cookbook to help a very green cook

Hi everyone. Me & My wife need help!!! So to try to help understand with whats going on i will try to give you some info. My wife is foreign and grew up without really learning to cook. She can cook a few things (5-6) but thats all she cooks. Tonight she was on the verge of tears because she was so frustrated. She didn't know what to cook and she is almost afraid to fail. What if what she makes doesn't taste good? What is she fails? Those are not my thoughts but hers. I've tried to reassure her that it doesn't matter. I try to tell her thats how you learn but she still feels the same way. She just lacks confidence.

Still trying to convince her that sometimes you have to measure. She is used to just throwing stuff in a pot of course.

So what i'm going to try is to do is hopefully get a very beginning cookbook. Something that has very simple/quick recipes and very simple language. I't would also be nice if she was learning the basics at the same time just not a book full of recipes. Braising would be a perfect example. Illustrated examples would be awesome but probably some of the best books don't have that.

She has tried a few recipes from a Latin cookbook her aunt gave her and i think this is one of her problems. Some of the recipes are very complex....like mole. I have told her that she shouldn't cook anything like that until she has a lot more experience. Start slow....

I do know how to cook but there are days that i can't help her and when she watches me cook she thinks i expect her to cook like me, which of course i don't but her mind still tells her i do :). Some of the dishes i make are complex.

I would very much appreciate if anyone could offer advice for a good book to get her started. Also, any general advice would be appreciated.

thanks,
Ncage

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Old 03-14-2013, 10:23 PM   #2
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Better Homes and Gardens is a really good starter cookbook. Of course there are several others who have thier favorites. But I believe the basics can be learned from BH&G and you can find it easily in discount book stores.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
Better Homes and Gardens is a really good starter cookbook. Of course there are several others who have thier favorites. But I believe the basics can be learned from BH&G and you can find it easily in discount book stores.
Thanks for the reply princess. Does it matter what edition? I think the newest one is the 15th edition or would you look for an older one?
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ncage1974 View Post
Thanks for the reply princess. Does it matter what edition? I think the newest one is the 15th edition or would you look for an older one?
Edition doesn't matter the cooking basics are the same and the newer ones have better known/found ingredients.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
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BH&G is a good cookbook and covers the basics. Pretty much the only thing that changes from edition to edition is the recipes. Older ones are taken out and replaced with others that reflect current trends.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #6
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Consider this one:
How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food--With 1, 000 Photos: Mark Bittman: 9780470528068: Amazon.com: Books


I recommend it especially to her, because she obviously wants to cook with some virtuosity. I mean, she wants to be able to approach ingredients and know how to craft them into something good by "throwing in a bit of this and a bit that." Of course, to do that, you have to have a good understanding of what happens when you toss in a bit of this or a bit of that. You get that understanding by following recipes and having alternatives explained.

This author understands that someone like her can be given a complete list of ingredients and then may find at the store that there are variations of that ingredient that weren't explained. So he tells you when you are going to encounter things like one version salted and another unsalted, tells you which he wants you to use, and why. Otherwise, the recipes are reasonably simple. In other words, you won't fail on account of him not telling you something you need to know.

He has written other beginners cookbooks, but this one is the place to start, because it assumes nothing and is truly basic without throwing too much information at her. If you follow the link to Amazon, you can read the first part of it by clicking on the book cover image.

And, if it's not clear, she can come back here and ask.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:32 AM   #7
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I also recommend Bittman's book for all the same reasons.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #8
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I bought this book for both daughters for Christmas.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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I would check and see if there are any community education (adult ed) classes that offer cooking classes. Many years ago, I took an 8-week (once a week) course. We learned to cook basic Italian, dishes using MN wild rice (lived in MN), egg rolls, etc. The best part was that not only did we get to prepare the dishes for each "theme" night (the instructor did do a lot of the prep in advance), we got to enjoy the meal we prepared and meet new people. There was someone there to answer questions as we prepared the dishes and show us how to do things. It was kind of like an adult home ec class. That might be s/thing fun for the two of you to do and take the stress off your wife, build her confidence, and let her learn by doing rather than having to read the recipe, do the shopping, etc. A different way of going out for a meal together. Women tend to have this thing (must be genetic) that feeding those we love is a way that we show them we love them.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:00 PM   #10
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Some great choices, however I would recommend "I'm just here for the food" by Alton Brown. This book not only has some great recipes, but it teaches how to read a recipe, defines cooking terms as well as cooking methods. Also, watch AB'S show "Good Eats" it is like cooking 101. After all he did when a James beard award.

-Alfred
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