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Old 01-24-2005, 10:15 PM   #21
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never be afraid to cut yourself. well i mean get over the fear of cutting yourself.
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:24 PM   #22
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[quote="PolishedTopaz"]Buy some basic cookbooks Fannie Farmer and Better Homes and Gardens are good ones for a new cook. Hang out in Borders and browse their selection too. quote]

free online fannie farmer cookbook. it's the complete book, all 42 chapters. just scroll down a little after clicking on the link to find them. i reference it all of the time. it's awesome:
http://www.bartleby.com/87/
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:43 PM   #23
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my advice is to love your kitchen. become friends with it. get to know your fridge and find a good, repuatable grocer and butcher, and also a fish market if you live near enough the water to have one nearby.
try out new things, both in things that you eat and recipes/techniques that you try. enjoy yourself and remember that you are in charge, not the food. most of all, be open to new ideas!!!! :D
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:47 AM   #24
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Two things I can think of to add to this wonderful list.

On the matter of beating egg whites, I was for years puzzled by the instruction, 'Beat until stiff but not dry', until darling Julia cleared it up for me. When your egg whites have been beaten to the perfect stage, they should move as a single mass and slowly, when you lift and turn the bowl on its side. (I think of it as an iceberg, slowly sliding ...) If you up-end the bowl and they don't budge, you've beaten them too long.

Another thing Mario Batali taught me: Learn to listen to your cooking. The sound water makes when it sizzles on a pan heated to its correct temperature, the sounds of different degrees of boiling, things like that. When you have developed your ear, your sense of hearing can act like an extra set of hands when you're doing many steps at once.


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Old 01-25-2005, 08:07 AM   #25
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wow, great one about the "listening" catseye! i've noticed that when browning things. sometimes, it sounds just right, and you get a good browning on the meat or veggies or whatever without them sticking, burning, or being undercooked (not brown enough).
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:32 AM   #26
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Only two tips to add to all this great advice:

don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry

don't fry bacon (or anything, for that matter) while wearing your bathing suit (remember, crewsk?)
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:02 AM   #27
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I love all these suggestions! About the only thing I can think of to add is invest in an aloe plant! Keep it somewhere in your kitchen for those unexpected burns. You'll be amazed at how often you will use it. Since I got mine, I use it on my hands before I go to bed at night just to keep them soft.

Mudbug, how can I ever forget that?!
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:03 AM   #28
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I don't think I was around for the bathing suit frying fiasco. What happened?
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:07 AM   #29
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It happened several years ago PA. I was outside laying out in a bikini & came inside to fry some bacon. Well, I decided not to change clothes because I was going back outside. Well, all I can say is OUCH!!!! Popping grease & tender stomach skin don't mix at all! :oops:
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:19 AM   #30
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I can't imagine how much that must have hurt! I'm sure it was a lesson well learned!

Another tip that I'd add is read your recipe through at least once or twice before you start cooking. This will help you to make sure you have all of the ingredients and equipment you need before it's too late and that you have enough time to complete all of the steps. This was another one learned the hard way--there were several times I'd get half way through a recipe and realize I didn't have a key ingredient!
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