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Old 12-13-2007, 12:33 PM   #11
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Experiment; prep as much ahead as possible; and most important.....clean up as you go....makes things soooooo much easier!

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Old 12-13-2007, 12:35 PM   #12
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All the above, especially mis en place.

I'll also add that it's important to read your recipe all the way through before beginning any prepping or cooking. It's no fun to get to a stage of a recipe only to discover you don't have an ingredient in the correct amount or at all or be missing an essential cooking utensil/tool.

Hand-in-hand with reading the recipe completely is to make sure your read it enough in advance of preparing the dish that you will be certain to have enough time to make it. Rushing can lead to mistakes or a poorly prepared recipe. "Haste makes waste" is definitely true.

"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:37 PM   #13
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Make sure you have everything in stock before starting the recipe
I use to start something and then realize I was out of something.

Anyone one can cook. Relax and just follow a recipe
One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:41 PM   #14
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Not really a secret but...it's my #1 rule for cooking.

You can always add more
of an ingred. BUT...you can't take it out once it's in. I always keep that in mind.
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. Robert Frost
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:43 PM   #15
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After preparing a meal Taste it. If it doesn't taste good - do not serve it.
You are what you eat.
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ella/TO View Post
...and most important.....clean up as you go....makes things soooooo much easier!
Beat me to the punch with that one! Yes indeed, bringing the kitchen back to normal before the major mess develops, that's the ticket.

In fact, I consider it proof that you've got the recipe down pat. You can actually enjoy cooking -- and the dinner that follows -- when you've licked that problem.
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:47 PM   #17
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I do all of the above plus I prepare a recipe just as its written the first time I try it..then if there is anything I can do to make it better the next time i make it..I write it down on the recipe so I wont forget.
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:53 PM   #18
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Bring some curiosity to the game. Understanding why things work the way they do allows you to not only enjoy the actual cooking more, but also gives you a basis for reasonable experimentation and substitution.

I love programs like "Good Eats" that explain everything about the ingredients and recipe as you go along.
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:19 PM   #19
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just to comment on ella's and robgrave's responses.. thats very true, i did feel over -whelmed when i got started and i wasnt cleaning as i went.. thats a very good tip.. when i clean as i go i feel more organised and i can keep my thoughts together and even experiment a little :) excellent advice.
lead me not into temptation for you are slow and will only get in the way
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:27 PM   #20
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Great ideas, particularly Andy's. I can't remember 20 ingredients. But I can remember and understand a recipe that I can restate as it takes a mirepoix and a basic white sauce and .......

I wish all recipes had a preface that summarized the recipe that way. It would make cooking easier for me.

But my suggestion is clean and wash as you go.

I start with an empty open dishwasher. Pots, pans, utensils, you name it get rinsed and go right in. If I know I am going to need a pot, or pan, or knife I am using in a subsequent step I just rinse or wash it quickly in the sink and re-use it. At the end of the cooking the kitchen is much neater than if I had a sink full of cookware.

Before criticizing a person, walk a mile in his shoes - then you are a mile away and you have his shoes!
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