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Old 12-25-2006, 06:24 PM   #21
Senior Cook
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: japan
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along with stargazer and auntdot, i don't think that it's a good thing to get into the mindset that you'll be a better cook if you have all the gadgets. there are things that will help you make a better product, but they are not too many actually. i recommend just picking up things as you need them for a project, but also that you think about it and do some research before purchasing, paying attention to the tiniest details.

as an example, goboenomo mentioned a pastry blender rather than using a fork, although he says that you don't really need one. well, if you want to make a decent pie crust, you do need one, because a pastry blender will mash less of the flour and shortening together and you'll get a flakier pastry. and if you follow the logic, you'll get a pastry blender made with heavy duty wire, not stamped out metal. the "cutting edge" of the stamped out type is flat, the wire is round. round will mash even less of the flour and shortening together.

to add to what andy m said, not only the stuff on tv is junk, but most of the stuff sold at your local supermarket or target/ walmart is definitely throwing your money away.

if you want to put time and effort into producing a better product, focus on technique rather than gadgets. instead of spending $100 or $200 plus on time-saving appliances or expensive knives, save that money for a single meal in an excellent restaurant in a big city. that experience will make you a much better chef than any kitchenaid mixer ever will.

developing your palate by experiencing great meals, good technique, attention to detail, understanding ingredients and using quality ingredients are all-important.

let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
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Old 12-25-2006, 08:04 PM   #22
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Robyn...take it slow. Andy M and philso and others gave you great advise.

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Old 12-25-2006, 11:19 PM   #23
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Location: Ohio
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If you like to bake you NEED a Silpat silacone liner for your cookie sheets. I have several. They are amazing! No greasing required, so durable and easy to clean. Nothing sticks. Store them rolled up in empty paper towel holders. I also have a silocone sheet to roll dough out onto. No extra flour needed. It's the best!
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:19 AM   #24
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If you need some stuff to help you in cooking, you can always go to Bed Bath & Beyond.

They carry a whole slew of things from bowls to gadgets. But start slow.
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:31 AM   #25
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Hate to post again on the same thread, but here goes.

Did not, Robyn, mean to imply that cooking cannot be a lot easier with some good utensils. Just wanted to point out that a bad cook with the best of stuff cannot hold a candle to a good cook who only has basic tools to work with.

So focus in on the technique and not the toys.

And there are many toys out there that make one's cooking life a whole lot easier. You need to go slowly and find what they are.

What a cook needs is a love of food, a willingness to learn, and the best ingredients.

Yep, ingredients.

Old computer geek phrase 'Garbage in, garbage out'.

That goes for food too. Bad food in the pot, bad food out of it.

That does not mean you need to buy the most expensive cuts of meat, or make every meal with foie gras and eggs from the ugly fish, it means, well, I am not exactly sure what it means.

I do not know how to succinctly talk about ingredients.

Just can say that good ingredients + good cook = good food.

Welcome to DC Robyn, glad to hear you love to cook, and let's hear from you.
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Old 12-26-2006, 07:00 AM   #26
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Location: Texas girl living in Kazakhstan
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Hi, RobynOC,
Welcome to DC---as you can see people on this site are some of the most helpful, knowledgeable, and encouraging people ever and much can be learned. I know that I have. I applaud your desire to become a good cook and having proper utensils is a step in the right direction without going bankrupt in the process---as you can tell by the responses you don't need every gadget under the sun.

One gadget that I can't do without is a whisk---I use it for everything--I have a metal one and a heat-resistant plastic one for nonstick pans----they are great for mixing light combinations and making sauces and gravies. Also, have on hand several wooden long-handled spoons and spatulas (some people call them scrapers). Spatulas and wooden spoons can be bought in dollar stores.
When time allows you, and I know teens are busy, try and watch a couple of cooking shows--they are great for learning techniques-----I learned what cutting in meant from watching the great French Chef, herself.
The only difference between a "cook" and a "Chef" is who cleans up the kitchen.
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:10 PM   #27
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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I'm back with a bit more of advice. Another worthwhile forum site:Foodservice/Chef Job Board, Culinary School/Institute Directory, Recipes + More There are specific forums for baking, cooking, asking questions and for professional chefs too-respect the pro parts and have fun in the open forums. Do learn that in baking it is more like chemestry-you need to follow the recipe closely, weigh ingredients(get a good kitchen scale). You have more latitude to substitute ingredients in cooking than in baking.

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