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Old 03-23-2008, 03:18 PM   #1
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Everyone can cook...?

Everyone can cook...?
Well, I don't know if that's true, but I hear the statement "I can't cook" all the time from some of my friends. I try to explain to them that cooking isn't hard, that one just needs to relax and do it.

What do you do to encourage friends that don't cook to start?

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Old 03-23-2008, 05:08 PM   #2
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Cook something with the person that is really simple/easy that you know they will really like. After a few such lessons especially if you did it at there house so they knew they had everything to make the dish, they will get hungery when you aren't around.
2 Variations on this theme are
1 cook something that is so awesomely good till they can't
help but want it
2 Take them to a good resturant eat a good meal , then later make the same meal only better
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:19 PM   #3
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What a wonderful question, grandpa!!! As someone who couldn't cook until recently, I can speak with authority on this. If a friend who can't cook expresses a desire to be able to, I think it really helps to have them get one success under their belt. That's what happened to me.

The problem is that most people learn to cook at a parent or relative's side by watching and participating. My mother was a poor cook and I only knew what I learned from watching her make things that didn't taste good and I didn't like. No skills or techniques. Not even basic stuff. Over the years, when friends would say it was easy and say "just do this, this, and this to make this", they assumed basic knowledge that I apparently didn't have so it never turned out right.

That's not to say I didn't prepare food all these years. I did every day. I have a lot of kids. But I certainly knew that it wasn't tasty or well prepared and often was such a disaster that I had to dump it and make a frozen pizza. The best I can say about the meals I prepared was that I made balanced meals (they just tasted like crap.)

Finally, I made a new friend who is an awesome cook. For a couple of years, she always cooked and I bought the food and did all the cleanup. Finally, when she saw I really had no cooking skills, she came into my kitchen and taught me - one dish at a time. She said it was hard for her at first because she had to remember to break things down to the basics and make sure I knew all the little things people just absorb by watching as a child. But that's what did it for me - the first time I was able to make a really delicious dish! There's nothing like a little success and a little knowledge to get people started.

I am still not a good cook but there are some things I can make very well now so it's a start.

I guess what I'd like to say is that not all people who say they can't cook are lazy or just don't want to. It's like anything else - we're all potential brain surgeons or lawyers or scientists but we have to learn the basics somewhere before we can begin. I know lots of people have taught themselves to cook. I have taught myself to do many, many things that others go to school for. Apparently I didn't have a natural ability in this area or perhaps I could have learned and refined all those years I was turning out crap!
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:08 PM   #4
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iam learning all the time and having fun doing it
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Old 03-23-2008, 07:15 PM   #5
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I love to cook and have been cooking since I was 8-years-old. I was the oldest in the family and the job of cooking came of necessity. I learned by trial and error and, fortunately, I didn't dislike cooking because my early cooking experience was because I HAD to cook. I love to cook and have been cooking for almost 50 years.

One thing I would recommend is to read, read, read. Pick up a good "basic" cookbook and read it from start to finish. You will learn terms and techniques, discover menus and food combinations and get a feel for preparing recipes. Make notes and jot down things that you want the answers to. I love to read cookbooks like other folks read novels.

As a matter of fact, I'm reviewing a cookbook right now and have discovered an error early into the book. In inexperienced cook might not have picked up the error and would've produced an inferior end product. Then, after making the recipe again - strictly according to the printed recipe - still turn out an unacceptable dish. I plan to call the publisher tomorrow and alert them of the error.

At any rate, have fun in the kitchen and, don't worry, the REAL worst thing that can happen is that you will have to call out for pizza. Sometimes even the dog won't eat our mistakes.
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:20 PM   #6
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I think one of the biggest problems is that some people just don't know that there are two types of food:

the frozen version
the good version :-P

Most of my friends who "hate cooking" have a ball when I have them over for dinner and tell them to stir the sauce. I try to make the same things they eat out of boxes, and they learn that real food and fake food are like night and day. That usually grabs them into asking a few questions...:-)

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Old 03-24-2008, 10:52 AM   #7
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[

As a matter of fact, I'm reviewing a cookbook right now and have discovered an error early into the book. In inexperienced cook might not have picked up the error and would've produced an inferior end product. Then, after making the recipe again - strictly according to the printed recipe - still turn out an unacceptable dish. I plan to call the publisher tomorrow and alert them of the error.

At any rate, have fun in the kitchen and, don't worry, the REAL worst thing that can happen is that you will have to call out for pizza. Sometimes even the dog won't eat our mistakes.[/quote]

Now I'm really curious. Will you share the error with us? Can it be that the author has found a different way of preparing this recipe or is it truly an error? Please share. No need to tell us which book.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:04 AM   #8
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My mom always said, if you can read and follow directions, you can cook. I've found that the people who can't cook don't really follow the directions. They think they can change an ingredient or skip a step, etc., and it won't matter. Well, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't But you generally need some experience to know when and how you can change up a recipe.

And I agree with Katie - I love to read cookbooks, especially ethnic ones. I get a lot of great information about the cultures that produced certain foods, combinations, why they do what they do, etc. It's fascinating to me.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:15 AM   #9
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Everyone can cook...?
Well, I don't know if that's true, but I hear the statement "I can't cook" all the time from some of my friends. I try to explain to them that cooking isn't hard, that one just needs to relax and do it.

What do you do to encourage friends that don't cook to start?
Welcome, grandpa. Think there was a similar thread not too long ago - but anyway...

Anyone that can read and follow a recipe can cook. The "I can't cook" is usually from folks who don't want to cook. I tried to encourage a friend (whose husband does all the cooking) by sending them a slow coker for their anniversary. Guess what - He was jazzed about it, we shared recipes, but she still would not cook. You can lead a horse to water...
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:17 PM   #10
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I think you may have hit the nail on the head Amy, 'I can't cook' often comes down to 'I don't want to cook'. To be honest, I really enjoy cooking but evening meals sometimes become a huge drag for me, I get tired of doing dinner every. single. day. So if I had a partner who was happy to do all the cooking I think I'd be tempted to just not cook ;)

or only cook what I wanna cook lol
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:23 PM   #11
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It drives me nuts when people say that. It's one of the phrases that drives my youtube video series. You can drag anyone into the kitchen, and at the bare minimum get em to boil some water. Once they do this, just make em understand that now, they can poach, braise, boil, steam, par-boil, simmer :gasp: they are cooking. Takes no effort or time at all to make one small leap after another and get to some fancy cooking. from boiling a pot of water. if you can boil water, you can make pasta. If you can make pasta, you can make veggies. If you can make veggies, you can... get it? Cooking is alot like math. There are only so many things you need to know how to do to form a solid foundation (add, subtract, multiply, divide) once that foundation is formed, it's all about confidence.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:32 PM   #12
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Now I'm really curious. Will you share the error with us? Can it be that the author has found a different way of preparing this recipe or is it truly an error? Please share. No need to tell us which book.
Yes, DQ, it really is an error and not the author's interpretation of a recipe. The mistake is part of the description of portioning and shaping dough for a cookie. In one part of the instruction, we're told to do "X," which is followed by telling us to take "X" and use the largest portion of it. The problem, there IS no largest portion.

The thing that has me very curious is that this error was on page 13. The book has 309 pages. It will be fascinating to see if there are any more discrepancies.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:54 PM   #13
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Not everyone enjoys cooking. Some people see it as a chore and not as fun. This is fine. Not everyone enjoys the same things. I can totally understand someone who has no interest in cooking.

BUT

I believe everyone should have basic kitchen skills and understand how food is prepared. This is a life skill that no one should be without. Weather you enjoy it or not you should be capable of creating a decent and complete meal out of basic ingredients. This is not hard and this is something anyone (without some limiting disability) CAN do.

Cooking is a basic life skill. Making a hobby out of it is something else entirely. Learning to enjoy cooking can come from many different places.

Just like everyone should know how to do laundry even if they dont have to everone should be able to make dinner if necessary.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:07 PM   #14
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I cannot figure out the "multiple quote thing" so I'm just gonna have to say this. I love to cook and am lucky yo have a DH that also loves to cook so we take turns and it's great. We actually enjoy cooking together. But his mom is hysterical. She called him one day asking about how to make chicken and dumplings. This is a woman that only eats out because she is clueless when it comes to the kitchen. (she peeled an onion over and over and over every layer thinking that the smallest center part was the piece that was usable). Well, he told her the directions and the order everything needed to be put in. Well, she called later and the celery was gone, so was the onion and the potatoes and carrots were mushy. She just threw it all in at once and as we all know things cook faster than others.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:00 PM   #15
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Not everyone enjoys cooking. Some people see it as a chore and not as fun. This is fine. Not everyone enjoys the same things. I can totally understand someone who has no interest in cooking.

BUT

I believe everyone should have basic kitchen skills and understand how food is prepared. This is a life skill that no one should be without. Weather you enjoy it or not you should be capable of creating a decent and complete meal out of basic ingredients. This is not hard and this is something anyone (without some limiting disability) CAN do.

Cooking is a basic life skill. Making a hobby out of it is something else entirely. Learning to enjoy cooking can come from many different places.

Just like everyone should know how to do laundry even if they dont have to everone should be able to make dinner if necessary.
I basically agree with you, Pancho, but I'm going to play the devil's advocate here.
We all wear clothes everyday. Shouldn't everyone be capable of making a dress and a pair of pants, if necessary? Most of us drive cars at least some of the time. Shouldn't we all be able to perform all the required maintenance and at least simple car repairs? What about plumbing skills? Don't we all use the facilities every day?

What I'm saying is that in order to cook or sew or weave or work on cars or repair plumbing, we generally need some sort of instruction or training. (Granted, sometimes we find we have an affinity for a certain thing and can teach ourselves.) All my kids can sew and do basic car maintenance and use power tools and do simple plumbing repair because I taught them - because someone taught me at least the basics of those things. They can also feed themselves by making toast and ramen and frozen foods etc. because I taught them and that was all I knew how to do. But they certainly wouldn't sit hungry because they couldn't make something. Now, I have more cooking skills so my younger children can cook a much wider variety of foods - many from scratch. But I'm not sure they could make the kind of complete meal you are talking about. (I may be wrong about what your idea of a complete meal and what basic ingredients are.)

Anyway, I do agree that being able to cook healthy, yummy meals is a very good thing and that's why I'm so glad to have found DC, even at this late date.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:55 PM   #16
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I basically agree with you, Pancho, but I'm going to play the devil's advocate here.
We all wear clothes everyday. Shouldn't everyone be capable of making a dress and a pair of pants, if necessary?
If you had to make a dress every couple of days or DIE then, DARNED TOOTING you ought to know how to sew!!!

LMAO!!

Same with .... Fix a car or DIE, or program a computer or DIE, or ... ?? None of these are inherent with life.

Point being, you EAT or you DIE. You can run around naked, walk, and people got by for tens of thousands of years without computers,

Eat or Die.

No one has an excuse for not being able to cook.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:01 PM   #17
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If you had to make a dress every couple of days or DIE then, DARNED TOOTING you ought to know how to sew!!!

LMAO!!

Same with .... Fix a car or DIE, or program a computer or DIE, or ... ?? None of these are inherent with life.

Point being, you EAT or you DIE. You can run around naked, walk, and people got by for tens of thousands of years without computers,

Eat or Die.

No one has an excuse for not being able to cook.
No one said anything about eating though. We are talking cooking.

You do not need to know how to cook to survive. There are plenty of people out there who are living proof of that. Eating may be inherent to life, but cooking is not.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:13 PM   #18
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No one said anything about eating though. We are talking cooking.
Point taken.

I guess 'they' can eat everything raw and uncooked.

Thus 'they' don't need to know how to cook.

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Old 03-24-2008, 08:15 PM   #19
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Or go to restaurants or buy prepared meals or have others cook for them etc.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:19 PM   #20
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Point taken.

I guess 'they' can eat everything raw and uncooked.

Thus 'they' don't need to know how to cook.

L
Or, 'they' can eat fast food, microwaved frozen food, etc., every day. In the U.S. these days, people don't have to know how to cook in order to survive. They may not be healthy in the long run, but that's a different topic.
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