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Old 01-07-2008, 08:43 AM   #1
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The statement "I can't cook"

I hear that all the time from friends. I try to explain to them, cooking isn't hard you just need to relax and do it. When asked what they can cook, spaghetti is number one because it's just opening a jar and boiling the spaghetti--it's so sad..

what I try to do is encourage them to take the next step. I ask if they can fry up hamburger? their answer, yes. I ask if they can dice up an onion.....yes...

OK, fry up the hamburger until almost done, drop in the diced onion and let it cook until the onions are clear. Stir in the spaghetti sauce...

There--you're cooking. From there try different things. Add spices, use sausage, buy some fresh garlic and herbs... learn what these things taste like.

I also encourage watching some of the simpler cooking shows. See what they do.

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

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Old 01-07-2008, 08:57 AM   #2
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I tend to offer a simple approach to a recipe, similar to yours.

You say you can't make xxxxxxx xxxxxxx!

Break down the recipe to its basic steps:

Can you prep the ingredients, Slicing, chopping, measuring, etc. - Sure you can.

Can ou heat a pan and add a couple of ingredients to it and let it cook for a bit. Sure

Can you add other ingredients, stir and cook for more time. Sure

I think a major issue is that someone reads a recipe or just looks at it and panics at the total process (look at all those steps!). If they can break it down to simple steps, it seems more manageable.

(This is true of a lot mre than cooking.)
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:05 AM   #3
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with herbs and spices it`s quite simple and most everyone Already has the tools to use them!

what I`ve done with a few in the past is simply open a jar of X tell them to close their eyes and have a smell, then ask, what Foods does it make you think of?

99 times out of 100 the answer they give you is typical of the food you would use it in :)
with eyes still closed suggest a few other typical ones they didn`t mention, you`ll soon be agreed with.

and the Best part is that, there IS NO right or wrong answers :)
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:18 AM   #4
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What I think your friends are really saying is "I don't want to cook".

There's an abundance of cooking information on television, libraries, internet and bookstores.

We all learn either what we want to. or what we need to know.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplicity View Post
What I think your friends are really saying is "I don't want to cook".

There's an abundance of cooking information on television, libraries, internet and bookstores.

We all learn either what we want to. or what we need to know.
You're exactly right. If you can read you can cook.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:56 AM   #6
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I taught my sons how to cook when they were younger and lived at home. They cook better than their wives
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:12 PM   #7
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I tell them, "My Mom says, if you can read and follow directions, you can cook." She does, and it's true.

The "follow directions" part is important. I had a friend who complained her roast beef was always overcooked. After talking about it, I found out that after cooking for the amount of time the recipe said, she cut into the roast to see if it was done to her liking. Not familiar with carry-over cooking, she always put it back in the oven because it looked too rare, and then of course, it overcooked.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:08 PM   #8
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I tend to say that I can't cook. My mother can cook, my ant could cook, my grandmother could could (oh, my could she cook). Me, I can make couple-few dishes here and there, but not nearly as good or as many or as fast as my mom. No I really can't cook. I can't even fallow the recipe. Everything I cook I cook from my head. What kind of cooking os this, neah. Cook should be able to cook from recipe book. Not me, I can't fallow directions.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:31 PM   #9
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Ok, how about this: I can't make biscuits! At least so far... they keeping coming out flat, but I keep trying!!!

Anyone can cook if they want to. But there are some of us who just don't have good common sense about cooking... I've seen it and it's scary!
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:16 PM   #10
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What I think your friends are really saying is "I don't want to cook".
I think your right.

I really think people don't want to take the time or put forth the effort.

It's too easy to choke on industrial food.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:25 PM   #11
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I Can't Cook

What are some of the simplier cooking shows?
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:33 PM   #12
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[quote=Jeff G.;530905]I hear that all the time from friends. I try to explain to them, cooking isn't hard you just need to relax and do it. When asked what they can cook, spaghetti is number one because it's just opening a jar and boiling the spaghetti--it's so sad..

what I try to do is encourage them to take the next step. I ask if they can fry up hamburger? their answer, yes. I ask if they can dice up an onion.....yes...

OK, fry up the hamburger until almost done, drop in the diced onion and let it cook until the onions are clear. Stir in the spaghetti sauce...

There--you're cooking. From there try different things. Add spices, use sausage, buy some fresh garlic and herbs... learn what these things taste like.

I also encourage watching some of the simpler cooking shows. See what they do.

What do you do to encourage friends that don't cook to start?[/quote]

I'm laughing as I read this cause... I had a dear friend that said she couldn't boil water or would burn jello. Her long-time live in SO did all the cooking. (They have been together so long, it's probably a common law marriage?) Anyhew... I gave them a crockpot for their anniversary to encourage her to try to cook simple things. Guess what?! She told me her husband loves the crockpot & wants to run away with me. He & I exchanged recipes over the phone, & he was really psyched. She still did not cook or give it a try.

Guess it comes down to - some folks enjoy cooking & others don't. You can lead a horse to water... you know the rest.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff G. View Post
I hear that all the time from friends. I try to explain to them, cooking isn't hard you just need to relax and do it. When asked what they can cook, spaghetti is number one because it's just opening a jar and boiling the spaghetti--it's so sad..

what I try to do is encourage them to take the next step. I ask if they can fry up hamburger? their answer, yes. I ask if they can dice up an onion.....yes...

OK, fry up the hamburger until almost done, drop in the diced onion and let it cook until the onions are clear. Stir in the spaghetti sauce...

There--you're cooking. From there try different things. Add spices, use sausage, buy some fresh garlic and herbs... learn what these things taste like.

I also encourage watching some of the simpler cooking shows. See what they do.

What do you do to encourage friends that don't cook to start?
its not cooking thats hard... the problem is people don't have the passion and patience for it.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:27 PM   #14
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Being a teacher I have created a handout called "Cooking for the college student" and I give it to my seniors and we even do a classroom lunch for those who want to participate. So I give this to friends who say "I wish I could cook" , but to those who say "I can't cook" I give my sincere condolences.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:34 PM   #15
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I think I've heard "I don't cook" more than "I can't cook" lately. Some people seem to almost be proud of that fact. I'd much rather have control of what is going in my food than let someone else make that decision. Not that I don't enjoy eating out, but most of the time we eat at home with good food made from fresh ingredients.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:45 PM   #16
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My DH recently invited my SIL over for dinner on the condition that we buy the ingredients and she does the cooking, with us on stand-by for assistance. It's kind of our way to help her "learn how to cook" you might say. She's always over at our house for dinner but has never invited us over to her house because she says she doesn't really know how to cook.

Well, she picked out a tagliatelle with bolognese sauce. We substituted tagliatelle with fettucine since we doubt that my SIL is ready to make her own pasta. Here's what I noticed.

She had 4 hours to prepare dinner. She watched soap operas for 3 hrs and didn't read the recipe until an hour before dinner. Apparently, she thought it would be the same as spaghetti and meat sauce, the sauce being from a tomato sauce can instead of a jar. Actually, she didn't really read the recipe fully, just skimmed it and said, "I'm ready to cook." Oops #1, didn't read the entire recipe.

Half way through making the bolognese sauce, she realized that the instructions required simmering for 2 hours. Oops #2. She said that wasn't going to happen.

Oops #3, she never tasted her bolonese sauce. Just added the ingredients exactly to the recipe and skipped over the part about "adjust seasoning as needed." She also missed the part that said if the sauce seems on the dry side, add more olive oil. So it ended up to be a very dry, almost sauceless bolognese...er, sauce, that lacked flavor.

Oops #4, she walked away from the boiling fettucine about half way through to play with the dogs. DH took over just in time to keep the pasta from being overcooked. Her comment, "I was coming back. I just needed a little break."

Overall, was okay considering this was her first try. I think her biggest problem was not reading the recipe in its entirety ahead of time, and perhaps lacking a bit in attention to details. Neither DH nor I wanted to interfere too much because we felt she would best learn from her mistakes. Did she learn? I don't really know but maybe we'll try this again sometime to find out.

Oh yeah, I should mention that she's a 33 year old woman.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:49 PM   #17
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I don't like when people say they like my cooking but when I tell them how to do it they show no interest in what I'm saying. Obviously, they don't care to cook. If anyone asks me for a recipe, I will share it along the tips that go along with it. I've learned not to be too straight forward on telling people how to cook.
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:07 AM   #18
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Wow plumies I thought you were talking about a 16 yr old til the end!!
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:54 AM   #19
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plumies, the interest in cooking doesn't seem to be there. 1) thorough reading and understanding of the process 2) attention to detail and the cooking process (walking away!!) So she'll be a crock potter or a heat and server. Not too bad.

I've told people who said they are embarressed to have me over cause their cooking is bad..."I love pizza and being with my friends..." sometimes they take the hint that it's not what you make, but that you share yourself with others.
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Old 02-06-2008, 11:08 AM   #20
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Ok, how about this: I can't make biscuits! At least so far... they keeping coming out flat, but I keep trying!!!

Anyone can cook if they want to. But there are some of us who just don't have good common sense about cooking... I've seen it and it's scary!
How funny, I can't make a good biscuit either which makes no sense as I can make much more difficult things like Croissant dough, perfect dried merinques you name it.
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