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Old 04-01-2005, 11:36 AM   #1
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Teaching how to cook

Well, my girlfriend recently told me that she wants to start cooking more, and asked me to help her learn. i would be more than happy to, except that I really don't know how I would go about this. When I cook, it's totally improv, and she's the type of person that must have a recipe, and must follow every instruction perfectly. I don't know how to tell her that i don't really know how to cook. I just have a knack for it I guess. So any thoughts on how I could approach this?

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Old 04-01-2005, 11:59 AM   #2
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Since your girlfriend is just learning, I'd say to humor her by finding some simple recipes that she could start with. As she gets more comfortable, she'll be willing to improvise and will take on some of your style.

How about deciding on a meal that you'd like to cook together, find some easy recipes and follow them together. It'll be a nice way to spend an evening. Plus, it never hurts for someone with a cooking style like yours to force yourself to follow a recipe--it's a good challenge!

If she's really serious about learning more and you want to get her a little somethign, I'd suggest The Kitchen Survival Guide by Laura Brody. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846 I bought myself a copy when I moved into my first apartment in college. A woman who shopped at the book store I worked in at the time said she got it as a gift for anyone she could who were just starting on their own. It goes over basic cooking skills, how to grocery shop and includes a ton of really good, simple and easy to follow recipes. I give that book a lot of credit for helping develop my love of cooking!
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Old 04-01-2005, 12:08 PM   #3
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Check out my websit. It may help. You can find it by clicking on my avatar.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- https://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
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Old 04-01-2005, 01:30 PM   #4
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We ended up compiling some great info for begginers and veterans alike in that thread. I recomend checking it out.
My english, she's not so good... I meant to say I did it with the malice of forethought.
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Old 04-01-2005, 03:28 PM   #5
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I'm absolutely the same as you; that is I just have always loved to cook and have a knack for it. TWO suggestions.

One is to cook together. Be very careful; try to bear in mind that your way is not the only way. This is the hardest thing to overcome when trying to teach someone anything. But when you're doing this, don't just say, "Oh, I use about this much of that." When you're ready to add something that you normally wing it on, pour the amount you'd use on to a piece of wax paper, then have fun measureing it together. This will give her a feel for how much you are using.

BUT ... one thing all of us "cook by feel and taste" cooks CAN use is a touch of discipline. Find a recipe that looks good to both of you, and make it together. By doing this we can get an eyeball for exactly how much cumin we're putting in that chili we usually just go by taste on. You simply cannot teach instinct, but you can learn to label it a bit, and learn where your insticts come from. You can learn, yourself, why something tastes flat and needs salt or acid, learn exactly what is going on in your own brain when you cook by occaisionally using a recipe. You'll vary from the recipe, but you'll learn more about yourself and be able to put into words what you'll do different from the recipe.
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Old 04-01-2005, 03:45 PM   #6
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A lot of us learned to cook by feel. I rarely follow a recipe exactly unless it is a cuisine I am not comfortable with.

But I think for older novices, first learning to follow a recipe is a good idea.

What I believe is you may be able to help both with techniques and explaining the recipe.

By explaining the recipe I mean teaching the person how to read a recipe in the way a cook does.

For example, a person should learn to understand that if a recipe calls for cooking flour in butter one is making a roux. And you can explain how to make a roux and how it adds to the dish.

Onions, celery and carrots are not a random mixture of veggies, but a mirepoix.

After a while your friend should be able to read a recipe and understand it in the way a cook would and not just a seemingly random collection of ingredients.

Just a thought.
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