Hello everyone - my story and personal challenge

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Shane68

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Eindhoven
Two months ago I was working long hours as a IT consultant and very stressed. When I came home, a typical meal would be a bag of salad, kidney beans and other canned foods with sweet chili sauce out of the bottle. It was a fast, nutritious, unimaginative and BORING diet.

During my summer holidays I resolved to change that. I decided to try two new recipes per day. Due to my lack of kitchen experience, I spend most of my day searching for recipes, shopping for ingredients, cooking, googling kitchenware, cleaning and of course eating. The results have far surpassed my expectations. To hear my 11 year old son exclaim mmmmm, that's a 10! when he his took a first bite of Korean fried tofu made my day. Not that I have any knowledge of Korean cuisine and some of the ingredients I had never heard of but I followed my intuition and got lucky. Not every recipe working flawlessly but I had enough wins to keep me motivated and inspired. I have even tested alternatives to my life-long trusted toast and coffee for breakfast. I could never imagine myself preparing French toast with apple and cinnamon but to my surprise - I really enjoyed it. Even my routine cup of coffee in the afternoon has become an culinary innovation challenge!

If there are any other hopelessly obsessed foodies who spend most of their time preparing great cuisine - I now understand your addiction and hope you never kick the habit!

I have a lot of questions for you experienced cooks but I guess it I should post these in separate threads.

Shane
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,566
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
Hello Shane68, Welcome to DC!

Glad your experiences have been great! May have been a lot of work but that's the fun, right?
 

dcSaute

Sous Chef
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
922
cooking from scratch can be easy and fun.
now a word from our sponsor The Booming Voice of Experience:
1) the more you do, the more you learn, the easier it gets.
2) it is a rare thing when things go good to super the first time through a recipe.
if you liked the taste, etc., the next time you'll know how the dish comes together and things to do, and things to not do . . .
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,627
Location
Woodbury, NJ
Welcome to the forum! Glad to hear that you are having such a good experience, teaching yourself to cook!

Another thing, that you may have already found out, is that kids like helping to cook the food! They may actually like some things they used to not like, if they cooked them, or helped with them.
 

Sir_Loin_of_Beef

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
12,214
Location
Sandy Eggo
After approximately 50 years of cooking, for myself, for my family, and professionally, I have admitted that I AM FINALLY TIRED OF COOKING!!! I really could write a sequel to Peg Bracken's book.

I would much rather throw a Marie Callender's pot pie into the oven than make a stew, get a frozen or take-out pizza than make one from scratch, or stock my freezer with Stouffer's entrees than spend a few hours making a balanced meat, vegetables and potato or rice meal. But I do it anyway because, IMHO, I cook circles around any frozen food manufacturer, fast food joint, or most restaurants.

I have, at last count, 452 personally developed recipes, from Austrian (goulash) to Zimbabwean (springbok), but they are just getting too much trouble to prepare. I now try to go with the simple recipes that aren't too labor intensive, or you throw together in a few minutes and allow to simmer for hours.

But to summarize, it's been a fantastic journey, so enjoy your cooking experiences and in 50 years, you too can look back on them with joy and shout from the rooftops, I HATE FRIGGIN' COOKING!
 

Shane68

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Eindhoven
After approximately 50 years of cooking, for myself, for my family, and professionally, I have admitted that I AM FINALLY TIRED OF COOKING!!! I really could write a sequel to Peg Bracken's book.

I would much rather throw a Marie Callender's pot pie into the oven than make a stew, get a frozen or take-out pizza than make one from scratch, or stock my freezer with Stouffer's entrees than spend a few hours making a balanced meat, vegetables and potato or rice meal. But I do it anyway because, IMHO, I cook circles around any frozen food manufacturer, fast food joint, or most restaurants.

I have, at last count, 452 personally developed recipes, from Austrian (goulash) to Zimbabwean (springbok), but they are just getting too much trouble to prepare. I now try to go with the simple recipes that aren't too labor intensive, or you throw together in a few minutes and allow to simmer for hours.

But to summarize, it's been a fantastic journey, so enjoy your cooking experiences and in 50 years, you too can look back on them with joy and shout from the rooftops, I HATE FRIGGIN' COOKING!

Interesting comment. I have had my fill of average restaurants, frozen pizza, and pre-prepared supermarket meals. Perhaps they add sugar and salt to offset the bland ingredients. Cooking does take time but I really appreciate the smell and taste of fresh basil, parsley, etc.

I agree with your preference for simple recipes. My wife likes a particular Chili con Carne recipe with contains black pepper, salt, garlic, cumin, chili power, paprika, oregano, cinnamon and cloves. I would not be surprised if some of these spices are eclipsed by the stronger aromas so do we really need them all? I do spend hours per day cooking but I think that is due to lack of experience and poor organisation rather than complex recipes. Did you ever consider revisiting your own recipes with the goal of, for example, halving the preparation time but still retaining 80% of the taste?
 

Shane68

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Eindhoven
cooking from scratch can be easy and fun.
now a word from our sponsor The Booming Voice of Experience:
1) the more you do, the more you learn, the easier it gets.
2) it is a rare thing when things go good to super the first time through a recipe.
if you liked the taste, etc., the next time you'll know how the dish comes together and things to do, and things to not do . . .

That makes perfect sense. So far my newly acquired recipes either turned out well or were just average - but never bad. The problem for me is the time it takes but this will diminish due your first law of cooking above. Ideally I would like recipe searches and ingredient acquisition to be weekly events, not daily.
 

IC 2.0

Cook
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
73
Location
Honolulu, HI
Welcome to DC Shane. I still enjoy cooking and cooked professionally for nearly 20 years, but I left since the hours and schedule were just not conducive for raising a family. Seems like there are several of us on here with restaurant kitchen experience, so ask away and we'll do our best to answer.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
26,942
Location
Southeastern Virginia
That makes perfect sense. So far my newly acquired recipes either turned out well or were just average - but never bad. The problem for me is the time it takes but this will diminish due your first law of cooking above. Ideally I would like recipe searches and ingredient acquisition to be weekly events, not daily.
Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking [emoji2]

Finding, shopping for and cooking two new recipes every day is quite an undertaking. I was expecting you to say that after a week or two you got tired of it, but no! [emoji16] That's something to be proud of!

One thing I would suggest is to make a weekly meal plan. This encourages you to use up all of an ingredient, like herbs or partial vegetables, and to repurpose cooked foods in new dishes. This will save you money and time.

If you haven't found it yet, we have a nightly dinner thread where we post what we've made for dinner. I'm looking forward to seeing what you're enjoying.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,837
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking [emoji2]

Finding, shopping for and cooking two new recipes every day is quite an undertaking. I was expecting you to say that after a week or two you got tired of it, but no! [emoji16] That's something to be proud of!

One thing I would suggest is to make a weekly meal plan. This encourages you to use up all of an ingredient, like herbs or partial vegetables, and to repurpose cooked foods in new dishes. This will save you money and time.

If you haven't found it yet, we have a nightly dinner thread where we post what we've made for dinner. I'm looking forward to seeing what you're enjoying.

I agree with this. But, I was expecting that you were going to say two new recipes per week.

Have you heard of "mise-en-place"? It helps a lot in terms of making cooking more organized.

And welcome to Discuss Cooking from me too.
 

Shane68

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Eindhoven
Welcome to DC Shane. I still enjoy cooking and cooked professionally for nearly 20 years, but I left since the hours and schedule were just not conducive for raising a family. Seems like there are several of us on here with restaurant kitchen experience, so ask away and we'll do our best to answer.

Thanks! I am cooking for a family of 4 and we all have different preferences. This makes the recipe search phase quite lengthy. However when I hear happy noises on the first mouthful and requests second helpings, that makes it all worthwhile.
 

Shane68

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Eindhoven
Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking [emoji2]

Finding, shopping for and cooking two new recipes every day is quite an undertaking. I was expecting you to say that after a week or two you got tired of it, but no! [emoji16] That's something to be proud of!

One thing I would suggest is to make a weekly meal plan. This encourages you to use up all of an ingredient, like herbs or partial vegetables, and to repurpose cooked foods in new dishes. This will save you money and time.

If you haven't found it yet, we have a nightly dinner thread where we post what we've made for dinner. I'm looking forward to seeing what you're enjoying.

It is indeed a time-consuming undertaking but I see it as a fun and creative holiday activity. Whenever I start to feel hungry, I ask myself what can I prepare that I have not done before. The weekly meal plan sounds like a good idea and I will have to do something like that when I return to work. I will check out the nightly dinner thread.
 

Shane68

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Eindhoven
I agree with this. But, I was expecting that you were going to say two new recipes per week.

Have you heard of "mise-en-place"? It helps a lot in terms of making cooking more organized.

And welcome to Discuss Cooking from me too.

Do you mean Kitchen Language: Mise en Place? For home cooking, I gather is means preparing the ingredients in advance and sorting out the kitchen equipment and pantry. I try to do this and resist the panicky feeling that happens when I am running late and the kids are hungry. I also try memorize the main steps of the recipe before I start cooking.
 

Silversage

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
1,281
Location
Florida
After approximately 50 years of cooking, for myself, for my family, and professionally, I have admitted that I AM FINALLY TIRED OF COOKING!!! I really could write a sequel to Peg Bracken's book.

I would much rather throw a Marie Callender's pot pie into the oven than make a stew, get a frozen or take-out pizza than make one from scratch, or stock my freezer with Stouffer's entrees than spend a few hours making a balanced meat, vegetables and potato or rice meal. But I do it anyway because, IMHO, I cook circles around any frozen food manufacturer, fast food joint, or most restaurants.

I have, at last count, 452 personally developed recipes, from Austrian (goulash) to Zimbabwean (springbok), but they are just getting too much trouble to prepare. I now try to go with the simple recipes that aren't too labor intensive, or you throw together in a few minutes and allow to simmer for hours.

But to summarize, it's been a fantastic journey, so enjoy your cooking experiences and in 50 years, you too can look back on them with joy and shout from the rooftops, I HATE FRIGGIN' COOKING!

LOL! My brother from another mother!
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,837
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
Do you mean Kitchen Language: Mise en Place? For home cooking, I gather is means preparing the ingredients in advance and sorting out the kitchen equipment and pantry. I try to do this and resist the panicky feeling that happens when I am running late and the kids are hungry. I also try memorize the main steps of the recipe before I start cooking.

Yes, that is what I mean. Great that you are doing that. As you have noticed, it does help keep things calmer.

Next question / suggestion: How are your knife skills? Have you heard about holding the food in "the claw" (hand position) when chopping? Have you watched any videos on how to use a chef's knife safely and efficiently? It's a good idea to learn "the right way" and develop good, safe habits early on.
 

Shane68

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Eindhoven
Yes, that is what I mean. Great that you are doing that. As you have noticed, it does help keep things calmer.

Next question / suggestion: How are your knife skills? Have you heard about holding the food in "the claw" (hand position) when chopping? Have you watched any videos on how to use a chef's knife safely and efficiently? It's a good idea to learn "the right way" and develop good, safe habits early on.

I just googled the claw hand position and discovered I was already using it. I always try to keep my finger tips away from the blade and angle the blade away from me when possible. Thanks for the tip.
 

Katie H

Site Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
16,546
Location
I live in the Heartland of the United States
Some of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard came from Julia Child: Read the recipe all the way through before beginning to prepare it.

Nothing more frustrating than to discover you are missing an ingredient in your pantry and/or anticipate the next step. Again, this points out that a recipe should be read from top to bottom before you begin.
 

Cooking Goddess

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Messages
15,941
Location
Body in MA ~ Heart in OH
Katie, I must read a recipe nearly a half dozen times before I start anything. I swear I miss an ingredient or step the first couple of readings...

...The problem for me is the time it takes but this will diminish due your first law of cooking above...
Welcome to DC, Shane! Glad to have you here. Notice that dcSaute said "..the easier it gets", not that it might be faster. As far as how long it takes to prepare a meal from the very start to first bite in our house? Forever, some days! While I have been cooking for "Sir Loin of Beef Years" :ermm: or even longer :ohmy:, I'm still slow when it comes to cooking a meal. My husband, Himself, teases me about my one-hour salads. I'm pretty sure I'm an anomaly, though, and that your speed will increase as you prep and cook more. No matter how long it takes, enjoy the process as well as the results.
 

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