Cooking Lessons: Introduction

Despite anything you may have read, I am far more than a picky eater. I am a student, a knitter, a robotics mentor, and someone who cannot cook. Sure, I can zap a mean frozen pizza and Google-411 a Cambodian/Thai restaurant like nobody’s business. But actual cooking. Eh.

Growing up, my parents switched off cooking meals for our family. Despite some great dishes (meatloaf and cordon bleu come to mind) neither parent really loved to cook. That’s not to say they didn’t pass any knowledge of cooking onto me; I still add a little milk when making scrambled eggs and a homemade burger must have Old Bay and be of a more spherical rather than flat patty shape.

Then I met Matt. He decided to teach himself to cook in order to impress me. I still remember sitting in his college apartment, eating chicken fetticini alfredo he’d made especially for me (and his roomate, Alex, joking that he’d had better). Now we have a home with 30 cookbooks, hours of Tivo’d Molto Mario episodes, and way more kitchen gadgets than I knew existed.

It’s time I caught up. Starting today, I’m going to learn how to cook. No fancy classes. No lessons from Matt. Just me, some introductory cookbooks, and a kitchen full of pointy objects and raw ingredients. It’s going to be interesting.

As I’m basically going to be teaching myself from books, I had to choose a few to use. My guides will be Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food, Betty Crocker’s Cooking Basics: Learning to Cook with Confidence, and Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. I’ll mainly use Cooking Basics as it assures you’ve never seen a teaspoon and find boiling water a challenge. While I bow down before Queen Julia and find a geeky pleasure in Mr. Brown’s writing, they will be relegated to positions of reference.



2 Responses to “Cooking Lessons: Introduction”

  1. 1 charcuterista February 21, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    I know even three cookbooks can seem overwhelming at the start, so I’m recommending another cautiously, but one of the first cookbooks to really get me started cooking, not just following recipes was How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson, a former editor at Cook’s Illustrated. She does a great job of giving a formula for many kitchen basics (she even makes up jingles so you can remember them). I still make vinaigrette for salads her way (and my professional cook of a boyfriend says my vinaigrette is better than his!) Good luck. I can’t wait to hear how it goes…

  2. 2 Norris Hall February 21, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Don’t know if you’ve seen this already but if not Yu might be interested in this website.
    It’s got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along
    Good if you like to try cooking Thai food at home

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