Post # 1
I could REALLY use some advice. I am struggling big time with cooking…my mom didn’t cook much when I was growing up so I never learned much other than the basic breakfast foods and some random things here and there that never actually stuck. I started cooking a little last year but basically only learned the basic meats. I would love to get some advice from you bees who taught yourselves to cook! I don’t know where to start!
I can follow instructions failry well as long as they are simple but so many of them talk about ingredients that I have never even HEARD of, let alone know what they are. Do I just ask someone at the grocery store “where can I find fresh x”? I’m so sick of rice-a-roni and mashed potatoes and mac and cheese and my SO doesn’t cook so we’re really stuck.
I know how to put meat on a pan and cook it, and we have a little george forman grill but that’s really it. I don’t know how to bake anything, barbeque (though we don’t have a grill so that I’ll have to learn later…), make ANYTHING from scratch. I just need help here please!!
Post # 3
Honestly I feel like my cooking skills really improved/diversified after a few visits to a make and take dinner place. (Places like Let’s Dish, Super Suppers, Dream Dinners, etc). If you have something like that near you, I really suggest checking it out.
Post # 4
I taught myself to cook. My dad taught me the basics when I was a kid (Basically how to cook eggs) and I sorta winged it from there.
If you can figure out what type of ingredient it is, you can kinda guestimate where it is (Or you can flat out ask. No harm in that!) If someone says you need, for example, paprika.. Paprika is a spice. Likely, it’ll be with the other spices. Chives would be in the vegetable section. Pearl onions will either be found in the canned section (pickled/preserved) or with the onions in their aisle. Stuff like that.
I like http://www.supercook.com/ — You type in the ingredients you haveand it generates recipes based on that (and gives you similar ones that you may need items for).
My biggest tip? Experiment. Get yourself a meat thermometer — it will save you a lot of trouble.
Want to know how to make something? Seriously just google it.
“How to make a cream sauce”
“Safe internal temperature for turkey”
“How do I make roast beef moist.”
“How do I thicken stews” — google is your most powerful resource.
Post # 5
My family has a huge cooking tradition, I actually just got published in a cooking magazine. I also used to work at a grocery store. I’d love to teach you to cook if you were anywhere near me.
As far as asking grocery store employees for help I think it could be really hit and miss with and emphasis on miss. During my training they walked me through the produce section and were shocked that I could name most of the produce. Most of the people at my store were highschool aged and didn’t really know much of anything about food much less cooking.
An easy way to cook homemade food that requires minimal cooking skills is a crockpot. A decent one costs about $20. If you want any recipies or cooking advice feel free to PM me.
Post # 6
My mom is a great cook so she did teach me a lot, but otherwise I learned by watching the Food Network. 🙂
Also, if you don’t have it already, get yourself a copy of The Joy of Cooking.
And yes, it’s totally ok to ask a grocery store clerk where to find whatever ingredient you’re looking for! I’ve been shopping at the same store for years and I still don’t know where they keep certain things that I don’t regularly buy.
Post # 7
This may sound silly, but watch Food Network! I’ve learned a lot from it. Also, if you can read you can cook. If you don’t know what “chiffonade” means, google or YouTube it! Read magazines like Real Simple for easy recipes. Read cooking blogs. I promise – cooking isn’t hard. The more you practice the better you’ll get.
Post # 8
I also second the crockpot suggestion. It’s easy and truly foolproof. A couple blogs I like for recipes are SkinnyTaste and Crockpot365.
Post # 9
There are a lot of great learn to cook, cook books. However, google is your best friend, and free! Check out budget bytes, the blog author has step by step photos in each recipe.
Post # 10
My sister has a cookbook that has a section in the back the defines words like “to sear” which is to put meat in an already hot skillet to cook the outside really fast to lock in the juices. I don’t have it, so that really doesn’t help does it? lol
I never really had a mother, and my father worked alot, and don’t even ask about my step-mom, so I’m a self taught cook. I get alot of recipies from “allrecipies.com”. But I started out with a few cookbooks, and just looking through them. And yes, I had felt just like you. I would cook supper for my family when I was a teenager. Fast forward to present (15 years later) and while I’m not close to my step-family anymore, my step-sister stopped by at Christmas two years ago. My now Fiance was gushing about what a great cook I am! She just looked all kinds of confused and gave me a sideways eye and asked “Chelle-Leeeee? a good cook?”
My Fiance started tearing into her for insulting me! I had to dive in and save her, explaining that I in fact was always not such a great cook, and that she was one of my guinea pigs. It took me years. So don’t get discouraged!
Key things I have learned over the years:
If you can afford it, invest in some good pots and pans, it makes a difference.
Your more likely to cut yourself with a dule knife than a sharp one.
sprinking garlic powder or garlic salt on meat before you cook it gets rid of the “smell” of red meat when it is cooking. And it adds great flavor.
When de-seeding any type of hot pepper, wear gloves. (I learned this the hard way) Bell pepper is not hot.
I put onion and garlic in almost everything. But that is probably just my cajun roots.
Clean cast iron skillets with vinager. Never use soap on them.
Italian dressing is a great marinade for everything
Post # 12
Thanks for posting this! I’m actually a beginner myself cuz my mom didn’t cook much ether when I was growing up. Darling Husband cooks better than I do luckily, but of course I want to be able to cook for him too. This year it was kind of my resolution to become a decent cook. I became obsessed with Pinterest and saw recipes I liked, then I bought all the ingredients and just went to it. So far I’ve had some hit n misses but practice makes perfect right? My poor Darling Husband has been my guinea pig lol
Post # 13
I started watching America’s Test Kitchen and learned so much. They make fairly basic, everyday recipes and explain all the steps, why they are doing something and how it changes things, etc. I learmed how to chop, peel, grate, mix, bake, grill, etc from them (they have a PBS show, magazine, cookbooks, dvds, as well as several shows – Cooks Illustrated, Cooks Country, etc.) If you can follow instructions, you can make their recipes and they will turn out well. See if you can get the DVDs from netflix or the library.
Post # 14
I started by looking on Food.com because they have a huge section for beginner cooks, one dish meals, and crock pot dinners. They usually have reviews for most of the meals too so you can gauge how it tastes. The stuff I’ve made from there has all been really good! I’m still learning and I’m getting better and better!
Post # 15
@Ashley_P: Ditto this! Look into Let’s Dish, Dream Dinners, etc. They are VERY helpful places when you are new to cooking!
Post # 16
@soontobemrsm11: I taught myself how to cook a few years ago. Before that, I honestly had no interest in anything kitchen related. I was perfectly content with my takeout and microwave dinners. (Yeah, I know … Not so healthy.)
Anyway, I mentioned to my fiance (just my boyfriend at the time) in passing that I felt like I should learn to cook. That Christmas one of my gifts was a cookbook with very simple recipes for beginners. Everything was easy enough that I could confidently put it together without a major screwup, and that allowed me to become a little more adventurous.
Cooking has actually become a major hobby of mine. I read a lot of recipe/cooking blogs (there are usually some great step-by-step pictures and/or explanations of things that may be a little unusual or confusing), and I’ve been known to throw things together to create my own “recipes.”
I’d say the best thing to do is start small … You don’t have to be a master chef to put together a nice meal. (I’m certainly not a master chef now either! I’m a good cook, but I won’t be entering any cooking competitions on the Food Network anytime soon. Haha.)
Once you start building confidence in the kitchen, you can start experimenting. Of course, you don’t have to do this … I just suggest it because it worked for me. I now try to step out of my comfort zone pretty regularly. For instance, I’ve been working with seafood quite a bit more lately because it’s not something I’ve always been comfortable making. I’m also planning to start working on my baking skills in the near future … I’ve never done much baking (so I just assume I’m not good at it), and it’s something I’d like to start doing.