More and more people these days are just clueless when they walk into a kitchen. I don’t know why so many are intimidated by cooking, but they are. Using recipes, one can learn how to cook from scratch and stop relying on those horrid boxed meals that are high in preservatives, additives, food coloring and all kinds of nasty things that a person shouldn’t even put in their body. They’re bad for you and they’re expensive. People mistakenly believe that buying the ingredients fresh are more expensive. They are wrong. For the most part, you can get several meals from buying fresh ingredients, especially if you’re single or just a couple with no family. Take a pot roast for example. Buy the roast. Then you have to buy potatoes and onions and carrots and celery. BUT! If you have leftover meat, you can add broth, more carrots and potatoes and some peas and tomatoes with a bottle of Guiness and Voila! Irish Stew.
Most of the recipes I will be sharing are pretty easy, although I do share the occasional challenge. There are just more and more people who have never learned to cook and I think it’s because they just don’t think they can read the recipes. Cooking from scratch is not as hard as people think. The biggest trick to preparing food from scratch is simply reading the recipes accurately. If you can read, you can cook.
When starting out to cook, the most important thing is to have a good cookbook like Betty Crocker, Better Homes and Gardens, Joy of Cooking. These are among the best. They give detailed instructions in their recipes. These books also contain a lot of other information that you will need to learn as you go. Getting started. Pick a recipe and then:
Read the Recipes
1. READ THE RECIPE. Sit down with a cup of coffee or whatever and just read the entire recipe. You are looking for the ingredients of course, but also how it goes together. Are there stages? Do you have to saute` something first or cream just certain ingredients before adding others? Do eggs need to be separated? Vegetables whole or cut up? Things like that. Knowing this before you start will prevent mistakes that can make all the difference. I remember one time I didn’t read the recipe properly for cream puffs. I didn’t let a part of the mixture cool first and my cream puffs were not so puffy.
2. HAVE THE INGREDIENTS before you start. Eventually, you will learn which things to keep on hand, but when fixing something you don’t make all the time, sometimes you’re missing a key ingredient. Chicken soup for example. If you try to make it without the onions or the bay leaf, it’s not going to be as good and you may not like it at all. Make sure you have what you need before you start.
3. NEVER prepare a new recipe for the first time for company. Try it out on your family or a friend first. This will save some humiliation if you make a mistake, but will also boost your confidence if you don’t make mistakes and everybody raves about your cooking. They can give you feedback and help you learn as well.
4. LEARN THE TERMS What’s the difference between saute`, sear and fry? What does it mean to “cream” the butter and sugar or to “fold” in egg whites. Good cookbooks explain those things, plus much more. Often times you can find them in second hand stores or used book stores for a little bit of nothing. Here is a link to a list of Cooking Terms for your reference. You don’t have to learn them all. Just learn them as you need them.
5. GET HELP if you don’t know what to do. My mom taught me a lot about cooking, but there are still things we don’t know. I have found You Tube to be a valuable resource, especially from some of the chefs.
With this web site, I will not only share recipes with you, but I encourage you to be creative and make things your own. You know the people for whom you are cooking and there are hundreds of ways to tailor recipes to please them all. It just takes time and practice.