Friday, March 18, 2011


It occurs to me that not everyone knows how to cook well or at all.  My mom made it a point to teach all of  her children, 5 boys, how to cook.  In her words, "You may not be lucky enough to find a woman who can cook as well as I can".  I did find a woman who can cook, but I enjoy cooking more so I cook and she bakes.

If you don't know how to cook, but want to learn, there are many options.  There are cookbooks and websites dedicated to learning to cook.  You can go to many high end kitchen/appliance stores and take classes.  You can ask an aunt, uncle, friend, elderly lady (neighbor, from church, work, etc) who you know cooks well and often if you can buy the ingredients for a dinner and have them teach you how to cook the dish.  Some community colleges offer basic cooking classes.  If you are in high school see if your school offers home economics, or a similar class.  And finally experiment at home.  Don't get disappointed if you have a few failures along the way, I did and sometimes still do.

When looking for a person to teach you to cook, look for someone who makes most of their dishes from scratch/whole/fresh ingredients.  This will make you a better cook and often save you money on ingredients.  Also just because someone is a good cook does not mean they will be a good teacher.  You need someone who will let you/ make you participate and who tells you why they do each step the way they do.  You may want to learn baking from one person/school and grilling from another and everyday cooking from yet another.  Baking is often more of a science, while cooking can be an art, science, or both.  The way I cook is more of an art.  I make most meals without ever referring to a recipe.  Though I do use recipes when I make a dish the first few times, or if it is a dish I rarely make.  I try, mostly, to make dishes at least once without modifying it to my taste.

Remember that Recipes are a starting place and after you master a recipe you might want or need to experiment with it to make it your own.  When shopping for cook books look for ones that give you a master recipe and then ways to modify it based on available ingredients.

If anyone wants me to teach you how to cook I will, but I don't think I am a great teacher.  I tend to want to do the work instead of letting the student do it.  That and I rarely have a recipe to leave behind, because each meal is different.

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