What makes a good cook?

@GreenMoo (11842)
January 9, 2012 10:11am CST
What makes a good cook? Is a good someone who can produce simple meals that the family enjoy on a daily basis? Or is it someone who can follow a recipe to produce fabulous complicated dinner party meals? Does producing meals that are healthy, or economic play a part? Perhaps it's someone who can produce something wonderful from the odds and ends in the store cupboard. I ask because we've just had another feedback report from our volunteer helpers which describes the food as being good. Now I don't consider myself to be a particularly good cook, but I can produce meals for large numbers from scratch. I know that s something that many people find daunting, but I've learnt through practice. I never follow recipes and use what we happen to have available. How about you, are you a good cook?
7 people like this
25 responses
• United States
9 Jan 12
bI think a good cook starts with someone who is a clean cook. I see man people take meat from the store package and toss it in the pan. I believe in cleaning my food. I was,rice,beans,grits and most all other foods I cook. I think a good cook seasons all the food with different spices. Just salt and peper will make the world of difference in the flavor of any meat. I don't follow anything written for the most part. I grab and try and it comes out great. I have a man who use to cook all the time and now he wants me to cook. I am not the best cook either. I cant cook for large amounts of people and I can't cook rice without a rice cooker. LOL
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31297)
• United States
9 Jan 12
I could not cook rice for the longest time! So instead of following the standard two parts water to one part rice I used 4 parts water to one part rice and essentially boiled it and threw it in a colander to remove the water when it was done. It never stuck, never got over or undercooked and was nice and fluffy every time! You might try that next time, it works like a charm on any type of rice.
3 people like this
• United States
9 Jan 12
That sounds like a plan.. Thanks
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
I used to have to measure rice carefully, but now I can add water by eye and it comes out good most of the time. Practice makes perfect, as they say.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jan 12
The phrases " From Scratch" and " I never follow recipes and use what we happen to have a available" tell me You Are A Good Cook! Fancy fare is just fancy fare! Knowing How to read a recipe is another talent but it does not make a good cook.It is the doing , the trial and error and being able to take some mere ingredients and make a yummy meal. Remember, Every recipe was made before it was written down! To me you are far better cook than any new cook straight out of cooking school!
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@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
That's really nice to read, thankyou. I just learnt to cook by having to do it every day, day in and day out. I have to cook for guests each day, so there's no getting out of it and just grabbing a banana and a piece of toast either! It's probably because i'm so poor at following recipes or making specific dishes that I don't consider myself to be a good cook. But f everyone eats what they are given, then should not complain!
2 people like this
• United States
9 Jan 12
Think of a recipe as a map to a certain place. Many Need to follow a recipe, without one they could Never cook. Love, you are a natural! You don't need a recipe! You Know your way! Me? Even with a recipe I would never cook. I do bake. To bake one Needs a recipe, it is precise! But recipes are more like suggestions. you can Always substitute one thing for another! So Please see yourself as a good cook , because you are!
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
I think you have just hit the nail on the head. Baking is more scientific than making, for instance, a casserole. So if you mess about with the baking recipe it won't come out as intended, but you can play about with a casserole pretty much as much as you like. I'm not disciplined enough to bake well I guess.
1 person likes this
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
9 Jan 12
In my opinion a good cook is someone who can multi-task and make something that is simple but tastes really nice. My Mum, for example would never describe herself as a Gourmet Cook but her food is always about taste..and I hope that's rubbed off onto me a little bit. Thankfully, I've not burnt many dishes either!
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
Multi tasking = makng dnner whlst helpng with homework, feedng the cat, locating car keys and puttng the washing on! Excuse the typos, me (letter to the left of O) has ceased to be alve!
1 person likes this
@Janey1966 (24127)
• Carlisle, England
10 Jan 12
You sound like my Mum. She's like a little whirlwind in the kitchen but the place is always spotless when she's finished!
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
My kitchen is rarely spotless EVER so I'm afraid I'm far from your mum's standard!
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
9 Jan 12
That depends on what it is. Some things I'm good at and some things I'm not. Lately I'm not go good, but I'm trying.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
What are you good at Writersedge? I'm good at casseroles and things which you can throw in whatever you have to hand. And I make nice jams and chutneys.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
10 Jan 12
Meat and potatoes. Grew up with males that like that, married one that likes that. But he also likes rice or noodles. Sneaking food into other food since the males don't seem to eat fruits and veggies.
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
Reminds me of cooking for kids who won't eat veggies!
1 person likes this
@gaea23 (252)
• Philippines
10 Jan 12
I think a good cook for me is the one that will really make me full and satisfied with the healthy foods being prepared. I salute to that cook with simple recipes that will really makes me crave and ask for more, hehehe.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
Full and satisfied implies that you've enjoyed your meal. Good pointer to a good cook!
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
9 Jan 12
I do think I am a good cook...at least that is what everyone tells me...like you I can whip up a meal when no one thinks there is a thing to eat! I don't cook alot anymore....but people look forward to coming for dinner..I am a mean chili....enchilatas and a few other things...stuff manicotti! So yes....I think I am a good cook!
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
I think that's pretty key, making something from whatever there is in the pantry. I've got a storecupboard full of homemade sauces, preserves and dehydrated things which I bring out to enliven whatever is to hand if need be,
1 person likes this
@parascevi (314)
• Greece
9 Jan 12
hi i usually cook well enough since the age of 13-14. I like to improvise and make meals which you can not find in recipes, usually i use my imagination and my knowledge in cooking. I believe that when we say good cooking is when we create something which tastes good, has a balance in its ingredients, using maybe some secrets from more experienced people in cooking and covers our daily nutrition needs. Some times i see in recipes mistakes in the analogy of the ingredients or the way it is supposed to be prepared,so i do not always relay in recipes but i tend to improvise using my experience and knowledge and my own taste about how to prepare my meal or snack. Well that's all! Thanks for reading. Good luck with cooking and watch out the CALORIES! HA HA
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
Calories are the last thing I consider Parascevi, but I figure that as I never stop running about I don't need to worry too much about it. Like you, I rarely follow recipes. In my case it is because I rarely have all the ingredients to hand, but occasionally I'll improvise.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31297)
• United States
9 Jan 12
What a nice compliment! I think a good cook is all the things you mentioned but imagination is the best attribute of a good cook. I think you must have that in order to cook for large numbers of people from scratch. Being willing to experiment also makes a good cook. Like wondering how some tarragon will taste in a beef stew or what would happen if you stuffed a pork chop with pineapple and green peppers. I think the key to being a good cook is taking ordinary ingredients and turning them into something tasty and nutritious.
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
I'd like to learn more about different herbs, and in fact I'm planning on planting more this year so I have something new to experiment with. I reckon I'm pretty good at knowing when something needs a pinch of salt, splash of vinegar or whatever to perk it up though. That just comes from experience I guess. If I do something and it doesn't come out quite right I just add something complimentary until it tastes better. I guess that's experimenting!
1 person likes this
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
9 Jan 12
A good cook is not born that way. it comes from experience and talent and perseverance. Anyone can become a good cook. The determination to have that goal is half of the battle. When you have someone you really want to please with your cooking, that is a push in the righ direction.
@GreenMoo (11842)
9 Jan 12
Experience and practice is definitely the key thing. My cooking has become infinitely better since I had to start cooking for other people every single day.
1 person likes this
@airasheila (5460)
• Philippines
10 Jan 12
Good day GreenMoo, Same as you are, I am not a good cook and can cooked food for a large number of guest. And same here, I can cooked food from scratch. On the other side, I can say that I can follow recipes though I am not really a chef who cooks dishes. But, cooking is one way for me to earn, so I need to be a good one. Although I have no idea of being a chef, I need to try my best in doing this task which is cooking. Bon Appetite.
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
If you earn money through your cooking, you must certainly be good. Experience I think is what makes a cook confident to experiment with flavours and turn ordinary meals into something really tasty.
• Philippines
10 Jan 12
Hi there, My sister is really the good one since she is the chef here.
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
So how did she learn her skills? Cooking for large numbers in a commercial environment is very different to cooking for just the family I think.
• India
10 Jan 12
A good cook is a one who do works at faster rates at it's best. A good cook must cut the onions much times faster than a ordinary ones at it's neatness. I felt that fast and neatness of the work determine how good a person cooks food. So i finally concluded that my mother is a good cook
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
I'm not sure I'd include speed in my own list of qualities, but experience would certainly make you faster. I don't doubt your mother is a great cook!
• India
10 Jan 12
You should include it GreenMoo. Experience makes one to do work faster. As a new comer one cannot do at a big rate. If he try to do it at bit faster he/she gets suffered. Do you feel that you are a good cook ?
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
I don't consider myself a particularly good cook, although other people sometimes say so and I'm certainly capable of providing consistently decent food with little fuss. I'm pretty quick, but certainly not as quick as someone who cooks professionally for instance. When i worked in a kitchen I was astonished at the speed some of the chefs could chop veggies.
@arjunm (439)
• India
10 Jan 12
I am a terrible cook. However, I do like to eat. Hence I look cooks, especially good ones. For me, a good cook is someone who has a strong foundation in traditional cooking but is not afraid to experiment. Someone who can satisfy my taste buds with the simplest of ingredients, minimum of time and minimum of fuss.
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
Simple ingredients, minimal time and fuss. Sounds like a great recipe!
@arjunm (439)
• India
10 Jan 12
Well, it does. But I was actually talking about simple ingredients, minimal time & a LACK of fuss.
@arjunm (439)
• India
10 Jan 12
Plenty of FUSS might also make it very interesting.
@inertia4 (26582)
• United States
10 Jan 12
I think a good cook is someone who can use what they have on hand and make it taste like a million dollars. I know that my mother is a great cook and so was my grandmother. They learned how to use basic things to make a tasty meal. So, you're on the right track. If you use what you have and make it taste good, then you are a good cook.
@GreenMoo (11842)
11 Jan 12
Thanks Inertia. Did you pick up some skills yourself?
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (26582)
• United States
13 Jan 12
I picked up a few things. But I am no cook, believe me. I can slap something simple together but thats it.
• Pamplona, Spain
10 Jan 12
Hiya GM, Suppose we all have our different ways of doing things especially when it comes to Cooking. Just this Morning I have been able to rescue the Dinner I had so carefully prepared. What I am having a bit of a hard time is to adjust to the different amounts of heats on those vitroceramic panels. Well I have such a lot of interruptions as well you see so it does not make it any easier at all. I don´t really follow recipes as I find they always have two or three things that you don´t have or can´t find around where you are so I adjust them to what I do and leave the rest to providence. Bean Stew with Spanish Omelette and a Tomato and Asparragus Salud is what I put today nothing expensive I got the Asparragus in Tins on offer and I had got them in the Cupboard stored from another Month. That is the kind of thing I do usually otherwise my Food Bill would rocket I´m afraid.xxx
@GreenMoo (11842)
11 Jan 12
I'm forever having to rescue things or improvise with different ingredients! It's all part of being busy and doing ten things and once, and having a limited store cupboard I guess! Tomato and asparagus salad sounds good. I love asparagus.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
11 Jan 12
Hiya GM, Yesterday I found at long last a Store and they are wholesalers as well and they grow their own produce so I managed to get some good things really cheap unbeliebably cheap considering how much they are in the Shops got three really big tomatoes that are for real and not all hollow in the middle like most overpriced ones. Bought some other green stuff as well and it only cost me 13 euros altogether big bind that it is a bit out of the way but the Lady is so nice too she has been forced to change her Job so she is there doing something totally different but then she comes from a background where you have to go with the change. Just going to clean up all the greenstuff in a while and get down to the nitty gritty of cleaning and making the Dinner. Asparragus can be very expensive here now as a lot of it is grown for this Country outside of here in places like Morocco and such.xxx Yes I love them as well.xxx
@katsmeow1213 (28707)
• United States
10 Jan 12
I think a good cook is someone who's able to produce good food, regardless of how often they cook. I consider myself a decent cook. Not good enough to try to compete against other cooks or anything, but I can whip up a good home cooked meal, and invent meals off the top of my head without recipes. They don't always work out.. but practice makes perfect. Lately I've mostly been making convenience foods.. things from a box or things I can microwave real quick. But I do have a list of recipes for when I'm in the mood for something from scratch, and I've found that the more I get to know the recipe, the more changes I add to it, or I stop measuring and just eye ball the ingredients.
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
I think that if you can 'rescue' something that hasn't turned out quite as planned, or invent something, then you're a great cook!
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
And i reckon kids are the toughest customers!
• India
10 Jan 12
I feel a good cook is one who can cook in less time with minimum ingredients, makes a palatable dish and should have a passion for cooking. A good cook also needs to know the culinary art so well that they can make exclusive dishes even without a recipe. I love cooking and try out various recipes. I can say i am a good cook and can dish out excellent recipes when i am in a very good mood. Happy mylotting.
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
How about if you're in a bad mood? Do you still produce excellent dishes then?
• India
11 Jan 12
A good question indeed! I do cookwell but not excellent dishes.
• China
10 Jan 12
I think someone who can produce simple meals that the family enjoy on a daily basis makes a good cook.People can't eat at a restaurant every day and no way homely food should produce according to recipe.It is very difficult for one to use the common stuffs for cooking ,make it be both delicious and healthy and agreeable to everyone's tastes,much more produce meals for large numbers from scratch.
@GreenMoo (11842)
10 Jan 12
Yes, though it would be lovely to eat restaurant food daily it's not possible for most of us and we need to eat more simply at home day to day.
• China
11 Jan 12
I get lunch at home every day.I do my best to let the dish be good to eat,but it is difficult to cater for all tastes.
@bounce58 (17550)
• Canada
10 Jan 12
As someone who struggles daily in coming up with ideas on what to cook for (just) a handful of people, I think that you're a great cook! I can follow directions step by step, if I have all the ingredients, and all the utensils, but in no way I consider myself remotely good. That's because I wouldn't know where to start even if all the ingredients fell on my face! I'd have to know first what to cook!
@GreenMoo (11842)
11 Jan 12
Actually, inspiration for what to cook is sometimes my biggest stumbling block. I'd eat pasta every night myself, but when I'm feeding other people I feel I need to show a bit more imagination.
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
10 Jan 12
Hi Greenmoo, Usually the best cooks that I've ever come across have a real passion for cooking. They love what they do and it reflects in the food. I guess a real measure for telling if someone is a good cook would be opinion of the person eating the food. Good cooks tend to be creative and experiment with different things.
@GreenMoo (11842)
11 Jan 12
Having a passion for cooking would certainly make it more fun and give the impetus to put lots of effort in. That would reflect in the finished product.
@bhonti (1247)
• Philippines
10 Jan 12
A good cook can identify the ingredients of a food just by tasting it. I think that would be a hardcore talent. I am trying to do that ever since. But I can't. Besides I don't even have the talent for cookinghe first place. haha!
@GreenMoo (11842)
11 Jan 12
I guess that is something that comes with experience. I'm not good at doing it, but then I'm not particularly good with different herbs and spaces.