Teaching Ourselves To Cook: The Journey!
November 12, 2012 3:04pm CST
I'm not a stranger to cooking; my family's always made an effort to put meals together from "whole ingredients"... even if the pasta or rice isn't really from scratch ;). It's been my job to bake the family's bread since I was eleven, but I didn't really enjoy cooking until I was fourteen years old, when I made my first batch of perfect amaretti cookies. Amaretti cookies are a delicate, sweet cookies made almost entirely with ground almonds. I cooked, skinned, and ground the almonds as well as everything else to make that perfect batch, and I'm still ridiculously proud of that first success. Since then, I've become the family chef: the one who insists on making multi-ethnic cuisine at least three times a week, the one who avidly scans the supermarket shelves for interesting new ingredients. I always look online for the newest creations, or the best homemade gourmet recipes, but I have a few very favorite resources that help me understand how cooking really works, as well. The first is the Stella Culinary podcast, which I think is the closest you can get to being taught by a real chef for free. The others are books I've found at my library, particularly The Science of Good Food, and Forgotten Skills of Cooking by an Irish chef who runs her own farm B&B/cooking school. I aspire to run a business like hers someday. How about you? Do you feel like you've been on a journey in your culinary education? Do you aspire to cook professionally (as an independent business or a hired cook) someday, or is it all about the pleasure of creating something?
13 Nov 12
Hi prashu, it's an art to cook a simple, satisfying dish, too! Some dishes my family has liked the best were made by knowing with pre-prepared ingredients to use. There are levels of cooking that get quite difficult, but I feel that these are more for the pleasure of the chef - and the hardcore gourmets ;)
• United States
12 Nov 12
One of the first jobs I ever had as a kid was working in one of those food trailers at the flea market and fair. It was mostly automated. It had one of those hotdog roller machines, a crock pot for canned pork BBQ, two smaller pots for chili and cheese, and a big deep fryer. But I cut my teeth in there for a few years over the summer when I wasn't trying to set up card stands or lemonade stands or to start a mowing business with one mower. I've always appreciated the food truck business and sometimes I think about taking my grilled chicken and smoked BBQ sandwiches on the road. But it's an investment I can't afford in today's economy. Maybe one day! Other than that, I'm all the time cooking at home. I guess it's been a journey. Once I got comfortable making stocks, I started making a ton of soups, stews, gravies and sauces. Once I got comfortable baking, I started making a lot of different breads and desserts. I think cooking for me is for exploratory. I'm not one to follow a recipe, unless it's baking. I love taking a bunch of ingredients, throwing them in the pot, and seeing what I can come up with. TV has helped a lot in my cooking. Speaking of the "science" of cooking, I'm a big Alton Brown fan, of the Food Network. He puts in layman's terms just why it's important to do this, or how to do that, etc. He's the reason my turkey isn't dry and that my chicken doesn't catch fire on the grill.
12 Nov 12
I think the economy definitely put dreams on hold for us gourmets. All I wanted to do when I was younger was open my own tea shop - the kind that served magical food and was a social, artistic hub. The money's too much to invest in experiments right now. It's interesting how cooking forces you to learn a certain degree of the sciences, even if that isn't your strength, but can work so well when you use your intuition and your senses. The best breads and curries I ever made were a result of estimating the potential effects of additional ingredients or techniques and seeing what happened. I'll add Alton Brown to my list of resources, too. He sounds great.
13 Nov 12
Hi! Good luck to you, I hope you'll run your own cooking school in the near future. :) I love to cook though I don't have any proper training. I also like to bake. I sometimes get some recipes from cookbooks, others come from online recipes. Sometimes, I even play around with tastes and invent new recipes. For example, for a certain dish that's traditionally say for example, spicy, I would tend to see if it works well if I somewhat make it a bit sweet. Making it sweet and spicy which my family loves. But I do hope I could get to have proper training someday, especially in baking. Again, the best of luck to you :) Good day! Cheers!!! :)
• United Kingdom
12 Nov 12
Welcome to Mylot! I truly admire those that have the talent in the kitchen to knock up decent meals and cook up recipes and are creative. I have absolutely no patience whatsoever when it comes to cooking, it's just not my forte. I hope your dream comes true, my mouth was certainly watering when I read your discussion. Your family is so fortunate to have such a great inspirational cook!