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I can't cook!

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by RRedline, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    The title pretty much sums it up. I despise cooking, and I don't even care to learn. My partner is a WONDERFUL cook, but he gets on my case sometimes about not knowing how to cook. I made us two very delicious frozen pizzas a few nights ago. Mmmm...

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make myself want to learn how to cook?

    Here is a list of things I can cook:
    Grilled Cheese Sandwiches(ham optional)
    Frozen Pizza
    Rice(plain white rice or from a packet)
    Soup(from a can)
    Nachos(I just heat up the cheese in a saucepan)
    Waffles(you guessed it: Eggo)
    Pierogies(from a box, of course...but I add parsley!)
    Ravioli(from a can or from a frozen bag)
    French Fries, Chicken Fingers, Onion Rings(deep fried)
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Watch cooking shows. You'll quickly learn the secret: recipes are guides, subject to change and substitution. Very few things require strict adherence to a recipe.

    Experiment with some simple things. It's hard to screw up chili, or soup. (check out my chicken soup recipe) Plus, you can put pretty much anything in them.

    Clean as you go. It's very discouraging facing a dirty kitchen after working in it for an hour or three. Clean as you go, and you'll be done when you're done, not facing another hour of clean up.

    Learn techniques. There are skills to be learned about slicing, cutting, chopping, making sauces, and many other things.

    Save yourself time. Buy meat pre-cut. It costs more, but learning to butcher meat to obtain the correct cut for the recipe is just a pain.

    Learn to saute, learn to broil, learn to marinate.

    Cook on the grill a lot. Steaks and burgers are easy, and the side dishes can be simple: corn on the cob, green beans, baked potatos, etc. Satisfaction with simple meals builds confidence to try more complex ones.
  3. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Just buy a cookbook and follow the directions.

    Once you do it a few times you start seeing patterns.

    Not hard, just requires that you actually DO it...

    which is MY problem...

  4. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Also, Rredline, this may not be an issue of your partner enjoys cooking, but don't buy cheap utensils. Don't buy the expen$ive stuff, either (Calphalon's a joke), but invest in some good quality knives, pots, and pans, and other accessories.

    The cheap stuff fails right when you need it :(
  5. Sam

    Sam Cute and cuddly!

    That is very good advise. There are also alot of little shortcuts and substitution that make life easier in the kitchen. I will try to post some when I'm not working. My sister-in-law is the type to burn water. Which I can't seem to understand. I guess it's cause I started cooking for a family of five when my mom went back to work when I was around 9 yrs old.

    It was funny when Copz and I moved in together I was waisting alot of food at first cause I didn't know how to cook for 2 instead of 5 or 6.
  6. Sam

    Sam Cute and cuddly!

    The red checkered one from Betty Crocker is very good for a beginner. Lots of pictures with the instructions.:thumbsup:
  7. midranger4

    midranger4 Banned

  8. Sunriser13

    Sunriser13 Knee Deep in Paradise

    I will second Sam on the Betty Crocker cookbook.

    Another really good cookbook is "The Joy of Cooking". It's been around in various incarnations for many years, and goes from the simple basics to the more complicated. Even though I rarely follow a recipe for anything these days, I have always made sure that both these books remained in my library... ;)

    But to answer your original question, there is no easy way to make yourself want to learn to cook. Either you want to or you don't. The biggest thing that will help you is to just do it, have a few successes, and then you'll begin developing confidence in your skills. That is when you'll begin enjoying cooking. After you learn some of the basics, you can begin to experiment a little and develop your own style. Do not be discouraged by a few failures at first, either. There is not one of us that has not had a miserable mess on their hands (and in a pot!!) at least once!!! :haha:

    *edited for weird way of putting something... lol!*
  9. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I am in the same boat, Rred, except due to recent circumstances, I need to start learning and fast.

    What's a good show to watch?
  10. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Subscribe to "Saveur" magazine, for starters.

    Watch "Yan can Cook" and also "Iron Chef", two fun shows that really demonstrate creativity.

    "Emeril Live" with Emeril Lagasse is good; "Molto Mario" with some guy named Mario (can't recall his last name) is decent for Italian and Mediterranean dishes.

    At the risk of sounding sexist, most of the good cooking shows are fronted by men.
  11. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Of all my cookbooks, this is one I refer to most. I am the cook in my family, and won't let my wife near the kitchen if I can help it (she's the type of cook that will put the vegetables on before putting the meat in the oven :nut: lol).

    However, I generally just wing it. I like to experiment, especially with "curry" spices... problem is I rarely write anything down.

    My culinary magnum opus is a delicous Shrimp Gumbo. Someone gave me the basic recipe, but it was a bit bland, so I modified it slightly. I'll dig it up sometime and post it.
  12. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    In our household, Sam and I both cook. I'm more of a meat and taters guy, cajun fried fish and shrimp, steaks, chicken fried chicken; when we have fish fries at our house for friends and family a couple times a year, we don't have cancellations... We have people crashing the party.

    I can finesse it when I feel the need. I whipped up a wicked Red Snapper Ponchartrain for Sam a few weeks back. It was to die for.

    Sam is an excellent cook, but our styles contrast. She makes more things that require patience, where I cook more like you would expect a guy to.

    RRedline, you know how to cook more than you think you do. If you can make grilled cheese, you can make french toast. Just egg and milk and some nutmeg, dip bread in it and brown it just like a grilled cheese. If you can make spaghetti, you can make other types of pasta, like egg noodles with store bought parmesiana sauce, grill a piece of boneless chicken with a little coarse pepper, slice it up on top of the noodles. Delicious! Easy!

    Take those skills you do have and start expanding your horizons, before you know it, you've got a huge arsenal of recipes to treat your partner to. He'll enjoy it also.
  13. jamming

    jamming Banned

    I have a book my Mom gave me when I went back to College, "The Starving Students Cookbook". It is good for the really basics of learning enough not to die in your dorm from lack of food ;)
  14. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Three more tips:

    Buy and use fresh ingredients. Steer away from standard supermarket fare. Find a greengrocer, fishmonger, and butcher that have absolutely fresh stock. This should be easy for those that live in large cities. For the rest of us, try a Wegman's, if in your area, or search out ethnic markets or "upscale" grocery stores. Often, the difference between a failed dish and an acceptable one is the quality of the ingredients.

    Second, see if you can prepare some ingredients ahead of time. Read the recipe carefully. Measure out what you need and set it aside, ready to go. If you need to chop, shred, etc., try to do it ahead of time and set it aside, ready for the instant you need it. This is less stressful.

    Last, eat your failures. Some of the worst-looking dishes I've made tasted wonderful; some of the most beautiful dishes tasted like, um, you know.....;) But unless it's making you gag, eat it anyway. You'll gain a better understanding of how textures and flavors work and what you need to do next time to get it right.
  15. martissimo

    martissimo Veteran Member

    two words: Food Network

    seriously, i take cooking for granted somewhat because i used to earn in excess of 6 figures as a chef, but frankly the channel has shows for everyone, there are recipes i send my sister who considers hamburger helper advanced cooking, and there are shows that i learn plenty of neat ideas from. Find the shows that seem to be in your range, then goto foodtv.com and get the exact measurements for the recipes you feel ready to try (the shows are pretty sloppy on the measurements required, but dead on the money with the techniques), and go for it... not only will you become a much better cook, but it's really pretty fun to boot!
  16. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Thanks for the tips, guys. I think the problem is more the motivation part. I just plain hate cooking. I am perfectly content to clean up after my partner and I are done eating, though. I would rather clean the kitty litter and do laundry than cook a meal. :(

    By the way ethics, I hope your wife didn't leave you?! Why would you need to quickly learn how to cook?
  17. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Details in a month or so. My wife would never leave me but that's the only thing I will reveal for now. :)

    By the way, I want to say that this is one hell of a thread. When Ken (and I do miss the bastard) proposed to me a cooking forum, I was like, "Hmmmm, perhaps later." His thread got a lot of responses, which I, erroniously, applied to the holidays eating.

    But heck, this is one hell of a forum in one day. Heck, I didn't know so much knowledge flowed from the members here!

    I will actually take some of the recipes and great advice from this thread and start applying it this weekend. Wish me luck! :)
  18. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    I bet I know... :)
  19. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    If you do, shush. :)
  20. IamZed

    IamZed ...

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