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I want to start cooking.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey.

I am a 16 year old guy and for my entire life people have been cooking for me pretty much.

I've always been pretty interested but I've never made anything more complicated than cooking instant noodles and frying eggs pretty much.

 

I'm so bad at getting groceries, there seems to be so much different food to make but I just don't know which.

Do any of you guys have tips on how to get started with cooking? I'm prepared to learn but I really don't know where to get started.

post #2 of 12

Don't try to learn everything at once. Just focus on one dish at a time, or one type of dish at a time. For example, try braising chicken: you can first get chicken thighs, color them in hot oil until golden brown, add a little white wine, cover and cook for 25mn or so on low heat. Then you can add garlic, or tomato, or all sorts of herbs to the wine. Then you can try to buy a whole chicken and break it down. Then you can try a coq au vin. Then you can try a paella, or an arroz con pollo etc... 

 

Sooner or later you'll feel like an expert at braising chicken and you won't need a recipe for it any longer. You may look at recipe ingredients for ideas, but you'll get comfortable with the technique, which is pretty much always the same. 

 

Then you move on to another dish, or style of dish, for example pan seared rib eye with pan sauce. 

 

Etc etc... 

 

And come back here asking questions!

post #3 of 12

A good dish to start out with (as a 19 year old guy who started cooking the past few years) is honestly chicken Parmesan. why? It's pretty simple and straight forward (although you will mess up your very first one you cook in oil, everyone does just have an extra chicken breast just in case) anyone can do it, it's cheap and it seems like a fancier meal than instant noodles or fried eggs so it honestly gives you a little bit of pride and you can start working your way from there. 

In all honestly I have learned to cook a lot more complex meals but chicken parm is my go to dish when I just need something tasty for other people, It is also the dish I recommended to my brother who outside of eggs and spaghetti never cooked anything but wanted to make a good meal for his girlfriend, and to my friend trying to make dinner for our parents, and it was the first meal I learned to cook.

 

 

What French Fries said is totally correct, as someone currently learning to cook myself (I have no where near the experience/knowledge most of the people on here do) I am trying to take it one dish at a time, learn that dish maybe cook it once a week for a few weeks and you'll have it down, maybe learn another dish, just make sure whatever dish you choose you choose something simple to start out with.

 

If you learn dishes that are simple and cover the basics it makes moving forward a lot easier, and most importantly cook what you like, if you hate Italian food don't learn to cook a bunch a pasta dishes, but if you love Asian foods try to learn a basic stirfry and work your way from there .

 

Good luck and most importantly don't be afraid to ask questions, The people here know a lot and are more than willing to share and help out. Great people.

 

Good Luck,

James

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks soooo much guys! :3

I searched for parmesan chicken, it looks so impressive yet It's so easy to make.

post #5 of 12

Many years ago I had a cookbook called "The Starving Student's Guide" or something like that.  It was geared towards younger folks much like yourselves, just starting out.  It had basic recipes, tips on buying ingredients and discussions of basic techniques like frying, roasting, braising and such.  You may want to browse around a local bookstore or online for something similar.

 

Check out the "What did you have for dinner?" thread.  Lots of ideas and pictures to motivate you.  If you see something you like chances are you'll get plenty of help from the regulars if you want to try your hand and making it.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post

Many years ago I had a cookbook called "The Starving Student's Guide" or something like that.  It was geared towards younger folks much like yourselves, just starting out.  It had basic recipes, tips on buying ingredients and discussions of basic techniques like frying, roasting, braising and such.  You may want to browse around a local bookstore or online for something similar.

 

Check out the "What did you have for dinner?" thread.  Lots of ideas and pictures to motivate you.  If you see something you like chances are you'll get plenty of help from the regulars if you want to try your hand and making it.

 

mjb.

Thanks alot, you guys here are incredibly cool and helpful.

I've already planned what I am making tomorrow. :3

post #7 of 12

Based God.. a little advice about getting into cooking..

 

First Phase: Select a food style that you enjoy. That might be Southern, Mexican, Asian, French, Indian, etc. If I asked you what type of food you like to go out to eat the most, that is a good place to start because 1. you already have had some experience tasting this type of food so you know when something has gone wrong or right. 2. you will likely enjoy your success even more because you will be cooking the food you most like to eat. Seek out recipes for this type of food. Try to find recipes that are detailed in the ingredients, preparation, etc.

 

Cooking is a discipline and skill like any other. That means that an accomplished cook is one that has experience and knowledge. These things are only achieved by first research and secondly putting your research into practice. You are in luck to have resources like the internet and cheftalk.com, it will accelerate your learning enormously.

 

Second Phase: Technique. This is where you hopefully have acquired some practical knowledge through your efforts. Now is the moment that you can improve your mise en place and start to question things like your knife technique, choice of vessel, understanding of heat applications such as fry, sautee, braise, poach, etc. You should endeavor to fully understand these technique, and begin to apply them in your cooking. Over time new techniques will emerge in a sense, so that you understand that there are common techniques that are important no matter what the dish you are preparing is. You should constantly strive to respect and improve your abilities/technique.

 

Third Phase: I believe that once you have really developed technique and have begun to master your favorite style of food, you will start to seek out new styles of food. With that comes new techniques, new flavors, new ingredients, and new concerns. This is the third and final leg of your journey into cooking and it will never be complete. The world of food is vast, exciting, rewarding. It covers meta-topics such as environmental concern, cultural understanding, and at least for me it is a major influence in my relationship with friends and loved ones.

 

Good luck to you!

post #8 of 12

Without knowing what you like I can't advise you on what to start off making.  However Jamie Oliver has a great book for home cooks with little experience called The Food Revolution.  The recipes are super simple yet very tasty. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #9 of 12

The tips and steps that other posters on this thread have given you are dead on - that is the way to start developing your skills and technique.  One thing I would add, though, as someone who started messing around in the kitchen at about the same age as you, is to do just that - mess around.  You know, don't get too bogged down in technique and following recipes to the letter  - sometimes that can stress you out and make you forget that this is an awesome, fun, delicious thing to get into.  It is incredibly important to build up the proper techniques, but the other part of cooking which at least for me is really enjoyable is experimenting with flavor combinations, mixing cuisines and styles, etc.  That's how you're going to build up your instincts and your experience as well.  And one tip while you're doing all this is keep a log of what you do - jot down notes while you're cooking, afterwards, whatever works for you - but then you'll have a record.  "Oh, that one time I cooked apples with shrimp, and that tasted bad, but I liked the texture of the apples once I cooked them - maybe I can add them in with these pork chops." 

 

Take all this with a grain of salt because I'm certainly not a chef, a professional cook, or anything of the sort - I'm just a guy who loves eating and loves cooking.  You definetely need the technique, but don't forget to have fun at the same time.  Oh, and use the hell out of this website.  The people on here with decades of experience are extremely generous with their time and knowledge and it is unbelievably useful.

post #10 of 12

Not sure if this is the same as the one I mentioned earlier:

 

http://www.spencersonline.com/product/starving-students-cookbook

 

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Without knowing what you like I can't advise you on what to start off making.  However Jamie Oliver has a great book for home cooks with little experience called The Food Revolution.  The recipes are super simple yet very tasty. 

Yes, I LOVE Jamie Oliver so I'll totally check this out. Thanks a bunch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCobb1045 View Post

The tips and steps that other posters on this thread have given you are dead on - that is the way to start developing your skills and technique.  One thing I would add, though, as someone who started messing around in the kitchen at about the same age as you, is to do just that - mess around.  You know, don't get too bogged down in technique and following recipes to the letter  - sometimes that can stress you out and make you forget that this is an awesome, fun, delicious thing to get into.  It is incredibly important to build up the proper techniques, but the other part of cooking which at least for me is really enjoyable is experimenting with flavor combinations, mixing cuisines and styles, etc.  That's how you're going to build up your instincts and your experience as well.  And one tip while you're doing all this is keep a log of what you do - jot down notes while you're cooking, afterwards, whatever works for you - but then you'll have a record.  "Oh, that one time I cooked apples with shrimp, and that tasted bad, but I liked the texture of the apples once I cooked them - maybe I can add them in with these pork chops." 

 

Take all this with a grain of salt because I'm certainly not a chef, a professional cook, or anything of the sort - I'm just a guy who loves eating and loves cooking.  You definetely need the technique, but don't forget to have fun at the same time.  Oh, and use the hell out of this website.  The people on here with decades of experience are extremely generous with their time and knowledge and it is unbelievably useful.

This is great, I'll make sure to keep a log.

Yeah, I'm actually suprised how many people with extreme amounts of experience come here just to share, but yeah, a guy that loves eating and loves cooking sounds just like me. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post

Not sure if this is the same as the one I mentioned earlier:

 

http://www.spencersonline.com/product/starving-students-cookbook

 

 

mjb.

Fantastic, thanks.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

Based God.. a little advice about getting into cooking..

 

First Phase: Select a food style that you enjoy. That might be Southern, Mexican, Asian, French, Indian, etc. If I asked you what type of food you like to go out to eat the most, that is a good place to start because 1. you already have had some experience tasting this type of food so you know when something has gone wrong or right. 2. you will likely enjoy your success even more because you will be cooking the food you most like to eat. Seek out recipes for this type of food. Try to find recipes that are detailed in the ingredients, preparation, etc.

 

Cooking is a discipline and skill like any other. That means that an accomplished cook is one that has experience and knowledge. These things are only achieved by first research and secondly putting your research into practice. You are in luck to have resources like the internet and cheftalk.com, it will accelerate your learning enormously.

 

Second Phase: Technique. This is where you hopefully have acquired some practical knowledge through your efforts. Now is the moment that you can improve your mise en place and start to question things like your knife technique, choice of vessel, understanding of heat applications such as fry, sautee, braise, poach, etc. You should endeavor to fully understand these technique, and begin to apply them in your cooking. Over time new techniques will emerge in a sense, so that you understand that there are common techniques that are important no matter what the dish you are preparing is. You should constantly strive to respect and improve your abilities/technique.

 

Third Phase: I believe that once you have really developed technique and have begun to master your favorite style of food, you will start to seek out new styles of food. With that comes new techniques, new flavors, new ingredients, and new concerns. This is the third and final leg of your journey into cooking and it will never be complete. The world of food is vast, exciting, rewarding. It covers meta-topics such as environmental concern, cultural understanding, and at least for me it is a major influence in my relationship with friends and loved ones.

 

Good luck to you!

This is great, thanks a lot for writing such a thought through response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Without knowing what you like I can't advise you on what to start off making.  However Jamie Oliver has a great book for home cooks with little experience called The Food Revolution.  The recipes are super simple yet very tasty. 

I love Jamie Oliver and I've seen the show so I should totally get the book, thanks for the tip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCobb1045 View Post

The tips and steps that other posters on this thread have given you are dead on - that is the way to start developing your skills and technique.  One thing I would add, though, as someone who started messing around in the kitchen at about the same age as you, is to do just that - mess around.  You know, don't get too bogged down in technique and following recipes to the letter  - sometimes that can stress you out and make you forget that this is an awesome, fun, delicious thing to get into.  It is incredibly important to build up the proper techniques, but the other part of cooking which at least for me is really enjoyable is experimenting with flavor combinations, mixing cuisines and styles, etc.  That's how you're going to build up your instincts and your experience as well.  And one tip while you're doing all this is keep a log of what you do - jot down notes while you're cooking, afterwards, whatever works for you - but then you'll have a record.  "Oh, that one time I cooked apples with shrimp, and that tasted bad, but I liked the texture of the apples once I cooked them - maybe I can add them in with these pork chops." 

 

Take all this with a grain of salt because I'm certainly not a chef, a professional cook, or anything of the sort - I'm just a guy who loves eating and loves cooking.  You definetely need the technique, but don't forget to have fun at the same time.  Oh, and use the hell out of this website.  The people on here with decades of experience are extremely generous with their time and knowledge and it is unbelievably useful.

I'll totally keep a log, this forum is amazing and when it's about loving food and loving to make food we're just the same.

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