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n00b from So Cal

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I bought a 10-piece Cooks Standard Ply Clad set and also a bunch of other things I really didn't need and decided to learn how to "cook" I've always been able to make a few things very well, but overall I'm nothing special lol.  I'm not a past lurker, this is my 1st time on these forums, but I hope to learn stuff and become skilled enough to cook without a recipe or needing to measure anything. I suspect the people at the local Bed Bath & Beyond will know me on a 1st name basis soon as I'm no doubt going to buy way more stuff I don't need.


hello to all the so-so cooks who want to become chefs. And thanks in advance to all the experts who might answer my silly questions as I work towards becoming elite.

post #2 of 5

Welcome to ChefTalk. 

     If you are serious about buying lots of stuff you don't need, you might consider using a restaurant supply store. The prices are generally better than BBandB and the stuff they sell is meant for restaurants so it is usually built better. You can also spend some time wandering around looking at all the weird stuff. 

     When you have a question, make sure to use the search feature to see if there is a thread on your topic. Many questions have already been asked and discussed at length so you may find what you want quickly.

     Also many of the people here work at a job so you may not get a reply right away. So if you post a question, wait a day or two or three but absolutely return for an answer because you will get one eventually. 

Best of luck in your kitchen endeavors. Keep a notebook for your experiments. That way you can easily remember what you did right. 

post #3 of 5

Welcome, Q, from a fellow SoCal'er.  Buy what you need and you'll need what you buy. Buying a few things you don't need may lead to new adventures. I love the local restaurant supply stores but I share your enjoyment of BB&B.  I just LOVE their coupons!


Regarding cooking without recipe's or measuring... don't look upon that as the pinnacle of cooking. The goal is creating a good meal that is yummy. The pinnacle is cooking a meal that leads to the enjoyment of others. Doesn't matter if you follow recipes and measure... that is a good way to ensure consistency and increase the probability that you meal will be both yummy and enjoyed by others.


I've been cooking for a long time and I use recipe's and measuring cups/spoons most of the time. For me the height of knowledge is the ability to read a recipe and imagine whether it will be great, good, or yucky... or determine if it will fail because of some technique/documentation flaw.

post #4 of 5

Welcome to CT @Quebert...


A good first step is developing your palate.

When I shop I taste everything I can get to without actually opening the package (altho the market where I do the majority of the shopping will open something up if I ask and it is not hugely expensive).


If it is a large piece of whatever I will ask the produce guy to slice a piece off (even I have my limits and would not dream of biting into something and then putting it back lol) and he is more than happy to do it.

In fact he carries a pocket knife for just this reason.

He is also a great brand ambassador for his store pointing out new varieties he thinks I may like.


Same with your cheese market and bakery shops.

Helps me figure out if some new exotic ingredient (usually expensive) appeals to my taste buds before making a new dish.


One last thing (and just IMO) don't buy sets of things (well except for tableware)...

Put your kitchen equipment  together piece by piece choosing the size and weight that works best for you and your needs.

Those cookware sets (and cutlery blocks full of "matching" knives) always include at least 2 pieces you will never use....if you need a block to keep your sharps in then buy one or even better treat yourself and have one made (FYI if it is a block you want store the knifes with the sharp edge UP to keep the edge longer).

Personally I have a drawer tricked out to spec (lined with soft foam and velvet) and keep everything locked up  (have lots of kids around and don't want any tiny humans deciding to cook while I am not looking).


So have fun reading and don't forget there are no stupid questions (actually there are but most of us have good manners and will answer politely anyway lol).




OBTW... check out the knife threads.

Hugely informative and those guys know their stuff.



post #5 of 5

I forgot to mention spices!!!!


One of the most expensive items on Earth if you figure price/weight.

 :laser: the other is fingernail polish lol.


If you are fortunate and have a spice store/market near where you live, take a few hours and spend them there tasting as well as taking in the aromas.

Most likely the proprietor will be a nice guy (and teacher) and will take the time to answer questions and again.....try to taste as much as you can before it starts confusing your palate.


One of the great secrets of having a regular go to place for spices /herbs is that you can just buy what you need for a certain dish (there will most likely be a minimum) and it will be guaranteed fresh.


After awhile you will have a list of favorites and can buy enuf to last a few weeks to save the hassle of going every other day.

Mine are cinnamon and nutmeg....and a 5 pepper blend for the hand grinder.



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