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comment by usualgerman

I think a lot of “can’t cook” is overthinking it. The skills themselves are pretty simple. Sautéing isn’t rocket science, nor are boiling, frying, or chopping. People over complicated the idea of cooking to the point that they think they need to make 15-step recipes using rare and exotic ingredients. I think if people want to learn to cook, the first step is to stop watching Food Network. That’s like trying to learn to draw by looking at famous paintings. It doesn’t work and mostly discourages you because you can’t cook like a chef until you can cook like your mom. Honestly, the best thing is to get a non fancy basic-bitch cookbook BH&G, Good Housekeeping, something like that. Learn to do those recipes and you can pick up the rest later.





uhsguy  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Many people can’t cook. The technique to mix prep and heat are actually quite complex. Zero chance you will make a passable pie crust off just an ingredient list for example. Temperature control on a skillet is quite complex based on heat thermal mass and moisture content. It requires a lot of practice, reading watching and practice again to get things to taste good.

user-inactivated  ·  158 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Agreed, lots of recipes can come out passably just following directions, but plenty of stuff can't (tried making pastries which bombed), doing things anywhere near the time listed at the top takes a lot of skill, and knowing what things ought to look like and what do do when it goes wrong is not at all intuitive

kleinbl00  ·  158 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My experience is that the Internet is a good source for "a recipe" while cook books are better sources for "a recipe that works" or "a recipe that is good." Food Network churned out two entire generations of celebrity chefs whose food is passable at best; most online bloggers will make a recipe once, photograph the shit out of it and then be extremely coquettish about whether it's any good. On the other hand, the recipes presented by restaurant owners and caterers and the like are generally presented as loss-leaders to drive up revenue at their physical business and if the recipes suck, that doesn't happen.

If I'm trying something new I'll peruse five or six versions online. If I've decided it has promise I'll delve into the four linear feet of cookbooks at my disposal.

uhsguy  ·  158 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I understand what you are getting at so many recipes online are just terrible in both technique and ingredient choice. I often have found that video reviews are a lot better in that regard because they are higher effort to produce and the creator often covers aspects that don’t show up in recipes. That being said video is a really annoying format to cook to and almost always results in me having a greasy dirty phone due to all the rewinds

kleinbl00  ·  158 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You gotta know who you're watching though. Alton Brown hates flavor, for example, while Claire Saffitz thinks milk chocolate is good. Within their zone this is a good move but you gotta be within their zone.

The America's Test Kitchen crew are almost the most useful because you know they made that recipe at least a half dozen different ways and whether or not you like it, you know that they'll fuckin' die on the hill that the interpretation they wrote down is the best (for countless reasons they will happily enumerate). You also know that if you go harder or softer in any direction it'll be fine, so long as it's nothing they've called out as mission-critical. A lot of the time you make their recipes and go "...eh" but you can also go "I see you say a clove and a half of garlic, this means nine cloves" and come out ahead without trial and error.

uhsguy  ·  157 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Absolutely you need to know who you are dealing with. No different than books or any other material. That’s why I don’t like picking up video recipes off randos. As much as you hate Alton at least you know what to expect and adjust accordingly. Besides it’s very rare that I have all of the incidents needed in a recipe available at any given time. Cooking an exact recipe is 2x the work as cooking an inspired by recipe. Often the author achieves similar outcomes using a technique you aren’t familiar with or don’t prefer and you need to know to skip that and do it your preferred way. People who don’t know how to cook don’t know what to omit or shortcut and so cooking becomes that much harder for them.

I cook probably 6-8 meals a week and still sometimes things burn due to sugar content or stick due to moisture/heat issues. New recipes are always complicated even if you generally know what you are doing. Even stuff that should be stupid easy like fucking “easy Mac” that powder clumps unless you find the perfect addition technique and even then it still might clump.

kleinbl00  ·  157 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Three things that have reduced my "food sticking" problems almost to zero:

1) get your food up to room temperature before it hits the skillet. It's weird how much of a difference this makes but like, eggs at room temperature in a hot skillet will float on the butter and eggs from the fridge stick like crazy. Fried eggs for breakfast start with a 2c measure full of hot water that the eggs go into while the butter melts. It's all it takes.

2) Screw the non-stick cookware. We haven't owned any for years. And it allows you to

3) Invest in a Lamson Sharp spatula or two. The ability to go "no fucker, get offa there" makes all the difference in the world.

veen  ·  157 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ohhhhh I’ve had that indecipherable infrequent egg burn for so long! I’ll try that from now on. I just compensated with more butter but that just results in very greasy eggs.

Maybe 4) would be to let the pan and oil/butter warm up entirely and thoroughly before adding anything else. I’m always so impatient to start and it often hurts in the long run.

kleinbl00  ·  157 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah warm up the eggs and let the butter cook long enough that it sizzles and stops - that's the water in the butter flashing to steam. Below that the pan isn't quite hot enough. You can work with it but that "flash to steam" process means the butter has crossed over from "poach the egg" to "fry the egg."

Also try sliding the pan back'n'forth under the egg to discourage it from sticking - it'll sorta "roll" a cooked layer of egg on top of the butter.

That lamson sharp spatula and a steel pan (or enamelware) come in handy with scrambled eggs - get the butter hot, hit it with eggs, then scrape with the back of the spatula through the center. This'll keep eggs loose.

Butter is great to cook in until it smokes - brown butter is yummy but you gotta jump on it because it becomes black butter with a quickness.

these egg tips brought to you by a second bachelorhood in North Hollywood

uhsguy  ·  157 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I will attempt that as soon as the damn chickens start laying again. Warming up store eggs is more effort then I can give eggs as they are always a last minute meal for me. Had really good luck with Kenjis poached egg method if that’s your thing.

kleinbl00  ·  157 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I dunno man two dirty bowls and a dirty strainer for poached eggs?

I watched Gordon do this shit season after season after season:

It's easy, it's repeatable, it always works. Use a pot that holds enough water that you can get that vortex really goin' without the egg slowing it down. Keep it on pretty much constant boil and you can machine-gun poached eggs in and out about every minute and a half.

Also your own chicken eggs can just sit out on the counter for weeks. 'cuz if they're gonna go bad, they're gonna go bad and yer just kinda fukt when you crack one'o'them badboys into a pan...

uhsguy  ·  157 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don’t use the the extra bowl and strainer, it does improve cohesion on old eggs but like you said not worth it. Don’t need it at all for home eggs. Cracking into a small sauce dish and gently sliding it in helps though with minimal extra effort. The Method is nearly identical to the one you linked just with that extra step. I like starting with kenji recipes and then eliminating all the stuff that’s just a bit too much work. Just how I operate

Home grown eggs are great taste better too but managing bird worms and diseases that really sucks.

usualgerman  ·  154 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My experience of internet recipes is that they’re often over complicated and use ingredients that are rare in the USA. The typical internet recipe has two or three pans going, a home made sauce, and a garnish. If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, that’s a lot of things going at once. Add in the expense of the exotic ingredients, and the pressure of comparing yourself to semi-pro cooks as far as how your food looks, and I honestly don’t blame people for giving up early.

A pasta or a dish over rice is pretty easy. You can cook pasta or rice or even mashed potatoes by boiling them, and it’s hard to get it wrong unless you boil over the pot or don’t have enough water. Sauces I think are something a beginner should purchase. There’s no reason that they need to make a sauce when they’re first starting out. Sauces aren’t super hard, but when you’re trying to get everything else right, adding an extra complication for no reason just makes the process more difficult for little real gain. Use frozen meatballs if you’re first starting. In baking, I think, again making your own crust is a waste of time until you’re comfortable in the kitchen. Start easy. Make simple stuff, and don’t be ashamed of buying the occasional ingredient or substituting expensive ingredients for cheaper common ones that you already have.

The feeling of “I can’t do it” I don’t think comes from not being able to cook anything. Most of the time if you can follow simple directions, you absolutely can cook something. The problem is thinking that you have to make complicated recipes that have to look instagram worthy to be successful. Or that they have to be 100% made from scratch. I’ve cooked for a while, and nothing I’ve made is worthy of instagram, and I use premade mixes and sauces. It’s not shameful, normal people do it all the time.

usualgerman  ·  154 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My experience of internet recipes is that they’re often over complicated and use ingredients that are rare in the USA. The typical internet recipe has two or three pans going, a home made sauce, and a garnish. If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, that’s a lot of things going at once. Add in the expense of the exotic ingredients, and the pressure of comparing yourself to semi-pro cooks as far as how your food looks, and I honestly don’t blame people for giving up early.

A pasta or a dish over rice is pretty easy. You can cook pasta or rice or even mashed potatoes by boiling them, and it’s hard to get it wrong unless you boil over the pot or don’t have enough water. Sauces I think are something a beginner should purchase. There’s no reason that they need to make a sauce when they’re first starting out. Sauces aren’t super hard, but when you’re trying to get everything else right, adding an extra complication for no reason just makes the process more difficult for little real gain. Use frozen meatballs if you’re first starting. In baking, I think, again making your own crust is a waste of time until you’re comfortable in the kitchen. Start easy. Make simple stuff, and don’t be ashamed of buying the occasional ingredient or substituting expensive ingredients for cheaper common ones that you already have.

The feeling of “I can’t do it” I don’t think comes from not being able to cook anything. Most of the time if you can follow simple directions, you absolutely can cook something. The problem is thinking that you have to make complicated recipes that have to look instagram worthy to be successful. Or that they have to be 100% made from scratch. I’ve cooked for a while, and nothing I’ve made is worthy of instagram, and I use premade mixes and sauces. It’s not shameful, normal people do it all the time.