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question for fellow beginning cooks

I'm new to the trying to learn how to become a good cook and impress my friends, family etc. I'm also the type who goes overboard trying to learn all the ins and outs of what it is I'm focusing on, which now if learning to cook. So I want to see what other beginner cooks are wanting to learn.

Here's my list of things that I'm trying to focus on.

1. Which tools for cooking are necessary?
2. What staple foods and seasoning should be in my cabinet?
3. What new tools out there make cooking easier and are musts to have?
4. What meals are easy to make but will look like i must be a chef to create and will impress my family and friends?

Beginning cooks, what else are you searching for and where are you finding this info?

thanks,

Jonathan

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  1. For tools for cooking, please post on the Cookware board. You may also want to check out our Home Cooking board for threads on ideas for new cooks, and cookbook recommendations for new cooks.

    Cookware - http://www.chowhound.com/boards/41 - a number of useful threads about what a beginning cook might need (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/408225

    )

    Home Cooking - http://www.chowhound.com/boards/31

    Thanks!

    3 Replies
      1. re: luvtapas

        the Home Cooking thread is a huuuuge resource, offline, the early 90's edition of that classic Joy of Cooking has large parts dedicated to the basics and definitions of food ingredients, handling and prep.

        1. re: hill food

          sorry checked later and while I bought mine in the 90's it is in fact the 1975 edition. Unfortunately the latest update omits such helpful tips such as cleaning squirrel and other wild game I hear.

    1. im getting ready to give a friend cooking lessons and a book i am using as a bit of a guide is off the shelf by donna hay. has great overview of staples and how to stock your pantry to be ready for throwing a good dish together quickly and easily (slow food is great, but not everyone has time for it).
      http://www.amazon.com/Off-Shelf-Cooki...

      1. 1. There aren't any tools that are "necessary". You don't need many specialized tools unless you are cooking very specialized dishes. In other words try to find ways to make the same tool work for more than one thing.
        2. As far as staple foods go try not to have to many frozen things that you will "use sometime" the longer the food is frozen the higher the chance of freezer burn. Always try to buy fresh if you know you are going to be entertaining because it is alot easier to work with. Seasonings on the other hand, I have found that the seasonings I use most that add a good flavor to just about any dish are: garlic salt, seasoning salt, and pepper. Worchestire Sauce is an amazing thing to kick up just about any kind of beef.
        3. One tool in particular that has made my cooking experience a lot easier is the Swedish made Bamix. It is a handheld blender that can do a myriad of diiferent jobs. They come with an approx/ price tag of $200 but they are very worth it
        4. I have found that you can make pretty much any meal look spectacular based solely on how its presented. For instance, when putting an entree together on a plate that involves a suace topping don't go overboard with the sauce because it flows all over the plate and causes a mush look instead put a small amount on and then but the rest of the sauce into a gravy boat or comparable dish. Garnishes can build up presentation to any dish. From something small like putting a sprig of parsley under the side of an omlet for breakfast to making some fresh pico de gallo to top a serving of rice. One thing that also bolsters any dish presentation would be to avoid drips on the edges of the plate. IF you drip on it while transferring food simply wipe it off with a clean towel.

          1. Not "necessary" but in our house we use our pressure cooker and Vitamix nearly every day.