HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What have you made lately? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Things That Call Into Question A Cook's Credibility...

LOCKED DISCUSSION
inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 09:43 AM

Chemicalkinetics' thread about how a chef's choice of unconventional equipment might prejudice a person against his cooking ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/789618 ) got me thinking about what would, rightly or wrongly, prejudice me against a person's cooking ability.

I was reminded of a conversation at a party years ago with a woman sporting acrylic nails who told me she was attending culinary school. As soon as I saw those acrylics, my mind called *bullshit*. Not only do I not believe that any culinary school worth its salt would allow a student to attend classes sporting long/fake nails. I also think that (sanitary issues aside), there is a sort of preciousness to the maintenance of those nails that might very well keep a person from becoming a GREAT cook. (This betrays my feeling that it takes a certain assertiveness, aggressiveness and ballsy-ness which in many ways contradict such preciousness to become a truly GREAT cook.

)

This is not to say that there aren't some really good cooks out there who produce delicious food on a consistent basis sporting the nails. It is to say that seeing them creates a prejudice in my mind about the cook's capacity for greatness.

What makes you doubt a person's ability to create great meals *before they start cooking?

0
PRINT EMAIL LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
  1. The Chowhound Team Jun 23, 2011 04:34 PM

    Hey, folks, this thread has been fun, but there are a number of increasingly testy sub-threads going on at once and it seems like it's going off the rails, so we're going to lock it now.

    0
    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
    1. monavano Jun 23, 2011 07:22 AM

      A willingness to focus on seasonal ingredients, but not necessarily be a strict locavore.

      An ability to work with "lesser" ingredients but make magic happen.

      A willingness to search and spend for "the good stuff" or unique ingredients or tools.

      I question anyone's cooking chops whose culinary approach mirrors Sandra Lee, and you lose any credibility if you've made a Kwanza cake.

      0
      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
      1. wekick Jun 22, 2011 08:01 PM

        One thing that makes me think someone is not a great cook, and I have seen this on some of the cooking shows is the way they stir something. A faint stir across the top of the bowl or pan. get the spoon in there and move it.

        8 Replies
        0
        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
        1. re: wekick
          mamachef Jun 22, 2011 09:07 PM

          To me, this observation of wekick's is as close to anything I've seen so far that sounds really true. It's a subtlety, but it's a good one: How does the person relate with their food? I know that sounds all wingwang and granolifornia, but seriously; who's in charge here? I'm not saying that food is something to be whupped into submission, but when someone isn't afraid of it leaping out of the bowl, snarling at their neck, it's a good sign they're comfortable about and somewhat conversant with, food.

          0
          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
          1. re: mamachef
            EWSflash Jun 22, 2011 09:52 PM

            Not to cause a hue and cry, but if you'll watch one of paula Deen's earlier episodes, one of the things that impressed me was that she really had control of her tools and truly knew how to handle what she was working with. Not so evident these days, but that did impress me in her early days.

            0
            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
            1. re: EWSflash
              cowboyardee Jun 22, 2011 10:04 PM

              It strikes me as totally possible that Paula Deen is actually a MUCH better cook than you'd ever know from watching her TV show.

              0
              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
            2. re: mamachef
              tatamagouche Jun 23, 2011 06:53 AM

              You are coming up with the best "_________" and "____________" statements.

              0
              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
              1. re: tatamagouche
                mamachef Jun 23, 2011 06:56 AM

                My food thanks your food, tata. :)

                0
                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
              2. re: mamachef
                inaplasticcup Jun 23, 2011 07:09 AM

                wingwang and granolifornia. You slay me, mc. :P

                0
                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                1. re: inaplasticcup
                  buttertart Jun 23, 2011 08:38 AM

                  Granolifornia is nothing short of brill.

                  0
                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                2. re: mamachef
                  shanagain Jun 23, 2011 08:31 AM

                  I'd have heartily agreed with you... before last night. I'm on this "omg, fried chicken is AMAZING and I'm cooking it perfectly!" kick (it's one dish that's defeated me for years but I finally - finally! - at 41 have mastered it, and we've eaten it no less than 4 times in two weeks).

                  Last night it bit back, alright, in the form of one impressive slow-motion SPLOP! that splattered my face, arms, chest and t-shirt. The t-shirt is the only real casualty, but I was reminded that it wasn't that I "couldn't" cook fried chicken for all of these years, it was just that it's *scary* to cook fried chicken.

                  0
                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
              3. nsenada Jun 22, 2011 08:10 AM

                Exclamations such as "I'm gonna kick it up a notch," or "this is gonna be MONEY!" usually don't bode well.

                0
                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                1. Peg Jun 21, 2011 12:54 PM

                  I believe there are experienced cooks and there are inexperienced cooks, and of the latter there are many who have no interest in becoming experienced - which is fine, what right do I have to judge their canned soup? Likewise those who know they have much to learn are fine by me, no matter what lurks in their cupboards.
                  The only area of doubt for me is the inexperienced cook who believes they are experienced.
                  So alarm bells ring when great food is promised but awful food delivered.
                  Which is a whole other thread.

                  10 Replies
                  0
                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                  1. re: Peg
                    LorenM Jun 21, 2011 02:57 PM

                    Aint that the truth. My best friend (who professes to be a great cook) invited me over to have a roast beef dinner with his family. He pulled out a jar of gravy. When I offered to make a fine gravy with the drippings, they were mortified and disgusted but relented when I persisted (insisted) that it would be delicious. It in fact was delicious, but they would not touch it. I don't quite understand why they felt that way and when I asked, they just said that drippings are gross. Some people! I will not offer to cook anything for them again (still friends though).

                    0
                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                    1. re: LorenM
                      s
                      sueatmo Jun 21, 2011 03:06 PM

                      Good gracious! What did they think jarred gravy is made of?

                      There is a saying attributed to Jesus: Don't throw your pearls before swine. I'm not saying your friends are swine, but they sure don't deserve homemade gravy.

                      0
                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                      1. re: sueatmo
                        LorenM Jun 21, 2011 03:14 PM

                        I like that saying. Believe me, I tried the "What do you think is in there" argument along with the "No added chemicals" argument. What is really funny is that when when I cooked for a living, I actually worked with him at two different restaurants (one of them was VERY fine dining)! He could follow cooking instruction and was good on the line, however I do remember him having a certain level of disdain for a lot of the things he was cooking. Me- I loved to try and eat everything!

                        0
                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                        1. re: LorenM
                          hill food Jun 22, 2011 12:48 AM

                          oh Loren, I am directly related to folks that refuse homemade things in preference of the jar. I don't understand it. If I didn't have a copy of my birth certificate, I would plead a baby birth swap. (I'm not above the jar, but if ya have the choice and time, well why the hell not?) I claim I was born in the wild and raised by a Ladies Altar Guild as one of their own.

                          0
                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                          1. re: hill food
                            danna Jun 22, 2011 06:27 AM

                            ARGH. I once served my in-laws a salad, and some homemade dressing I had decanted to a glass jar. I did not say what kind of dressing it was. My MIL immediately asked if I had some other kind of dressing.

                            "What kind do you want?"
                            "Oh, i'm not picky, whatever else you have in the fridge"

                            To this DAY, it drives me crazy. I don't mind that she didn't eat the homemade dressing, I just want to know WHY???????????? Why, if she didn't know what kind it was, did she know that pretty much anything else would be preferable? If I knew her better, I would just have asked.

                            0
                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                        2. re: sueatmo
                          wekick Jun 22, 2011 07:50 AM

                          "Do not cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Great life lesson! Some people are educable though.

                          0
                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                        3. re: LorenM
                          e
                          ErnieD Jun 21, 2011 08:25 PM

                          Of course they didn't want to touch it. You made them feel terrible. It could have been the most delicious gravy on the face of the earth, but there's no way to try it and say so graciously when your guest has come in and essentially said that your meal is not good enough and you are too stupid to understand what you're serving. I'm quite sure you didn't phrase it like that, but I'm also sure that was how it felt to them. Your assessment that they were mortified is probably pretty accurate. I don't like jarred gravy either, but I would eat Hot Pockets with off-brand ranch dressing with a smile before I would tell my host that what they were serving wasn't good enough for me.

                          0
                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                          1. re: ErnieD
                            hill food Jun 22, 2011 12:54 AM

                            true, that IS an etiquette minefield to traverse. the only resort would have been to start the offer when the roast started and say "oh can I contribute the gravy!?" waaay before the jar was obvious. but maybe the house was sort of used to bad gravy at home. I doubt the recoil was over the idea of using drippings, but rather what had been done in the past.

                            0
                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                            1. re: ErnieD
                              LorenM Jun 22, 2011 04:25 PM

                              I agree and definitely would not have done so had they not asked for my assistance with just about every other aspect of the meal (they really had never cooked a roast before, apparently). If they just cooked it and invited me over, I would have been quite gracious even it was shoe leather and kept my mouth shut, but when they basically end up asking me to make the meal for them, I feel I am entitled to a few liberties- like not putting crappy gravy on a delicious roast I ended up preparing.I should have explained that from the beginning. They definitely KNEW they didn't know what they were doing and in fact told me so.

                              0
                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                          2. re: Peg
                            tatamagouche Jun 21, 2011 05:09 PM

                            "The only area of doubt for me is the inexperienced cook who believes they are experienced.
                            So alarm bells ring when great food is promised but awful food delivered.
                            Which is a whole other thread."

                            Actually, I thought that was this thread. Pre-delivery.

                            0
                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                          3. JuniorBalloon Jun 21, 2011 10:20 AM

                            Anyone that drinks wine in a plastic cup.

                            Unless of course you are sitting on the grass having a picnic dinner at a Jethro Tull concert.

                            jb

                            7 Replies
                            0
                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                            1. re: JuniorBalloon
                              sunshine842 Jun 21, 2011 11:14 AM

                              actually, you can buy some damned fine Lexan wine glasses with stems and everything from REI and similar outfitters They ROCK for drinking wine on a picnic (or on a boat, where shards of glass are a Very Bad Idea)

                              0
                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                              1. re: sunshine842
                                JuniorBalloon Jun 21, 2011 11:16 AM

                                We own two of those REI cups. They are great.

                                jb

                                0
                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                1. re: sunshine842
                                  EWSflash Jun 22, 2011 09:45 PM

                                  I think JB meant the squishy plastic cups with the three lines near the top.

                                  0
                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                  1. re: EWSflash
                                    JuniorBalloon Jun 23, 2011 06:13 AM

                                    I was just being silly because it's a common saying about drinking wine from a plastic cup and the OP's name.

                                    jb

                                    0
                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                      inaplasticcup Jun 23, 2011 07:07 AM

                                      LOL. That's funny, JB. :)

                                      My screenname is actually a reference to an Eddie Izzard bit in which he talks about people drinking coffee from plastic cups, which has made me wonder for quite some time if Brits drink their coffee inaplasticcup!

                                      0
                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                                        JuniorBalloon Jun 23, 2011 08:14 AM

                                        Eddie Izzard is a genius. Is it the line about, "I like my coffee the way I like my women...in a plastic cup." Out of context this is an eyebrow raiser. But in Eddies case I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as that eyebrow is painted on.

                                        Now here's a good question. Would you eat a dinner cooked by Eddie? I'm not sure. I think it would end up with every spice on the shelf in the pot. Very entertaining to watch him make, but not so much to eat.

                                        jb

                                        0
                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                          inaplasticcup Jun 23, 2011 08:21 AM

                                          That's the one!

                                          He's mentioned sushi and Thai food in one of his bits as if he liked them both, so if his cooking reflects his apparent food preferences, I'd be all over that dinner.

                                          0
                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                              2. s
                                S_K Jun 20, 2011 09:24 PM

                                Here's one most of us will probably agree on. I was invited into a home and started nibbling on the food. Then I got to the cheese table only to find CATS! I love cats, but not cat hair in my food. The homeowner had about 7 cats, 5 of which were climbing up and around the cheese table! WHY didn't she keep the cats away from the cheese? WHY didn't she keep them away from the food?

                                That's wrong. I love cats too, but 1) they shouldn't eat human food 2) the hygiene issues!!!

                                That put a stop to my appetite for sure.

                                3 Replies
                                0
                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                1. re: S_K
                                  sunshine842 Jun 20, 2011 11:19 PM

                                  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

                                  I love cats, too -- but I have a real thing about them being on tables and countertops.

                                  and yes -- that much cheese isn't good for the cats, either.

                                  0
                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                  1. re: S_K
                                    t
                                    thatchick Jun 21, 2011 01:56 AM

                                    Ooh nooo. Hate this - although it doesn't reflect on their cooking abilities so much as that their ikk-o-meter needs recalibrating. Pet owners, is this something you just get used to? Seems unlikely. If you do allow this, all your friends think it's gross - you should know.

                                    0
                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                    1. re: S_K
                                      EWSflash Jun 22, 2011 09:44 PM

                                      Oh hell, I visited a friend and they had left early my first morning there to take one of the seven cats to the vet. I decided to make a cup of tea, and when I opemed the microwave damn if there wasn't a goddamn bowl of cat food in it. The kitchen table was where the cats ate. It was truly dysfunctional, and the worst part was that most of the cats were horrified at my presence. Only Savannah schmoozed up to me, she was my favorite, obviously. But you wouldn't want to eat ANYTHING that came from that kitchen, I'm serious. I heard that leter on they had to throw a stove away because the cats had sprayed on it so much. gave me the all-overs.

                                      0
                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                    2. inaplasticcup Jun 20, 2011 08:00 PM

                                      ELL. EMM. AY. OH., guys. We're famous. :P

                                      http://www.chow.com/food-news/84109/t...

                                      3 Replies
                                      0
                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                                        hill food Jun 21, 2011 12:51 AM

                                        dang, obviously I'm not sharp-tongued enough. we'll fix that.

                                        0
                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                        1. re: hill food
                                          inaplasticcup Jun 21, 2011 01:19 AM

                                          You crack me up, hill.

                                          0
                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                          1. re: inaplasticcup
                                            hill food Jun 21, 2011 01:33 AM

                                            my intent is creepy in a deeply heartfelt way. yup more tailoring is in order.so thanks for the heads up!

                                            0
                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                      2. mamachef Jun 20, 2011 06:07 PM

                                        When they rely hugely on gimmickry and faddish things I get concerned, but I've long ago given up trying to explain that so very much can be accomplished with a good old sharp knife and a chopping block instead of thousands of dollars' worth of Pampered chef hoohoos and yayas. Do not tell darling baby sister about this post please. :) We've had this discussion one too many times.

                                        5 Replies
                                        0
                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                        1. re: mamachef
                                          inaplasticcup Jun 20, 2011 06:24 PM

                                          My friends used to ask me about the hoohoos and yayas, too. I tried to warn them, but the parties were just too much fun to resist, I guess... *sigh*

                                          0
                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                          1. re: inaplasticcup
                                            l
                                            LauraGrace Jun 20, 2011 09:01 PM

                                            LOL @ Pampered chef hoohoos and yayas, Mama. My dear mother was recently swindled into a utensil designed to help smoosh up hamburger in the pan as you're browning it, and to put it in, a utensil caddy the size of a gallon of milk. :D

                                            0
                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                            1. re: LauraGrace
                                              sunshine842 Jun 20, 2011 11:19 PM

                                              I *have* been known to buy stuff at Pampered Chef parties (and yeah, they're fun, unlike Tupperware parties, which I would choose *after* gouging my eyeballs out with a spoon)

                                              BUT...no unitaskers, and I have to be very honest, things that I use regularly and am happy to have in my utensil crock/drawer.

                                              0
                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                mamachef Jun 21, 2011 03:55 AM

                                                Fair enough on a few things, Sunshine. The pizza stone's a good one, and if you're going to buy one anyway, that's the sort of thing that makes sense. Just not a special cream-cheese cuber/melon-baller/surgical implement for a bris/combo.

                                                0
                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                              2. re: LauraGrace
                                                mamachef Jun 21, 2011 03:54 AM

                                                LauraGrace, that one is hysterical. On the bright side though, she can probably repurpose the caddy as an oil drip pan for her garage, and maybe use the meat moosher as a way to till the earth, to cleave the soil. Unless that's not your mom's trip either, in which case the implements will molder....like my abyss of a bottom kitchen drawer, which has the famous circular self-contained cheese grater and a few other things I bought at the County Fair Pavilion. I'm not immune to the charms of cool stuff either, nor to the impulse purchase. :)

                                                0
                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                          2. f
                                            flavrmeistr Jun 20, 2011 10:44 AM

                                            Why would I be so presumptuous as to form an opinion without tasting their food? I guess the implication is that I would be one of those tedious foodie twits who rate a person's ability on their physical appearance or their cooking gear. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and nowhere else.

                                            63 Replies
                                            0
                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                              cowboyardee Jun 20, 2011 11:26 AM

                                              On one hand, I reject the notion that the ONLY way to form an opinion of a cook is by tasting a finished plate. That's like insisting that I can't speculate on the abilities of a basketball player who shoots underhand and can't dribble without bouncing the ball off his foot until I see him in a full court 5 on 5 game. The key word there is 'speculate.' An excellent cook may well be guilty of (or even revel in) any of the culinary omens listed in this thread. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with making an educated guess.

                                              On the other hand, you know what they say - "one who presumes makes a pres out of" ..... ummmmm....eeehhhh......... let me get back to you on that saying.

                                              0
                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                inaplasticcup Jun 20, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                *UMES*, cowboy. UMES.

                                                0
                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                  f
                                                  flavrmeistr Jun 20, 2011 12:17 PM

                                                  The key question, again, is "why"? Your nose should tell you 98% of what you need to know when you walk in the door, no?

                                                  0
                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                    sunshine842 Jun 20, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                    not necessarily -- smell and taste aren't necessarily linked.

                                                    0
                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                      f
                                                      flavrmeistr Jun 20, 2011 12:46 PM

                                                      Mostly, they are, as anyone with a bad cold will attest. But I get your point. Smell alone won't tell the whole story, but it is a powerful indicator of what you can expect.

                                                      0
                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                        thew Jun 21, 2011 05:10 AM

                                                        can you explain this?

                                                        0
                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                      2. re: flavrmeistr
                                                        cowboyardee Jun 20, 2011 04:23 PM

                                                        For one, you underestimate the importance of texture, adjusting or balancing salt/sugar/acid, visual appeal, and various other factors that can't be determined by nose alone. And there are styles of cooking that create vivid flavors without creating strong cooking smells.

                                                        For another, the key question is actually 'why not?' You're the one who seems to have a problem with culinary profiling. I think it's something we all do in pretty much every aspect of our interactions with others - we size people up and form expectations - and that the important thing is to keep your mind open enough that you can still be surprised every once in a while, discover that your first impression was wrong. It's really no different than reading someone's hastily typed opinion of canned cream of whatever soup and assuming they're a snobby, tedious twit.

                                                        0
                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                          f
                                                          flavrmeistr Jun 21, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                          My point is that the whole premise of judging someone's abilities before you've seen their work is snobby and tedious. Again, that's only my opinion.

                                                          0
                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                          1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                            tatamagouche Jun 21, 2011 07:26 AM

                                                            But then you're ignoring cowboyardee's earlier point that the "work" doesn't exist in a void. It's embedded within a context that's rich in indication. Those indications may be misleading—many on this thread have acknowledged as much. But they may also be useful. His/her basketball analogy is an apt one.

                                                            0
                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                              cowboyardee Jun 21, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                              I understand your point (okay, actually I'm not sure how it's 'tedious'). I just disagree. I think if you examine yourself closely, you'll find that you make many snap judgments about people's abilities every day, based on what information is available, incomplete as it often is. No one is advocating telling someone in the process of cooking you a meal that their clumsy knifework raises questions, or being less than grateful that they're making food for you. But I can't help it - I see piss poor knife skills and I make assumptions, just as I used to pick the kid dribbling a basketball off his toes last for my team in gym class (apologies to sad, short, uncoordinated, little Timmy - it wasn't personal).

                                                              0
                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                          2. re: flavrmeistr
                                                            EWSflash Jun 22, 2011 09:34 PM

                                                            I have to point out that what you just said is the equivalent of the Mary Kay lady who tells a group of potential customers that 'your face ages five years for every night you don't wash your face before going to bed'. Go ahead and feel righteous in your lofty ideals, but it's BS. That kind of silly platitude just doesn't fly in real life.

                                                            0
                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                        2. re: flavrmeistr
                                                          chowser Jun 20, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                          With cooking/eating experience, I think we can trust our instincts on some things w/out tasting them. Kwanzaa cake anyone?

                                                          0
                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                            yayadave Jun 20, 2011 03:01 PM

                                                            OH THAT'S RICH

                                                            0
                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                              tatamagouche Jun 20, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                              I have to admit I'd try it for the sake of experience (as long as someone else bothers to make it—I wouldn't go that far). Ditto lutefisk and casu marzu, in whose league I'd place it.

                                                              0
                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                            2. re: flavrmeistr
                                                              MC Slim JB Jun 21, 2011 05:25 AM

                                                              My bit about "super-fancy kitchens, lame cooks" is not prejudgment, but an observation after the fact. Purely anecdotal in statistical terms, but my sample size is large enough for it to have become a rule of thumb, which is to say, a pretty reliable predictor. One can always be pleasantly surprised.

                                                              It's not such a stretch, is it? I imagine we all know people with expensive toys they use ineptly: the exotic sports car driver who would be hopeless on a track, the yacht owner who couldn't navigate his boat out of the dock, the home carpenter with a gleaming shop and no woodworking skills. It's an old story.

                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                              0
                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                danna Jun 21, 2011 08:38 AM

                                                                your analogies don't help your argument. It's true that an exotic sports car driver MIGHT be hopeless on the track, but if I had to bet, I'd say he'll turn in a better time than someone who has chosen to drive a mini van or a Cadillac land yacht. Same with the carpenter. If someone cares enough to buy the accoutrement for a particular hobby, chances are they are going to put forth some effort into that hobby...at least more than the average person.

                                                                For my own annecdotal, statistically worthless "study", I can say that of all my girlfriends, the best cooks also happen to have the nicer kitchens.

                                                                0
                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                1. re: danna
                                                                  mcf Jun 21, 2011 09:05 AM

                                                                  I think both observations are kind of self selected by attitude, personal experience, and meaningless. In economically privileged groups, the serious cooks have the luxury of creating dream kitchens. So, too, do the privileged who don't cook, but who host parties and need facilities for caterers, or those who remodle/renovate with an eye to reselling down the road, to enhance value. Cooking isn't the only reason folks create fancy kitchens, nor do fancy kitchens denote non serious cooks. I've known both.

                                                                  OTOH, among those who are poor, or not very privileged economically, there are plenty of good cooks working with little to no kitchen finery or space and gadgets.

                                                                  0
                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                    LorenM Jun 21, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                                    Indeed, as many of the finest cuisines in the world come out of poverty and necessity. Some of my finest moments in the kitchen were when I was dirt poor and had to look at the ingredients I had on hand (or had gotten from the food bank) to invent a new dish.

                                                                    0
                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                  2. re: danna
                                                                    flourgirl Jun 22, 2011 07:10 AM

                                                                    "I can say that of all my girlfriends, the best cooks also happen to have the nicer kitchens."

                                                                    That may be true in your experience, but I live in the land of McMansions with gourmet kitchens as common as dirt. Hardly any of the people that I know who own said kitchens even like to cook. It's for show, it's for resale, and for some, it's for entertaining with hired help.

                                                                    My family, on the other hand, happens to live in a much more modest home. I love my kitchen, it's fairly good-sized and yes, I have a very nice arsenal of cookware and equipment. But my kitchen isn't winning any House Beautful awards and yet I know I'm using my kitchen a heck of a lot more than most of the people I know with those gourmet kitchens, and yes, I am turning out some damn fine food.

                                                                    0
                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                    1. re: flourgirl
                                                                      danna Jun 22, 2011 08:20 AM

                                                                      Nobody is arguing that you can't be a great cook without all the goodies, or the converse.

                                                                      But the assertion that a nice kitchen is a PREDICTOR of a bad cook is as crazy as saying an expensive bike is a predictor of a crappy cyclist. Now, I know PLENTY of wannabees w/ expensive bikes that can't ride uphill, but in the grand scheme of things....the nice bike is a predictor of a better rider than the guy with a kick stand.

                                                                      0
                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                      1. re: danna
                                                                        MC Slim JB Jun 22, 2011 10:25 AM

                                                                        This sounds like the wounded defensiveness of somebody with a super-fancy kitchen.

                                                                        Nobody's saying your mileage may not vary. But I'm sticking to my rule of thumb based on my own anecdotal experience on this score. Maybe it's an eastern New England thing.

                                                                        The excuse that "It's for the caterer or adding to the value of the home" sounds to me like another way of saying, "I can't really cook up to the level of my kitchen."

                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                        0
                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                          danna Jun 22, 2011 11:18 AM

                                                                          No. It sounds like the wounded intelligence of an accountant who understands how statistics and probability work.

                                                                          0
                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                          1. re: danna
                                                                            MC Slim JB Jun 22, 2011 07:47 PM

                                                                            Oy. I think I've stated that mine is an anecdotal perspective, not statistically significant to pass a House resolution on, but experientially significant enough *to me* to deem it a rule of thumb. Sorry if I offended your accountant's grasp of statistics and probability.

                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                            0
                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                          2. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                            chowser Jun 22, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                            I live in McMansion-ville and know the kitchens you're talking about, completely unused but beautiful. I think the difference between those and kitchens of people who upgrade and use them is that the former chooses everything based on the name/price while the latter pick things based on functionality. There is overlap, obviously. It's the people who drink Kona coffee because it's expensive vs those who seek out local roasters with a superior product.

                                                                            0
                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                              thew Jun 22, 2011 11:28 AM

                                                                              nonsense.

                                                                              people who can do things like better equipment to do them with. great guitar players will be able to play fine on anything, but will prefer a great guitar. great drivers can drive anything but would prefer to do so with a finely honed machine. a great chef can make a meal in any kitchen, but the right tools make the job easier, and more of a joy.

                                                                              I'm a good cook. i don;t have every gadget and bell and whistle. but what i do have is usually top quality.

                                                                              0
                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                cowboyardee Jun 22, 2011 12:45 PM

                                                                                I suspect that you're correct about super fancy kitchens vs cooking skill when we're talking specifically about wealthy people. Probably the opposite is true when you're only considering middle income people (the low middle and poor income level people rarely have decked out kitchens, for obvious reasons).

                                                                                I suspect that most wealthy people who are also good cooks wind up with more of a motley assortment of kitchen supplies they've gotten used to, gotten as gifts, or just work for them. Whether an appliance or kitchen tool matches their others or functions as a status symbol would actually be less important than whether the tool works for them and the way they cook. Their tools and appliances are dinged up from use. They've broken things and had to replace them on short notice. Wealthy people who don't cook so much just get name brand, matching sets of everything, because it looks nice and keeps the resale value up.

                                                                                But for middle income people, usually having a decked out kitchen is a sign that they spend a lot of time there and have interest in cooking. Doesn't necessarily make them masters of the craft, but they're more likely to be a decent cook than your average joe, anyway.

                                                                                0
                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                              2. re: danna
                                                                                flourgirl Jun 22, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                                                danna, what you specifically said was that in your experience, "the best cooks also happen to have the nicer kitchens." And again, I'm not arguing that it may not be true for you. But when people talk about "nicer kitchens", what that generally translates into is lots of money - money not everybody has to spend. But not having the money to spend on a fancy kitchen has absolutely NO bearing on one's ability to cook. And comparing a "nice ktichen" to a bicycle is a fine example of comparing apples and oranges.

                                                                                And I want to be clear that when I'm talking about "nicer kitchens" I'm talking more about the kitchen itself - the cabinets, the counter materials, the major appliances, as opposed to the stuff like pots/pans/knives/other various cooking equipment. Because I do believe that, generally speaking, people who are really interested in cooking tend to spend money on the best quality equipment they can afford. But just because somebody has a Viking range, doesn't necessarily mean they can cook worth a damn. It just means that they could afford a Viking range.

                                                                                0
                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                  thew Jun 22, 2011 01:55 PM

                                                                                  but having a viking range also doesn't imply they don't know how to cook.....

                                                                                  0
                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                  1. re: thew
                                                                                    mcf Jun 23, 2011 01:14 PM

                                                                                    Or read reviews. ;-)

                                                                                    0
                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Jun 23, 2011 01:20 PM

                                                                                      Something wrong with the VIking ranges reviews?

                                                                                      0
                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                        mcf Jun 23, 2011 02:49 PM

                                                                                        Yeah, when I was reading them compared to others. On these boards, too, IIRC, as well as elsewhere.

                                                                                        0
                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                  2. re: flourgirl
                                                                                    danna Jun 22, 2011 01:55 PM

                                                                                    You're still missing my point. What started this whole discussion was the assertion that having a fancy kitchen was a "pretty reliable predictor" that the owner was NOT a good cook. That's just logically impossible. What you are aruging is that a nice kitchen does not make you good cook...which I totally agree with.

                                                                                    In the real world, wealthy people who only have great kitchens because their designer decreed it are a very, very, very small %age of the population. Most Americans are middle class or poorer, and as Cowboyardee pointed out above, if they have a fancy kitchen, it means they allocated their limited resources that way because they like to cook.

                                                                                    0
                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                    1. re: danna
                                                                                      chowser Jun 22, 2011 02:04 PM

                                                                                      I'd love to see stats on what percent of america has Viking/Wolf/Aga ranges, etc. and aren't used and see the breakdown as wealth goes. I haven't thought about it before but every one I know, middle class or so, who has a nice kitchen cooks a lot. And, few people I know who are very wealthy (I'll define that as 3000 sq ft plus designer houses) and have nice kitchens cook. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one who does and she outfitted her home w/ professional range appliances that cost about $150,000, not getting into her granite countertops which ran about the same. I think the easiest way to tell if someone cooks often is to open their oven door and see how clean it is. My SILs is like new--both of them.

                                                                                      0
                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                        inaplasticcup Jun 22, 2011 02:17 PM

                                                                                        There are lots of little telltale signs of a tricked out but unused kitchen - full and dusty bottles of ornamental oil and vinegar, dusty knife block, dusty Kitchen Aid, pristine cookware, (not polished or well maintained, but just never used, an untouched sink.

                                                                                        Messed up layouts are also a good indicator. If you have to walk way too many steps from the fridge to the counter, from a prep surface to the cooktop...

                                                                                        0
                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                          chowser Jun 22, 2011 04:55 PM

                                                                                          Good point about layout. There's a really popular kitchen designer in my area--his kitchens are stunning stainless steel appliances, custom cabinets, etc...until you look at the design. He did my friend's kitchen and put the island in the center of the work triangle, never mind that the island is too small to be functional. It's beautiful on the surface, though. In other houses I've seen of his, there's huge open space. I'm lazy--I want to turn around and have everything there.

                                                                                          0
                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                            danna Jun 23, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                                                            It's funny how times change. In 1972 my Mom designed her own kitchen when they were remodling the house. Some product manufacturer offered a free design consult, so she had the lady come out and look at the plans. The designer said the kitchen was too large; too far to walk between the points of the work triangle.

                                                                                            If you could see my Mom's kitchen, which is very modest by today's standards, you'd see how amusing I find this. (my Mom ignored the advice)

                                                                                            0
                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                              monavano Jun 23, 2011 07:52 AM

                                                                                              I love that I can work at my island and toss garbage into the sink right behind me.
                                                                                              My BIL's house has a huge long kitchen with a really nice, long island. Problem is, the double oven is clear across the room from the stove.
                                                                                              Also, does anyone without kids find the low sitting under counter microwave to be useful? Just seems so awkward.

                                                                                              0
                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                            2. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                              sunshine842 Jun 23, 2011 01:08 AM

                                                                                              Nope.

                                                                                              1)Lots of people don't have the time and/or money to do a full kitchen remodel, but loved the rest of the house/location, so they're living with the layout until they have time and/or money to create their own ultimate kitchen.

                                                                                              2) Lots of people rent their homes -- and for those folks, changing the layout isn't even an option...see 1 above about time/money/location.

                                                                                              3) Lots of people live in an old house where changing the layout involved remodeling that exceeds time/money allocations...or wouldn't be allowed under zoning/historical review boards, anyway.

                                                                                              4) What constitutes bad layout for you might not be bad layout for someone else.

                                                                                              Layout is an external constraint only, and has zero impact on the ability of the chef.

                                                                                              0
                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                chowser Jun 23, 2011 05:54 AM

                                                                                                I think of the layout problem for those who've remodeled their kitchens and go for appearance but not those who've inherited the problem. I know quite a few people who've remodeled kitchens, many as I mentioned very pretty but not practical.

                                                                                                But, when we moved into our current house, I thought we'd be here 2-3 years, at most, so tried to get the biggest bang for the buck--same layout, painted cabinets, midrange stainless steel appliances that are more about appearance than functionality, granite countertops off of EBay. Problem is, seven years later, we're still here and are planning to stay. Having sunk in some money, I can't justify getting rid of it and redoing the whole kitchen.

                                                                                                0
                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 23, 2011 06:59 AM

                                                                                                  I see your points, sunshine. But I tried to make a point, albeit unsuccessfully, to distinguish the scenarios of which you speak from the originally referenced "tricked out" (implication: custom/remodeled) kitchens.

                                                                                                  And then there's the chicken/egg argument re: the "zero impact on the ability of the chef" because in the case of custom/remodeled kitchens, we're talking about people manifesting their cooking ideals by way of kitchen design.

                                                                                                  When I used to teach or cater private dinner parties for well to do people, I cooked in many kitchens which were designed to awe but obviously did not have the logistics of cooking in mind. Did the bad layout make me any less of a cook? No. Would a better layout have made my job easier? Yes. But would a skilled and experienced cook pay lots of money to have a logistical nightmare of a kitchen? Probably not.

                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                            3. re: danna
                                                                                              flourgirl Jun 22, 2011 02:15 PM

                                                                                              I'm not missing anything. I didn't completely agree with M.C. either.

                                                                                              I doubt very many people who are poorer than "middle class" have the money to allocate to anything close to a fancy kitchen, never mind much renovation at all. As for middle class people, again, I know a lot of middle class people (being middle class myself) and I know lots of them who have done kitchen renovations. The over-riding reason that most of them do it is for re-sale. Very few of them cook other than because they absolutely have to and they do so as little as possible.

                                                                                              And there are TONS of people in this country who have purchased homes that came with fancy kitchens and they never utilized the services of a designer directly. I've traveled through quite a few states - and there are McMansions all over the place. Not to mention all the homes that aren't quite McMansions but large and expensive nonetheless. Builders in most areas haven;t been building anthing except housing like this (except for some condo and townhome developments - which can be quite pricey with very fancy kitchens as well.)

                                                                                              It's true that I live in a very expensive county in NJ - but again, there are McMansions and McMansion wannabes everywhere, most of those people never had anything to do with the design of their fancy kitchens - or they worked directly with the builder - and the kitchens remain pristine because no one ever uses them. So MY point is, I absolutely do NOT associate good cooks with fancy kitchens. It just hasn't been my experience that the corollary is accurate very often.

                                                                                              But if you came into my house I think you would come to the quick conclusion, that, if nothing else, I enjoy being in the kitchen. It's my favorite space in the house, it's cheerful, a lot of my cooking equipment is visible, and yes, I have good quality , equipment etc. It's very "nice" to me - but there's very little that's very high end about it. I also have a lot of open shelving that contains stuff like unusual vinegars, different varieties of salts, spices, baking ingredients, etc. etc. And right next to my kitchen is the living room, where about 3/4 of my cookbook collection is visible, which numbers over 600 by now. I doubt anyone leaving my house would have any doubts about where my interests lie. Of course, they STILL won't know if I can actually cook unless I have fed them - which I try to do as often as possible. :)

                                                                                              0
                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                                cowboyardee Jun 22, 2011 02:36 PM

                                                                                                I'm suspecting your 'middle class' people may be my 'wealthy' or 'upper middle class' people. I don't think of a posh kitchen as being a necessary (or maybe even wise) adjunct to selling a $150k house.

                                                                                                0
                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                  JuniorBalloon Jun 22, 2011 02:51 PM

                                                                                                  I think if you go into a kithcen and every piece of equipment has the same mfg's name...they are not a good cook. Regardless of the cost. Just as a generalization. People who like to cook and have been for a number of years, acquire things piecemeal.

                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                    thew Jun 22, 2011 03:03 PM

                                                                                                    so - if a great cook buys a new house and does their new kitchen all at once and buys all from the same manufacturer because they like the style s/he magically becomes a bad cook?

                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                    1. re: thew
                                                                                                      JuniorBalloon Jun 22, 2011 03:05 PM

                                                                                                      Yep.

                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                      1. re: thew
                                                                                                        cowboyardee Jun 22, 2011 03:34 PM

                                                                                                        The problem with getting everything in one brand is I don't know of any manufacturer who really excels in every area of kitchen equipment.

                                                                                                        I'm not gonna say that buying everything from the same brand makes you a bad cook, but you (the hypothetical 'you') didn't pick your equipment as well as you could have. Also, good cooks tend to value function in their tools while picking from a single manufacturer seems to be valuing form above function.

                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                          JuniorBalloon Jun 22, 2011 03:43 PM

                                                                                                          Having all the same brand won't make you (the hypothetical) a bad cook, but just as a generalization, for the very reasons you state, form over function, it's likely they are not good cooks.

                                                                                                          There are always specific cases where this or any of the comments in this thread would not hold true, but that doesn't mean they are not generally so.

                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                        2. re: thew
                                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 22, 2011 03:40 PM

                                                                                                          I agree with JuniorBalloon to some extends. I don't think having a bunch of kitchen cookware and equipments from the same manufacturer proves the person is a bad cook, but it does mean the person made some very poor purchase choices. Now, a good cook can make horrible cookware purchase decisions, but more likely than not it is a bad cook who does that.

                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                            mamachef Jun 22, 2011 07:15 PM

                                                                                                            Gawd, and I was trying SO hard not to hit on this tangent, too. Then it just...happened. I was here at the keyboard, typing away.

                                                                                                            I have eaten tamales in the home of an indigenous cook where her tools were her molcajete, a rusty knife, and two pots, food prepared prepared in a dirt-floored pueblo. They were as delicious as anything I've ever tasted coming from the home kitchens of someone with all the gimcracks and heehaws and the money to spend on perfect, expensive ingredients. For this one particular supposition, there is no "right" hypothesis, corollary, or anti-corollary. As much as I hate the phrase, "it is what it is." Great cooks spring from nothing much and very much and it has very little to do with how much money they throw at their passion or how fancy their kitchen is, and the reverse also holds equally true.

                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 22, 2011 07:18 PM

                                                                                                              Nice, mc.

                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                linguafood Jun 23, 2011 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                awesomely said.

                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                        3. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                          flourgirl Jun 22, 2011 02:53 PM

                                                                                                          cowboyardee - wealth is all relative. Because, among other things, it depends on the cost of living in your area. My household income is probably high enough to be considered wealthy by a lot of people - but we live in Hunterdon County, NJ, with an extremely high cost of living and I can assure you that we - and many of the people I know - are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.

                                                                                                          As for renovations as an adjunct to selling, you ALWAYS have to consider your market, and the return you are likely to get on your investment. We've done a lot of renovation work to our home - which in my area, as modest as it is, would sell for a lot more than $150k - but we've always kept an eye on the bottom line and didn't spend more than was justified by the size of the home, what neighbors have done with similar homes, etc.

                                                                                                          And in our case, our kitchen renovation was one of the first jobs we tackled after we bought our home 15 yrs ago. Well, the actual renovation was done about 12 yrs ago. It was a necessity at the time, the kitchen was barely functional, but I wasn't nearly as into cooking as I am now, my tastes have changed somewhat since than, I've learned a lot from CH and I wish I had the money to do it over again. But I don't, at least not at the moment. So I live with what I have, which is really just fine and I spend my money on quality ingredients, quality equipment and a lot of books and I'm having a blast. :)

                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                                            cowboyardee Jun 22, 2011 03:49 PM

                                                                                                            I think that wealth independent from cost of living considerations is more applicable to this discussion. When you own or are selling a house that costs upwards of half a million dollars, you are far more likely to have a fancy kitchen regardless of whether you are just barely getting by once cost of living is factored in. And regardless of whether you cook.

                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                              LNG212 Jun 23, 2011 10:01 AM

                                                                                                              Okay, I just had to chime in here that this made me burst out laughing. You can't even find a decent 2 bedroom apartment in my neighborhood for "half a million dollars" so the idea that it would have a "fancy kitchen" is really quite funny. Yes, the COL in an area certainly impacts on what kind of high end/whatever kind of kitchen one would have.

                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                              1. re: LNG212
                                                                                                                cowboyardee Jun 23, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                Come on, you're talking about a COL that doesn't apply to 99% + of the planet.

                                                                                                                Even when a tiny space costs nearly a million dollars, that still affects the likelihood and availability of a tricked out kitchen - just in that the cost of a kitchen renovation doesn't keep pace with real estate values and is dwarfed by the amount of money needed otherwise to live in the area.

                                                                                                                Also, you're talking about renters and landlords here, while we're talking about property owners. And it's not because renters are unwelcome, but because this subthread is about custom kitchens. Obviously putting a custom kitchen into a two bedroom rental isn't very common. I think you'll find lots of tiny spaces in NYC that have tricked out kitchens, but these spaces are occupied by their owners, not renters. They're called condos.

                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                  LNG212 Jun 23, 2011 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                  I'm talking about "property owners" too; that's why I brought up the cost to purchase an apartment in my neighborhood. And basically what you're saying with your "99%" comment is that your argument is right, except when it isn't.

                                                                                                                  My point was more basic than that -- that you can't take COL out of it. That when property is expensive (others were commenting/critiquing flourgirl in her housing location comments) that means that the cost of the place doesn't necessarily include a "tricked out" kitchen just because the cost is high relative to some other standard in the country. And I would argue that this applies in the general NE where property costs are quite high, as well as to NYC (and maybe to other high priced areas that I am not familiar with like SF or Seattle or something).

                                                                                                                  Maybe I'm not saying really well. What I mean to say is that the "cost" as in price of an apartment or house does not necessarily automatically reflect certain things. Because certain areas are (very) high priced, what seems like a huge amount will not have the bells and whistles that the amount would bring in other areas. In other words the OMG you paid a 1/2 mill then you must have a super high end kitchen might apply in some parts of the country but certainly doesn't in others.

                                                                                                                  [I knew I should never jump into General threads like this one! I just couldn't help myself.]

                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                  1. re: LNG212
                                                                                                                    cowboyardee Jun 23, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                                                                                    The 99% comment was off-hand. My argument was right except.... no, actually it was just right.

                                                                                                                    A small 2 bedroom space in NYC occupied by its owner (usually meaning a condo) is WAAAAAY more likely to have a tricked out kitchen than a similarly small 2 bedroom space that cost 50K in, say, Kansas City.

                                                                                                                    You can't substitute renters and landlords for owners who occupy their space in this conversation. That was never what we were talking about.

                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                      buttertart Jun 23, 2011 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                      As a former Brooklyn resident of just such a space, frequenter of open houses in the area, and assiduous cook, I can assure you that your assumption is quite incorrect. In ours: small stove, crap fridge, ditto dishwasher (and the dishwasher only because the place was renovated in the '90s).

                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                            2. re: flourgirl
                                                                                                              LorenM Jun 22, 2011 04:13 PM

                                                                                                              Home owners are the only people people with a passion and zeal for food and cooking. I live in an apartment with standard apartment appliances, modest kitchen. I also was a sous chef for quite a few years and know my ingredients and techniques and spend a good portion of my income on food and a lot of time researching and learning. I do not have a lot of fancy equipment because 1) I don't have a lot of room and 2) I am single with an average income. It does not make my passion or skill any less. I adapt to what I have and still put out amazing food. I don't feel wealth is necessary to be a food/ cooking enthusiast at all. I know a couple billion people around the world who would agree with me.

                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                  2. re: flourgirl
                                                                                                    mamachef Jun 22, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                                                                    My ex's mom had a state-of-the-art kitchen equipped with every expensive, up-to-date accoutement possible. Woman was a world-class Jewish Home cook. We called her kitchen "The OyVay Cafe."
                                                                                                    So, imagine my chagrin the first time I was given entree to cook within those vaunted walls. I expected Henckels, and Shoruji, and vintage re-lined Drew-ware. What I got was racks and drawers full of really, really crappy antiquated stuff. The knives had zero edge, and had I tried I'd certainly have broken them in half. The cuisi was I think the prototype, c. 1955 or so. I can't even discuss the baking articles, but that KA probably cost about 40 bucks.
                                                                                                    And the great thing is, I cooked like a pro with her stuff in that kitchen too. :)

                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                2. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                  applehome Jun 21, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                                                                  Yeah, I totally agree - it happens all the time. I ran the photo lab at a remote site where a lot of GI's were re-upping and getting fat bonuses (it was a popular sequence of events after Viet-Nam). They would come to me asking what the best camera was - not how to take and process better pictures. A lot of Nikon F's were sold in the BX that year - most probably ended up in their boxes for a long time. Almost all were undoubtedly severely underutilized. Having grown up processing my own film since first grade, and learning to take great shots starting with the 120 film Brownie and moving up as I could afford it, I was of course jealous - but also very cognizant of the wasted equipment.

                                                                                                  I don't know if all of us ought to have a mortar and pestle before we get our first food processor, but it wouldn't do any harm to have that "hands-on" feel for your food. The creative process is enhanced by the understanding of the basics and essential techniques. Getting the best equipment before your skills can really take advantage of it really doesn't help in the long run.

                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                  1. re: applehome
                                                                                                    hill food Jun 22, 2011 12:12 AM

                                                                                                    interesting analogy. when I became interested in photography I started with a hinky Brownie that needed an external light meter (so candid shots were not a choice) and only worked half the time. went to an early point'n'shoot Minolta 35mm and worked the hell out of the limited variations (f'rinstance telling the camera it had a different film speed than it really did) and am now on an old Nikon FE.

                                                                                                    to keep this on topic, I think it was good to start with awkward hand skills, then use some automated equipment as understanding of the process grew and THEN switch back to the manual side. "oh! ok I need to do this to get 'X'

                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                  2. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                    EWSflash Jun 22, 2011 09:38 PM

                                                                                                    I'm inclined to agree, since the one kitchen I'm familiar with that has everything- I mean everything- does not belong to cooks, but to a savvy interior designer and a construction engineer. They know the market intimately and they have a housekeeper. There are NO signs of hard-core kitchen usage. Cripes, they even have a semi-commercial icemaker! That gets used a lot when they have company.

                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                3. LorenM Jun 17, 2011 05:46 PM

                                                                                                  We used to test new cooks in our kitchen by telling them to cook some rice and see if they knew the right proportions. We would also mess with them and tell them to go bring us a can of steam or to grab the bacon stretcher and to hurry up about it. Then we would act all pissed off when they came back empty handed. Mean, yes, but it was usually hilarious! Experienced cooks didn't fall for that garbage.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                  1. re: LorenM
                                                                                                    e
                                                                                                    escondido123 Jun 17, 2011 10:04 PM

                                                                                                    Can of steam....boy you are a hilarious bunch.

                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                      LorenM Jun 18, 2011 06:20 PM

                                                                                                      Were. That was 15 years ago when I was in the biz. In my experience, kitchen staff generally do have a sick, twisted sense of humor about things. It helps with the high levels of stress. So does drinking of which it seems cooks like to do as well (generally speaking of course).

                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                    2. re: LorenM
                                                                                                      petek Jun 18, 2011 07:13 AM

                                                                                                      Or how about asking them to chop some flour..

                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                      1. re: LorenM
                                                                                                        mcf Jun 18, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                                        Masons send the newbie out to fetch the railroad tie bender.

                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                      2. lupaglupa Jun 17, 2011 01:14 PM

                                                                                                        This has turned into a fascinating thread. It strikes me that almost every poster has commented in two ways - a) the thing I never do that I feel is the mark of a questionable cook and b) the thing I do that might be called questionable by others, but I'm okay with it. So while some people abhor an ingredient others like it. And vice versa for techniques and other topics mentioned. It just illustrates how individual cooking is. We all have different standards, rituals, tastes etc. It certainly keeps the conversation interesting!

                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                        1. k
                                                                                                          kevin47 Jun 17, 2011 12:40 PM

                                                                                                          They don't know what shallots are.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                          1. re: kevin47
                                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 17, 2011 12:44 PM

                                                                                                            LOL. I had someone throw away an entire bag of my shallots while I was gone because they thought they were "rotten garlic".

                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                              Terrieltr Jun 19, 2011 04:59 PM

                                                                                                              Eek! I'm not sure I'd let such a person in my kitchen ever again.

                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                                            chykynlyps Jun 17, 2011 10:06 AM

                                                                                                            For me, the easiest way to tell if someone is a cook is to look at their cutting board. If they have one of those "glass" (I don't know what they are made of, I just know that they are where sharp knives go to die) ones, they very rarely cook and certainly will not have a good set of knives (they at least will not be sharp). If there is a cutting board out on the counter somewhere, that is usually a good sign that it gets used often. There are, however, exceptions to that rule. If someone is well-to-do and has nice kitchen utensils, there may be a very nice cutting board out on the counter and a gorgeous set of knives that don't get the use they deserve (I die a little in side when I enter this kitchen. I also get very excited to use the kitchen.). Also, anyone who has a garlic press is immediately a bad cook in my mind. A good French knife will do the job of a garlic press in less time with less (and easier) cleanup. On that note, anyone who doesn't have a wide-bladed knife that they love to use.

                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                            1. re: chykynlyps
                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                              condie Jun 17, 2011 11:55 AM

                                                                                                              Please take a moment to discuss "French knife". Is that a particular style of knife or does it refer to where it is made. In what way is it superior to using a garlic press?

                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                              1. re: condie
                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                chykynlyps Jun 17, 2011 12:06 PM

                                                                                                                A French knife is the style of knife. They are also called chef's knives or cook's knives. They have wide blades at the handle that taper to the tip. Click the link for an image from a quick google images search (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...). It is superior to using a garlic press because in the time it takes you to get out your garlic press, I will have smashed the garlic with the fat side of the blade, minced said garlic, and wiped all the garlic juice off of the blade and I will have moved on to cutting/prepping something else.

                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                1. re: chykynlyps
                                                                                                                  tatamagouche Jun 17, 2011 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                  Lesson #1 I was taught in cooking school: use your chef's knife for almost everything, your paring knife for everything else. A bit of an exaggeration but an understandable rule of thumb in a busy kitchen where time is of the essence and the more implements you use, the more you have to clean up. In any case garlic presses were verboten.

                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                  1. re: chykynlyps
                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                    condie Jun 17, 2011 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                    What a nice Web Site! It not only provides recipes but much 'how to' as well. For those who want the home address it is: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/
                                                                                                                    Thanks for responding.

                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                2. re: chykynlyps
                                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                                  LauraGrace Jun 19, 2011 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                  My skin absorbs garlic and onion smells like nobody's business, and if I'm planning on any up-close time with any human with a sense of smell, I'm using the damn garlic press. I can use and clean it without getting garlic smell on my fingers that will last for days. I am a VERY tactile cook otherwise, but the garlic press STAYS! ;)

                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                  1. re: LauraGrace
                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Jun 19, 2011 11:05 PM

                                                                                                                    have you tried the stainless-steel trick?

                                                                                                                    While you're washing your hands, either rub your wet fingers on the faucet (if it's SS) or on a soup spoon -- just like you'd rub a bar of soap on your skin.

                                                                                                                    I have no clue why it works, but (for me) it removes every trace of onion and garlic smell from my hands -- which would otherwise linger for days.

                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                      hill food Jun 20, 2011 12:20 AM

                                                                                                                      I've heard aluminum works too (personally I like the smell, so don't give a #$%^)

                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                        mcf Jun 20, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                        I've done that for years, too, it works immediately. Zero garlic smell no matter how much you've handled it. Anything stainless will do.

                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                          l
                                                                                                                          LauraGrace Jun 20, 2011 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                          I have, but it doesn't work for me -- or at least not completely. If I'm using a lemon, I'll squish my fingers around in the "shell" after I've juiced it and that seems to work fairly well. Still doesn't get rid of the smell.

                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace
                                                                                                                            mcf Jun 20, 2011 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                            I've never found lemon to work at all, just adds lemon to the garlic smell. :-) The stainless steel thing works so quickly and completely for me that I don't even bother to rub it all over; just holding a stainless knife blade under running water (the water is key) does the trick, no residual smell at all. Maybe different body chemistry keeps it from working for you?

                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                        2. re: LauraGrace
                                                                                                                          rabaja Jun 20, 2011 11:13 PM

                                                                                                                          I feel the same way about garlic on my hands. The smell can last for a day or two, and will often wake me up as I find it so off-putting.
                                                                                                                          My solution is my mortar and pestle. Lovely garlic pounded with salt and covered with olive oil. It even lasts overnight so I can make a little extra and have garlic ready to go with all the flavor of fresh.

                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                          1. re: rabaja
                                                                                                                            tatamagouche Jun 21, 2011 06:02 AM

                                                                                                                            More time consuming than a knife, but so, so aesthetically appealing. Mortar and pestle has got to be the sexiest cookery tool in the world.

                                                                                                                            At this point I'm inclined to say, "Am I right, ladies?", but I won't.

                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                            1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 21, 2011 07:34 AM

                                                                                                                              You're gonna get yourself moderated, sister. :P

                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                sunshine842 Jun 21, 2011 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                ask EightInchPestle.

                                                                                                                                O.o

                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                          2. re: chykynlyps
                                                                                                                            EWSflash Jun 22, 2011 09:28 PM

                                                                                                                            With all due respect I say Bollocks to your garlic press theory. That's all. The press is an indispensible tool in my kitchen and always has been, in fact i've heard a few dilettantes here and at home say the same thing about chopped vs pressed garlic. I snort and move on. My cutting boards are used at the same time for different things.

                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                                                              sunshine842 Jun 23, 2011 01:00 AM

                                                                                                                              I don't own a garlic press and have no need for one, but the presence of one in and of itself doesn't tell anyone of a cook's ability one way or the other.

                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                tatamagouche Jun 23, 2011 06:50 AM

                                                                                                                                Agreed. But neither does the absence. I would bet money on the fact that the majority of professional kitchens don't contain a garlic press.

                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                  mcf Jun 23, 2011 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                  Anthony Bourdain says they have no place in the kitchen or cooking. I think pressed garlic tastes bad, thought so before I read AB's comments. Tossed the press years ago.

                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                          3. p
                                                                                                                            PotatoPuff Jun 17, 2011 08:24 AM

                                                                                                                            heavy reliance on the microwave. especially for reheating things that should never be microwaved, like french fries.

                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                            1. c
                                                                                                                              CanadaGirl Jun 16, 2011 12:46 PM

                                                                                                                              I went to a cooking class at a local restaurant. One recipe called for allspice, which the chef/instructor told us is a mixture of cinnamon, cloves and some other stuff pre-mixed so people wouldn't have to buy so many different spices.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                                Terrieltr Jun 16, 2011 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                                Oh, dear. I would have had trouble not walking out right then.

                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                  KaimukiMan Jun 17, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                                  thats when you want a smart-phone, so you can 'google' allspice and then raise your hand and ask how they managed to clone allspice trees from so many other plants.

                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                2. e
                                                                                                                                  escondido123 Jun 15, 2011 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                  I have those burns on my arm from repeatedly forgetting that the ring on the tart pan is not attached and will land on your arm if you lift it out of the oven from underneath. Not sure if that's the sign of a good cook or just an absentminded one.

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 02:35 PM

                                                                                                                                    hey, I've got one of those....

                                                                                                                                    Seriously? "Tiger stripes" --- burn scars on your forearms -- are a badge of honor for a lot of hardcore and professional chefs. Anthony Bourdain even talked about it on an episode of No Reservations -- he was at a party attended by young professional chefs, and most of them had a kitchen tool -- butcher knife, whisk, spatula -- tattooed on their arms...and they pointed out how many "tiger strips" criss cross the ink.

                                                                                                                                    I used to be self-conscious about my scars...til I realized it gives me street cred!

                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                      kdweeks Jun 15, 2011 05:32 PM

                                                                                                                                      Cred is oil scars on your belly and chest because you were cooking naked.

                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                      1. re: kdweeks
                                                                                                                                        f
                                                                                                                                        flavrmeistr Jun 20, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                                        Got those from my dedication to grill cooking. Extra points for knife wounds and grated knuckles.

                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                    2. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                      sbp Jun 15, 2011 05:54 PM

                                                                                                                                      The absent minded burn I hate the most -- finishing a saute pan in a hot oven. I open the oven door, and instinctively grab the handle without an oven mitt. Do it over and over. And it hurts like a mother!

                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                      1. re: sbp
                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 11:49 PM

                                                                                                                                        I'm never sure which hurts worse on those -- the burn itself or the ignominy of admitting that you reached into a hot oven to grab a pan and somehow thought you *wouldn't* burn yourself.

                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                        1. re: sbp
                                                                                                                                          MC Slim JB Jun 16, 2011 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                          Did this once with an in-grill temperature probe. Watched my friend do it the other day with his brand-new one. Kicked myself for not warning him about it.

                                                                                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                      2. sbp Jun 15, 2011 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                        Anyone who cooks regularly and seriously has the "cook's tatoos" - short burn marks along their forearms.

                                                                                                                                        Also, while I give home cooks a break on this, it drives me nuts on Diners/Drive Ins & Dives to hear the recipe include ..."and dump in some chicken/beef base...." YOU'RE ON TV! Why would any resto cook want the world to know he's using "base?"

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                        1. re: sbp
                                                                                                                                          petek Jun 15, 2011 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                          You've never burned yourself once whilst cooking? In a pro kitchen they're a rite of passage.

                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                          1. re: petek
                                                                                                                                            sbp Jun 15, 2011 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                            Huh? I'm saying as someone who cooks everyday, I DO HAVE burn marks. Not having them leaves your "cook's credentials" suspect.

                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                            1. re: sbp
                                                                                                                                              petek Jun 16, 2011 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                              gotcha,my bad.

                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                        2. shanagain Jun 15, 2011 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                          I think the trouble I have with this question is that it's kind of hard for me to define what "credibility" means in re: cooking. Or maybe it's cooking versus crafting or creating.

                                                                                                                                          My grandmother's knife skills would be laughable to you in current context - I swear her paring knife was attached to her hand and can remember watching her butcher a chicken with that tiny thing. And make amazing meals for her family - but in hindsight they were amazing for the time, I guess. (Which just makes me sad - her lifetime of creating comforting, delicious, inexpensive fried chicken, biscuits, pickles, preserves, roasts, vegetables from the garden etc... are no longer considered "credible," I think.) The only fresh herb I recall at her table would've been mint for the iced tea.

                                                                                                                                          I guess to me there's a difference between a cook and a chef, and we're all turning ourselves into wannabe chefs rather than excellent cooks.

                                                                                                                                          /ramble that probably makes sense only to me

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                          1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                            e
                                                                                                                                            escondido123 Jun 15, 2011 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                                            I think many of her dishes sound like they would be more than credible because they tasted good, used fresh ingredients and were made with love and care.

                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                            1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 15, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                                              Makes perfect sense to me. I think the responses to this thread are a lot like life - different norms, different baselines, different perspectives, and I agree that "credible", "good" and "great" are subjective to a great extent.

                                                                                                                                              I know people who have a repertoire, after many years of cooking of, say, 10 or 20 dishes, and they turn those dishes out perfectly each time. If that person had had ample exposure and opportunity to try other ingredients/techniques but for any number of reasons decided not to avail themselves, I might think that person has rehearsed their dishes, knows them by rote, but may not understand the underlying techniques and concepts that make their dishes delicious.

                                                                                                                                              Many people might reasonably say that that person is a "great" cook. And yet others might be more critical of their understanding of the techniques and processes while still being able to acknowledge that they turned out a good dish.

                                                                                                                                              Would be an interesting thread that this one presupposes: What makes a cook good/great? (It's probably in the archives somewhere..)

                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                calf Jun 15, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                Your last line was what went through the back of my mind while reading the reponses. Cooking is such a social and subjective thing; merely good v.s. great v.s. superior is dependent on the context.

                                                                                                                                                For example if you're a home cook and your audience is family and friends, knife technique doesn't matter that much at all, and so isn't a necessary criterion for great cooking in that setting. If you work professionally, then knife skills are crucial for both efficiency and presentation.

                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                              2. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                                chowser Jun 15, 2011 12:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                I think this goes along the lines of what anakalia was saying above about how many things on this thread are more about gourmet, for lack of a better word, western cooking. Simple home cooks have made fabulous meals w/out fancy ingredients, utensils, or formal culinary education. I also think it's far easier to create a great meal w/ the best ingredients you can buy vs. using what you can find that's cheap--it's one reason one of my favorite TC challenges was when Dale won using "trash" to create a great meal.

                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                                  tatamagouche Jun 15, 2011 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I don't think this thread suggests her dishes wouldn't be considered credible at all. On the contrary, pickles, preserves, veggies from the garden...Those are all things that would be championed here.

                                                                                                                                                  There's also a matter of different generations. Fresh herbs, for instance, are available to us now in a way they weren't before.

                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                2. t
                                                                                                                                                  thatchick Jun 15, 2011 01:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Haha. I guess this is partly related to us all being accustomed to our own space/ stuff, but I've been caught out quite a few times in the past when cooking at friends houses (communal dinner prep is common) by assuming some ingredient/ utensil is a basic found in everyone's kitchen - lonely, dusty 'mixed herbs' on the spice rack is not a good sign... Even garlic! Soy sauce! I mean, really? What do you eat?

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thatchick
                                                                                                                                                    tatamagouche Jun 15, 2011 06:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, the spice rack is a good call. Giant jars of supermarket-brand dried parsley/oregano/rosemary etc. raise question marks.

                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                  2. e
                                                                                                                                                    expresso166 Jun 14, 2011 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Drives me nuts when people use the wrong cooking terms. I have a co-worker (btw we work for a catering company - so we are professional cooks/chefs) and he constantly uses the wrong terms ie. braise when he means sear. Ugh

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: expresso166
                                                                                                                                                      inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                      LOL. He probably wishes you'd stop searing crap when he tells you to braise it!

                                                                                                                                                      BRAISE THAT AHI, DAMMIT!!!

                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                        1sweetpea Jun 15, 2011 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                        I have a problem with people who claim to be grill "masters" but happily step up to the grill after a number of cold frothy beverages and do a hack job on the protein I present to them for grilling. They might be fine when sober, but they're subpar after a few drinks ... or, maybe they've been judging their skills based solely on grilling skills assessed while drunk. Nothing makes me angrier than doing a pile of prep work, handing off grilling duties to the "expert" because I'm busy inside at the stove or making salads, then experiencing completely overcooked (or half-raw!!!) meat, poultry or fish.

                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                                                                                                          e
                                                                                                                                                          escondido123 Jun 15, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Went to one of those last month. The pork kebabs had problems to start with--huge variance in chunk size--the loud mouthed grillmaster said they would be the best I ever ate. Well, the first one was raw, the second one dusty and the third perfect. But what do you say when most of the guests are his family? Great pork!

                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                    2. kdweeks Jun 14, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                      It's easy to spot problems with a cook when you're in their kitchen or eating their food. But how do you separate the real cooks from the faux cooks in a social setting? I think the answer is do they THINK about cooking? They can use cream of mushroom soup in a casserole, but have they considered or tried golden mushroom soup? If not, why not?

                                                                                                                                                      Do they seek out the freshest ingredients - and even more important do they know when and how to substitute? Lynne Rosetta Kaspar was going on about fresh herbs the other day, but often dried herbs work as well - I have a lot of problems with fresh herbs as a fetish. My mother cooked all winter using herbs she dried herself.

                                                                                                                                                      What's their favorite cooking discovery? I discovered - on my own - adding anchovy paste to tomato sauce and cayenne to apple pie. Turns out the first was an old Italian trick but the latter is still largely unknown.

                                                                                                                                                      The fake nails are a pretty good indication, but the only way to know is to talk about cooking. A fake cook can't fool a real cook.

                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kdweeks
                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                        SonOfAllston Jun 15, 2011 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I dont think it's impossible to cook with dried herbs, kdweeks, but fresh herbs are always, always preferable. Much of the flavor lies in the oils within the herbs, and drying them dulls the flavor. Is there a place for them in certain applications? Of course, but for the most part, as is true with most produce, fresh beats the hell out of dried.

                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SonOfAllston
                                                                                                                                                          mcf Jun 15, 2011 12:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                          It's impossible for anything good to come of dried parsley. But I think the point was more about the giant economy sizes; they're usually pretty aged and less than potent by the time they're used up... I have dried herbs on hand, though I almost invariably use fresh, but I keep them cool and in the dark and toss them out and replace regularly.

                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SonOfAllston
                                                                                                                                                            kdweeks Jun 15, 2011 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Much of the flavor in fresh herbs is in volatile oils which evaporate while cooking - just as they do during drying. The freshness of herbs added at the beginning of a braise is irrelevant but they can shine when added at the last minute.

                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kdweeks
                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 15, 2011 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I think I'm mostly with kd on this one. Fresh herbs and good quality dried herbs are often just different experiences, with fresh being a better option in some contexts and dried being preferable in others.

                                                                                                                                                              I'm going to make quick pickled jalapenos and carrots tomorrow. I usually fry some dried Mexican oregano in a bit of oil to pour into the pickle as a flavoring. I don't think fresh would be preferable in this usage. On the other hand, I always prefer to use fresh basil in my pasta sauce and I find that dried is a workable, but not great, substitute.

                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                                SonOfAllston Jun 15, 2011 11:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Fair point; I indeed also have mexican oregano in my space rack, as well as epazote and a scant few other dried herbs. I would amend my statement to say that MOST common herbs (basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage, etc.) are not even close to as good dried. When it comes to braises and long cooked things such as stews and the like, I think your almost always better off adding fresh herbs to finish the dish once it is plated or finished cooking and has cooled. For my tomato sauce for instance, I always take it of the heat and cool it and then hit it with a coulis of fresh basil and oregano.

                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                          2. re: kdweeks
                                                                                                                                                            RealMenJulienne Jun 17, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                            This is probably the best response on the thread. Poor equipment, lackluster ingredients, and slow knife work are not 100% indicative of a poor cook. Exceptions can be made for all those things. But for a real cook there's no substitute for a questioning attitude towards cooking and a constant drive for improvement. In my mind a real cook is someone who is critiquing and mentally improving his own dishes as soon as they are done, no matter his level of actual skill.

                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                                                                                                                              cowboyardee Jun 17, 2011 12:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Well said. Except that I think level of skill factors in too. You described someone who may be a great cook already, or else will eventually be a great cook given enough time and practice. The important part is there, but you can't start cooking last week and dub yourself 'great' just cause you have the right attitude. That's why stuff like terrible knife skills are often (though not always) a sign - because they tend to indicate a lack of practice.

                                                                                                                                                              But take those attributes, add work ethic to the list, and give a cook enough time and practice, and they'll be a great cook, lame-ass equipment or no.

                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                RealMenJulienne Jun 20, 2011 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                We are mostly in agreement but I think that somebody’s current level of skill is not actually that important because like 80% of cooking is not very hard to learn. For example basic one-pot dishes have a very shallow learning curve, so if a beginner cook has a self-improving attitude he can turn out a decent chili or stew after only a few attempts.

                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                          3. sailormouth Jun 14, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I believe that some of these may have been mentioned earlier, but my reasons for snap and often unfair judgments. I'm reticent to eat at the home of those that:

                                                                                                                                                            1) Order steaks well done;
                                                                                                                                                            2) Save ketchup packets;
                                                                                                                                                            3) Profess to allergies galore and ignore them regularly [you know who you are];
                                                                                                                                                            4) Are easily squicked;
                                                                                                                                                            5) Buy mail-order food that is available at a better price and quality at their local markets;
                                                                                                                                                            6) Indulge in color-based diets;
                                                                                                                                                            7) Regularly drink "Lite" beers;
                                                                                                                                                            8) Are vegetarians;
                                                                                                                                                            9) Are bad in bed.

                                                                                                                                                            Contrarily-wise, my snap and unfair judgments of who I think have good cooking skills. Those that:
                                                                                                                                                            1) Dine out at a variety of places that I like;
                                                                                                                                                            2) Are vegan;
                                                                                                                                                            3) Hail from a distant country;
                                                                                                                                                            4) Have the gadget I've been coveting;
                                                                                                                                                            5) Have a killer wine/beer/liquor stash;
                                                                                                                                                            6) Speak French;
                                                                                                                                                            7) Work in a restaurant kitchen;
                                                                                                                                                            8) Feel bad for the lobster, but eat it anyway with gusto and reverence.

                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                                                              tatamagouche Jun 14, 2011 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Too funny. Hope soy sauce packets don't count. Do explain the vegetarian/vegan discrepancy.

                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Jun 14, 2011 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I was wondering about that too. I've had some pretty badly cooked vegetables made by vegans in my day, as well as some marvelous food cooked by vegetarians (especially Indian vegetarians). Though an example or two hardly makes a rule.

                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                  sailormouth Jun 15, 2011 01:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Like I said, snap and unfair judgments. I've been lucky with vegans, unlucky with vegetarians. Perhaps the level of dedication required for veganism ennobles it in my primate brain. (I also suppose it could be coincidental with my #9 reason, but that's likely more than you needed to know).

                                                                                                                                                                  Indian vegetarians get the distant country bonus, so I guess it balances out.

                                                                                                                                                                  And eww, have you seen how long people keep ketchup packets in their kitchen drawer or glove compartment? Soy sauce packets I view as guilty by association, though are certainly more in the misdemeanor category, but please, just buy a bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                                                                    tatamagouche Jun 15, 2011 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I have a bottle too, of course—it's the fear of accidentally running out that makes me hoard the soy packets! A bit of a problem I admit.

                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                                                      hill food Jun 15, 2011 10:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      nothing wrong with holding on to packs (for a while) the difference is Ketchup (sp?) is foil lined and soy is plastic - no rust.

                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                                                                      cowboyardee Jun 15, 2011 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I wasn't trying to make you feel defensive or anything. I was just curious. Your local vegans may be better cooks than my local vegans.

                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                                                    inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 01:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    +1 on the ketchup packets. One never knows when one will get really hungry on a long drive.

                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                                                                    invinotheresverde Jun 15, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm a life-long vegetarian and I'll blow your mind. That sounds dirty, but I'm sure someone with the name "sailormouth" can hang. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                                                                                                      sailormouth Jun 15, 2011 11:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I'm hung enough for that challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                      Still, you ketchup pack defenders frighten me, almost as scary as those Canuck fans that thought they would win.

                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                                                                                      kpaxonite Jun 15, 2011 01:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      You know eat with people who you know are good in bed?? You must have some pretty wild diner parties lol

                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                    3. MC Slim JB Jun 14, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I know plenty of well-to-do folks with Architectural Digest-worthy kitchens tricked out with luxury appliances, gorgeous copper cookware, crazy-expensive Japanese knife sets, and gadgets galore. Our favorite running joke is the couple whose nearly-million-dollar kitchen is equipped with a pot-filler (!), which virtually no home cook needs. They dine out at a crappy local pub most nights of the week.

                                                                                                                                                                      Very few people I know with these elaborate kitchens and tools can cook worth a damn. Indeed, some of the best cooks I've known operated out of tiny galley kitchens with two good pots, one good pan, and one good knife.

                                                                                                                                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                      21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                        inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 11:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        People often become indiscriminate eaters when they're constantly refilling their pot...

                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                          petek Jun 14, 2011 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Who are we to begrudge those with nice shinny kitchens and gadgets galore? Who cares if they can cook or not.I'd love to have a pot filler(besides myself) I see it all the time in the catering biz.Multi million$ homes with top of the line kitchens brimming with the latest and greatest toys and equipment.And I'll bet money that most of them don't cook(that's what nanny's and house keepers are for) But they entertain often,and where do people naturally gravitate to at a party?

                                                                                                                                                                          What's the point of having such a fabulous house and not spending money on the kitchen?

                                                                                                                                                                          So I say "let them have their Architectural-Digest tricked out kitchens" Makes my job a hell of a lot easier

                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: petek
                                                                                                                                                                            MC Slim JB Jun 14, 2011 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Not begrudging them: the thread is about indicators of dubious cooking ability. Ultra-high-end kitchens are a pretty reliable one, in my experience.

                                                                                                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: petek
                                                                                                                                                                              kdweeks Jun 14, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              I have a client who actually does cook, but not to her kitchen's potential. The kitchen exists mostly for me. I breeze in to do a party and have to take little besides the food. Two ovens, grill in the range top, huge fridge, warming drawer, good cookware, and miles of counter space. She didn't know me when she built it (or I would have modified a few things) but it was designed with catering in mind.

                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kdweeks
                                                                                                                                                                                petek Jun 14, 2011 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                My point exactly.Just because someone has a high end kitchen,doesn't mean they can't cook well.Entertaining and fancy dinner parties are a part of their lifestyle.
                                                                                                                                                                                They'd rather be part of the party and not "slave' over a hot stove.
                                                                                                                                                                                The rich are very different from you and I ... :D

                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: petek
                                                                                                                                                                                  MC Slim JB Jun 14, 2011 04:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed: just because someone has a high-end kitchen doesn't mean they can't cook well. I'm saying that I've seen a hundred of them in my time, and fewer than ten of them belonged to skilled cooks. That makes it a handy leading indicator, in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: petek
                                                                                                                                                                                    kdweeks Jun 14, 2011 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    True. But I must brag that as someone who lives alone I've become quite accomplished at dinner parties that require little time in the kitchen once guests arrive. A skill that has served me well when doing large parties by myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kdweeks
                                                                                                                                                                                      petek Jun 14, 2011 06:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      You're not bragging,you're a pro.Most non- pros(or civilians as I like to call them) have a hard time cooking for large groups of people and enjoying themselves at their own party,which is not a bad thing or else I'd be out of a job :D

                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                                                                                              DougRisk Jun 15, 2011 07:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              MC,
                                                                                                                                                                              You know, you just made me think of something:

                                                                                                                                                                              If I was looking for a new home, and ran across one that had a traditional Claw Foot Bath tub, I would probably be all over it (assuming, all of the regular things that we are looking for were also there). Here is the thing: I only shower and never take a bath. I have not had a an actual bath in over 20 years.

                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                                i
                                                                                                                                                                                Isolda Jun 15, 2011 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                I am curious about the pot-filler people. So they fill their pot on the stove to avoid having to carry a pot full of water from the sink, but when they are done cooking the lobster, pasta, whatever, don't they have to bring the big heavy, pot full of hot water back to the sink to drain it? Or does the pot-filler gadget also come with Alan Asbestos-hands, the pot emptier boy?

                                                                                                                                                                                FWIW, I have known one (1) person with a high end kitchen (but no pot filler), who was an astonishing cook. She has, sadly, gone on to her reward, leaving her husband to cope with the two dishwashers, commercial stove, etc. Everyone else I know with a high-end kitchen (and there are plenty here) fits your description perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                  e
                                                                                                                                                                                  escondido123 Jun 15, 2011 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  What I would buy, if money was no object, is the pasta pot with drain set into the counter. You press a button and it fills with water, then it boils the water. When all is done, you hit another button and the water drains out. What a wonderful idea, especially as we age or decide to have that extra glass of wine!

                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                                    SonOfAllston Jun 15, 2011 11:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed; the only use I could really see for a pot filler is for filling giant stock pots on the stove that would be troublesome to fit in the sink and/or haul and lift onto the stove.

                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                    MC Slim JB Jun 16, 2011 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Whether they will ever use it (and I'm guessing they have never once used their pot-filler) is beside the point. They were likely talked into it by their designer and/or builder, who were only too happy to include every possible add-on in their books.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I can easily imagine an arms race going on among neighbors doing status-kitchen remodels "What, you don't have an induction range?" They're showrooms lined with Veblen goods, not working kitchens.

                                                                                                                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                                      KaimukiMan Jun 17, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      are you sure thats the right link? i get something about some bar

                                                                                                                                                                                      and as an architect, i have to say that designers generally talk with their clients at lenght about every aspect of a kitchen. yes, it may have been the designer who first brought it up, but its not like we get to charge an additional fee for every item we include, that would be the contractor.

                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                                                                      phrekyos Jun 17, 2011 08:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I always thought that pot fillers were faster than the kitchen sink. For example, when I'm filling a big pot, I'll just run it under the tub faucet for a few seconds instead of waiting... and waiting... and waiting... for the sink to fill it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But if they're just for convenience in filling and nothing more, you're right, that is rather silly.

                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                                      wekick Jun 21, 2011 11:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've cooked a thanksgiving dinner for 20 all from scratch including home made rolls on a tiny apartment stove and now have a kitchen I designed for cooking, and depending on your perspective may be high end. My husband gave it to me for our 25th wedding anniversary. I didn't want jewelry. No potfiller-couldn't see the need and what if it leaks?(My son is a plumber). I did talk to cook who had a small sink right next to the stove in his kitchen. He cooked a lot of pasta. A good cook can cook with a hot plate, but it is nice to have good tools. One of the restaurants here has "dorm room dinners" with guest chefs from some of the best places in town cooking with minimal apparatus.

                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wekick
                                                                                                                                                                                        hill food Jun 21, 2011 11:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        ""dorm room dinners"" whoa whoa whoa!

                                                                                                                                                                                        spill. or we will hunt you down. by your profile I may be in that metroplex on occasion and would like to give that a shot (did that sound creepy? I just meant track your ISP and find your location and 'real' name to see if we're in the same geographic area - that's not creepy is it?)

                                                                                                                                                                                        I really like the idea of seeing what can be done on nothing more than a campstove really (there is a thread out there on that)

                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                          yayadave Jun 22, 2011 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I was just thinking, having been on another board for a couple of years, that now I understand why people have complained about not being able to PM on Chowhound.

                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Jun 22, 2011 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            That was an old Top Chef Masters challenge--very cool to see Thomas Hubert and others cooks in a dorm room.

                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                              wekick Jun 22, 2011 05:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              It may be the toughest table to get.
                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.stlmag.com/Blogs/Relish/Ja...

                                                                                                                                                                                              You may also be interested in Chef's night at the Mud House on Cherokee. I can't find anything recent about it though.

                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wekick
                                                                                                                                                                                                hill food Jun 22, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks! I do make it into STL every few weeks or so. one of my favorite Italian places in SF turned out great food nightly with only an oven and a hot plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                        2. t
                                                                                                                                                                                          Terrieltr Jun 14, 2011 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mocking me when I get excited about food. I've had decent, perfectly edible food from such people, but it never goes beyond that point.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Terrieltr
                                                                                                                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Awww. I feel your pain. I've been mocked for the same reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                                                                                              Terrieltr Jun 14, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              You ask them "Have you ever had food so good that simply the thought of eating it makes you smile?" and they answer "No." I pity them.

                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                          2. chowser Jun 14, 2011 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Since someone I know just posted a recipe (not here) where she put in raw chicken breast, a jar of salsa and a can of corn and said it was the most delicious dinner, I'll add anyone who says you can just put everything into a crockpot and have a fabulous meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Admit it, chowser. You were watching Hungry Girl...

                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Jun 14, 2011 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yum, there's nothing more delicious than fat-free, sugar-free pudding! I've actually never seen her but I live in Stepfordville where far too many women follow her religiously (and Sandra Lee-- doctoring up non fat boxed cupcakes). Pass me a steak, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh yes there is, and it's a taco made with a fat free tortilla, shredded non-fat cheese, black beans right out of the can, storebought salsa, all topped with a delightful dollop of fat free sour cream. WAHLAH!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 01:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've never visited her site, but seems from what y'all keep saying, Hungry Girl might not be so hungry if she actually ate FOOD, rather than foodlike substances once in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                      chowser Jun 15, 2011 04:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                        inaplasticcup Jun 15, 2011 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hungry Girl needs a sitdown with sunshine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                              2. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                anakalia Jun 13, 2011 09:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                While I can completely understand where this question is coming from (I would likely have the same thoughts as you did as soon as I saw those acrylic nails), I think this is a hard one to answer. After reading all these replies, for example, I can say that my Mother in Law (from India) would likely fall into many 'hounds' "questionable" categories, as she doesn't have the knife skills/knowledge of salad dressings/wine pairings/expensive cookware apparently required for being considered a "serious" cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                That being said, I'm pretty sure she is able to make better yogurt in all types of weather conditions, make crispier dosas and tastier dals and grind more complex spice mixtures than almost everyone on this message board. Which, I think , just goes to show the cultural relativism inherent in judging good cooking skills and techniques. So, actually, this is a fascinating question -- but let's not assume that the things *we* consider important in judging a cook's credibility are somehow the same ones that should be used around-the-world. A French cook, an American cook and an Indian cook will have very different standards, and one isn't necessarily "better" than the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: anakalia
                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 09:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great point, anakalia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We are often biased in the French tradition when judging a person's cooking ability. It's the basis for our culinary school curricula, and in many ways, for good reason. But I couldn't agree more that there are lots of techniques and traditions overlooked in this perspective and that there is a very valid relativism in that respect to determining who is a great cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: anakalia
                                                                                                                                                                                                    hill food Jun 13, 2011 09:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ana - I can guarantee she makes a crispier dosa than I (and I have tried) what I think it comes down to is she proud of what she does well or proud across the board? somebody upstream asked something to effect of (paraphrased) 'does the bark equal the bite?' since she grinds her own spice mixtures, I wouldn't question anything unless maybe she was going for something Escoffier using 7-11 ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: anakalia
                                                                                                                                                                                                      chowser Jun 14, 2011 04:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good points. I agree--my MIL can do more with her inexpensive chinese cleaver and a wok, even on an electric stove, than a lot of great cooks I know. She doesn't have fancy knives nor any training but I'm amazed at how quickly she chops, dices, juliennes. Some of the best cooks don't need the fancy accoutrements.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                                                                        smartie Jun 14, 2011 05:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've made great meals when camping, on one gas burner with a frying pan and one pot, one knife and one wooden spoon, all done outside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                                                                                                          chowser Jun 14, 2011 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You could camp w/ my husband and make gourmet meals. He's won awards at camp, apparently. I think it says a lot about a person who can cook w/ little (compared to people w/ those big fancy kitchens, state of the art appliances and can't boil water).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: anakalia
                                                                                                                                                                                                        tatamagouche Jun 14, 2011 06:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Absolutely, which is where context comes in. I think the commenters who are taking umbrage to some of the answers are assuming that those answers are meant to apply in all cases, when rather they're simply examples.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                        babydoctor Jun 13, 2011 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I rarely say I'm a good cook, because it sounds like bragging. But most of my family and friends, including my father who was a restaurant critic for 12 years, tell me I'm the best cook they know. And I love Kraft mac and cheese and regularly keep a box of the three cheese and shells on hand. You'll find Taco Bell packets in the seats of my old car. I make a family recipe for tacos that my southern grandmother used to make that involves iceberg lettuce. My Italian grandmother regularly used dried basil. No one (NO ONE) can tell me that noting processed foods in the pantry or a taste for the low-brow is the mark of a bad cook, or even someone without taste. Maybe I'm slow on the uptake, but the last time I checked, low-brow foods were very much an "in" fad. Using ketchup and Coca Cola to make sauces are considered au courant. There's no place for snobbery in cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        That being said: Kraft grated parmesean. That's a bad sign.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: babydoctor
                                                                                                                                                                                                          chowser Jun 13, 2011 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hmmm, only if you're eating your kraft mac and cheese with your fingers.;-) But, I'll bet it would be good in an iceburg lettuce wrap, with the crispy and softness together--don't forget the sriracha and bacon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                            hill food Jun 13, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            y'know there was a day when I might of conceived of that. and liked it, it's sort of guiltily tempting even now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                              l
                                                                                                                                                                                                              LauraGrace Jun 19, 2011 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I made homemade mac and cheese a couple weeks ago and my inner hipster couldn't resist bacon bread crumbs and a heavy dose of Crystal hot sauce. Don't tell! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LauraGrace
                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Jun 20, 2011 05:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That sounds great--I'll have to try that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. chowser Jun 13, 2011 04:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Oh, I have the BEST cake recipe to give you!!! You take a box of cake mix,mix it with canned butter pecan frosting...It's incredible!!!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I ONLY drink Kona coffee at home."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "We have our filet mignon well done." This one because the person was being snooty about filet mignon. I really don't care what/how people eat their steak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            People who follow Hungry Girl religiously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 05:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hungry Girl. LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                LauraGrace Jun 19, 2011 06:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                *wipes tears*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have heard every single one of these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LauraGrace
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  EWSflash Jun 22, 2011 09:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So have I- and I brought my coworkers a bag of Starbucks Kona coffee from Maui, and to tell the truth it sucked- really pissed me off because it cost so much and wasn't anything special at all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't even say where I've heard most of these types of statements because they're too close to home. but they say it with SOmuch authority and confidence you hope you aren't sipping an iced tea because you might accidentally blow some out of your nose trying to be a good straight audience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Ruth Lafler Jun 13, 2011 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Someone who says that they "can't tell the difference" (or "it's just like") between various ingredients, like margarine and butter, or real lemon juice and bottled lemon juice, or the full-fat version and the nonfat version. Not that there isn't a place for some of those products, but I if you can't tell the difference, then I'd find your cooking abilities suspect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sueatmo Jun 13, 2011 03:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know anyone who brags about how well they cook. But I suspect all will not be well in a kitchen when the cook of the kitchen is "out" of olive oil or baking powder, or can't find the cheese grater or knife sharpener, or has spoiled ingredients sitting in the fridge. You can buy certain things, but then one expects you to use them. You can decide to cook something, but you have to have the ingredients available. Another tipoff is when the cook has not been able to decide, in a timeframe of years, to buy decent pans for his/her self. You know you spend your money on something every year. If you want to cook, it should be at some point spent on tools!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    escondido123 Jun 13, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You don't know anyone who brags about how well they cook? I'm surprised by that. I run into people regularly who do--I wonder what the difference is between us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Jun 13, 2011 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In all my life, I've only known one person to brag about her cooking, and that's someone online, elsewhere. I've never known anyone else to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sueatmo Jun 13, 2011 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Possibly our age. I am an early baby boomer. Many female boomers do not cook at all. Crazy, but true. I know very few women who cook. I know plenty of them who heat stuff up, or buy take out, but few who cook. I also know of women who say they cook, but who obviously cook only rarely. It is their kitchens I was thinking of in the previous post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. DuchessNukem Jun 13, 2011 02:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Plastic, I do so agree with you about artificial nails. (From a nursing perspective: they're an excellent harbor for bacteria. Have resulted in neonatal infections and deaths.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But I did have to laugh a little at some of the responses to this thread, as someone who likes to cook, does my best, friends tend to ask for my stuff. I'm hearing a bit of the same tone that Twyst is hearing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I cook 2-3 meals 5-6 days/week. Yet I keep a blue box of mac-n-cheez around for my occasional childhood nostalgia (I also like boxed cake mix for cupcakes about 3/x per year. Taste like mom's.). My favorite bottled dressing is Brianna's vinagrette. We had Taco Bell for dinner after work on Saturday. I plan to make some home-fermented ketchup, but right now there's a commercial bottle in the fridge. My husband can't do more than heat things up: so there's a couple of cans of Progresso light soups in my Pantry-of-Shame so that he can eat in a pinch, without injuring himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes after a 15-hour day, a shortcut make life a little easier. Every night won't be Per Se or Alinea. But despite the horrors lurking on my kitchen shelves, I might occasionally wow you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      :^)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Jun 13, 2011 03:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But there's a difference between having some stuff on hand for the nights you're just plain out of time and give-a-damn, and having a pantry full of the stuff. If there's a couple of boxes of mac and cheese and a jar of spaghetti sauce, I'm probably not going to judge, especially if there's a can of artichoke hearts and a jar of dried mushrooms hanging out on the shelf with them (just to pull something out of mid-air)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's when that's *ALL* that's on your shelf that we start to worry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. shecrab Jun 13, 2011 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I couldn't even wear lipstick to class (Johnson&Wales) so good call on the fake nails. I hate finding the tomato end or sticker from the bell pepper in my salad. Whoever made that just didn't care. If I can see the cook/chef, I hope I don't see him/her touching their face or hair, or see them wearing aprons outside the kitchen. I also judge chefs on their soups and breads. If those 2 things aren't right, nothing else is going to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shecrab
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I make great soups but couldn't bake good bread to save my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But to me, baking is a very different animal from cooking. It's temperamental in a way that cooking is not and in my mind requires a greater level of attention and devotion in order to consistently produce great results than is the case with many cooking techniques or processes. If I opened a restaurant, I'd be more than comfortable serving people my cooking, but I would either hire a baker or outsource my baked goods to people who do it all the time, as I do with cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shecrab
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Jun 13, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That happened on Top Chef Masters, I think it was, this year. The sticker on a piece of apple, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JeremyEG Jun 13, 2011 02:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If a cook lives in an area with a great ingredient but has never cooked with it, I tend to wonder how they think about their food and cooking. I know a cook who lives on the coast of Maine who has never cooked with shellfish. Not for religious or health reasons but because they don't belong in her special 'pineapple and chicken' recipe. I've also never seen anything like that anywhere outside of the US but perhaps there are home cooks throughout Italy who have never cooked with tomatoes and I just don't know about them. : ) Interesting thread!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              SonOfAllston Jun 15, 2011 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would not be shocked by this, Jeremy, because tomatoes are new world and there was hundreds (thousands?) of years of cooking in the region before the introduction of tomatoes. The romans, who invented mac and cheese and had their own complex cuisine, never even saw a tomato. Be careful, because I think it's a common misconception to over identify italian cooking with tomatoes and red sauce when there is so much amazing regional cuisine that doesnt use tomatoes at all. And if you've never seen anything like that outside of the US, I would suggest more extensive research.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SonOfAllston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tatamagouche Jun 15, 2011 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, and even now, tomatoes aren't as prevalent in northern Italian cuisines as they are in southern. Just got back from a week in Alto Adige and I think they appeared exactly twice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As everywhere else, the once-sharp regional distinctions are beginning to blur slightly; just as Southern food is a trend all over the States, so in Italy different regions are borrowing from one another here and there. Still, it's generally true that for the past 2 centuries (since they arrived), tomatoes were far more important to southern Italians—who were by far more likely to immigrate here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SonOfAllston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  JeremyEG Jun 15, 2011 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey SonofAllston.You're right, tomatoes are not a good example. My close friends in Italy are food and wine consultant and my wife has lived in Italy on and off for years. Having a fluent speaker makes for much more interesting travel there! I'm well aware of the differences in Italian cuisine by region. We usually visit friends in Rome and then stay with friends in Tuscany and the food could not be more different in the two regions. Perhaps olive oil might work as a better example? : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    SonOfAllston Jun 15, 2011 11:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry Jeremy, didnt mean to jump ugly on your post ;-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I like the olive oil example and another apt example might be japanese cuisine and soy sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My apologies if that came off terse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. nsenada Jun 13, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With the level of ridiculousness I've observed escalating in the "nail art" field, I'm thinking that they could actually be an asset to a great chef. A santoku pointer, microplane pinky, anti-griddle middle finger. Also would work well with portion sizes in some joints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nsenada
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 11:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's right innovative of you, nsenada. The pinky hook could be a 1/4 teaspoon measure for all I know...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nsenada Jun 13, 2011 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And nicely seasoned over time, like cast iron.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nsenada
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tatamagouche Jun 13, 2011 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Eww. HIlarious, but eww.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 11:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Echoing some of the comments upstream, dogmatic and immovable approaches to techniques and/or ingredients also give me pause. The stodginess of insisting that something is "THE BEST" or "THE ONLY" is a real hindrance to the evolution of a cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Isolda Jun 13, 2011 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I couldn't help but notice that some of the things we complain about bad cooks doing/not doing can also be attributed to inexperience. My 16 yo daughter, for example, is new to cooking because I am a control freak who didn't let her in the kitchen as early as I should have. So she has limited skills, but good instincts. A few weeks ago, she made us a stir fry that came out somewhat overcooked because she didn't know how important mise en place was and started cooking before some of the veggies were chopped. But she also knew enough to question the recipe and had all these bottles of vinegar, tabasco, sherry, etc out on the counter so that she could taste for a subsitute if necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am not that great a home cook, but I think she has the drive to teach herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      shecrab Jun 13, 2011 02:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is wonderful. I admire her moxie.Be ever encouraging and she can become great:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chowser Jun 13, 2011 04:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good for her! It's great that you're giving her the freedom to play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it's all an evolution and we have to pass through the lower stages of learning. How many people, who have to learn to cook (unlike those who had cooking mothers/grandmothers to show them) just started off making their own bread or stock or anything really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        escondido123 Jun 13, 2011 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When someone is unable to cook without a recipe in front of them, I doubt their seriousness as a cook. So that is something I can only learn by being around that person repeatedly since using a recipe is not, per se, the sign of less ability, but if you can't whip together some dishes out of your head well that concerns me.(I have two friends who cannot make a salad dressing without a recipe, even one they've made a number of times. Neither one of them is a good cook though they both think they are.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Isolda Jun 13, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And those who slavishly follow a recipe without being willing to improvise or alter anything fall into the same category. I get it if the recipe is so delicious you want to reproduce it many times, but once in a while, it won't kill you to throw some garlic in there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Jun 13, 2011 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            especially when they so slavishly follow a recipe that they end up causing a problem. I have a friend who ended up overcooking a gorgeous jambalaya because the recipe said 32-35 minutes...it was done and the shrimp perfect at about 28 minutes...that extra four minutes made the shrimp rubbery and took it from "fresh and perfect" to "overdone and is that canned vegetables I taste?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Jun 13, 2011 09:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and the sense of knowing when the recipe is just plain wrong, or not adapted to your elevation/humidity/oven temp glitch etc. is quite valuable

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Skilled improvisation is certainly a mark of a good cook in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Professor Jun 13, 2011 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              More than that...it is KEY to being a good cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              calf Jun 15, 2011 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If I'm preparing a casual meal I have no problem doing simple things like an aioli or vinaigrette, or roast chicken/vegetables, or pan-seared salmon, or gnocchi (and yes I would microwave the potatoes instead of use the oven) from memory. But if I'm planning a dinner party, I darn sure will be doing my homework—checking the original printed recipes for proportions, and cross-checking against similar recipes to see if there are better ways of doing something, etc. I won't literally have the cookbook in front of me, but I will have prepared a set of notes/charts for each course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess one analogy is with jazz v.s. classical music. In classical, even at recitals at the highest levels of professional performance, the violinist or pianist will often have the sheet music in front of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: calf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                applehome Jun 15, 2011 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "the violinist or pianist will often have the sheet music in front of them."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not really. Entire concertos are memorized - every single note, every nuance. The point is that you work so long and hard at it that it's all in your head. Great cooking ought to be that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and how was that concerto memorized? By playing it over and over and over again, EXACTLY as it was written, until it was committed to memory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    calf Jun 15, 2011 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ah, I sort of see your disagreement, but perhaps there is room for clarification. I agree that piano concertos are largely performed memorized. As another example, classical singers will recite from memory. But in a solo recital or chamber music, it is quite common for musicians to be reading from their sheet music, in fact I would venture that it is practically the majority. I also recall at least one newspaper article discussing this phenomenon as well, so fyi I'm not just making this up…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps after all it was a bad analogy. However, I'm not convinced that great cooking requires doing so from memory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 has a good point as well. Greatness cannot derive from the rote following of instructions, whether memorized or not. It needs to be more than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Here's another comparison—in laboratory work, a physicist or chemist would keep notebooks with them at all times, using them to maintain technical info, checklists, ideas, measurements. Perhaps the highest levels of cooking should aspire to follow that approach. Of course I'm not saying they ought to—there's no one right way to accomplish anything noteworthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: calf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      escondido123 Jun 15, 2011 05:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The hardest part for me is when I make a dish off the cuff, of course keeping no record of exactly how much of anything I used, and then find it to be so much better than the other attempts. Oh yes, it might have been the quality of the ingredients or the exact temperature of the pan, but I still would love to have some reference point for what exactly I put in the dish. Oh well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 11:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        that drives me nuts -- and you tinker with that dish forever trying to figure out what the heck you did that made it so good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Made lasagna last weekend -- made the sauce from scratch, but from the same recipe I've used for 20 years -- and for whatever reason, it was absolutely stellar. No idea why or how I might reproduce it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: calf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        applehome Jun 15, 2011 05:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess I've yet to see the great chefs on TV or the ones I've worked with or seen in their kitchens with their heads down following a recipe. They do refer to checklists, maybe even start with a look at a recipe. But then they're off to the races.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        True, as a violinist, we use music in chamber music settings. Collaboration requires notations - you don't practice such pieces nearly as much as you do concertos, and you may not practice with ensemble enough to remember every nuance. But the great quartets and groups know each other so well that they get it right without a lot of notes (sic...). You'd be surprised how little we actually look at the sheet music when playing a piece we've played so many times before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The analogy is that a great cook will practice the basics until they're in the hands. They'll know exactly how to attack a recipe even if they've never done it before, because they've done the individual steps so many times before. Technique is everything. But they'll also have a sense of the right outcome based on style and ingredients - most often, they'll have the standard repertoire well memorized, including an understanding of the various interpretations of the original.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No doubt, there's jazz to this as well - lots of riffing and improvisation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lots of wonderful musicians are great cooks. Ask Mr. Leff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: calf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cowboyardee Jun 15, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think the development of most truly great cooks (I'm not one BTW, so if you decide I'm full of shit, fine - no need to reply and tell me so) often goes like this -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Beginner - uses written recipes extensively

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Journeyman - attempts departures from recipes or even the odd complete improvisation with success

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Accomplished Cook - generally forgoes recipes except as inspiration, brainstorming, making very unfamiliar foods, etc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dedicated professional chef/phenomenal amateur - grudgingly accepts that recipes are necessary and begins writing things down and tweaking minor details in an attempt to get a dish perfect and reproducible

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Master Chef/yoda - documents all sorts of stuff. Uses recipes religiously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm pretty sure Thomas Keller and Ferran Adria do a lot of work with recipes. Does it not count when you're creating your own? In any case, a recipe offers a kind of precision that you just can't get from improvisation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course after writing all that, I have to admit I almost never use a recipe for anything but inspiration, even in situations where it would probably be smart of me to. I just don't have the patience or mentality for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. twyst Jun 12, 2011 09:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm pretty skeptical of people's ability to cook when they spent a great deal of time looking for fault in the cooking or kitchen habits of others. I get the feeling that by deriding what others do they are trying to feel better about their own (most often lacking) cooking skills. Truly good cooks are confident and don't waste time on such triviality. I only judge a cook's ability to create a good meal after I have tasted their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    54 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 10:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree to some extent. Spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to find fault with what others do is counterproductive. And I've never been one to critique someone's cooking ability to their face unless they've asked me to. But a critical eye turned both outward and inward is necessary, I think, to the development of a good cook (or anything, for that matter).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jay F Jun 13, 2011 07:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Beautifully said, twyst.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cowboyardee Jun 13, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe you're confusing cooks with Buddhists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gordon Ramsay is, by most accounts, a pretty good cook. He also talks A LOT of shit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "...confusing cooks with Buddhists."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            First coffee snort of the day. Thanks, cowboy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chemicalkinetics Jun 13, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That is funny, but insightful as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Jun 13, 2011 09:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                bwah! cowboy, thanks for a MUCH needed laugh on a really crappy day :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Jun 13, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                twyst,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to agree with cowboy. You may think it is not a good trait that a person look fault in other people kitchen, but that hardly correlates with his skill as a cook. I know many great scientist, like Y.T. Lee (Nobel laureate) who would look very closely at other people works, in other people's lab, but he is a great scientist. Moreover, he is far from the exception. Being critical does not make the person less confident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One of the traits of being a great cook or a great scientist or great anything is the ability to notice people to have insight of others, and to able to discover another person's potential and talents. How do you think they predict or project another's skill? They spend a great deal of time observing others' habits and patterns. If a cook DOES not spend a great deal of time to observe others cooking and kitchen habits, then he won't have the ability to judge and to discover.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As cowboy pointed out, Gordon Ramsay is certainly considered as a great chef, but he really love to look for faults in other people cooking and kitchen skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  twyst Jun 13, 2011 09:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I feel there's a huge difference between being critical of someones food after you've tasted it, which is fine, and being a cooking snob. I think all the "OMG that guy has a packet of pre mixed sauce in his pantry and his knives aren't very sharp that means he must be an awful cook" etc is silly, petty, and elitist. (and no, I don't have any, I was just using that as an example)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ive been lucky enough to travel the world quite extensively and have had some amazing food prepared by people that had almost no pantry supplies and bare bones raggedy equipment. (including awful knives)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't necessarily agree with you that predictive observation is snobbery, but I do agree that we can often, and pleasantly, be proven wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Jun 13, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I agree there is a huge difference between being critical of someone's food after tasting it and before tasting it. That being said, judging a person's foods after tasting is not foresight -- that is just judging the final outcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      s mentioned, part of being having foresight is the ability to make a judgment before the final outcome reveals itself. It does not mean it is always right, but it is not being snobbish. Aside from the YT Lee and Gordon Ramsay examples, I will talk about the interviewing process. I have interviewed a few people for jobs. By its very nature, interviewing is prejudging the interviewees. We make judgements based on their conversations, reactions, knowledge, thinking processes... etc. At the end of the day, it is about making a judgement to hire a person before we really get to know the person. Let's face it, we hire strangers. We don't have the leisure to hire someone to get to know him and then to fire him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We make these early judgements often. Can I jump over that hole? I don't try to jump to see if I do it, I want to able to guess if I have the ability to do. Can we take this account and finish the customer's request on time? I cannot just take on a job and then find out later that it cannot be done. Is it safe to go into the jungle? We all have to make early judgement calls -- when not all of the facts are avaliable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You may not think it is fair to judge someone before the outcome reveals itself and that is perfectly fine, but please also understand that making an early judgement does not mean being "silly, petty and elitist".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        twyst Jun 13, 2011 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I understand your point of view and you are certainly right on many accounts. My statements have more to do with some of the things in this thread that I feel are petty and a bit snobby. I absolutely agree with you that in many circumstances a simple conversation with someone can lead you to a reasonable expectation of what is going to be delivered, but I feel as though many of the things in this thread fall under the category of elitism and give me the whole "we're the cool kids lets laugh at everyone who is a little different than us" vibe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 13, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "My statements have more to do with some of the things in this thread that I feel are petty and a bit snobby."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, I agree with you. Yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee Jun 13, 2011 03:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I feel there's a huge difference between being critical of someones food after you've tasted it, which is fine, and being a cooking snob. I think all the "OMG that guy has a packet of pre mixed sauce in his pantry and his knives aren't very sharp that means he must be an awful cook" etc is silly, petty, and elitist"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ________
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There are two big problems with your stance here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 - You completely overlook the middle ground. Sure there are many cooks who make great food with very humble tools. And of course there are many excellent cooks whose skills are deficient in one area or skill of cooking - a great baker with poor knife skills, a skilled pitmaster who wouldn't have the first clue how to make a decent stir-fry, a rural Mexican who is lacking all of the above skills but can make the most glorious, complex long-stewed sauces, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BUT that in no way implies that all judgments must be withheld until the food is tasted. If someone tells me they're going to make a dish that I know requires good knife skills and I notice that their knives are dull as a nickel, I'm assuming at that point that I'm not in for a special meal. It's not infallible, but it is reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Even more to the point - it's not about any one particular skill or habit. It's about showing me that you have practiced and developed skill and taken great care in some significant way - THAT is what makes a good cook. And yes, I can tell whether this is the case just from looking at your kitchen and watching you cook. I don't have to taste your food to gauge your skill (though I'm generally happy to) unless your particular skill is so far out there that I don't have a frame of reference for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 - You sort of imply that most of the posters on this thread are occupying that extreme "if there's canned broth in the pantry, they must be an awful cook" stance. Whereas really, only a couple posts out of 100+ have gone that far. Most, i believe, actually occupy the middle ground. The OP was just asking for questionable signs - situations where that evidence of care and skill and devotion are notably absent. These do not exclude a 'perpetrator' from being a good cook -- rather, if they are a good cook, the evidence of it simply must be elsewhere in their technique or skills or habits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the other hand, if someone thinks they can be a great cook without putting forth the time and effort... if they're all canned broth and dull knives, no barbecue guru or masterbaker... if they're certain that they're a masterful 'chef' for no better reason than that their food tastes good to them.... well...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        is it elitist of me to think they're deluded?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 03:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wish I could have put it like you put it. Well said, cowboy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      applehome Jun 13, 2011 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Charges of elitism always twist my knickers on this site, especially when the implication is that people are deriding others to make themselves feel better. There are many paths to getting better at cooking and understanding food, just like there are in other human endeavors. But regardless of the particular food or method, there are those that try to get better, to learn and understand more, and there are those that do not take the endeavor so seriously. Working at getting better does not make you an elitist, and pointing out bad or failed processes, ingredients, techniques, shortcuts etc. does not mean you are deriding others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think Chowhound is made up of people that want better food in their lives. They understand that while deliciousness is subjective and opinions will differ with each individual's life experiences and background, facts are facts - ingredients and techniques are what they are, and the more you know about what to use and how to use it, the better your food will be. Some of that may indeed be criticism of what others do, like shortcuts that don't work. But that's part of the dialectic - part of the discussion and the way we learn. Certainly, we're not all trying to be master chefs. This site is also a place for those that just want to get a simple recipe, find a half-decent place to eat, or maybe find a good shortcut for a particular ingredient or dish - but it's all about learning and sharing and there's as little room for deriding folks as elitist as there is for deriding folks for any other reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        escondido123 Jun 13, 2011 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do think that when posters use obscure terms or discuss unfamiliar ingredients as if they were everyday it is a form of elitism; it leaves out those who are not "in the know." That happens here regularly, but I've just learned to skip those posts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          applehome Jun 13, 2011 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What's everyday and familiar to some will not be to others - this is especially going to be true with ethnic foods and regional specialties. There's no way the writer ought to know what's familiar to his audience on a site like this, and there's no reason to write to the lowest common denominator. If you don't know what an ingredient or a dish or even an acronym or whatever is, why not just ask? Now... if you get a snarky response, then you can shout elitist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tatamagouche Jun 13, 2011 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          writergeek313 Jun 13, 2011 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do actually find the tone of some posts here elitist. I don't bother pointing it out because I know it's pointless. People who have good taste don't automatically also have good manners. I've encountered plenty of kind people on this site, but I've also seen people respond to new posters with snark and sarcasm that's absolutely uncalled for. While the moderators do a good job of getting rid of posts like that, if the original posters sees one before it's deleted, he or she may never come back to the site. That's a shame, especially if it's a novice cook who really wants to learn more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In a perfect world, I'd have the time and money to make every single thing I eat from scratch. But the reality is I'm single, have a demanding job, and don't have room for a second freezer. I cook from scratch when I have time, often on the weekends and often several meals so I can reheat through the week, but the reality is sometimes I have to take shortcuts. More often than not, I use bottled salad dressing. The broth in my soups always comes from a box because I've found a brand that I think tastes good when doctored up with herbs, pepper, etc. Based on the criteria some have posted here, that wouldn't make me a credible cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It makes me cringe when I see someone post about being forced to eat something or somewhere that falls below their standards because they're someone's guest. Some of those posts sound like the person would rather jump in front of a bus than go to an Olive Garden! Even if you don't enjoy the food, enjoy the fact that you're sharing it with friends or family (and have a snack when you get home).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The only thing I can think to compare it to is this: I'm an English professor. My mom isn't the best speller and misplaces commas more often than not, but you know what? I still love it when she emails me or writes to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: writergeek313
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Jun 13, 2011 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I do actually find the tone of some posts here elitist"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This almost get to today politics. Is it wrong to be elitist or is populism always correct? On the surface, one may think elitism is wrong, yet a bit of elitism can be good for social growth. It gives a sense of direction. Pure populism, in my opinion, is not a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            22The only thing I can think to compare it to is this: I'm an English professor. My mom isn't the best speller and misplaces commas more often than not, but you know what? I still love it when she emails me or writes to me."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is a different case. You love your mom not because she misspells. You love her because of everything about her. You cannot possibility say (as a English professor) that, as a society, we are better off to misspell. I like to think I am ok with physical chemistry and my mom does not even know what I do no matter how many times I described to her, yet I love her just like you love your mother. Still, that is not to say that I think the world will be better off with less understanding of physical chemistry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So it can be confusing to talk about how you feel about a loved one vs what you considered to be best for a society. The feelings you have for your loved one essentially cloud your overall judgement, which is why a relative of a defender should not be served on the jury. He/she cannot make a fair and sound decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: writergeek313
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              shecrab Jun 13, 2011 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think bottled salad dressings are great and i DO have the time to make my own. BBQ sauce and countless other things too. If it doesn't compromise the end result, there should be no stigma attached to what we buy ready to use. I would like to express appreciation to all as a new poster who has been treated well. That was a really sweet comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: writergeek313
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tatamagouche Jun 13, 2011 02:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Using canned broth or bottled salad dressing from time to time in your own kitchen isn't the issue the OP was putting forth, though, I don't think. Using canned broth or bottled salad dressing as a matter of course, because you can't be bothered to learn how to make them from scratch, yet presenting yourself as a talented/knowledgable cook would be the issue. The difference is in the level of knowing and caring as well as in the ways in which one presents oneself. In short, I actually *don't* think cooks like you—and probably most of us, presuming we're amateur enthusiasts (although, heck, even Gabrielle Hamilton has copped to using canned limas)—are the target here. Rather it's those whose bark exceeds their bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: writergeek313
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  applehome Jun 13, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This isn't about emails from your mom or social eating requirements or easing the rigors of daily cooking. It's about calling someone an elitist because they come to this site and discuss food as if they wanted to learn and share information with people like themselves - people that have an interest in having better food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think that using shortcuts or prepared foods as shortcuts automatically means that someone is a bad cook or has no interest in learning to make better food. Going to Olive Garden because your work crew or friends insist on it doesn't mean that you have no interest in going to better restaurants when you can. But if you're doing these things not out of necessity, but of choice, you're happy with the food, and you're not interested in pursuing anything better - then you've decided not to make food and eating a high priority. There's nothing wrong with that. But what do you expect to get from this site, and what do you expect others that come here to be discussing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As I said, not every person that wants to learn a thing or two about food and cooking has to seek becoming a world class chef or foodie. But why denigrate those that come here (a site that specializes in food knowledge) to expand their knowledge and become better cooks or eaters? It's a natural part of our discussion - our give and take - to not only give positive suggestions, but to reinforce staying away from bad methods, poor choices for ingredients, shortcuts that compromise too much, and restaurants that serve poor quality food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If a pantry has boxed stock and canned tomatoes, that's a certain level of compromise. If it's full of Spaghetti-O's and Cream of Mushroom, it's a sign of a different level altogether. That is an observation worth discussing within the context of this thread. It doesn't make someone elitist to talk about these differences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We're certainly not all going to agree on everything, and that's the real value of this site - it isn't some monolithic tome or a learned professor in front of the class dictating what's right and what's wrong. This is the web, this is the Socratic method. We have a dialectic - we discuss and we argue. We cajole and we convince. But the very act of calling people elitist is a dampener to this process. It's worse than actually being an elitist, in my mind, because we are actually all elitists here - it's why we're on a specialty site. The first time you tell your friends that you like an all-beef, natural casing, spicy hot dog rather than that mushy, tasteless Fenway Frank they're serving, you're an elitist. The first time you decide that the bottled sauce you pour on your mushy pasta is too sweet, and you seek out an article about making your own simple Marinara and cooking your pasta al dente, you're an elitist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It is indeed sad when you see snark of any sort, but especially when directed to a new person - either new to the site, or new to seeking good food. And I agree that the mods should do what they can - in fact I think of it as their prime directive (aside from keeping away the shills). But I've also seen plenty of honest, well-intended responses to even the most simplest of questions. And I also feel that the requester needs to push back in some of these cases. It's just the playground bully that needs to be told off. It happens on a lot of sites, in workplaces, in all kinds of social situations. The best way to handle it is to challenge the bully - to show him up for the bozo that he is. He doesn't invalidate the playground experience, nor keep you from developing your own friends and resources.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 03:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "We're certainly not all going to agree on everything, and that's the real value of this site - it isn't some monolithic tome or a learned professor in front of the class dictating what's right and what's wrong. This is the web, this is the Socratic method. We have a dialectic - we discuss and we argue. We cajole and we convince..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Couldn't agree more, apple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      twyst Jun 13, 2011 03:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess my point is being misunderstood or you don't quite agree with me, but Im not trying to argue that criticism and sharing what does and does not work are bad things at all or that they make people seem elitist. However I do think that a few of the attitudes in this thread are. There are quite a few posts in the thread that seem to be making fun of people who have products that can be used to take shortcuts etc in their pantry, it's all about the tone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I cook sous-vide at home a lot and play with a lot of products with complicated names to manipulate food textures. I don't look down on people who don't have the same ideas as cooking as me. I don't make posts about people who don't have things common to me like sodium alginate lying around their kitchen not really knowing much about being creative with food because that would be a totally irrational (and elitist) conclusion to come to, much like many of the other posts in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think striving for excellence is a bad thing or that it makes you elitist. I think looking down on people who know less than you does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        applehome Jun 13, 2011 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a problem with calling people elitist on this site. We're all elitists on this bus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Shortcuts are a compromise, and the use of prepared foods as shortcuts is indeed a valid discussion to have on this site. We probably all learn a little something new each time we go through it. But the whole business of, "I don't like your tone." is never going to lead to a productive discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you are not posting prodigiously about your MG (I hate that term) experiences at home, you're keeping valuable knowledge from the rest of us! I would expect you to be a significant contributor - a real subject matter expert - on any discussion we had about that arena. And I would never accuse you of being elitist, even if you did prognosticate that we were culinary simpletons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (I can't get past that bag of konjac gum (glucomannan) - trying to develop a non-traditional starch thickening recipe for gravies, etc. But that's another thread...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          escondido123 Jun 13, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For the life of me, I can't figure out what MG stands for. Enlighten please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            M.olecular G.astronomy :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chemicalkinetics Jun 13, 2011 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nooo... not that thing...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Haha. Not me. (Not that I don't think it's incredibly interesting.) But that would credit my own cooking with too much precision. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it's twyst who is a practitioner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  SonOfAllston Jun 15, 2011 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lets just call it MODERN Gastronomy and avoid the slur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SonOfAllston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    inaplasticcup Jun 15, 2011 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No slur intended. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think MODERN is too broad a term as there's a lot going on in modern cooking that doesn't fall within the scope or approach of molecular gastronomy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      SonOfAllston Jun 15, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      fair point, but I dont like the term molecular gastronomy either....partially because of the stigma, but also because all cooking, if you know the science behind what's happening (which will most likely make you a better cook), is molecular gastronomy. Sous vide, for instance, is considered to be part of molecular gastronomy. Using tapioca starch is considered nothing special, but using Ultratex, a modified tapioca starch, is. Agar agar is a natural derivation of seaweed, but it's use is lumped into molecular gastronomy as well. It's semantic, but I think "modern" is just a more inclusive term; I feel like "molecular gastronomy" conjures up images of chefs in lab coats eyedropping things in vials, making soups in centerfuges, and cooking with bunsen burners ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: SonOfAllston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tatamagouche Jun 15, 2011 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I feel like "molecular gastronomy" conjures up images of chefs in lab coats eyedropping things in vials, making soups in centerfuges, and cooking with bunsen burners ;-)"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But isn't that the point? That's what this subset of modern chefs *is* doing. That's what distinguishes it (granting that there are degrees—that some of these things are seeping into mainstream cooking.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SonOfAllston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cowboyardee Jun 15, 2011 03:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The problem with 'modernist cooking or cuisine' is that it would seem to include many chefs and techniques that have nothing to do with the actual movement in question. Sous vide, for example, has broad and excellent applications in otherwise classical cooking. And extensive use of hydrocolloids would seem to be in the domain of modernist cooks until you realize that gelatin is one too. Begs the question - Are you modernist because you use modern techniques? Or because you apply modern cooking philosophy? Heck, even if it's the latter that counts, the ultra-resourceful model set by Noma seems to have the philosophical momentum right now, and I wouldn't call it a part of the MG or Modernist movement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On the other hand, the problems with 'molecular gastronomy' as a term are many. It comes from a conference that had nothing to do with the movement. It is stuffy and off-putting. And even at their most inquisitive, MG cooks were rarely concerned with specific molecules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ultimately, I think the movement is defined by a desire to drastically change the form and textures of otherwise familiar foodstuffs and to deliberately and calculatingly play with the expectations of the diner. Use of science to those ends is important, but not central. I don't know of any term that really conveys this. 'Magical cooking' would technically be a misnomer, but actually conveys the intended spirit of the meal much better than anything I've heard, IMO. YMMV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Jun 13, 2011 04:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Name calling is name calling, and that's what the elitist label is: a pejorative here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't see it in this thread, where folks were asked for their opinions. Of course they differ and some are stated more strongly than others, but it's also what the OP's subject invited.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Jun 13, 2011 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, but should elitism be even a negative word? It is an idea to govern based on specialized intellects and elites. You nominate the Chairman of the Federal Reserve with a PhD in economics and you nominate the Secretary of Treasury with a MBA.... These are all elitism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The word has taken a bad reputation, but in its original form, it is the counterforce against populism, and I have yet to be convinced that pure populism is better. Both are important and useful. Populism often converges to the lowest common denominator which isn't necessary a good thing. Do we really want the head of the NASA without a college degree in science? Do we really want the Secretary of State never read newspapers?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The populism path of making a hamburger is probably using the mass production frozen meat patties because that is what MOST people do. It is popular, per se.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Jun 13, 2011 04:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Right. I think what's happened is that unconsciously for some and quite deliberately by others, the two kinds of elitism -- elitism that's based on merit (good) and elitism that's based on social class (bad) -- have been conflated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mcf Jun 13, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think elitism should be used as a pejorative when what's really under discussion is discernment. I think folks often confuse "elite" with "snob." There are noxious folks who are elitist by nature and habit, but not everyone who aspires to high standards or who has attained elite status manifests such attitudes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ruth Lafler Jun 13, 2011 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Right. To bring it back to the chow, I see posts on here all the time that imply or outright state that because of their tastes and preferences they are *better* than people who have other tastes and preferences. This cuts both ways: people who disdain people who like cheap wine (for example), and people who are proudly claim that they can't tell the difference between cheap wine and expensive wine, and that people who can are poseurs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was brought up to believe, and I truly do believe, that different isn't necessarily better or worse -- most of the time, it's just different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Jun 13, 2011 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I was brought up to believe, and I truly do believe, that different isn't necessarily better or worse -- most of the time, it's just different."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          +1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hill food Jun 13, 2011 09:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth - "it's just different" I wasn't raised that way, but I grew to learn it. I truly believe the world doesn't need to be 'this' or 'that' and I have often wondered why it can't be a 'both!' choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: writergeek313
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                chykynlyps Jun 17, 2011 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That post made my day, Writergeek! Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                condie Jun 17, 2011 05:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Great cooks" are defined by fussy (sometimes called 'spoiled') people. Real Chowhounds are those who appreciate well prepared food, regardless of the price of the ingredients or the appearance of the results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: condie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MC Slim JB Jun 17, 2011 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think I care for either of those generalizations. "Fussy" is a pejorative term; you could as easily say "exacting" or "having high standards", both positive traits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And most Chowhounds aren't blind; I don't immediately dismiss an unappealing-looking plate, or assume a beautiful one will be tasty, but I clearly appreciate a cook who thinks about the appearance of his/her product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But I do agree wholeheartedly that costly ingredients are not a sine qua non. It's practically a truism that straitened circumstances often drive innovation, creativity and deliciousness in cooking. I get just as much if not more pleasure dining in budget-priced restaurants as fine-dining ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    condie Jun 17, 2011 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A spade can also be called a 'digging implement', but it is still a spade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: condie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tatamagouche Jun 17, 2011 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure I understand what you're getting at. Yes, Chowhounds appreciate well-prepared food across the board. Well-prepared food is generally made by good (or great) cooks. Are you suggesting that "spoiled people" emphasize the cult of personality over the food on the plate or something?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: condie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MC Slim JB Jun 17, 2011 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Digging implement" and "spade" are value-neutral, rather different from "spoiled" vs. "exacting". Your rejoinder ignores the crucial element of connotation in diction. I dislike the valence of your chosen terms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 17, 2011 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think you've taught me more new vocabulary in the past week than I've acquired in the past year. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            condie Jun 17, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course the word 'spade' is much more exacting than 'cooking emplement. So is 'fussy'.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I like to cook, but confess a fairly low tolerence for those who wish their steaks well done when I grill perfectly good medium rare. They may not wish a delightful chocolate mingled with mint flavors for desert. Yoghurt anything tastes like sour milk to them. And heaven forbid the mustard comes into contact with cheese.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I try to avoid inviting fussy people for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: condie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Jun 17, 2011 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Those are called preferences, in less judgmental terms. I won't/can't eat steak well done, but when I invite guests for a meal, I aim to please them as much as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: condie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MC Slim JB Jun 23, 2011 02:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm talking about the negative vs. positive connotations of your word choice, not the specificity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But I think I missed your original point, which I now believe is that people with weird food taboos and aversions to specific flavor combinations somehow define what constitutes a great cook. If that's what you're saying, I still disagree: I think the opinions of such people are roundly ignored by serious food lovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      JNUNZMAN Jun 13, 2011 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      great point............!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      gilintx Jun 12, 2011 09:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bottled salad dressing. I understand that there are busy people out there who can't/won't prepare their own vinaigrette, but you can't consider yourself a serious cook if you're pouring out a dressing from a bottle that says 'Wishbone.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gilintx
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        EWSflash Jun 18, 2011 11:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow- I feel the same way except I hadn't consciously realized it until I read your post..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gilintx
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          flourgirl Jun 19, 2011 05:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just don't like the taste of most bottled dressing. Or the texture for that matter. Or the endless list of ingredients many of these dressings have, with too many of them unpronouncable. But I do admit to using at least one bottled dressing - it's a yogurt based blue cheese dressing my grocery carries that is shevled in the cold case section and has no preservatives. Good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Jun 19, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What type of dressing is it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think this touches on one part of how helpful CH is--often prepared foods aren't that good but it's helpful to find the ones that are decent when we're in a pinch. That goes for tomato sauces, dressing, boxed baked goods, etc., etc. Most of what's out there in the categories are pretty bad and it's great to find the ones that are good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              flourgirl Jun 19, 2011 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bolthouse Farms. I should have mentioned that in the first place. Sorry. Because I agree with you - that's one of the ways CH is quite helpful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tatamagouche Jun 19, 2011 01:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That stuff is totally good, and I can't find it in Denver, so I stock up when I visit my dad in ABQ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Jun 20, 2011 05:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks--I'll check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: gilintx
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sueatmo Jun 19, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes. How hard is it to make a vinaigrette? You don't even have to measure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                piccola Jun 19, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I keep bottled dressing at the office because I don't want to keep a bunch of ingredients there. While they can't beat homemade, some of the Newman's Own dressings are decent enough for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LauraGrace Jun 19, 2011 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. I always make homemade at home, but at work Newman's honey dijon (or something like that) is not bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LauraGrace
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    pine time Jun 20, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the Ginger Sesame is also good, and also works well as a marinade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      piccola Jun 20, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The ginger-sesame is my favourite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: gilintx
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                RealMenJulienne Jun 20, 2011 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I always have a bottle of Wish Bone Italian in the fridge. It must be a childhood taste memory thing because I can’t make a vinaigrette I like better than Wish Bone. Dinner guests get a dressing made from scratch but for myself I just don't bother.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Chemicalkinetics Jun 12, 2011 09:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Depending the definiteion of "before they start cooking", to good extends, I judge a person's cooking skill based on his/her knife skill. If a cook has poor knife skill, then a red flag does go up in my head. It is not a proof of course, but nothing is a proof until the final products are made anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The way how they select and handle the cookware as well. Let's say fried rice, I start to judge the person based on the order they add the ingredients and the motion they handle the wok. These I think have much direct impacts and are more than speculations. Prejudice? Of course, but let's face it, we all does it and when we do so correctly, it is call foresight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                34 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 09:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I look at knife skills too. Especially if someone's been cooking for many years, if there's not a certain fluency to their knife work, I do wonder why they wouldn't shore up on a skill that's such a big part of the process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for your input and for the inspiration for this post, Ck. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Jun 12, 2011 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    *dull* knives are never a good sign either...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Jun 12, 2011 09:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      True about the dull knives, especially for professional cooks. I do understand that many young college students do not have the experience nor the money to maintain a sharp knife. This is why I judge a professional cook harsher than an average cook too. There are certain things I expect from professional cooks because it is their jobs. They don't have any excuse for keeping knives dull -- they should either learn to sharpen them or send them out to be sharpened. If not, I question their priority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Jun 12, 2011 10:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        one of my grandmothers was a fabulous cook, but was frightened to death of cutting herself, so her kitchen was full of knives too dull to cut butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I inevitably cut myself every time I cooked with her, from having to saw like mad to cut anything! She never used any of my knives, because I keep them murderously sharp, and they terrified her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 09:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not a big fan, but this is where cerrated knife as gift comes into consideration...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Jun 13, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it, um, isn't really all that big an issue any more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Understood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wekick Jun 21, 2011 11:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My grandmother was the same way-no knife skills but I learned the value of local ingredients, fresh eggs and she wouldn't buy a chicken unless she could smell it. She also had the worst pans, warped and the handles spun around, dangerous really. She was a great cook though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 09:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh yeah. That too, ghg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Jun 12, 2011 09:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've known several quite good home cooks who have dull knives (usually the grandmotherly type), so I'm not sure I'd see dull knives in a home cook's kitchen and assume they are a bad cook. Though they're probably not a great cook, at least - dull knives limit your options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But it does sort of work the other way - if you find sharp (but not unused) knives in a home cook's kitchen, you can usually bet they take their cooking seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course, anyone who's read my posts in the cookware forum knows I'm biased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Jun 12, 2011 09:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But it does sort of work the other way - if you find sharp (but not unused) knives in a home cook's kitchen, you can usually bet they take their cooking seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              actually i do agree with you that this scenario is more telling than the opposite...having respect for your equipment and maintaining it properly says something about a cook's pride in what they produce with that equipment. and quite honestly my enjoyment and rhythm suffer a bit when i'm forced to work with dull knives in someone else's kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 09:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm always grateful to be invited to cook in someone else's kitchen, and I'm usually happy to try to make do with whatever they've got equipment-wise. But if I have advance notice, I'm packing my knife. Chopping vegetables with a steak knife is not my idea of a good time...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Jun 12, 2011 10:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Chopping vegetables with a steak knife is not my idea of a good time..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But it builds your characters, and make you a stronger person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 10:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it has. On a few occasions, actually!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But I'm sure some can relate - when it's a thing so important to you, cooking, that is, and you are putting your product out there, you want to be able to put your stamp on it, down to the knifework. Knife skills make a huge difference in the outcome and presentation of so many dishes. (I'm not fussy about presentation, but I like my cuts CLEAN. :) )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      soypower Jun 16, 2011 01:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I went to a potluck with the most beautiful char siu that I picked up from a local restaurant. I thought keeping it whole before serving would best retain the lovely juices, so I opted to take the pieces whole. I was thinking of bringing my knife with me, but thought that might be a little tacky. But oh god. When I asked to use a knife to slice the meat, I was given a dull, serrated steak knife. I didn't realize a serrated knife could be dull. And forget about a cutting board. It was sad to see those precious pieces of char siu butchered like that, but they were still juicy and delicious. Lesson learned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    invinotheresverde Jun 14, 2011 03:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My mother cuts everything with a tiny paring knife. I make super fun of her, but she's not about to change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  applehome Jun 12, 2011 10:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's why I'd always sharpen my mom's and my MIL's knives for them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  scubadoo97 Jun 13, 2011 03:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shaking head yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 Jun 12, 2011 10:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was lucky enough to receive a gift certificate for a cooking class at the Ritz in Paris recently (oh, what fun to stand in THAT kitchen!) I was amazed, though, at how many people were hard-core into cooking to cough up the cash for a 4-hour cooking course, but could barely handle a knife. One other student and I were given the extras, because we were consistently done with the knifework long before anyone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Knife skills are, IMO, probably one of the most important things to have in the kitchen. I don't own a lot of other things because I can have the job done with a sharp knife in a LOT less time than it takes to drag out the other things, use it, and clean it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (and no, I don't even pretend to have pro-level knife skills)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chemicalkinetics Jun 12, 2011 10:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Knife skills are, IMO, probably one of the most important things to have in the kitchen"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agree, and I don't mean it is most important because it has the most significant impacts in foods. Rather, it is most important because its overall impact on speed, efficiency and most importantly safety.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But it can have a significant impact, I think. When a thing is sawed, torn or bludgeoned when it's supposed to be sliced, that can really screw with the molecular structure... Just sayin'... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Jun 13, 2011 04:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The structure, maybe. The molecular structure? What are you using, a laser knife?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think knife skills are necessary to a good cook. Helpful, but not necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 06:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You've got me laughing at myself now... I meant *cellular*.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            EWSflash Jun 18, 2011 11:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL- oh, that was hilarious, you two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Jun 14, 2011 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chem hinted at this earlier -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A lot of people are talking about knife skills as though the main benefits were cleaner, more precise cuts, and less cellular damage to that which you are cutting. And if you're making Japanese food, that may well be super important.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But the real main benefit of good knife skills and sharp knives is they allow you to do far more in the same amount of time. Your food can be more complex. You have more time available for adjusting flavor, getting it just right. It's not just that your garnish will look better - you won't be so pressed for time in making one, and other parts of your cooking won't suffer for you taking that bit of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Like I said above, I've met more than a couple excellent cooks with poor knife skills. So it can't be strictly 100% necessary. But just the same, it's a step or two beyond merely helpful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 07:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The efficiency factor is primary to be sure. But food cut with a dull edge cooks differently because of the extent of disturbance or damage to its structure. This isn't to say that you never want something crushed or torn as opposed to sliced, but if that were the case, the knife is probably not your best tool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Jun 14, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm well aware (I'm one of those guys always talking knives and sharpening in the cookware forum). Oxidizes slower too, which can even make it taste better, and frees up your options in terms of how you manage prep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But that's a relatively small factor compared to general kitchen efficiency, where knife skills are probably the biggest single factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BTW, I've seen various posts (usually from people who object to this whole thread) talking about how people are claiming you need fancy expensive knives. Who said that? How expensive are Kiwi knives? You can buy a good, usable knife that will do 90-100% of the cutting work in your kitchen for decades for less than a good steak. What most people would actually benefit from is good, regular sharpening and a lot of directed, focused practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 08:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great point! I was thinking that myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sometimes people are just limited in their exposure to what's available. I have bought and been gifted with far more expensive knives, but Kiwis are my knife of choice and where I buy them, they range from 3 to 10 dollars depending mostly on size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Very good and inexpensive cookware to be found out there as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            scubadoo97 Jun 13, 2011 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am a knife enthusiasts and it can't be too sharp for me but I can think of many people who were/are accomplished home cooks who used crappy knives and often cut produce in the hand and had meager kitchen equipment. No you can't cut perfect 1/8 inch cubes without a good sharp knife but doesn't mean you can't make extraordinary food. I'm sure we can all look back at our heritage and remember a great cook. Bet they didn't have great equipment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              tatamagouche Jun 14, 2011 06:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The answer to this I think depends on whether we're talking about cooks or chefs. A fabulous home cook doesn't necessarily need stellar knife skills—though if they're that fabulous one would think such skills would develop fairly naturally—but a professional chef in a fast-paced environment absolutely does. There's a reason it's the first thing they teach you in cooking school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                scubadoo97 Jun 14, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The title to this thread was about cooks which was what I was referring to. I agree a line cook in a professional setting has a whole other story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JNUNZMAN Jun 13, 2011 02:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will look at the knife skill only after I see what kind of knives they have. As soon as I see a Ginsu serrated Chef's knife, I start wondering about what I'll be eating. I do however have one friend who has a Ginsu serrated chef knife that really is a good cook. He comes up with some great recipes and always enlists me to help him with the final preparations, checking for doneness, manning the grill so that it's perfectly cooked, etc., which is a skill that he does not have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JNUNZMAN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          lawhound05 Jun 14, 2011 02:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a friend who is an excellent cook who also happens to have some Ginsu knives. She said she got them as a gift many years ago, and still uses them because they have stayed sharp. Go figure!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lawhound05
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cowboyardee Jun 14, 2011 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ginsu knives are cheap serrated knives - there's nothing wrong with cheap serrated knives. The problem is when people use them as their main or only knife, forgoing a straight edge blade. You'll never learn good cutting technique that way. And there are some things that just shouldn't be cut with serrated knives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That said, my mom is a good cook herself, and she used nothing but serrated knives for decades. Still would have been better if she had used a sharp straight edge knife instead though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fara Jun 12, 2011 06:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        people that use any kind of prepared sauce or have frozen high salt/high sugar entrees from TJ's or something similar. if they use them at other times, not necessarily for the meal being served, I'm going to wonder if their palate is up to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fara
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          invinotheresverde Jun 14, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I call bullshit. I have a brand new baby. If I didn't use prepared sauce sometimes (TJ's, at that!), we'd be eating a lot more takeout. Not everyone always has time to make sauce from scratch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Jun 14, 2011 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Congrats on the new baby! Exciting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              invinotheresverde Jun 14, 2011 11:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks! She's pretty kick-ass!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              piccola Jun 14, 2011 05:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't have kids, but there are some sauces I don't feel fully up to making from scratch, either because I'm not familiar with the cuisine or I don't want to buy all the ingredients. So as long as the bottled sauce is tasty, I say go for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 01:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bullshit x2. Most of the time I do make sauce from scratch -- but there are days when we're short on time, I'm tired or sick, or some other reason that means that the sole objective is getting something on the table with minimal time/effort that doesn't come through a window in a paper sack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NOT making something from scratch once in a while is a sure sign of somebody who doesn't have a life filled with family and friends that can sometimes veer into the ditch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chowser Jun 15, 2011 04:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've said this before, some days I make sauce out of tomatoes, basil that I've grown from my own garden, some days, I make sauce from canned tomatoes, some days, I open a jar, some days, we just call out for pizza. I like to cook but there are a lot of others things I like to do, too (or often need to do), and that means cooking goes out the window.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 02:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hill food Jun 15, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      oh let's not gang up, in the best of all possible worlds it would be all from scratch, and I believe we DO strive for that Candide-esque outlook but some days it's just not humanly possible for a lot of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. visciole Jun 12, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              People who have to go out to buy every single ingredient in a recipe before they can start to cook, since they've got NOTHING at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                piccola Jun 12, 2011 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When they can't spell or pronounce some of the key ingredients, techniques or dishes in the cuisine they profess to love. I know it sounds arbitrary, but to me, it shows a lack of care and interest, two things that really contribute to great cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, if someone really adores a product or restaurant I found disgusting. (There aren't too many things I find disgusting - it takes a lot to get me there.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL on the spelling. Here's a thread for you (if you've not already read):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/789557

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    piccola Jun 12, 2011 06:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ha! I hadn't. But yeah, it does put me off, especially in Italian or French restaurants, since my background is both. I avoid places that misspell or mispronounce "bruschetta" or "prosciutto" or don't understand that "panini" is already plural. Same with places that, for example, don't realize that "au jus" is not a flavour -- it just means "with pan juices."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chowrin Jun 12, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      there are some fine Chinese cooks who couldn't spell worth anything. They learned from Chinese folks in the kitchen, and can pronounce anything... but write it? pf!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        piccola Jun 13, 2011 04:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's different. I don't mean people from other countries spelling in English -- that's an ESL issue. I mean chefs who study a country's cuisine and can't grasp the spelling or pronunciation of key elements.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mbfant Jun 17, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Is there some kind of underground club for us? I have that "misspelled Ceasar salad" New Yorker cartoon on my fridge. I was greatly dismayed when I attended an event in NY where one of the speakers was a mega-famous cookbook author/restaurateur who said, in the space of maybe ten minutes, both "expresso" and "scottaditi." Well, talk about your fingernails on the blackboard. I didn’t know what to think of him before the event, but by the end, my opinion was definitely clearer. Not only do I not tolerate "brushetta" (I tell them to think of Chianti or zucchini and sin no more), I have limited patience with those who think a panino (much less "a panini") is a particular kind of sandwich common in Italy. I understand I could be shot for these opinions, but even language-sticklers have rights, n'est-ce pas?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mbfant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            piccola Jun 17, 2011 10:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mom once got sucked into a heated argument with a Costco sample lady after gently pointing out that "antipasto" does not mean "before the pasta." So in my case at least, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 17, 2011 10:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Silly Costco lady... It means AGAINST the pasta!!! :P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MC Slim JB Jun 18, 2011 01:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is a known fact that if pasta and antipasta meet, the universe explodes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kevin47 Jun 18, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So hurry up and eat your brushetta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin47
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nsenada Jun 18, 2011 12:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's pronounced broooshetta - and mine is famous within my family for its authenticity and awesomeness (the secret is English mufffins and spaghetti-Os from which the Os are strained).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nsenada
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Jun 18, 2011 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, if you spell it wrong. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The bruSHetta thing knots my undies too. :P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            arashall Jun 13, 2011 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            +1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              melpy Jun 17, 2011 07:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sadly I had only heard this pronunciation until I was 20 (10 years or so of wrong). I hate hearing it the right way because it reenforces my wrongness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                rusty_s Jun 23, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I try to pronounce everything with an italian flair. It's not broccoli, it's brah-COL-li! It's not caesar, it's say-ZHAR!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rusty_s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  monavano Jun 23, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OK, Giada!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1sweetpea Jun 14, 2011 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If I avoided every restaurant in my city that misspelled or mispronounced such words I'd have nowhere to go! In many of these places, Caesar salad, jalapeno, broccoli, certain cheeses are misspelled. When the owner's first language is definitely not English, I'm willing to cut them some slack, but everyone else should know how to spell the ingredients they choose to put in the food and list on the menu. Check the internet for Pete's sake!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Jun 14, 2011 02:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can't count the number of Big Name Chefs I see on TV using "chipOLte peppers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 15, 2011 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My favorite mispronunciation of chipotle comes from the Jack In The Box commercials aired when they first came out with a chipotle burger or chicken sandwich or something like that:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chippaTOTElay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Close second is Bobby Flay's

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chipoetle-ay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                invinotheresverde Jun 14, 2011 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Did I write this? I could have. Sooo agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  piccola Jun 14, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Glad to see I'm not the only one! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wattacetti Jun 12, 2011 04:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I met a "chef" a couple of months ago; he actually runs the kitchen in a private hunting/fishing club for high rollers and was telling me about the things he would do for his clients while I was making/serving a group dinner. What threw me was that he had absolutely no interest in tasting. Anything. None of the finished dishes, none of the dishes in prep, none of the ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Every other chef and line cook I know seems to carry their own tasting spoon but not this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He also couldn't identify a lot of ingredients I was using (you don't know what fresh ginger looks like?) but that's another story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wattacetti
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 10:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Possible that he was so confident in his measurements and technique that he thought it unnecessary to ever taste his food? Oy. I think you're dead when you stop trying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                wattacetti Jun 13, 2011 08:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not only did he confirm that he does *not* taste the food that he preps, he has no interest in tasting anyone else's food. Every other line cook and chef I've ever met sidles up to the trough just so that they can build their taste memory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: wattacetti
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 08:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting. With all the glamorizing of cooking as of late, I think we (I included) tend to forget that not too long ago, being a chef was not the most enviable post (except in elite circles).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And then we also project our own passions into the dialogue and assume that a person who has risen to the level of *chef* must do it because he's good at it and has a passion for it. Maybe this is one of those guys who was thrown into the job for lack of other or better options, never left, and got to be where he is by just sticking around. (Wouldn't be the first time that's happened...) ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    wattacetti Jun 13, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, he goes out of his way to boast that he is a chef. Young guy (mid-20s) so he's grown up in the current glamour environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wattacetti
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LOL. The "mid-20s" + "guy" might explain it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not to say there aren't humble young men out there, but that decade seems to be an exercise in hubris for many young men, followed by the bitch-slapping 30s... (with the 30s, not the men, doing the bitch-slapping)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DougRisk Jun 13, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        InAPlasticCup,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        From a Man's POV, I can tell you, the girls of that generation are also pretty bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DougRisk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          TOOSHAYYY! Point taken. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: wattacetti
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                tatamagouche Jun 13, 2011 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What's his point in not tasting? That's just stupid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  wattacetti Jun 13, 2011 11:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He wasn't making a point; he simply had no interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                smartie Jun 12, 2011 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                they've never used their range and the kitchen is too perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Which reminds me of when I went to a friend for a potluck and turned her range on to heat my quiches and the range instructions (still in their plastic) began to burn. About 10 minutes later there was a funny smell of burning plastic and my friend said 'oh no we don't use the oven'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hill food Jun 12, 2011 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've seen that kitchen many times, I call them walk-in wet bars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Terrieltr Jun 13, 2011 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When my aunt was looking to buy a house, she said they all had the same problem -- a kitchen. Totally alien to me, but I suppose it takes all kinds. (Thankfully, her husband CAN cook).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      scubadoo97 Jun 13, 2011 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mirrored back splashes that are clean. A sign of someone who doesn't cook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Jun 13, 2011 04:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A sign of someone with Windex at hand. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tatamagouche Jun 14, 2011 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Conversely, if messiness were a sign of cooking skills, I'd dare say I'm world's best cook. A genius in fact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Jun 14, 2011 07:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd be the worst. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Terrieltr Jun 14, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I may have you beat. My mom once asked me why I clean my kitchen floor so rarely (mainly when I spill something sticky -- though I do sweep fairly often). I told her that it's not like I eat off it, and, anyway, floors used to be made out of dirt, so it wasn't THAT bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Terrieltr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sunshine842 Jun 14, 2011 11:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a *very* old tile floor in my kitchen -- old enough that the top glaze wore off decades ago, leaving the unglazed tile exposed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There's NO WAY I can mop enough to keep it spotless, but when it drives *me* bonkers, it's bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            KaimukiMan Jun 15, 2011 12:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            or someone who can afford a maid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              rusty_s Jun 23, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Naw, there's a real difference between clean and unused. I worked at a restaurant with an immaculate kitchen, and the stainless in there gleamed at the end of every night but it also had this patina from being used, abused, and scrubbed. My stovetop is shiny after the cleaning lady comes to visit but one of my knobs is melted--no one will ever ask, "is this new?" or mistake my clean kitchen for a "museum kitchen."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, do people who don't cook even know why they "have to have" granite??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rusty_s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thew Jun 23, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Isn't wanting it enough?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rusty_s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Jun 23, 2011 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Also, do people who don't cook even know why they "have to have" granite??"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Resale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    rusty_s Jun 23, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    yes, because black granite will always be in style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. applehome Jun 12, 2011 04:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with much of the above, especially the amount of prepared foods in the pantry. But the one thing that's always annoyed me are folks that believe that they can cook anything - it's simply a matter of following a recipe. They have no skills, no experience, no desire to learn from others or even from a book. They don't want to put in the time to learn technique or culture or history or anything related to food. They don't analyze what they're eating or what they've done in any particular cooking process (or why the recipe said to do it that way). They have no idea what meats should be cooked in what way, and why. They don't understand seasoning, although salty, sugary prepared items are indeed fine to use in their recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's not the same as "eat to live" folks that have no real desire to cook or to improve their palate. Food is just meaningless to them. If I cook for them, it's for reasons other than deliciousness. They would never offer to cook for me. But this category of people I know that think that cooking is easy and that they can create anything - it's a horror show. They'll say that my 6-hour dry-rubbed ribs from the smoker are delicious but offer to share a par-boiled recipe that doesn't need a smoker. They'll tell me how much their kid loves sushi and describe the wonderful crazy rolls you can get at this Chinese restaurant. And then, they'll invite me over for sushi. Arghhh!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree that it's not in our interest as cooks to underestimate the task of cooking well. But, as a non-expert griller who respects and appreciates the knowledge and ability of an expert grillsperson, I'll take issue with your particular example. I think parboiled/grilled ribs that are well executed are just a different experience from smoked ones, both delicious when done well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                applehome Jun 12, 2011 10:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Boiling meat is good for making stock. If you don't intend to use the liquid (as in a braise or stew) you are simply de-flavoring the meat and making it dry and tough. You have to add flavor to braises and stews and to stocks as well - so you're taking the meat you just made bland and adding flavor. Just cook the meat low and slow (whether in a smoker or not) - the results will be a much tastier, juicier meat. Shortcuts, like par-boiling, may seem useful in some cases - but almost inevitably, the end results are better if you don't take the shortcut. Listening to Splendid Table with Lynne Kasper last night, she made exactly the same point to a caller asking about par-boiling ribs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cowboyardee Jun 12, 2011 07:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That particular class of cooks is annoying... or maybe not annoying exactly, since they are often fairly good natured and sunny as individuals - more like... dipshits. They're dipshits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But how exactly to identify em. Usually a short conversation about food suffices - maybe not even always about food, as there seems to be a pattern where they believe they've got it all figured out while lacking almost any intellectual curiousity even about their 'interests.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I play poker, and in poker there is a whole subset of player who just watch a lot of poker on TV, see the aggressive and tricky plays that get televised, and think they're world class players when they mimic that. They never studied the game beyond playing with their buddies and watching TV. Go to just about any casino ring game and you'll find a few of these guys. I love playing against em because you can drain them over and over again and it never crosses their mind that they're not great players, that there's something wrong with their strategy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe it's a subset of the people you're talking about, but I see a lot of cooks who do the same thing - watch a lot of TV, make no effort at research beyond that, order the same handful of things every time they eat out, and dub themselves a master chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So fair or unfair, this is the truth - if I discuss food with someone for the first time and they voluntarily - without prompting - bring up Rachel Ray or another TV host in the first minute, I assume they're one of the types you described. Until proven otherwise. It's not 100% accurate. But as a rule of thumb, it works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  applehome Jun 12, 2011 10:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Really watch out if their hero is Sandra Lee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Jun 12, 2011 10:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (but cocktail hour will be awesome!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not to mention the tablescapes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Jun 13, 2011 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm convinced her MO is to get everyone ripped, then put so much crap on the table that there's not really any way to actually eat...and then people don't' notice how bad the food is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think you're on to something there...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: applehome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Robinez Jun 13, 2011 09:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Par boiled ribs? That just breaks my heart...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. lupaglupa Jun 12, 2011 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ReaLemon. It's a foul substitute for an ingredient that is constantly available and easy and quick to produce. Bottled garlic comes in a close second.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lupaglupa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I almost forgot that stuff (ReaLemon) even exists! I'm grateful I've never had the need...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lupaglupa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      pine time Jun 13, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm guilty on this one, but ONLY to thicken a bit of milk in lieu of real buttermilk. Sometimes I just don't have a lemon on hand (and I even grow lemons, too!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 11:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ahh, but you're using it solely for the chemical reaction. We'll call it molecular gastronomy... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pine time Jun 13, 2011 01:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whew, that was a close one. Thanks for the absolution!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 14, 2011 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL. My absolution isn't worth the non-dairy creamer I put in my Taster's Choice on the weekends when I'm visiting my parents, but I'm happy to share it with you! :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Jun 13, 2011 09:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          you can use vinegar for that...then you don't have *any* excuse to keep ReaLemon around ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            pine time Jun 14, 2011 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Duly noted. Fridge is now cleaned out and back to CH compliance. Gracias.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: lupaglupa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          kdweeks Jun 14, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lemons are one of the few fresh ingredients I keep on hand (along with onions, shallots, and garlic - for the most part I buy what I need when I need it) but I do keep a small bottle of lemon in the fridge for emergencies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kdweeks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Jun 14, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I always have fresh lemons *and* a bottle of MinuteMaid lemon juice, the one you buy frozen, not ReaLemon stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cakegirl Jun 12, 2011 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Regarding long nails: my mom has been known for her LONG manicured nails all her life (real, not acrylic) and has also been know as an outstanding home cook...nothing makes her happier than preparing a gourmet meal for 30-40 friends and relations. Don't know how she does it with those nails, but she does!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here's what makes me doubt a cook's credibility: the statement "I NEVER add salt to anything." As if that's such a virtue. Food without ANY salt equals food without flavor. Also, a lot of people say "I never cook with salt," not realizing that they cook with a lot of processed foods (canned tomatoes, condiments, etc.) that contain plenty of salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I LOVE salt and use plenty of it in my cooking AND baking. People would be shocked to see how much salt is used in professional kitchens, with delicious (not salty) results!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cakegirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 02:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I believe it. I know they're out there, but just thinking about the logistics of it all gives me pause.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And I am with you on the salt thing. I might also add fat/oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cakegirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Jun 12, 2011 04:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh Cakegirl, that's my mom, I'm debating whether or not to ask her "then why do you use salted butter?" heck garlic and bay scare the pants off her (so to speak).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cakegirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                invinotheresverde Jun 14, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ugh. One of my very good friends is like this. She recently bragged about her famous lentil soup being sodium free. It was ghastly. Actually, that's not a strong enough word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hopefully, my sister will chime it to attest to the revulsion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  invinotheresasister Jun 16, 2011 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I, thankfully, didn't try the lentil soup. But every single person who tried it said it was horrible. It's now a running inside joke in our family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Cakegirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jim Leff Jun 15, 2011 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Couldn't disagree more on salt. I myself cook with none (and I use few processed ingredients), and one of the greatest cooks I've ever encountered (much much better than me) does the same. A number of village Italian home chefs cook like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Creativity flourishes under impediment, and a talented chef can make wonderful food without a dash of salt. It just requires extra care, time, resourcefulness, and love....and I, for one, am fervidly in favor of any excuse to ratchet up those things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Finally the day may come when you regret your lifelong love for the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jim Leff
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    kdweeks Jun 15, 2011 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LINK LOCKED DISCUSSION