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Jun 15, 2011 01:17 AM

cowering in fear

After about three years of reading many threads and making my share of comments, i find i must make a confession. i thought i was a decent cook, (not a great cook, not a chef) but i can see im not:

- i have almost every unforgivable ingredient in my kitchen or pantry including cream-of soups, green can cheese, bottled lemon juice, powdered milk, and store bought sauces and dressings.

- my knives are only moderately sharp, and my knife skills are frightful.

- i use my microwave frequently

- my freezer runneth over

- my vegetable bins more often resemble science experiments than someplace to keep food

- i still have some spices left over from the 20th century

- for things i've never made before, i follow the recipe verbatim

- i have never made roux, beschemel, white sauce, or from-scratch gravy (see cream-of soup above)

- i can't even spell beschemel well enough for spell check to guess what i mean.

- i own and use a crockpot

- i have a pre-logic rice cooker that i use almost daily

- i own and use a teflon skillet

- i have used soap on my cast iron (omg, i just heard three people drop dead)

- i do not have a single tin-lined copper anything

- i've actually served instant mashed potatoes (it was an emergency and no one died, i promise.)

So am I the only one that reads these threads and shudders in fear that I may be found out for the fraud that I am?

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  1. Nope, you're just the only one to admit it so openly.

    Keep doin' what you're doin' -- none of us is going to drop in on you and expect to be fed, so if your cooking style makes you happy and fits your lifestyle, then it's the right cooking style for YOU.

    I'm right there with you on a lot of your items (okay, I'm obsessive about sharp knives, but we all gotta be somewhere)...and I really don't care what a total stranger who doesn't know me or my food thinks about it!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      drop by any time. we can always order pizza.

    2. Ah I am so glad you've said this, I've been cowering too! I consider myself an enthusiastic, rough domestic cook. I have never learned knife skills, Mr. Huntress has pointed out the damage I did to my favourite knife I wasn't even aware of, I use pasta sauce from a jar and rarely make my own, I don't always make my own stock, I have no idea what is in my freezer and honestly I'd never even heard about brining meat before cooking prior to frequenting these boards.

      I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses with a love for food in common. That's good enough for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TheHuntress

        "I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses with a love for food in common. That's good enough for me."


        1. re: shaebones

          I was thinking the same thing. Dude, you're still a CH crush.

        2. Go put on a chef's hat and stand in the corner.

          1. Aw heck, most of that is just fine. Even the best kitchens have microwaves in them.

            But about that green can cheese...

            13 Replies
            1. re: DoobieWah

              Yea, that's the one that got me too. The mashed potatoes are ok as long as nobody died ;)

              1. re: gaffk

                Hell, when I run out of Penko, instant potato will do and crisps up quite nicely on my salt cod croquettes and Buffalo wings .

                1. re: gaffk

                  I have a can of green cheese and for some jobs it is the best product. I use it to add salt to cheese sauces and it is a great addition to panko when pan frying. I would never serve it on the table.

                  Bottled lemon juice is good for making buttermilk and ricotta, and I keep it around for those times when my lemons have gone off or I need 1 tsp and I don't want to open another lemon.

                  Powdered potato flakes are great for breading meats.

                  1. re: Kelli2006

                    Yep, there are some darned good uses for bottled lemon or lime juices. But that green can hasn't appeared in my house for many decades as I am blessed to live in area with good cheese shops. But I will never yuck your yum and I too prefer panko for breading

                2. re: DoobieWah

                  Of course I have a microwave. How else will I reheat my leftover home made fresh pasta topped with a sausage I ground with my own blend of spices?


                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                      After reading this thread I feel the need to confess. I actually do cook like this. I make my own pasta, sauce and grind my own meats. Not always, but of late it has been more often than not. I am even learning to cure my own meats and have recently made 5lbs of pancetta. I do not wash my cast iron with soap. I have sharp knives and now how to use them and keep them sharp. I occasionaly use a mortar and pestle to grind my spices...But even though the green can never enters my kitchen I would never look down on someone who does let it in, or tell them they are doing it "wrong".

                      Cooking and making food is primarily about feeding our families and friends and having fun. I have such a good time making things from scratch I can't imagine doing it any other way. If you're having a good time and enjoying your food that is all that matters.

                      Buon appetito!


                      PS I do use the microwave to reheat my home made pasta.

                      1. re: JuniorBalloon

                        "I actually do cook like this. I make my own pasta, sauce and grind my own meats."

                        I sometimes make my own pasta, almost always make my own sauce, I've made homemade sausage (have the meat grinder attachment for my KA 6 qt mixer) and I own a really big granite mortar & pestle that I regularly use to grind spices with.

                        Do I cook like that every day?


                        Am I above using frozen food & short cuts sometimes?

                        Not at all.

                        1. re: flourgirl

                          I nearly always make my own pasta, 3-5 times per week in the summer and and 1-3 times per week in the winter. The pasta maker never leaves the counter, and the pasta board for hand formed stuff never leaves the kitchen.

                          On the other hand, when making spaghetti sauce, I use Italian sausage, sweet peppers, cremini mushrooms, onions, black olives, artichoke hearts, occasionally some baby zuccs, diced Italian tomatoes; fresh garlic, basil, and oregano, etc....and usually some sort of jarred marinara sauce as a base. It's just quicker.

                          I know it probably seems dumb to use a jarred sauce when otherwise you're using all "real" ingredients, but to my way of thinking, it's essentially tomato sauce, just with a little extra seasoning, and it means I'm eating 3-4 hours earlier.

                          *sigh* Haven't had complaints, anyway.

                          1. re: Cady

                            With all the other ingredients sounding so wonderful, why not just use a can of fresh tomatoes that you crush by hand? If you want a thicker sauce, just add some tomato paste. Buy it in the tube and it just takes a second to squirt it in. I never cook my sauce for 3-4 hours since I like the tomatoes to have some texture.

                            1. re: escondido123

                              What a great thread! Love your sense of humor kaimukaiman. I agree with you escondido about the can of whole Italian pear tomatoes. I stumbled upon this idea many years ago when I was out of the usual fixings for my tomato sauce and I was amazed at how good the sauce turned out. It helps to have people to cook for that are appreciative and not critical. I would wish that for every cook.

                        2. re: JuniorBalloon

                          I cower in fear when I think of responding to anyone's mention of using the microwave. I never write this as a response on Chowhound: "I don't use a microwave, EVER." It's just tooo rude.


                          Yellow-bellied Coward

                        3. re: JuniorBalloon

                          I just spit out my overpriced coffee!