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Feb 10, 2013 03:16 PM

20 foods everyone should know how to cook

Kitchen has generated a list of the 20 foods everyone should know how to cook.

Here is the link:

Here is the list and my reaction.

Pancakes agreed
Roast Chicken agreed
Hamburgers agreed
Pasta agreed
Roast Turkey agreed
Whole Fish Never had an opportunity to do it
Mac and Cheese agreed
Tofu Never made it
Artichokes agreed
Pie agreed
Scrambled Eggs agreed
Potato Salad agreed
Steak agreed
Hard Boiled Eggs agreed
Cookies agreed
Meatloaf agreed
Pesto never made it
Roast Vegetables agreed
Basic Tomato Sauce agreed

reactions: Where is the following? Any of which are more important than pie, tofu, pesto, whole fish or artichokes.

fish filet

What is your list? Anything you would add or delete?

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  1. Apart from tofu, this is a very Western list so its relevance is variable depending on what you grew up on.

    22 Replies
    1. re: wattacetti

      I'd ditto your comment and add it's a very AMERICAN list. There are a few items in there that don't really apply to canadians.

      1. re: SourberryLily

        What would apply to canadians? Poutine? :)

        1. re: juliejulez

          I *so* want to try that! There is a restaurant in Raleigh NC that serves that, and I can't wait to try it.

          I've never had poutine, but I LOVE potatoes! :-) And I figure I should find out what it is supposed to taste like, before i try to fix it on my own.

          1. re: luvcubs

            I've only had a bastardized version of it, with gravy and cheese, not cheese curds. We've been talking about taking a trip to Toronto at some point so I'm planning on getting the real deal.

            1. re: juliejulez

              Merely watching someone eating it in Quebec was nauseating to me. It looked like someone had vomited onto a pile of fries.


            2. re: luvcubs

              Do you love soggy fries? Think that through very seriously before investing a lot of time in making poutine. I see some people pouring ketchup all over their fries when they first get them and so I realize that there are people who don't mind soggy. And a lot of those people are from Quebec (my husband was born there but doesn't care for poutine or soggy fries). I'm not being judgey here, just want to make sure you have thought about this aspect of that dish.

              and hey, a shout out to you from the other side of the triangle!

              1. re: LulusMom

                Sorry Llm, I have to say I disagree. My family is originally from Québec and I have spent a lot of time there over the last 35 years and I can honestly say that a soggy poutine is a bad poutine. Much like any other dish there are often more good than bad renditions out there, and I hear what you are saying about soggy fries, but there are a lot of poutine out there that are just fabulous.

                Crispy double fried french fries that are just thin enough to be mostly crust, sparingly sprinkled with delicious salty fresh room temperature cheese curds, drizzled with a satisfying beef gravy in the style of a classic demi glace. As with anything you would want to eat it piping hot just after it has been assembled.

                What Llm is likely speaking of is the all too often seen take away poutine of fat fries that were never really crunchy to begin with, covered in cold cheese curds that are days old and have come straight from a bag in the fridge, sopped all over with reconstituted powdered gravy. Much like any take away in this category, the results are less than stellar.

                1. re: delys77

                  So the cheese goes on top of the fries, then the gravy on top of that?
                  Is it always a brown gravy or are there a variety of ones you can put over everything?

                  1. re: bbqboy

                    There are definitely variations to the sauce. I have seen Bolognese stake sauces or chicken based gravies with fresh peas.

                  2. re: delys77

                    I think one of the problems is that I am a slow eater. Any fry, no matter how crisp, is going to be limp with stuff sitting on top of it by the time I get through with it. I used to work at a restaurant, and I'd see people pouring ketchup onto their fries and I could feel the poor things wilting. Do you really find there are fries that can stand up to anything remotely wet being on top of them for more than a few minute?

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I would consider myself an average paced eater and generally I haven't had a problem with sogginess, but yes you are right that after some time the fries will soften but usually if sauced just before eating you should be ok.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I'm the same way, LLM. Ketchup is to be placed to the side, each fry dipped individually.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          I'm a very slow eater and delys77 is correct, any good poutine should not be soggy, even if you take a long time to eat it. When we bring poutine home for dinner, I usually put it in the oven for a couple minutes to reheat it and the fries usually stay quite crisp.

                      2. re: LulusMom

                        Maybe I could do the gravy on the side & just dip the fries & cheese. (Or is that Just Not Done?)

                        I wonder how it would be on a baked potato? Last year I was putting gravy on a baked potato, and that was awesome.

                        Still haven't made it to Raleigh to try that restaurant.

                        1. re: luvcubs

                          While you could dip your fries in a sauce on the side... but it wouldn't be the same. The point of poutine is to use cheese curds (hard to find outside of quebec) and put them on the fries, then pour the hot gravy over them, which partially melts the cheese.

                          Gravy on a backed potato is an awesome idea, but i would use a thicker gravy than the poutine one.

                    2. re: juliejulez

                      Ok... so I had to go online and find out what poutine was. Interesting... I used to get french fries with beef gravy poured over them at a coffee shop I went to all the time. I never thought about curded cheese, though. How bad can anything with taters and gravy be? ok....maybe the whole heart and Cholesterol, carbs and calories thing might hold you back a little.

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        I'm from Montréal, and usually HATE poutine. I like crisp frites (Belgian-style). However I could perhaps be tempted by the variety made by a Syrian restaurant here. Tazah, for "poutine week". See the relevant thread at the Québec board.

                        I don't indulge in frites often, and would hate to waste the calories and fat on anything gloppy. But I dearly love Levantine food.

                        Learning to make good, crisp frites (twice-cooked, please!) is a useful skill and will make some friends very happy.

                      2. re: SourberryLily

                        Which foods on the list would not apply to Canadians? The only food on the list that I can see that might not apply to Canadians are the artichokes. While I know how to cook artichokes (they are a favorite of ours) I would never have included them on such a list. (Pesto, tofu, and whole fish would not have made my list either.)

                        1. re: John E.

                          We have artichokes in Canada. The rest of the list is fine too, in terms of North American staples.

                          1. re: piccola

                            Agreed. I'd made everything on that list when I was still in Canada.

                          2. re: John E.

                            Why not whole fish? The very first time I was fishing, I had beginner's luck and caught a doré. Of course we had to clean and cook it. And whole fish are certainly readily available, even at major supermarkets. (I live in Montréal).

                            Pancakes, but in particular thin crêpes and buckwheat galettes, as they are such a good - and cheap - basis for attractive meals.

                            1. re: lagatta

                              I have cooked whole fish and still do occasionally (usually brook trout and lake trout) but whole fish would not be in the top 20 if I were to create such a list.

                      3. Pie but not cake? This is better than that other list you posted, but still on the strange side.
                        Artichokes? Really? That's why there's a microwave god.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bbqboy

                          yep... I see no reason why someone would absolutely need to know how to make artichokes or even pie or cake.

                          and yes it is a westernized list.... but I live in the USA so... that doesn't bother me much... :-)

                          I will be interested to know what the new cooks think.

                        2. Is one supposed to make tofu or prepare a dish using tofu? If the first, I would agree that it should be off the list because of the easy availablity of packaged tofu and the lack of availability of soy beans.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: honu2

                            Don't need soy beans to make tofu, I have made tofu with soy milk numerous times

                            1. re: honu2

                              I'm sure they mean cook with tofu, not make it from scratch.

                            2. I agree with most, although I don't see myself ever doing a whole fish or tofu, and I'm not sure pie is a must know. I don't think artichokes are a "must know" either. I also agree with your list of rice, beans, soup (although that's a pretty broad category), fish filet, and bacon.

                              I can't think of anything else to add to the list.

                              1. I certainly enjoy all of the top 20 items but...potato salad over mashed potatoes? Pie over cake? Pancakes over omelet? I'm not so sure.

                                I think rice and beans deserve to be on the top 20 list, western version. Soup is a good one too. For me, using up leftovers is a high priority. Things like soup, fried rice, frittatas, and leftover stuffed baked potatoes are both delicious and good way to avoid waste buy repurposing leftovers.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: tcamp

                                  Oh good point on the mashed potatoes, I'd add those to the "must know" list.

                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    Potatoes are so ubiquitous (for those of you in Rio Linda... that means they are everywhere), that everyone should need to know several ways to cook them... mashed, baked, roasted, fried and twice baked. Several ways to cook eggs are important.

                                    Where's a pot roast?

                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                      Are you referring to Rio Linda, California? Gosh Hank do the folks in Rio Linda really need you to define ubiquitous?Gosh Hank you sure are smart.