Should I stick to my original plan?

I’ve come across a slight problem, nothing big though. In the beginning, I had planned to strictly follow each recipe in the book, exactly in order, but I’m not so sure about that anymore. I thought I was a horrible cook, who didn’t really know any basic techniques and was doing everything wrong. Turns out, I might not be so bad, since after looking through the beginning recipes in each section of the book, I think I know how to do that kind of stuff. Sure, if I did make the first recipes, it would be beneficial, since I would be grounding myself in the absolute basics, it might be a bit of a waste of food and money, since those recipes are basically tasteless on their own. For example,

I’m pretty sure I know how to put a chicken breast into the oven with some salt and pepper.

Also, some recipes are recipes that I’ve been making almost everyday with my mom and have plenty of experience with. I think what I’ll do is I will just refer to the book for the proper technique whenever my mom does happen to make a recipe similar. We make this stir fried cabbage in our home quite a lot.

I think what I’m going to end up doing is to skip around a bit, but not too much, I’ll still be generally following the chronology of the book. I’ll probably just have to suck it up, these first few days with some bland recipes. I’ll have to make a trip to the supermarket for sure, so I’ll see what they have in store for me! (no pun intended)

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The Easy Part

I’ve finished reading the “Getting Started” section, and I’ve got most of the ingredients and tools needed to start, I might need to buy some additional ingredients as I work my way through though. The techniques section is actually quite interesting, it will be nice for quick reference. I learned that broiling is sort of like grilling, except in the oven, and that it oftentimes only charrs the outside of foods. I also learned how to properly hold a knife, I’ve been doing it wrong all along! Something I realized was that cooking is all about the subtle differences. For example, in saute-ing, make sure the heat isn’t too high, or else you’ll end up stir frying, or in searing, you know it’s browned when it comes off nicely and doesn’t stick.

The last thing in this section was Bittman’s five golden rules of kitchen,

1. Anything you cook at home will be good. (We’ll see about that…)

2. Read the recipe through before starting. (Check! I’m a pretty thorough person, working in chemistry labs has taught me that)

3. It’s okay to serve dishes warm or at room temp. (not really a big problem for me)

4. Trust your senses. (I don’t really have much common sense)

5. Be safe-but not insane- about cleanliness. (I think I’m good on that part too)

Today was the easy part, no cooking involved yet. I’ll start tomorrow morning with breakfast, can’t wait!!

Mark Bittman

Since school is out, and summer is about to begin, I thought I might do something constructive with my newly found free time. The conclusion I came to was that I would learn to cook. Partly inspired by my mom, partly inspired by good food, and partly inspired by one of my favorite movies, Julie and Julia (although some people disagree on the merits of that movie), I decided to go ahead and order Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything The Basics. It just came today, and I thought, well why not start a blog about my “adventures”, cooking through the book? I don’t care if no one reads it, I’m just putting my work out there, so that I can look back at it and say it really did happen.

As for photos and such, I don’t have a high quality camera, much less any photography skills, so I’ll probably have pretty low quality pics for now. Hopefully, this weekend I’ll be able to get a new phone with a great camera, although my standards have to be pretty low since I can only choose from a selection of “free” phones.

I’ll be following the recipes step by step in here. It’s divided up by course type, so I’ll probably skip around the sections, to avoid making breakfast items for a week and such… Within the sections, its arranged by difficulty, so I’ll be following that in order.

the bible