7

votes

I'm an Awful Paleo Cook (and was an awful regular cook)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 09, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Now i'll get straight into it my extent of cooking is meat (bit of fish but im not a massive fan), sweet potatoes, steamed/stir fried veg, salad (that counts right?). Now chuck in these with varied meat/veg and so on and i've got pretty solid paleo meals however i'd love to be able to cook more adventurous things - keeping it simple at first, small steps are fine by me :) .

I used to just chuck pizzas in the oven, use jarred sauces, pasta/bread was a big part of my life and so on. But after going cold turkey and realising how much i flurrish (sp) without it i'm very keen to learn how to cook these real foods.

I own Loren Cordain's 'The Paleo Diet Cookbook' but i'm not going to lie... half the things in this book i've not even heard of - i mean i'm only just getting my head round the fact you add different herbs to meats and then all of a sudden they have a different taste, i mean who'd of known?

Basically i'm looking for some beginners tips, and anything that won't mean i have to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare.

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 11, 2011
at 07:22 PM

Proper tools make things easier when you KNOW how to cook. I think they may be intimidating for a newbie. Just like riding a bike, no point in starting out with a tall 10 speed on a steep hill. You get distracted from your main purpose figuring out how to use the gadgets.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:16 AM

I definitely get a lot more compliments on my cooking when I use animal fats for frying instead of vegetable oil.

A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

(4183)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:14 AM

That never happened me, I'm a spice addict. The worst is onion and garlic powder, makes everything delicious!

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on July 11, 2011
at 02:58 AM

Ill just add, he is good too watch, more for his attitude and his desire to help people get healthy, than his exceptional cooking skills.

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 10, 2011
at 09:28 PM

Thx for the input - much appreciated. Think i'm starting to get a good idea of how to get started and progress

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:48 PM

Absolutely, but in a pinch it helps.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Yes, but how far along into the program is she? I found I no longer crave the salty-sweet-spicy foods. Now crave more simple, French like cooking. A little butter, a little Sherry, and a lot of meat, well cooked, is all I want now.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:46 PM

Yes, but how far along into the program is she? I found I no longer crave the salty-sweet-spicy foods and now crave more simple, French like cooking. A little butter, a little Sherry, and a lot of meat well cooked is all I want now.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Stephan Guyenet's food reward hypthesis in action

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on July 10, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Yes but it doesnt really sharpen, it just realligns the edge. Its called honing. Sooner or later the edge will detoriate so much that it needs sharpening. For actual sharpening you need waterstones, especially with knives that have hard steel.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Turn a ceramic mug upside-down and you have your own sharpening tool! It takes a little longer, but in a pinch works.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on July 10, 2011
at 03:14 PM

I love the contrast of the comments :D I really enjoy watching him cook, it's an inspiration because he does it with such joy. When replicating his recipes of course non "paleo" items are off. His olive oil addiction puzzles me sometimes though.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 02:37 PM

Proper tools also make cooking safer.

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 10, 2011
at 09:51 AM

I definately know what you mean. The cookbooks i use at the moment or any paleo recipes i feel like i'm just following the motions, rather then really knowing what's going on.

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 10, 2011
at 09:47 AM

This made me chuckle... If all my cooking could be done on a BBQ in the uk i'd be set :P

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:19 AM

I think it would be useful to get a cookbook that shows the basics of handling produce. I liked Good Eats show because it always told you "why". Cooking is chemistry. Learn the basics and then you can be creative. http://www.amazon.com/Jacques-P%C3%A9pins-Complete-Techniques-P%C3%A9pin/dp/1579121659

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:06 AM

Completely agree it makes things easier, but my point is that even this to a beginner could put them off cooking...

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:02 AM

Proper tools make cooking *easier*, but you can acquire them as you go along. You can use a rock as a hammer, but having the correct tools makes things easier on you and thus more enjoyable. Start out with the knives. Good knives are a *must* and aren't that expensive. Then purchase some nice pots and pans. From there, branch out. I recently got a mandolin slicer and can't believe I lived without one. Do you need one when you have a knife? No, but it makes slicing things undoubtedly easier.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on July 10, 2011
at 06:50 AM

I haven't voted either way, but think cooking can be a lot simpler than having the right tools. I can cook without expensive knives or pans (although my Le Crueset pans are ace) and it's not essential to own gadgets either. An oven can be used to slow cook dishes and a food processor is really only necessary as a blender for soup (mash it?). I'm not being negative, but feel that someone new to wanting to cook would be put off by needing so much "stuff".

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on July 10, 2011
at 04:19 AM

I read cookbooks for enjoyment and to get ideas. When I'm thinking about what to have for dinner, like you I go online.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on July 10, 2011
at 03:40 AM

I have yet to make a jamie oliver recipe that tasted good. and i am a pretty good cook. His meals are bland and un-inspiring. And he uses too much grains and crap for my liking.

473ccf0938761e73a3017356291c6eda

(55)

on July 10, 2011
at 01:32 AM

Jamie annoys me somewhat to watch, but I've yet to make a recipe of his that's failed. Recommended.

473ccf0938761e73a3017356291c6eda

(55)

on July 10, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Pigs don't eat grass.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 09, 2011
at 10:29 PM

Great question. Cooking is a skill and like any other skill you develop it by reading, learning and doing...and making some god-awful tasting stuff in the process usually, lol. No one is born a good cook. If you have interest in developing this skill there are hundreds of great online resources available to you. Treat it as a new hobby, dive in and start playing. Enjoy!

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 09, 2011
at 09:56 PM

I'll take a look at your site and let you know if i have any questions. Thanks for the quick answer.

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 09, 2011
at 09:55 PM

That's really helpful, thanks a lot. I'm sure once i've cooked a few meals a few times i'll get the hang of it all - i've only been paleo for 6 weeks. I expected i'd be picking things up as i go along anyway.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on July 09, 2011
at 09:32 PM

Flourish, since you asked.

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21 Answers

best answer

4
226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 09, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Beef tallow and animal lard from grass-fed pigs and cows can make anyone's food taste like it was whipped up by a gourmet chef. Our great grandparents used to cook exclusively with saturated fats and they remain the most versatile/easy fats to use in cooking. Price is no object ($3.99/lb for tallow and less for lard). You could probably cook for half the price compared to olive oil or coconut oil.

Scramble eggs in the bacony lard or the tallow. Fry your sweet potatoes in tallow. These two go great together.

Preferred method of cooking for most of your dishes would be stir fry. Invest in a wok. You can cook foods fast and constantly add variety by changing veggie combos, herb and spice combos as well as fruit-based sauces using blends of lemon, lime and orange juice. With stir frying you preserve amino acid structure and vitamin content in your foods.

Instead of using Omega 6 fat peanut oil, stir fry with beef tallow or lard. Saturated fat actually can burn at a higher temp than peanut oil without charring or starting a fire. You really can't stir fry with olive oil because it burns too fast, can overheat and start a fire in your kitchen.

The foundation of stir fry is meat + plant food. Vary the meat base and alternate the fruit/vegetable ensemble.

Stir fry pork w/ mixed veggies herbs and spices. You can even weave in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries!!!

Stir fry chicken w/ mixed veggies herbs and spices etc.

Stir fry beef w/ mixed veggies etc.

Stir fry shrimp, scallops or clams w/ mixed veggies etc.

For breakfast I like pecans dipped in local honey or (a hacker recently recommended and it sounds delicious) is pecans and dates.

473ccf0938761e73a3017356291c6eda

(55)

on July 10, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Pigs don't eat grass.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:16 AM

I definitely get a lot more compliments on my cooking when I use animal fats for frying instead of vegetable oil.

best answer

3
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 10, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Definitely there are good suggestions above, especially a slow-cooker as you can do some amazing braising in those, but I would also like to chime in. First - your attitude is awesome - you're ready to dig in and cook! Baby steps is exactly it when you're learning, less chance of getting frustrated and fed up. Cooking is such a fun activity and hopefully will never be a chore. Good questions to ask yourself: What kind of food do I like to eat when I go out? If I'm flipping through a magazine or a cookbook what pages do I seem to dog ear or spend time on? What catches my eye when I'm at the grocery? All of these can be recreated at your home. In regards to your kitchen, if this helps at all, I have a complete setup but have cut back on about 75% of what I use. The majority of the time I use: an always sharp chef 9" knife and paring knife, mandoline, 12" fry pan, 9" fry pan, 1 roasting pan, 1 roasting rack, 1 pot that works for hardboiling, poaching, steaming, 1 pot for braising. The ice cream maker doesn't count :)

With summer in full force it's an easier time to prepare dishes as many things can be eaten raw or very simply. You also don't need 1000 ingredients to make something tasty - summertime deliciousness at it's finest! Spinach, sliced fresh strawberries, mint, lemon zest, a good squeeze of lemon juice with whatever your choice of oil is and you just made a wicked salad. Add chicken? Even better. Change to mixed berries? Something different and just as good. Mixed colour steamed baby potatoes and sweet potatoes tossed with Paleo mayo, and finely chopped herbs, a little lemon juice, crunchy veg. Yum. Don't use potato but cubed chicken and you have chicken salad. Burgers built and wrapped with a big fat lettuce or kale leaf - add a fried egg and prepare to swoon. Frittatas - change the veg and meat out and they'll never get boring. Note: I really like to cook :)

For publications, anything by Cooks Illustrated. You'll get great recipes, lessons, plenty of "how do I do it" pictures, and product and ingredient/food reviews of what their test kitchens have chosen as favorites. They also have a show on PBS that is a good watch and a website. Hands down an amazing source of inspiration and help for beginners and advanced cooks.

And finally, what my gramma always said, less is more when seasoning - you can always add but taking away is much more difficult so taste as you go. Good luck and you'll do great!

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 10, 2011
at 09:28 PM

Thx for the input - much appreciated. Think i'm starting to get a good idea of how to get started and progress

best answer

11
Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 09, 2011
at 09:28 PM

First, get some good tools!

Slow Cooker / Crock Pot

Cuisinart Food processor

Good pots and pans (a couple of cast iron, too)

Excellent knives and a sharpener (essential if you want to feel like a chef)

And check out these blogs:

ieatmostlymeat

Primal Palete

Learning to cook is about recognizing the rules and relationships between foods. Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Bland all have their place. And, like sex, texture, tempo (timing), and temperature are a dance that makes it exciting.

Personally, I make a lot of cough, cough judgements about how men treat the act of cooking, and I know I'm not the only one.

Make a commitment to try something new for three meals a week. It is a good start and you'll soon have a broader repertoire to chose from. Use fresh ginger, herbs, and go to ethnic markets for your spices. Talk to your butcher, get advice from everyone you can. Keep score of all the herbs you've tried, the cuts of meat, and the people with whom you've cooked.

Make cooking a sport, rather than a chore.

Edit: Wow, I'm shocked at the down votes. I guess some don't think cooking is a sensual act?

Edit #2 Here's a great link for newbies: The Gnoll Credo

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:06 AM

Completely agree it makes things easier, but my point is that even this to a beginner could put them off cooking...

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:02 AM

Proper tools make cooking *easier*, but you can acquire them as you go along. You can use a rock as a hammer, but having the correct tools makes things easier on you and thus more enjoyable. Start out with the knives. Good knives are a *must* and aren't that expensive. Then purchase some nice pots and pans. From there, branch out. I recently got a mandolin slicer and can't believe I lived without one. Do you need one when you have a knife? No, but it makes slicing things undoubtedly easier.

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 09, 2011
at 09:55 PM

That's really helpful, thanks a lot. I'm sure once i've cooked a few meals a few times i'll get the hang of it all - i've only been paleo for 6 weeks. I expected i'd be picking things up as i go along anyway.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on July 10, 2011
at 06:50 AM

I haven't voted either way, but think cooking can be a lot simpler than having the right tools. I can cook without expensive knives or pans (although my Le Crueset pans are ace) and it's not essential to own gadgets either. An oven can be used to slow cook dishes and a food processor is really only necessary as a blender for soup (mash it?). I'm not being negative, but feel that someone new to wanting to cook would be put off by needing so much "stuff".

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 02:37 PM

Proper tools also make cooking safer.

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 11, 2011
at 07:22 PM

Proper tools make things easier when you KNOW how to cook. I think they may be intimidating for a newbie. Just like riding a bike, no point in starting out with a tall 10 speed on a steep hill. You get distracted from your main purpose figuring out how to use the gadgets.

5
A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

on July 10, 2011
at 05:21 PM

This may sound like trolling but may I suggest not learning to cook?

When I started eating like this, I could just about cook some meat and boil some vegetables. My meals were painfully simple and dull. I lost a load of weight and felt great.

Then I learned to cook fabulous combinations of food, learnt to make things taste gorgeous to the point that I'm having a little trouble keeping portions in line.

I remember reading a famous low carb cook book writer say she gains ten pounds every time she writes a cook book from trying the recipes, even though all the food was low carb.

I'm trying to move back to a simpler regime and then keep the real indulgence for a lovely meal out cooked by someone else. I still enjoy food but it's just not as much of a hassle, and it frees up time. I'm not totally successful with the strategy but only because I know how to make things taste better!

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Yes, but how far along into the program is she? I found I no longer crave the salty-sweet-spicy foods. Now crave more simple, French like cooking. A little butter, a little Sherry, and a lot of meat, well cooked, is all I want now.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:46 PM

Yes, but how far along into the program is she? I found I no longer crave the salty-sweet-spicy foods and now crave more simple, French like cooking. A little butter, a little Sherry, and a lot of meat well cooked is all I want now.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Stephan Guyenet's food reward hypthesis in action

A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

(4183)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:14 AM

That never happened me, I'm a spice addict. The worst is onion and garlic powder, makes everything delicious!

3
2ab6415f5f20b8fe1d34a94c7be85e6a

on July 10, 2011
at 07:22 AM

take a cooking class and check the blogs and most importantly practice and experiment.

3
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on July 10, 2011
at 06:51 AM

Good knife and stones and learn to keep it SHARP. Sharpening with wheatstones is paleo:). Try some japanese knife with well sharpened edge.And you will see what you previously considered sharp, was dull. And good large endgrain cutting board. I bought Aritsugu A type knife and use it everyday, its actually the best kithchen purchase i have made

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:48 PM

Absolutely, but in a pinch it helps.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 10, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Turn a ceramic mug upside-down and you have your own sharpening tool! It takes a little longer, but in a pinch works.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on July 10, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Yes but it doesnt really sharpen, it just realligns the edge. Its called honing. Sooner or later the edge will detoriate so much that it needs sharpening. For actual sharpening you need waterstones, especially with knives that have hard steel.

3
B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

on July 10, 2011
at 03:11 AM

I agree with the above. Investing in quality tools is a must. My food processor is one of my absolute favorite big ticket items. Also, give yourself permission to make mistakes and just have fun. If you burn something or flub an ingredient just laugh and fix it next time. It's a learning process, and, like anything, it gets better with practice. Don't be afraid to try out new recipes. Many things that we usually buy prepared are not as hard to make as you'd think. And there's nothing wrong with keeping it simple either. If you enjoy those foods then make those your staples while you occasionally play around with something new. You don't have to go out and buy all sorts of new equipment or spices immediately. Just pick it up as the need arises. Above all, make it a relaxed and fun experience and eat things you enjoy.

2
C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1811)

on July 10, 2011
at 07:04 AM

Although I agree that quality tools are better for preparing meals, I feel that it could be a barrier to someone wanting to learn more basic skills.

If you have a food processor, it can do a lot if things that can be done by hand a lot quicker & a lot more efficiently. However, kitchen gadgets aren't necessary to being able to cook.

I'd agree about herbs & spices, quality ingedients and using animal/saturated fats for more flavour (oven chips/French fries in veg oil? Yacky, yack, yack!)

I have quite a few cookbooks and find them useful for ideas, but a lot of recipes I've found online are better especially when it comes to paleo. Blogs are a great source!

I used to use jarred sauces etc. because I was never shown how to cook when younger, but tbh, I find that I enjoy cooking & creating Nubian dishes more and I find it pretty easy to do after doing it day in day out.

Go for it. You'll be surprised at how you do! Saying all this... My OH makes much nicer coleslaw than I do, lol!

2
Fac1af832cc3c6a20059c41411fd0f6b

(1548)

on July 10, 2011
at 06:44 AM

I spent a week last month working on cooking steaks outside over a fire. THat is one of the nice things about this way of eating, no guilt about food. No guilt about how much I eat or how many times I have it. So I resolved to make ribeyes and perfect their cooking over my fire pit out back. Basically I am saying that you need to practice.

Cookbooks and recipes are good for ideas, but they really tend to lack in the fundamentals as far as what what you are doing does to the food. You add ingredients to something with little knowledge as to what it does or how it does it. You add heat in various ways and forms with no inkling as to why. If you are a robot, then that is fine, but if you don't understand the things you are using and the tools you are using and what they do as building blocks of the final product then you won't ever be a good cook.

So practice. Start small. Start with few ingredients and few utensils and few operations. Get good at something like eggs. SOme of what you learn in making perfect over-medium eggs or a good omelette does innately translate into other things like the all important Bacon. Just practice and build. Get a pet to eat the leftovers. Get an animal to feed leftovers to until it is time for it to become a meal.

And watch Good Eats reruns until you can't stand Alton Brown anymore. Good stuff and he really covers the fundamentals of cooking like no other. Not too much "paleo" but he is not adverse to fats and so on.

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 10, 2011
at 09:51 AM

I definately know what you mean. The cookbooks i use at the moment or any paleo recipes i feel like i'm just following the motions, rather then really knowing what's going on.

2
D2e6eb2ab91f5e11589cf34b44b8e4cd

on July 10, 2011
at 03:27 AM

My husband and I started out using our (outdoor) grill for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was eggs and bacon on the stovetop. Lunch was - throw some chicken and asparagus on the grill. When done cooking, drizzle a little EVOO and there you go! Dinner was- throw some hamburger patties or steak on the grill, throw some peppers on there too. Throw some broccoli in aluminum foil and grill that up too. Easy. I swear we did that the first 2 months before we got a little bored and started exploring recipes to make IN the kitchen. :)

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 10, 2011
at 09:47 AM

This made me chuckle... If all my cooking could be done on a BBQ in the uk i'd be set :P

2
90f9e1827827d90c026bb00c2bfab088

(212)

on July 09, 2011
at 11:14 PM

I agree with the above suggestions about using online recipe resources AND investing in quality tools. There are any number of delicious spice mixes available to enhance your meals. If you live in a town with a Penzey's spice shop, go there immediately and experiment with their various ethnic blends. Once you get a feel for it, you'll have a source for high quality spices. They make all the difference between a so-so meal and one that will give you pleasure (and therefore nourish you more deeply)

Have fun!

2
A470afb4227aa740ba4d320c51ae371b

on July 09, 2011
at 09:34 PM

I have found that buying cookbooks is a waste of money since most recipes are online. (plus it makes me feel green saving trees). Check out theses paleo recipe sites Everyday Paleo, Primal Palate, and my site is the Cave Womans Kitchen. Let me know if you have any questions about specific ingredients. I've been gluten-free for almost 4yrs, and paleo for for almost a year. I have always loved cooking, but the past couple of years has been adjusting my cooking into healthier paleo meals. Good luck and have fun in the kitchen!

E4b14e23024642b553a224d284d11422

(153)

on July 09, 2011
at 09:56 PM

I'll take a look at your site and let you know if i have any questions. Thanks for the quick answer.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on July 10, 2011
at 04:19 AM

I read cookbooks for enjoyment and to get ideas. When I'm thinking about what to have for dinner, like you I go online.

1
62f89aa727cf3ce77c36651347cabc14

(884)

on July 10, 2011
at 04:37 PM

There are only three steps required to be a good cook.

  1. Use quality ingredients
  2. RTFM. Follow the recipe to a tee.
  3. Practice

1
Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

on July 10, 2011
at 12:26 PM

www.everydaypaleo.com

The definition of food porn.

0
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 03, 2012
at 06:07 PM

I know this is an old post, but it's been revived and even if the OP isn't still reading, it's a question for a reason. A lot of people have given some great tips, so I'll just +1 them and add on: do not blindly follow a recipe! You need to sniff it, taste it, and know what you and/or your family likes. I can't tell you how many times I have made something great from a blog and the comments include things like "I hate this recipe, it's not salty enough!" (Add salt to your taste; salt is one of the most subjective things in cooking!) or "My family hates garlic, this as too garlicky!" (Then... why'd you put it in there? Reduce the amount or sub a different seasoning that would pair well!) You don't need the recipe to be Paleo-friendly to make a Paleo-friendly dish! For me, it's all about the combinations of flavors. Chicken with avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro is going to be a totally different dish than chicken with tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Those are some basic examples, but when you see a recipe, just think about the flavors that are in it, not necessarily all the ingredients, and use that to inspire you.

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 03, 2012
at 05:50 PM

I know this is a one year old post, and you are probably on your way to being a stud chef at this point. But my #1 tip for beginners is this -- Food tastes good. Meat tastes good. Vegetables taste good. If your end product does not, then you did too much. Keep it simple, add complexity over time.

0
C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

on August 03, 2012
at 05:15 PM

It helped me to look at pictures of bento boxes in books and online, because the presentation is half of the battle. Seriously. Even though the ingredients are not the same, bento boxes are little and cute, and present your food in a large variety of fun ways. Just get ideas from them. Then try them out on your own. It really makes the food taste much better!

And I don't mean making animal shapes with your food necessarily, but just the cute and organized way of placing your food.

http://justbento.com/

http://happylittlebento.blogspot.com/

http://willowsbentobox.blogspot.com/

0
F4094d6aaaa2da6f29c5c175e983edb9

on July 12, 2011
at 11:06 PM

The best way to learn to cook is to start cooking, and do it every day. Cooking is like exercise - the more you do it the better you get at it. Check out my blog for inspiration: Three Squares at www.rikishore.com

0
2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 11, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I happen to be a very good cook and have always enjoyed it, but guess what? I don't bother with all the "trimmings" like I used to since my real goal with food now is to satisfy my families nutritional needs not their emotional needs through food. You shouldn't be so disappointed if something is not cooked to perfection as long as you are not destroying the nutrient profile. That should be the bottom line.

Except maybe for kids. Kids are a bit different. Mine asks for carrot flowers, tomato roses and melon balls and all these little sculptures when I can manage it.

I noticed my family's taste buds have changed anyway. We have gotten away from all those cream sauces, dips, ecc and now enjoy good old plain (and I mean plain so you can actually taste them) veggies and meat.

You know, before my daughter reached 4 yrs of age, salt was spicy, hot-pepper death. Still now she will not eat anything elaborate. I'm trying to keep it that way and we are catching up with her simplicity. Maybe this way of thinking can relax you a bit in the kitchen and (by starting with quality base ingredients) you will soon realize you are doing great by doing less!!

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Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 10, 2011
at 04:15 AM

Oh that barrel smoker...now there's a useful gadget. My apple smoked sockeye is better than anything I've bought. Brisket is still a big challenge - the flavor is good but it's coming up dry and a little underdone and I have to finish it in the oven. Next up will be some chicken thighs.

There's very little seasoning. Capping the smoking meat with bacon is a nice enhancement, and also improves the bacon (which is salvaged to cook later). I smoke in big batches, freeze, then thaw and reheat as needed.

The downside is all the smoke, which is not savory. It's best to do this far away from other people.

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84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on July 09, 2011
at 08:57 PM

I love watching Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals.

473ccf0938761e73a3017356291c6eda

(55)

on July 10, 2011
at 01:32 AM

Jamie annoys me somewhat to watch, but I've yet to make a recipe of his that's failed. Recommended.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on July 10, 2011
at 03:14 PM

I love the contrast of the comments :D I really enjoy watching him cook, it's an inspiration because he does it with such joy. When replicating his recipes of course non "paleo" items are off. His olive oil addiction puzzles me sometimes though.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on July 11, 2011
at 02:58 AM

Ill just add, he is good too watch, more for his attitude and his desire to help people get healthy, than his exceptional cooking skills.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on July 10, 2011
at 03:40 AM

I have yet to make a jamie oliver recipe that tasted good. and i am a pretty good cook. His meals are bland and un-inspiring. And he uses too much grains and crap for my liking.

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