Fang Talks

LÖVE is love. LÖVE is life.
22 02 15

On cooking

Just watched a bunch of cooking tips videos and now I want to talk about cooking.

It’s not something that’s generally on my mind, but after I watch someone make a cool dish or explain how some arcane culinary trick works I can’t help but be pumped about cooking. Hell, I’d even go into the kitchen later that day and whip up something good, if it weren’t for how daunting the pre-cooking process seems.

In an ideal would you’d have a kitchen full of all the tools you’d ever need, and a fridge and cabinet with all ingredients you could dream of using. The world we live in is not ideal though, so you have to hope you have all the right gear, make a trip to the store and get what you need, and so on. This means you can’t just cook any old thing, you have to plan ahead for it.

As weird as it sounds, that feels like a huge barrier keeping me from going wild and trying things out. That, and the fact I’d probably have to cook for the entire family, including someone who isn’t very easy to please.
~ Fang

Comments

  • 23/02/2015 (3:52 PM)

    I love cooking, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it. For me the key is just getting comfortable enough to trust yourself. Don’t just throw things together and hope it comes out okay. Learn why it makes things good, and what particular ingredients contribute what effect. I no longer measure anything. I can eyeball it all. And while that sounds hard, it’s really not if you know what the ingredients themselves are doing.

    • 23/02/2015 (4:16 PM)

      Where do I even begin doing/learning that? What resources would you recommend?

      • 23/02/2015 (7:09 PM)

        Good question. You can always start with something basic. Example: mac and cheese. This is essentially just milk, cheese, and noodles. Boil some noodles, put them in a pan, toss some cheese on top (enough to cover all of the noodles), and then add a little milk and stir, occasionally adding more milk until you get your desired thickness. This is your base, and you’ve just learned how much milk it takes to thicken a sauce. Now, each time you make this recipe, try something different. Put in mushrooms one time. The next time maybe some kind of meat. Or after that instead of regular cheese, use a different cheese. See how it affects the taste and the texture. Same with the milk. Perhaps instead of milk you substitute heavy cream. Perhaps you add some fresh spices like sage or thyme. But only a few variations at a time so you can see what effect each one has.

        Then, when you’ve mastered that well enough, try another recipe. Let’s say mashed potatoes. Boil potatoes, put in some milk, and mash. Again you see how much milk it takes to give mashed potatoes the right texture. Then you start adding ingredients. Perhaps one week you try sage, and another you try thyme. You learn that from your palette you don’t like sage on mac and cheese, but you do like it on mashed potatoes. So you start forming clues of what works on certain dishes. “Sage works with something like mashed potatoes but doesn’t go well with cheese, I think.” Or like with veggies, “I like diced onion in mac and cheese AND mashed potatoes. I think it contributes a good flavor to my salty dishes.”

        They’re all baby steps, but it’s easier to start off small and build up than to start off by making elaborate recipes and somehow trying to figure out what you’re tasting and why it works.

        That’s how I got started, and my mac and cheese (with goat cheese, portabello mushrooms, and leeks) is probably my most requested dish at family gatherings.

        • 23/02/2015 (11:14 PM)

          I hate mac and cheese with a passion, I think it’s fucking disgusting, but that aside, sounds like very good advice. I’ll give that a shot with something that does tickle my tastebuds, thanks!

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