I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Am Pretty Excited

So I had this thought the other day: what if I could teach our friend's daughter how to cook? She is eighteen and will (possibly) be moving away from home soon. I don't know her plans, and I don't know what her Mother has taught her, and I would never presume to know more than her Mother, but if I were eighteen, I would like to learn from someone else, if for no other reason than it got me out of my house.

So I offered to teach her how to cook. Once a week, at my house. And I can't wait to get started! I am in the process now of gathering information and making a little booklet for her with instructions, what kind of cookware she needs, different kinds of knives, utensils etc. The book will also have categories of basic cooking techniques, how to stock a pantry, and recipes that we will do together that will form the basis for her future kitchen.

I have always wished that my Mom had been alive when I started learning how to cook. So, I am using my (talent??) mad skillz in the kitchen to teach the younger women. Of course my three little sous chefs will be tagging along with us, though will not be participating per se. I can't wait! We get started on Tuesday next week just before lunch time. And since she is a homeschooled child, I would like this to be an organized class that counts toward her school hours.

All of this brings me to ask: what tips can you contribute to our book? What was the first thing you learned to make? What do you wish you had known about cooking before you actually had to jump in and just 'do it'? I welcome any and all hints, tips and advice.

And I'll let you know how we're doing.

Have I mentioned that I am excited?!?


  • WendyMom

    My mother never taught me how to cook- she worked full time and just wanted to get the food on the table- so I was really not allowed in the kitchen. As a result, i had some crazy mishaps after I moved out and had to cook for myself.

    The most memorable was that somewhere I read you have to plan one pound of uncooked meat per person. So I proceeded to make a 5 pound meatloaf one day. Oh yeah, that's 5 pounds "before" I put in the bread crumbs etc. It was a total disaster! It took about 6 hours to fully cook- and only after I chopped it up into smaller pieces first. My grandmother was staying with me and about laughed herself into a fit. Live and learn..

    I love, love, love my Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It is a great basic tool to have- I still look up things like what temperature to bake potatoes at etc. I told the hubby if anything every happens to me and he has to cook- that is the only book he'll ever need. I'm sure she could get one on-line...

    Love you- trying to Skype you this am.

  • Brenda

    My mom didn't even cook! My dad did!

    Add in there that you should boil the water BEFORE you add the spaghetti noodles or they will stick and burn. Save her the trouble I went through.

    I don't have any specific advice...just make sure she can cook REAL WORLD food b/c some cookbooks are fiction. They have recipes for I don't know what kind of people. And, make sure she can do some breakfast, lunch, dinner, and some drinks.

    I can't make coffee, for example.

  • Victoria

    I agree - teach her to make coffee. Even if she doesn't drink it, she will one day have guests in her home who do.

    I still struggle with making bread from scratch. Well, bread that's EDIBLE, anyway. With the costs of foods going up, learning to make your own things is very important.

    What a wonderful opportunity for you BOTH!

  • Aunt Bossy

    What a great idea! Thanks for inviting us to be a part of this young girl's education--you know how I love to share with the class!

    Ok, in order that you asked them:
    Tips: 1.) Relax and don't worry if it doesn't turn out perfectly the 1st time. That happens to everyone. 2.) When you're just starting out, it's helpful to read new recipes carefully and set out all of your ingredients before you start. That way you're less likely to get to the end and discover you left out an all-important ingredient. (I even go so far as to pre-measure a lot of things into bowls, but that's because it appeals to my anal-retentive nature and I don't have enough room on my counter to have a lot of boxes & jars out.) 3.) Know that many times, the specific herbs/spices mentioned in a recipe can easily be substituted for something else you a.) like better or b.) have on hand. 4.) Experiment--every now and then make something really intricate or exotic or totally different than what you've grown up eating. You may surprise yourself! 5.) Tuck your fingers in when you cut up ingredients and pay attention to what you're doing. You don't want to learn this one the hard way. :-) 6.) Garlic & onions are your best friends in the kitchen!

    First thing I learned to make: macaroni and cheese. Box mixes are relatively easy AND you can start her off improvising right away!

    What I wish I knew: that recipes are a good place to start, but I don't have to be tied to them. Also, how to time things so everything was done at once. I wish I knew what more spices tasted like, and which ones go together well. Also, variety--different grains, new ways to fix familiar vegetables, etc. Finally, I wish I had a repertoire of dishes to make for picnics/dish-to-pass potlucks. I was SO nervous the 1st time I brought something I had made!

    Tips, tricks, etc: you may want to ask her what her favorite thing to make is and have her do that at first. That way you can see how much she already knows so you can go right into those areas where she needs more practice/info/etc. I'm sure you also plan to ask her what she would like to learn, so you can include those things in your plans. At 18, she should be able to take more responsibility for her learning and help you help her--that'll be so nice! (Not that you don't already teach a nearly-18 year-old in a 7-year old body...)

    Can't wait to hear how the lessons are going--have fun and keep us posted!

    (Maybe in the future, you can feature one of her meal creations on "Foodie Friday." It could be her final exam of sorts...)

  • Nanabestemom

    The first things I learned to cook were the foods that I liked to eat.
    There is usually some way to redeem a "mistake" in the kitchen...scraping of the burnt side of a grilled cheese sandwich..serving pie that didn't 'gel' and calling it Blueberry Soup. You are going to have a lot of fun with this.

  • MaryD

    um Wendymom, my family could've polished off that meatloaf for you. :)

    I agree with the Fannie Farmer or good old orange cover Betty Crocker cookbook. They have great basics, measurement help,"fancy" foods, and all categories of meals.

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