How to Cook (an Introduction)





Introduction: How to Cook (an Introduction)

Don't know how to cook? Here's a tutorial. :-)
This instructable is to answer one of life's burning questions.

(The things in the picture are chilaquiles, I don't tell you how to make them in this instructable but they taste great. Link to recipe, here, my aunt makes them :-D)

Step 1: What You Need to Know About Cooking/baking

First, cooking is NOT an exact science. Despite what people may tell you, it is, for the most part, not.
You're first step to cooking would be to know how to follow a recipe. Follow, follow, and follow recipes. The only way you will be able to learn to cook is by doing it over and over again. If you come across a term you don't know, Google it, there are dozens of people out there who want to tell you what those terms mean.

Step 2: Basic Building Blocks

When cooking, you need to understand the basics. Cooking is just like playing with Legos, except not quite. ;-) For example, When I bake bread, I never measure things exactly. I always start out with the same basic "base" though. 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of hot water, 2 Tbs. oil, 2 Tsp. salt, 2 Tbs. sugar, and 2 Tbs of yeast. After I let that rise, I can do just about ANYTHING with my bread. I just add enough flour, usually about 3 more cups (but remember, you didn't measure perfectly for the "base"), and then I can make just about any bread I want. Cinnamon swirl, loafs, braided bread, etc.... And if I add, say, sweet potato's to the sponge (that's what the base is called) then I can make all sorts of fun things. if you make several sponges with different kinds of sweet potato's, then you can braid together three different colors!
See, with the same basic "base", I can make any kind of bread I want!
Some bread that other intructables user have made:
Honey Maple Bread
Butterfly Bread
Home Made Sourdough Bread
Rice Cooker Bread

Step 3: Enjoy It

For years all I could make was eggs and mac and cheese, but that changed when I was about 14. You see, I have 3 brothers, and we eat like crazy. When I was about 13 or 14 my mom started encouraging me cook a LOT. Before that point I had been making brownies and such, but never anything real fancy. I found that I loved to make deserts. besides the obvious reasons, I loved it so much because I could make ANYTHING. with the same basic ingredients I could make a dozen different deserts. When I was 14 I made a fancy desert consisting of chocolate cake, home made ice cream, and fancy chocolate bowls. That may not seem like a very big accomplishment, but for a 14 year old it was huge. I had just made a fancy desert, that actually looked good, and I had done it all by myself.

Some deserts posted by instructablers are:
Micro Mud Pie
liquid nitrogen ice cream
Killer Dessert

Step 4: Be Creative!

This is where the fun begins. As I said before, you can make anything. If you don't know how to make something, look it up! Find a recipe and experiment with it until it's your own recipe. Tinker with it, change it so it's exactly what you want. Some recipes will need to be followed EXACTLY. Not all, but some. Especially recipes for certain cakes and candies. With candy you have to be SO careful to get things heated to the exact right temperature, etc...

Step 5: How to Do Some Basic Basics

Here's how to do some basic basics:

Eggs- making eggs is a valuable skill is essential.
Hard boil them, Some one just posted about this! Here.
Scramble them, Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and turn the burner to medium. Crack 2 or 3 eggs in and still them just a little. Cut in some cheese if you like, or potatos or chicken, or anything that sounds good. Cook for a few minutes, stirring/flipping/moving them so it all gets cooked.
Plenty more ways to make eggs, you can make omelets, or poach them, or do any number of things to them.
Some othe egg ideas are,
Egg Muffin
Tomato Frittata
The Easy 40 Second Egg

Vegetables- These are healthy, and good for you!
Fresh vegies, these are great. You can eat lots vegetables fresh, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, celery, etc. Just wash 'em, cut them up and eat them!
Cooked vegies, steam 'em! broccoli, beets, carrots, potatoes, you name it.
Some steamer/steamed food would be,
How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke
Quick Homemade Steamer Hack

-Cooking chicken: You can cook this so many ways. one of my favorite ways is to grill it. It's best to marinate it, the simplest marinade is to stir spices into plain yogurt, put some chicken breasts into this, and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour or two.
-Sandwich making skills: This is a handy skill to have. most people think they can make a sandwich, and usually they can, but load on the meat, cheese, tomatos, and lettuce on home made bread and you're golden.
-Rice: This is an essential part of many courses, and is good to know how to make. You don't need a rice cooker to make good rice. the water and rice is alway going to be a 2 to 1 ratio. 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice, boil it, cover it, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 6: Keep Doing It

Keep cooking to get better at it.
The picture below are some things I've made recently.
(The cookies are molasses)
a helpful site is My sister's kitchen.

Have fun!



    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking
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      Pocket-Sized Contest
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    Please be positive and constructive.




    everything a classic

    Actually caramelized onions DO contain caramel. Since caramel is simply browned (with heat, not syrup ;) ) sugar, when you "caramelize" onions, you are actually caramelizing the sugar inside the onion, which is exactly the same process for making caramel (there are simply onions involved this time). You just aren't using pure sugar when you do it. You can actually make your own caramel by cooking pure sugar, you have to be very careful and move it a lot though, because it burns easilly, and then it is nasty. For the creamy caramel you add milk. :)

    The best part about cooking is that you'll eventually be able to make it from scratch without a recipe. You'll know it so well and you'll know the sort of consistence of a cake or muffin etc. You learn how wet/dry stuff is and finally: EXPERIMENTATION. Seriously, think of two flavours, example, Caramel & Onions. Voila: Caramelized Onions. Just go for it! I've tried Pizza Bread (pizza toppings in a breadloaf, came out like a doorstop) and my instructable on Caramel Pinwheels was all experimental. But that's how things are created messing around. I'll stop, this is long.

    caramelized onions don't contain caramel. It's onions cooked in butter until they turn a soft brown color. I agree with the original point though.

    Yes, I knew that. But it's combining flavours, ideas and having fun in general. Remember it's not just about looks. Taste is the most important thing!

    I'm going to respectfully disagree with your measuring statement. First, there are some bases (the bechamel roux comes to mind immediately) that will not work properly if you fiddle with them. A bit too much flour, and the whole thing is too thick, and seizes. a bit too much butter and the whole thing won't lock up, and eventually breaks.

    And there's something to be said for consistency. If you never measure anything (and by measure, I do mean that eyeballing is ok if you're able to eyeball to within tiny fractions of a teaspoon) your food is inconsistent. If you went to a restaurant once and they made an awesome dish, but the next time they were too heavy handed with the cumin, they served you 2 separate dishes. Personally, I won't eat anywhere that has inconsistent food. It's a pet peeve. Then again, I'm a professional.

    I've got a similar one to this.

    Takes your concept a step farther.

    Personally? I'd add a few things to this.

    Be confident. Don't be afraid to cook, it's not very hard and you'll mess up a few times until you get the hang of it.

    Read, constantly. I advocate new cooks pick up one recipe, master it, then move on. if everything else is crap from a can, so be it, but for a while take a recipe and keep working at it until you can make it in your sleep, then pick another.

    If you like a recipe, ask for it. The easiest way I've found to get people cooking is to give them the recipe when they say they love one of my sauces. They see how easy it is for the effect it gets, and from there they can make it. Obviously if you start with something you enjoy, you're more inclined to keep at it.

    Unplug the microwave for a month. 'nuff said, really. If you have the convenience taken away, you're more likely to try to cook something up rather than just nuke a tv dinner.

    I'd collaborate on a list like this, totally. I'm already writing a cook book for new cooks to be able to cook cheap, fast, and easy, with a bit of gourmet flair. This'd be good exercise for me.

    This will make college girls gain the freshman fifteen much easier.

    Hrmm.... Cooking is not an exact science.... But Baking is a fair bit more towards the exact side... If you don't believe me... find a recipe with baking soda... then leave it out :p It's not like forgetting to add salt to your split pea soup :p I say this because my banana bread failed on this account. It was edible, but really not chew-able (and thus not bread) :p

    My dad graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and like he always says, "Cooking is an art, baking is a science." I totally agree with step 4. Over the course of about 6 pizzas, I kept changing things, making it better and better, until now I've created my "famous" pizzas that everyone loves, and that I love making. I make it out of standard things you can buy, but I make my own changes to them to make the recipe my own. :D