Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I'd like to learn how to make better food
Old 09-18-2015, 01:23 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,988
I'd like to learn how to make better food

I'm finding that I'm learning to appreciate better food, likely from hanging around "foodie friends" and would like to 'up' my skill set.

I can cook simple things, although I often eat out (simply as it's easier for a single person on-the-go). Following recipes is not an issue for me either.

From reading various posts over time, I know there are some foodie folks here. I'm asking for your input/suggestions on how I can go about learning to make better food...is it skills, recipes, ingredients, spices, or what?

omni
__________________

__________________
omni550 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-18-2015, 01:32 PM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
I think experience goes a long way, and everything else also matters. After a decade of cooking anything from simple to fancy, I've gotten a feel for what combines well with what. I'm sure there are culinary text books that break down flavor pallet combinations and why they work together, but since great taste is so subjective, you have to learn what works for you.

I use fresh ingredients every chance I get. Quality ingredients and knowing what to do with them make the meal.

Renting every Good Eats DVD set from the library wouldn't hurt either, along with checking out food blogs.
__________________

__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 01:47 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,560
I've changing my diet in order to lose weight. Been using Clean Eating online magazine. Pinterest and All Recipes are great as well. As RetiredGypsy mentioned there many resources available, Good Eats is great very instructional.

There is a member recipe thread here too, it's been responsible for some great meal ideas.
__________________
MRG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 02:12 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,014
Great question, omni. I asked the same question a few years ago. Since ER my culinary skills have blossomed. I now enjoy making most of my own meals and people look forward to sampling my creations at parties. I have recently been asked if I would give cooking lessons, which I find very amusing considering how clueless I used to be! Here are some of the contributing factors to my improvement:

1. I live in an area where an abundance of food is grown. Who needs stabilizers and preservatives when your food goes from farm to table?
2. My current home has a spacious kitchen with oodles of counter space. This makes it a pleasure to cook.
3. I have gradually upgraded my kitchen tools. Best investments so far: stainless steel pan set by Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton ($0 with Air Miles); a Wusthof chef's knife, a multitude of bowls and ramekins (mise en place means having everything chopped up and ready to go before you start), and a food processor (home made pesto, anyone?).
4. I took a couple of hands-on cooking workshops with a local chef. Not only was it fun, but I learnt the importance of having the right tools (see #3).
5. YouTube! I have accumulated many cookbooks over the years but as a visual learner I find it much easier to learn techniques by watching real people cook. I have added quite a few cooking vlogs to my favourites list. Here are a few:

Laura in the Kitchen (Italian)
Donal Skehan (Irish)
The Domestic Geek (Canadian and very healthy)
Joy of Baking (Canadian-American. Award winning very detailed videos with measurements in metric and imperial units)
Bake like a Pro (Canadian)
Chef Buck (Southern. He does amazing things in a tiny kitchen!)
Ochikeron (Create Eat Happy. Japanese)
Hot Thai Kitchen
Everyday Food (American)
Cooking with Alia (Moroccan)
Jamie Oliver's Food Tube (British)
French Guy Cooking
Byron Talbott (American)
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 02:55 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,582
I think several people here recently took this course and enjoyed it a lot.

Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science
Top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine can illuminate basic principles in physics and engineering, and vice versa.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 03:03 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,014
I audited this course but didn't do the homework. I enjoyed it, and I learnt a lot about the science of cooking, but not a lot about cooking per se. Some of the haute cuisine chefs were doing some interesting and no doubt very expensive chemical experiments with food.
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 03:21 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,582
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
I audited this course but didn't do the homework. I enjoyed it, and I learnt a lot about the science of cooking, but not a lot about cooking per se. Some of the haute cuisine chefs were doing some interesting and no doubt very expensive chemical experiments with food.
Absolutely right. I was also just auditing it.

For a much more comprehensive and practical reference for that stuff, you can't possibly beat the classic work in the field:

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 03:23 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
I stick to the basics and have gotten really good at them:


fried turkey/wings (hard to mess those up)
chili
gumbo
jambalaya
red beanz and ryce
grilling - meats, fajitas, veggies, etc
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 03:24 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,582
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
I stick to the basics and have gotten really good at them:
Similarly, I've never taken anything off my Big Green Egg that wasn't wonderful.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 03:35 PM   #10
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 731
Even 'fool proof' recipes need practice in your home on your stove, oven, or grill using your utensils.


You need to know your kitchen as well as the ingredients & the recipe for any given meal.


Then it's a matter of just doing it and getting better each time. Just go for it!
__________________
BBQ-Nut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 04:08 PM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 96
I love cooking. Hoping to explore more of the same when I semi retire. May even take a class or two.


Sent from my iPhone using Early Retirement Forum
__________________
prose3589 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 04:10 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Similarly, I've never taken anything off my Big Green Egg that wasn't wonderful.
I wish I could afford one of those...
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 04:28 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,582
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ-Nut View Post
You need to know your kitchen as well as the ingredients & the recipe for any given meal.
Interesting point. The first lesson in that course I mentioned had an exercise where you calibrated your oven. I was surprised to find that mine reads about 10% higher than its actual temperature.

For those who might want to try this, it's easy:
Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C) for 15 minutes.
Take a piece of aluminum foil (aluminium for our Canadian members) and place about a half teaspoon of sugar on it.
Place it in the center of the oven for 15 minutes to stabilize.
If the sugar doesn't melt, raise the temperature in the smallest increments and wait 5-10 minutes each time for stabilization.
Keep doing this until the sugar melts.

When your sugar melts, you know that the oven is at or above the melting point of sugar, which is 366°F (186°C).

So your calibration curve is now a known factor.
T = Tdial + 366 - Tmelt (for Fahrenheit)
or
T = Tdial + 185 - Tmelt (for Celsius)

Let's say your sugar melted at 400°F according to your oven. You now know that when your oven says 400, it's actually 366 (or very slightly higher).

Real world commentary:
We recently moved, and I used this technique to calibrate the oven in our new condo. DW had expressed surprise that something she was used to baking had turned out underdone. I gave her the correction and the next time she had perfect results.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 04:36 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,582
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
I wish I could afford one of those...
The only way IMHO to buy a Big Green Egg is at an EggFest.

Watch the schedule to find one close to you, then contact the organizer to pre-order one.

The way this works is that the dealer gets a large number of BGEs for the EggFest. Each one is used that day to prepare some food for the attendees.
At the end of the day, those Eggs (which have been used exactly once) are sold to those who pre-ordered them at (at least) a 20% discount from new.

EGGfests - Big Green Egg - The Ultimate Cooking Experience
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 05:02 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
^ everyone here uses traegers - are those similar?
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 05:12 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,582
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
^ everyone here uses traegers - are those similar?
Tough question.
Both are really great IMHO, but not very similar.
My vote is for the Egg, mainly because it will last forever. Traegers generally start to deteriorate noticeably after a few years. But both will produce some awesome dinners.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 05:27 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Tough question.
Both are really great IMHO, but not very similar.
My vote is for the Egg, mainly because it will last forever. Traegers generally start to deteriorate noticeably after a few years. But both will produce some awesome dinners.
I use one of these cause I'm cheap and I can leave it out in the rain

PK Classic Charcoal Grill and Smoker | Portable Kitchen
__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 05:34 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
braumeister's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 8,582
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
I use one of these cause I'm cheap and I can leave it out in the rain

PK Classic Charcoal Grill and Smoker | Portable Kitchen
Nothing wrong with that; I'm sure it works well.

But I can set my BGE at a temperature and it will maintain that temp for many hours. Essential for something like ribs, brisket, pork
butt, etc.

The key is that the BGE is very thick ceramic that holds the heat.
__________________
braumeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 05:37 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,388
Earlier posters mentioned Alton Brown's Good Eats show. This was my favorite cooking show on cable when I first learned to cook, some 12 years ago.

Once I learned the basic techniques, I have been picking up recipes from the Web or youtube. One channel on youtube I like is Food Wishes by Chef John.


About the BGE, I only learned of it on this forum. The high temperature it produces makes for good grilling no doubt, but for casual and everyday use I like the convenience of my lowly propane grill.
__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2015, 05:37 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Big_Hitter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 4,092
yeah the PK can be a challenge to keep at one temp for a long time
__________________

__________________
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Better retirement planning = better health footenote Health and Early Retirement 12 08-22-2014 11:48 PM
Hi, I'm caninelover and would like to learn from all you fine folks. caninelover Hi, I am... 14 06-17-2009 08:37 AM
Better technology = Better life? Keyboard Ninja Other topics 17 11-17-2008 10:06 PM
Keeps Getting Better, Junk Food Lowers Stress poboy Health and Early Retirement 1 01-30-2008 01:29 AM
Make your own food perinova Other topics 18 04-11-2007 09:00 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:47 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.