Basic Techniques for a budding home cook

Discussion in 'Q&A Forum With Sara Moulton' started by mezzaluna, Jul 13, 2009.

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  1. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Cook At Home
    Welcome, Sara! We're eager to get the conversation going.

    I'm a home cook who learned from two great home cooks. My concern is that young members of my family simply don't know how to cook- and suffer for it. I get blank stares from them when I explain the preparation of something as basic as a quiche.

    Happily, there's one exception: my 24-year-old niece. I've had the impulse to invite her to visit and to spend one day in my kitchen with her to teach some basics. Can you please give me some help as to key recipes and/or techniques I should include for her to get the most from those precious hours? I suppose learning to make white sauce would be good, but I'd greatly appreciate your recommendations.

    Thank you!
    Mezzaluna
     
  2. sara moulton

    sara moulton

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    In the mid eighties I used to teach at Peter Kump's New York Cooking School (now the Institute for Culinary Education) and I thought their curriculum for home cooks was superb. For the first class everyone practiced their knife skills and then threw all the vegetables they had chopped into a salad. then they made a basic vinaigrette. the topic of the night was sauteeing (which is a good place for you to start with your niece) and we taught the students to saute all manner of things - meat, vegetables and potatoes.
    the next class was all about wet cooking - boiling, braising, poaching
    then there was the roasting class and finally the broiling/grilling class.

    I think teaching by technique (not recipe) is the best thing to do.
    you only have one day and if that was all I had I would teach:

    a salad with a vinaigrette
    roast chicken
    quick meat saute and pan sauce
    the basics of cooking vegetables
    an omelet

    wow, so much to teach, so little time.
     
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Thank you so much! Your account of the Peter Kump class program was very valuable, too.

    Now I know just what to do. Here's to Sara! [​IMG]
     
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