Do you know anyone that can cook?

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I can have some folks over for dinner, put some stuff in front of them and they will rave about how great it is.  And I'll be sitting there mentally going over the mistakes I made in seasoning, texture, presentation, etc.  Sometimes I'll be watching some show like Iron Chef or Chopped and wish that the critics could sit down at my table and give me some actual, useful feedback that would improve my cooking.  I've heard things like "When are you going to open your restaurant?" often enough.  I'd appreciate some well-founded criticism.  But then again I might throw down my spoon and run off and cry!  I like it better when my wife's family raves about my cooking because I had the audacity to use black pepper, garlic or other such exotic seasonings in a dish.

On the other hand one bright aspect of my culinary hobby, as it has come to be, is the dinner hike group of which I am a part.  Our first outing of the season was supposed to be tonight, but rain, snow, wind, cold played their hand.   Most of the group are pretty good in the kitchen.  We meet about 6 in the evening, drive to a trail, hike for maybe an hour then eat.  I will admit that we usually have some items that are fresh from the grocer's shelves presented.  In this situation time is a definite issue, some folks really have no choice but to grab some cheese and crackers from the store.  But they usually pick really good cheese and crackers.  You don't see Kraft Singles getting pulled out of the packs.  One week a person might bring Triscuits and a tub of clam dip, changing into their hiking boots in the parking lot at the last minute.  The next time, however, they may take the afternoon off to prepare salmon en croute before the hike.  Fun group, and always good food.

I bailed out of the restaurant scene about the mid 70s, deciding to follow other paths.  I do sometimes wonder about what it would take to get me to step into that arena again, and what would have happened if I had not gone on that climbing trip but worked on getting that position as sous ....

mjb.
 
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There is a food revolution  going on with my young ones.My daughter 23 is and always has been an advocate for the healthy home cooking .....Growing up with a mom as a chef she was kinda pampered that way. She is in her 4th year University and she and her friends get together all the time with "potluck" dinners.... Her first year in Ottawa the University insisted on all res students be on a meal plan if they were over 200 miles from home ...(she was 600 at the time) She hated that food ...I thought that the cafeteria food was pretty good for standards....no she missed home! Anyhow 2nd year she was out on her own renting with friends and I was driving out with my individual frozen home cook meals with recipes attatched and so the revolution started ....all the other students parents  seemd to be doing the same thing and here we have .....our kids can cook! She is actually having dinnner parties....she's in Toronto now in University and she's not even tempted by the "street meat"
My son on the other hand .....is supporting the local economy....in the healthiest way he knows....being 20 and 1st year college ...in Toronto ...cheap take-out for him is Sushi ,Souvlaki,,French stick and butter (literally grabs the whole stick and walks down the street eating it) Quesadillas....fresh tacos,...fresh real italian pizza,...Pad Thai....my son does not like to cook but he does know that a McNugget is not food.
 
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None of my friends know how to cook, even steaks on the bbq are botched most times. I'm in meat & potato country... anything beyond that is foreign. Seasonings are salt (sometimes) pepper, seasoned salt, garlic salt. Most things are frozen, pre made crap.

Mashed potatoes come from the deli section at the market.. Just nuke!.. Gravy comes from a store branded dry packet... Just add water.  Veggies are canned green beans or corn.

Several of my friends are 30 somethings... never learned how to cook, they grew up with microwaves and convience crap... now that's what they serve their families.

I go over to the neighbors for dinner a couple times a month.. I always offer to cook, and it is always some type of meat & potato based meal...but made from scratch. One of their favorites is chicken fried steak... She buys the frozen patties, and the store bought mash, packet gravy with water.

I showed her how to make all from scratch, and how simple it was....and did not take much effort. They were amazed at how good it was... Even had fresh veg..

Salad is another thing....only bagged pre cut iceburg.... I brought a salad one night,,, romaine, butter lettuce, spring mix, and all kinds of other goodies.... She was picking the red oak leaf lettuce out of the bowl,,,, she thought it was bad because it was red!

Now she is learning a few simple things, and is going outside the box a little....their 10yr even teases her about it...."did chefbuba show you how to do that?"

Now I get calls on how to walk her through the steps of making a roast... or how do I???.....
I grew up like this. My mother is a teacher and a single parent who spent the first few years of my life working on a masters degree after work. So I ate microwaved "tv dinners" provided by the baby sitter. As I got older and she was home more not much changed we didn't eat "tv dinners" but if it didn't come frozen, in a can, or in a box it didn't get eaten. I wasn't until I was about 15 that I started getting interested in cooking. Now I'm 20 I still live at home while going to college I cook diner about  6 days a week with the remaining days to deal with leftovers from previous dinners. Which reminds me I need to get more flour for a chorizo, leek, and mushroom quiche I plan on making tomorrow.

The sad thing is most of America is like this people don't know how to cook anymore and they have no interest in learning they want quick food and they don't care if its bad for them. Where we are starting to see change is some of the younger generation such as myself moving back to being able too cook but it is still small scale.
 
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Leeniek, I've been mocked for making my own pizza too.  It kind of sucks.  I've been mocked for freezing stock, making herbed butter, hummus, and other things people consider convenience foods bought straight off the shelf. 

I was lucky to grow up eating real food.  I went through a period (in my 20's) living single where I didn't know too much about cooking but I figured that everyone grew up like me and would eventually wisen up and start cooking their own food.
 
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my family can defiantly cook mom , dad, aunts and unless and defiantly grandparents etc. some of the friends i hang with can cook and some cant just depends but then if they cant cook then i can do the cooking, yay!
 
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Quote:
There is a food revolution  going on with my young ones.My daughter 23 is and always has been an advocate for the healthy home cooking .....Growing up with a mom as a chef she was kinda pampered that way. She is in her 4th year University and she and her friends get together all the time with "potluck" dinners.... Her first year in Ottawa the University insisted on all res students be on a meal plan if they were over 200 miles from home ...(she was 600 at the time) She hated that food ...I thought that the cafeteria food was pretty good for standards....no she missed home! Anyhow 2nd year she was out on her own renting with friends and I was driving out with my individual frozen home cook meals with recipes attatched and so the revolution started ....all the other students parents  seemd to be doing the same thing and here we have .....our kids can cook! She is actually having dinnner parties....she's in Toronto now in University and she's not even tempted by the "street meat"
My son on the other hand .....is supporting the local economy....in the healthiest way he knows....being 20 and 1st year college ...in Toronto ...cheap take-out for him is Sushi ,Souvlaki,,French stick and butter (literally grabs the whole stick and walks down the street eating it) Quesadillas....fresh tacos,...fresh real italian pizza,...Pad Thai....my son does not like to cook but he does know that a McNugget is not food.
Mmmmmmm pure butter sticks. ;)  I actually went to cooking school in Toronto and LOVED it. Co incidentally I am currently in Ottawa. I dearly miss the markets in Toronto and the amazing restaurants. But that is besides the point. My youngest brother loves to cook. In fact he made Beef Wellington a couple of months ago, something I have even yet to attempt. My father used to make awesome Saturday breakfasts for us when we were kids and can grill a pretty mean steak....provided you like it well done. He is of the mindset that blood is not a good sign, though I have convinced him to start ordering his meat med-well when he goes out. Baby steps.  My mom is a great cook and always has been. Though not a gourmand she can make a mean nacho dip, a killer shepherds pie and well an amazing turkey dinner. I will never understand how mothers/grandmothers everywhere can manage to single-handedly crank out these delicious holiday meals. My middle brother is sort of a write-off in terms of cooking for himself, unless it involves his slow cooker. He is all about the immediacy of a meal. And lastly, my grandmother is an amazing baker. I am constantly calling/e-mailing her for recipes. Her tea biscuits are especially inspiring.
 
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Least nobody brought the pickles wrapped in chipped beef.
.
Hey, I like those, especially the ones with cream cheese! lol

I know a few people who can cook well.  My parents are both wonderful cooks.  I also know some who "think" they cook very well.  When invited someplace, I ask what they want me to bring...probably 9 out of 10 times, it's not something I would choose to make.  I like to make things that take a lot of prep and "show off" what skills I have.  However, I just try to go with the flow.  I do know that some people who know how I cook for my family on a regular basis are intimidated at the thought of having me over to eat.  I'm not that picky!  Goodness, I do simple meals here at home so don't mind it at all when invited someplace. I don't mind eating dishes prepared using canned soups or other packaged foods.  No, I  don't want to eat it everyday but for a meal every now and then, it's not so bad. Sometimes I think those people just don't want to deal with cooking and entertaining at home, no matter how simple or complicated it is.  Yeah, I will admit that I wear myself out cleaning and preparing when someone is coming over but if I like someone well enough to invite them into my home, I want to make them feel special and welcome.

My children's friends love to eat at my house.  From what I've seen and heard a lot of them are existing on pizza, chicken nuggets, fries, hamburgers, spaghetti, etc.  We eat those things, too, but not on an every day basis.  I used to "dumb" down my cooking when children were invited but now, I just make whatever we would be eating and most of the time, it goes over very well.  I do always ask about allergies and extreme dislikes.  One of my daughter's friends (16 yr old) swears she won't eat anything with onions, cooked or raw.  Funny, she has eaten my homemade pizza sauce with onions and a few other dishes as well.
 
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Thanks for starting this thread, Koukovagia, you took the words right out of my mouth.  I am horrified that here in Italy, the Land of Food, people don;t know how to cook.  I guess many more do cook here than there, but still, it's so depressing to go to a potluck supper.  Oh my god, spare me.  It usually consists of about ten cardboard trays from takeout pizza a taglio places (the big square pizza they sell from giant trays in square pieces) a few fried things from the same places (rice balls, potato croquettes) and maybe one person's rice salad or peperonata or something like that.  Deserts are either a very dry cake or pastry trays from a pastry shop.  It would be unfair to say all do that, but it;s so common and so unexpected that it's depressing. 
Going to people's houses for supper i often have to sit on my hands to prevent me from rudely grabbing the frying pan out of their hand when they put the meat on the cold oiled frying pan and THEN turn on the stove! 
 
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I admire your restraint, Siduri. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif

It never occurred to me the difference between making food at home and cooking until I went to lunch at a friend of a friend's place when I was in university.  She cooked!  Not mixed something from a package, not nuked something frozen, not popped the top off a can...

That lunch made a big impression on all of us.  We started having regular dinner parties after that, dressing ourselves up while trying to dress up our cooking lol  That one lunch led to a fascination with preparing food well that I have never gotten over.
 
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I don't know too much about my friends' cooking skills.  What I DO know is that I'm the only one who ever invites anyone over for food, so assumptions can be made I guess.  I enjoy cooking for people and entertaining.   I do get rave reviews but I take it with a grain of salt since I don't really know what they eat usually!  I do share recipes with friends a lot, whether or not they cook them remains a mystery.  My parents were convenience cooks and I developed the same habbits in my late teens / early 20's.  Once I realized how unhealthy it was I taught myself to cook with cookbooks, TV and the internet.  It's a hobby for me now to try new and more challenging dishes and I love the reaction I get from my boyfriend.  His mom didn't know seasonings besides salt and pepper.
 
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I've found this thread puzzling-

I'm a foodie - why I hang out here - but I know quite a lot of people who are into pretty serious cooking.

All three of our kids are serious cooks, as are their respective spouses.  My wife is a conscientious, knowledgable cook - and parent -, and gave us all an excellent dinner every day, so the kids had a really good example to follow. Three of the five grandchildern - mid-teens- are also enthusiastic cooks. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif

I'm a lifelong woodworker and tool nut: when my wife insisted on getting a Cuisinart in 1983, I looked at it and thought "geez - what can I do with that thing?"   Been all downhill from there. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif   Before that, I had never made anything but popcorn. I now do more than half the cooking for the two of us, and love to play around in the kitchen, plan meals, and shop for wierd ingredients.

My Rotary Club has ten or fifteen accomplished cooks (and not just the wives), to the point that most of our recent events have been potlucks rather than catered or restaurant outings.(Due in no small part to the recession, but they have turned out really well.)

So, maybe I'm just lucky, but I know a whole bunch of people who are good and enthusiastic cooks. I didn't even mention my cousin and his wife, who put on a huge spread for many guests (and us) every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

Mike
 
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I grew up in a restaurant family and married into a family that also liked to cook, so I know quite a few people that like to cook, but I know a tons more that can't--especially friends I have that are in their twenties or early thirties.  I will have to say that the small Texas town I live in has a large number of people that can cook though.  When there is any town or school function, you can bet you are going to eat really well, especially the foods you would expect to have in Texas--bbq, fried food, and mexican food, but I am also surprised at the number of other unique dishes that are served that taste really good.  We can get some really good italian and asian food at some of these functions.  Most are prepared by those 40 to 100, but I get surprised by some dishes produced by some of the high school students.  I do notice that dishes that I see prepared on the Food Network, show up at some of our local banquets or at our company picnics. I guess if you have the knowledge to cook well, you are able to cook anything if someone shows you.  I think it also helps, we don't have a huge selection of restaurants and fast food in town, and you have to travel 75 miles one way to get to a big town, that helps keep people cooking. 
 
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I grew up in a family of ethusiastic cooks, all amateurs, but dedicated to preparing and serving wonderful food.

My children are all good cooks - and so are many of my friends.
 
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Thanks for starting this thread, Koukovagia, you took the words right out of my mouth.  I am horrified that here in Italy, the Land of Food, people don;t know how to cook.  I guess many more do cook here than there, but still, it's so depressing to go to a potluck supper.  Oh my god, spare me.  It usually consists of about ten cardboard trays from takeout pizza a taglio places (the big square pizza they sell from giant trays in square pieces) a few fried things from the same places (rice balls, potato croquettes) and maybe one person's rice salad or peperonata or something like that.  Deserts are either a very dry cake or pastry trays from a pastry shop.  It would be unfair to say all do that, but it;s so common and so unexpected that it's depressing. 
Going to people's houses for supper i often have to sit on my hands to prevent me from rudely grabbing the frying pan out of their hand when they put the meat on the cold oiled frying pan and THEN turn on the stove! 

 
When I think Italy, I think Italian mommas spending half the day in the kitchen with the bambinos learning at their heels, or standing on a chair or stool "helping" but learning, and the poppas outside making tomato sauce in summer.  Guess that's not the case anymore.

Used to be a time you would take the dog for a walk, and try and figure out what was being cooking in each house just by sniffing the air, specially on a Sunday - roasts are easy to pick out by the aroma.  Now, you hardly ever get that air of a community cooking for itself.  My kids say they know when they are close to home because they can smell my cooking, and their friends in the street would say the same thing.  This sounds like pride, but I would get requests from their friends to come around just for my mashed potatoes /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

I know one of our neighbours cook.  Come 5.30pm out comes the cleaver....chop chop chop /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif   Then the sizzling of the wok.  Other neighbour, well, I think he must live on dust.

When we went home a couple of years ago, we visited some old friends, mid 40s, for what they descirbed as a bbq.  Umm, I love them to death, but the food - let me describe it.  Very dry chicken on skewers, black burnt sausages, bowl of lettuce (no dressing), sliced white bread.  That's it.  They are well off, so that was not the issue. Lovely people, but can't cook.  Their sons (15 and 11) did the meat.  Well, yes, they are being encouraged, but not lead or instructed.  There's a world of difference.

What I like to see in the store is someone with a trolley full of fresh fruit, veg, meats, breads, all that sort of thing.  I know they are gonna be cooking up a storm and eating right.  And if they have their young ones with them - getting them to help choose the produce, asking them and showing them what's ripe and what's not worth buying etc etc.
 
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Quote:
Mmmmmmm pure butter sticks. ;)  I actually went to cooking school in Toronto and LOVED it. Co incidentally I am currently in Ottawa. I dearly miss the markets in Toronto and the amazing restaurants. But that is besides the point. My youngest brother loves to cook. In fact he made Beef Wellington a couple of months ago, something I have even yet to attempt. My father used to make awesome Saturday breakfasts for us when we were kids and can grill a pretty mean steak....provided you like it well done. He is of the mindset that blood is not a good sign, though I have convinced him to start ordering his meat med-well when he goes out. Baby steps.  My mom is a great cook and always has been. Though not a gourmand she can make a mean nacho dip, a killer shepherds pie and well an amazing turkey dinner. I will never understand how mothers/grandmothers everywhere can manage to single-handedly crank out these delicious holiday meals. My middle brother is sort of a write-off in terms of cooking for himself, unless it involves his slow cooker. He is all about the immediacy of a meal. And lastly, my grandmother is an amazing baker. I am constantly calling/e-mailing her for recipes. Her tea biscuits are especially inspiring.
 
That is so cool ChefBoyarG
Where did you go to school? My daughter went to Carlton and now is at Ryerson in Toronto ...you must be refering to the St.Lawrence Market ....oh and Queen street and the Beaches those are the best Markets I know . How do you like Ottawa? I think it is so beautifull...my daughter used to skate on the Rideau Canel to school.


Gypsy
 
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 Most people claim they do not have time. One of the best selling books of its time was "The I hate to cook cookbook" by Marge Bracken. I have found most Woman find cooking a chore or necessary evil and don't like it. They would rather drive the kid to their games and get Big Macs.for them.
 
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I think people think they don't have the time and as Ed said.. alot of parents would rather pick up mcd's on the way to the kids' activities.    If they actually planned ahead they would see that they do in fact have time to prepare a home cooked meal.. crockpots are a wonderful thing for nights when dinner has to be ready asap.  I use mine fairly often, especially if I know we are going to be out all day and we will get home late.  I just have to cook some rice and veggies, and toss a salad and dinner will be on the table in half an hour or less.  
 
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I have only been in a McDonalds two or three times in my life.  The food is CRAP.  Why would anyone choose to feed their children that crappy, processed MUCK.  It's verging on child abuse.
 
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Every now and then we do the frozen chicken nuggets and fries.  It takes just as long to preheat the oven and cook that junk as it does for me to cook a meal.  I used to come home from work and whip together meals in 30 minutes to an hour and that was before I considered myself to have any real cooking skills.  It is doable but the desire has to be there.  Too many people are intimidated, for whatever reason, to get in the kitchen and put forth the effort.  Then you have people who get off work and jump in the car with their kids and stay gone till bedtime.  I don't think it's healthy for kids to never have down time at home.  There's nothing wrong with clubs and sports but everyone needs a break.  Eating on the run 7 days a week can't be good!
 
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""The I hate to cook cookbook" by Marge Bracken. "

Ummm... Ed-
I take it you don't have a copy, because it was written by Peg Bracken. Published in the mid-1960's and my wife - the excellent cook - used it a lot becuse it offered simplified recipes when she was up to her *** in little kids and I hadn't yet developed any interest in cooking./img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

The recipes are simple but quite tasty.  Bracken did NOT do the "Semi-Homade" stuff where you break your very own egg into a box of - whatever - and call it home cooking.

We don't use it much any more, but if you have access to a copy, make a batch of her "Gold Sauce" which is a really nice egg-thickened, mustardy sauce which is great on ham and any accompanying starch - potato, rice, or even pasta.

Try it; you'll like it! 

Mike
 
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