Most Important Cooking Skills...?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by cerise, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. cerise

    cerise Banned

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  2. lagom

    lagom

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    Not to sound like a braggert but I mastered all those skilled by the time I was 13. Then again I also did my own laundry and ironing, had my own bank account and worked in a restaurant cooking when I was 13 also. All without google.

    Different time than today.
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Skipped the fundamentals. Knife work and stock.
     
  4. grande

    grande

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    How to adjust food to taste, how to modify a recipe when it doesn't work the first time; that's the hard stuff. But it's all repitition anyway.
    How to cook eggs, make decent mash potatoes, and definately stock, and knife skills, and controlling heat
     
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I think I have distilled my beef with the list. It labels as skills specific dishes which is a misuse of the term. Skills go into the making of the dishes, but really this list is a list of recipes to perform, rather than skills with which to accomplish the recipes.

    And this an issue of much of modern home cooking. Most people I know can cook a few dishes well, but really don't know how to cook. They have crappy knives that are dull and no way or even desire to fix the problem. They have sufficient knowledge to pull off some minor family event style cooking within a limited range.  Beyond that it's mostly opening packages and mix them in the practice of recombinant cuisine. 

    Even in the specialized ethnic grocer, there's been a rise of prepackaged sauces. In the Chinese and Indian stores there's now aseptic pouches of simmering sauce for all the restaurant popularized dishes. These immigrants are losing their family traditions and heritage into a unified commercial flavor that isn't necessarily bad, but now lacks all the nuance and regionality and tracition of what was done differently from family to family.  And then there's the hybridized Chinese Indian sauce pouch.

    http://www.fortunecookiechronicles.com/blog/2013/04/30/authentic-indian-schezwan-dishes/

    Slipping off topic a litlte bit, Jennifer 8 Lee talks about how Chinese restaurants in the US have such similarity of cuisine because there's a sort of underground employment network that shuttles these line cooks through these family restaurants to where they're needed. That's in her book Fortune Cookie Chronicles, but you can get a glimpse of some of it in the link. 

    http://www.fortunecookiechronicles....t-workers-view-of-america-through-area-codes/
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  6. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Disagree.

    Before you can even master knife skills, you have to master......

    (drum roll please...)

    .....Organisation!...

    Which is a very important skill that many don't seem to have

    Making an emulsion is a technique.  After you have learned the whys and hows,  you work on the skill of making one .  Then you apply this knowledge to any series of liquids you wish to emulisfy .

    Trussing a bird is another skill, and it just doesn't involve tying up the legs.  In "my time" 3rd year apprentices had to know at least 3 ways to truss a bird.  More importantly, WHY do you need to truss the bird?  Then, how can you at least fasten the legs to the body without any string or skewers?

    Media schmedia... They can't comprehend the concept of using a scale in the kitchen, assume all their followers are complete eejits who have never used one,  or why the terms "Chef" and "Cook" or not interchangeable....
     
  7. teamfat

    teamfat

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    I'm guessing not that many Chinese places have pork kidneys with spicy vegetables like Sweet Ginger down in Midvale. Good stuff. And I was surprised to see black vinegar as a table condiment.  And yes, this is off topic.

    Agreeing that is is more a list of recipes than a list of skills is on topic, though. Like "How to make soup" just says "add a base, like stock" - how lame is that?

    mjb.
     
  8. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    I agree. Not exactly a "skills" list.

    Also, by this list I am something of a failure. I've long passed 30 and have still never successfully poached an egg.
     
  9. panini

    panini

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    You must have the basic skills of timing. You can't even fake it without.

    Actually this hold true for life.
     
  10. chefross

    chefross

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    If this was the professional Chef's thread, I would say that one of the most important skills is also how to measure ingredients, how to configure recipe amounts, and how to count.

    Yes...I said it....how to count. You have no idea the frustration that this creates when one of the crew can not or will not count.
     
    kuan likes this.
  11. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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       Most Important Cooking Skill?

      I think the most important cooking skill is not broken down into skill to perform.  Instead, learn the proper methods of cooking.  From there you can adapt, substitute and overcome nearly any obstacle you may encounter when making your food...which is quite different than cooking a recipe.
     
  12. jake t buds

    jake t buds

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    Oh I disagree. I most certainly think flavor packets and pre-packaged sauces are bad. Mostly because there existence is driven by economics, not gastronomy. This is precisely why it lacks nuance and subtlety that defines regional cuisine. Any cuisine for that matter. It loses it depth of flavor and homogenizes public tastes to what is found on a shelf, just like the Chinese food joints that all taste the same. Embrace variety and complexity, not easy and similar. 

    But I agree with most here that the list presented is just a list of dishes/recipe's, not skills. 
     
  13. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Yes. It was a link to dishes/technique/recipes in someone's opinion (apparently based in the US, with an age goal in mind for somewhat classic dishes) that everyone(?) should know.  "Cooking Skills" was not my phrase, but kept with the article and author.

    Rather than focus on dissecting the title, what is your opinion & experience with dishes that should be learned/mastered - not counting, but welcome from Pro's that attended school (which I presume would include Master Sauces, etc.).

    Poached eggs are not a dish I am interested in. I think people are more focused on how to boil an egg.

    I have roasted many chickens, but starting out, roasted a turkey w/o removing the packaged giblets.  I learn from mistakes.

    Soup - wide open.

    Coffee - Mostly used instant, or in years gone by a percolater. Kureg (sp?) seems to be a big seller. Not sure what the coffee maker is in the pic - maybe a biki? Turkish coffee maker?  Unsure. Sorry Juan Valdez.  :)

    The best Tomato Sauce I ever made was in Eigth Grade Home Economics.  Wish I had kept the recipe.

    So, what dishes do you think are the basics that every cook should know?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  14. teamfat

    teamfat

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    There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count, and those who can't.

    mjb.
     
  15. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Also OT.... I read somewhere that the guy who invented (is it ....an invention I mean?) the Kraps coffee pods is sad because of the amt of landfill space it is now taking up.

    mimi

    carry on....
     
  16. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    Not to sound too twee about it but the one thing to know that will lead anybody to be better at cooking is; to know what you want the end result of dish to be.  That is to say, know what you want to eat and why you want it to be that way.  Nearly anything can be reversed engineered from that standpoint.  
     
  17. chezpopp

    chezpopp

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    As the op pointed out this isnt the pro forum so i believe that the list isnt that bad. If it was the pro forum than knife skills and cooking techniques would be important followed by communication. However i think the idea behind this article is interesting. I grew up in a take out household. Mom never cooked and my father cooked sunday dinner from scratch every sunday. I spent lots of time w memere in the kitchen. I learned to cook because i had to and turned it i to my profession because i love food and cooking. If you go up to your average 20 year old all they can do is call for take away or make ramen noodles. These so called skills from the article are a good base line. You could really break it down further and say if you are 18 to 30 you should know how to make three different breakfasts three different entrees and two desserts. The problem is a lot of homes do not cook anymore and the kids dont learn the skills at all. So in my opinion the for the average homebody that list is pretty decent. At least the ideas behind it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  18. chezpopp

    chezpopp

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    Also I would say cream sauce as opposed to tomato sauce. Cream sauce is more versatile and easily adapted to a wider variety of things.