tentative hello...

how did I learn how to cook?

  • from my mother, father, grandmother, funky uncle...

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • from a book

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • from the internet

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • from a culinary school

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
Joined Dec 12, 2009
trying to teach myself to cook better. low on funds but big on appetite. my sisters used to called me "poor girl with expensive taste" when i bought stinky cheese from the cheese shop and dragged home clothing and furniture off the street.

I do not have expensive gears. my benriner is my food processor. my arms will have to do in the kneading department. I have a cranky, old orange food mill for puree needs (great for mashed potatoes, too). pretty good at whipping cream to peaks of loveliness with a whisk. have a small mortar from IKEA for grinding and probably should get a larger one, one day.

most prized scores:
Le Creuset frying pan with wooden handle about $5
Le Creuset 3qt Dutch oven about $6
Griswold 10-inch frying pan about $3
Henckels 8” knife…not as cheap but I really like this knife and was sorta’ within my budget

food memory: pâte à choux.

my grandmother taught me how to make this batter. we typically deep-fry the batter into pets de nonnes; translation: nun’s farts. she explained that they were named thusly due to the poof of steam emitted just when they puff up to double their size, signifying that they fried perfectly. guess nuns have heavenly farts. for awhile, she tried to convince us to call them soupirs de nonnes (nun’s sighs) but we preferred the pets to the soupirs. more graphic.

i checkout cookbooks from the library. presently the only one that I own is the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. between the book and much research on the internet, I’m slowly learning how to bake. just discovered autolyse!

for Xmas, have requested Ruhlman’s Ratio and McGee’s On Food and Cooking. intrigued by food science and how or why those nuns fart the way that they do. I really like the style of Ruhlman’s teaching to simplify down to the basics. plus he mentioned nun’s farts on his website! don’t have a book on core-techniques as I’m rather overwhelmed by the choices of books available.

long-term goal:

to one day use recipes as just guides for the creation of dishes and whip out multi-course meals like a master chef

short-term wishes:
for my herb plants to survive for at least 1 year. apartment living is not conducive to plant survival, particularly during the winter months here in Chicago, IL.

any guidance, steering or gentle nudges in the right direction is greatly appreciated. I am in awe of the vast knowledge here and ever-so slightly intimidated, but do want to learn. just have limited resources and unfortunately also limited time as I do have to work in order to bring home my stinky cheeses. high goals, I know, but one can only aspire for what seems out of reach and hope that in shooting for the stars, you can at least hit the moon…or something.
Joined May 26, 2001
Welcome, blackbirdpies!! You're our kind of gal. :D

Looks like you've got a good start -- especially knowing that it doesn't take a lot of $$$ to eat well.

Look through the topics, you're sure to find some that will interest and help you. Don't forget to go back into old posts, since we've been talking about food for a long, long time (at least in Internet terms!).

No need to be tentative: you're definitely among friends here.
Joined Dec 12, 2009
thanks for the welcome Suzanne!

must admit introducing myself did feel like the first day of school in a new town. when i pressed the submit button, i was immediately worried that i had used "fart" three times in the post and immediately regretted posting it. but i guess it's better to just lay it all out now than later.


p.s. i love this smiley...it's got a mullet! :mullet:
Joined Aug 18, 2007
Hi and welcome. You're going to like it here.

So much of what you said will endear you to to the crew here. I for one can empathise with cheese v practicalities. What are your favourites?

Look forward to hearing from you
Joined Dec 12, 2009
oh i don't know. that's like asking a mothe who her favorite child is...love them all (except for this one cheese that i had years ago. sweetish and it looked orange and strange waxen texture. can't remember what it was. a German friend had me try it and i didn't like it).

the best quality cheddar blows away any of the "fancy" cheese that you get at Whole Foods. i have an aged gouda that i'm noshing on with slices of orange and it's yummm! picked it up from the farmer's market and am so looking forwards to the French Market that just opened here in Chicago. we finally have year-round indoor markets. whoopeee!

i miss my cheese shop in San Francisco and just heard that they're in danger of closing down. so if anybody lives in SF, please go to the 24th Street Cheese Company and buy their cheese. disregard the complaints on yelp! about the bad customer service. Charlie and Nancy are perfectly willing to help you with your choices. i could be biased but i think the complainers are just projecting their own crankiness.

thanks for your welcome, bughut!
Joined Dec 14, 2009
For French cooking you might try Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. You can try the half priced or the old cheap book markets we have in Chicago and maybe find them cheap. I know what you mean about the herbs. You could try to find a grow light, it's a special kind of bulb that will help keep your plants alive, I have to use one here because I don't get a lot of light all day long. Good luck in everything you pursue, all that's really needed to cook well is love of food, a little faith, and a bunch of practice:peace:
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