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Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

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Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Amyw » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:07 pm

Niamh Shields , who writes the Eat Like a Girl blog just asked on Twitter what the essential things are you’d teach people how to cook . Her answers - What do you think are essential recipes that you would teach someone keen to learn for the first time?

For me: scrambled egg, omelette, tomato sauce, roast chicken & chicken soup, how to cook pasta & rice (& egg fried rice), soda bread & farls, ragu, hash, a simple curry.

I think it’s a pretty good list . If I had to choose say five things , it would probably be making a simple tomato sauce , cooking an omelette, roasting a chicken , baking a simple sponge cake and how to mash potatoes .

I was thinking of dishes that when mastered , you could make many different variations of to create different dishes of . What would your five dishes or techniques be ?

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Pepper Pig » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:28 pm

The first thing I taught all four of mine to make was pancakes and then Yorkshire Puds. A Bolognese sauce was next and then eggs in all forms. Finally Crunchy Lemon Pie so they had a go-to pudding.

This was years ago though! Times have changed. Will have a think but I think my 3 granddaughters, all under 5, like to make anything that features unicorns!

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby aero280 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:45 pm

Not sure that I would start with recipes. But our 4 year old granddaughter likes to help her mother make cupcakes and sponge.

I've been making bread with her, and she wants to do that next time we visit.

But for me basics would be things like "How long to boil an egg". "How long do potatoes take to boil". Cooking rice/pasta. Frying hamburgers and grilling bacon. Making a white sauce.

That teaches you things that can be kept in mind when you read a recipe. There are terms in recipes that a complete novice may not understand, like "Cream together butter and sugar"; "Prove in a warm place for 30 minutes"; etc.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Stokey Sue » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:19 pm

Looking at the explanation in additional Tweets, Niamh seems looking for recipes to teach adults who don't normally cook and are looking for entry level recipes to improve their skills and repertoire while in lockdown

I think in that case I'd back track a bit from her list, and rather than curry and ragu I'd start with a very simple stew, as it is nearly foolproof

I remember a college house mate (the rugby captain, which may give you an idea) who couldn't really cook but decided to cook Sunday lunch for himself and some friends and watch televised rugby
He cooked roast chicken, Paxo stuffing, frozen peas, another veg, gravy and mashed potatoes, the veg he kind of knew how to do, the rest he followed the instructions on the packet. It was pretty good

I think that's the level we are looking for

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Uschi » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:40 pm

All great suggestions!
I'd add simple soups to the list. A clear chicken soup or a clear beef soup (with vegetables, of course) are easily made, even by beginners. It is true that one needs to give a few hints, but still.
Once you can do that, other soups are easy.

I like Aero's white sauce. I make asparagus soup like that, a roux of butter and flour and then the asparagus stock with ground nutmeg. It stays similar for cauliflower, broccoli and what have you.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby lfoxr deactivated » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:43 pm

grilled cheese,grilled sausage and a burger

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby cherrytree » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:00 pm

When I was a governor at our local secondary school, the food tech lessons were always excellent and disproved the story that no cooking teaching happened any more.
Interestingly though an enterprising member of staff (a science teacher actually) set up a sort of after school club for Years 12 and 13 to give them experience of cooking they’d need to do at university. It was (is?) hugely popular and the meal they all wanted to be able to do was a roast dinner! :thumbsdown

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby cherrytree » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:01 pm

But what about basics, Ifoxr, not processed food you can buy from a shop.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Sakkarin » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:12 pm

Top of my list would be showing people how to make bread.

Maybe scones too to give them an idea of the mechanics of baking.

There are lots of things which don't really need demonstrating, you could get away with an A4 page with instructions. For instance (obviously slightly more detailed, but you get the drift) - Roast Chicken: chuck in oven preheated to 200C/380F for 45 minutes.

Rethinking that, I think 5 different skills taught might be better than 5 different recipes. Stir frying would be another skill on its own, and would enable an infinite amount of recipes to be done.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Earthmaiden » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:27 pm

I'll have to think about this but was interested in a comment I saw on a FB page the other day singing the praises of stewing excess fruit to freeze and saying that stewing fruit was a useful skill to teach children.

We probably saw it right from our mother's knee but as it's not so commonplace to have for meals these days I thought it was a valid point and could be a dying art.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Amyw » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:42 pm

If it was skills I’d agree with stir frying , probably add making shortcrust pastry, a simple salad dressing , good knife skills , often overlooked and bread making . Then there’s all the techniques with cooking eggs as I think eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients around . But then I suppose if you do eggs , then you’d have to have a chapter on potatoes too .

Cherrytree that afternoon school club sounds like an excellent idea

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby OneMoreCheekyOne » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:20 pm

My eldest is 5 and she chops her choice of fruit for smoothies, makes omelette and scrambled eggs with supervision, and can measure out the ingredients for pancakes from memory. She also preps veg and salad, does a lot of stirring and is my chief taste tester!

When she’s a little older I’ll definitely teach her a basic tomato sauce, a ragu, roast chicken and a basic sponge. Probably a brownie or cookie. A spice mix for a curry perhaps and some kind of casserole.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Pampy » Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:32 am

I think a really important thing to teach is how to prepare the ingredients to be used (especially veg) and what terms like blanch, saute etc mean. Once you've got those, it makes it much easier to follow a written recipe.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby lfoxr deactivated » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:01 am

cherrytree all food is processed.
you can make you own bread,
you can make you own cheese
grin your own meat for burgers and sausages

the original question was about cooking!
I have been served many badly cooked grill cheese
over cooked burger and sausages. cooking them
correctly is not common knowledge to many newbies to cooking.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby karadekoolaid » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:45 am

1) How to cook vegetables - potatoes, carrots, beans,. cauliflower, etc.
2) How to cook eggs - scrambled, boiled, omelette
3) How to make a stew. One that tastes good!
4) How to make TWO of the basic sauces: bechamel and tomato sauce.
5) How to cook/fry/poach a piece of chicken/pork/beef/fish
6) How not to burn things

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby karadekoolaid » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:47 am

cherrytree all food is processed.


I seriously believe you are missing the point.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby lfoxr deactivated » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:48 am

i got the point!! I was pointing out those same dishes
are better if make them self at home. since no sit down
restaurants are allowing sit down at moment.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Suelle » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:25 am

karadekoolaid wrote:1) How to cook vegetables - potatoes, carrots, beans,. cauliflower, etc.
2) How to cook eggs - scrambled, boiled, omelette
3) How to make a stew. One that tastes good!
4) How to make TWO of the basic sauces: bechamel and tomato sauce.
5) How to cook/fry/poach a piece of chicken/pork/beef/fish
6) How not to burn things


I think I'd basically agree with this list, and add cooking pasta and rice properly. After my children started cooking for themselves I realised that they didn't know what fast-boiling water looked like, and were turning down the heat under pans too soon.

These days, if you can afford it, you don't need many cooking skills to eat well. As well as reasonably good quality ready meals, pies, filled pasta (and sauces to go with them) etc, lots of packaged meat comes with instructions, there are raw meats packaged with vegetables that you just need to put into the oven, ready prepared packs of mixed vegetables.

It's a touch more expensive, but you don't need lots of packets of spices, herbs and other cooking ingredients that often get thrown away before they're used up. It also allows you to be more experimental - buy one portion of moussaka to see if you like aubergine, rather than making something which you don't like.

Baking is a luxurious skill - you need time and money. I don't think much baking is cheaper than you can buy in a shop, although it might be better quality, and if you're cooking for one, baking isn't very practical either - half of what I bake goes into the freezer, thus removing the need to bake - a vicious circle!
The blog which does what it says on the tin:

http://mainlybaking.blogspot.co.uk/

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby cherrytree » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:25 am

But Ifoxr, if you were teaching basic cookery skills you certainly wouldn’t be teaching cheese or sausage making, interesting though it may be. Using say, mince- that is a basic ingredient. What to do with it is developing a skill.

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Re: Essential things you’d teach people how to cook

Postby Badger's Mate » Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:28 am

I think I would basically agree with KK & Suelle, particularly about teaching people how to cook things they like, but in the hope of encouraging them to try new foods. I'm not sure that breadmaking would be on my list, though I do it every week. There is plenty of good bread readily available on sale. I wish somebody would teach me how not to burn toast. :roll: Perhaps though, these days, it might be worth showing someone how to make a pizza, but that would be the way in. Not essential though, maybe the next step.

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