Best way to learn to cook

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by crazycat, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    What's the best way to start learning cooking?

    I can cook a few dishes but I would like to take it to the next level and start cooking 2-3 times a week instead of me cooking once a month. Does anyone have a goodeasy to follow with lots of pic's and videos.

  2. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
  3. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Watch some foodnetwork shows, and once you see a chef you like, be it Alton Brown, Rachel Ray or Bobbie Flay buy one of their cook books.

    You can also look to see if your local community college or high school offers any sort of evening classes as well.
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Buy a recipe book or watch some shows as above and most importantly just try something. The more often you cook the easier it'll get...
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    So cook 2-3 times a week. The best way to learn to cook is to do it. If you can read, you can cook.
  7. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    It not that hard really. By ingredients, chop and dice and add together and put in pot or oven or what ever. Purchase a book with easy and fast 20 minutes dinners and go from there.
  8. mojohanna macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    If you can follow written directions, you can cook. Here is my tip. The first time you do a recipe, follow the ingredients EXACTLY. That way, you learn the techniques and how the dish should turn out and taste. If you like it, then you can start to tweak things the second time around. Is there an ingredient you dont really like? Substitute something you do like.
    The fun part about cooking is that it is creative. For 90% of dishes, there is not a science to it (unless you are baking then that is a whole different story).

    I would agree with others. Start watching Food Network. Get a subscription to Bon Appetite. There are tons of good ideas in there and they always give you tips on where to find things, techniques, and such. Another good place is for tons and tons of recipes.

    Get creative and have fun. Cooking is a great way to impress a girlfriend or boyfriend. Nothing beats a thoughtful home made meal!
  9. Hayduke60 macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2009
    If you don't have a Grandma to learn from, check out the great depression cooking with Clara vids on YouTube. She's a delightful 90 year old lady that cooks up some really great stuff.
  10. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    try cooking, your motivation will be eating ****** food until you get good.
  11. RITZFit macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2007
    In my Corner
    I suck at cooking but I'm excellent at following instructions :D so I love places like . All kinds of recipes on there where they list out everything you need. great way to get acquainted w/ diff. ways to cook .
  12. solchitlins macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2009
    This is the text book we used in Culinary school:

    But you probably don't need anything so intensive.

    The best cooks or Chef's learn how best to use the ingredient's they have at their disposal.

    Buying what is in season and learning what cooking techniques best suit the cuts of meat their working with.

    "Less is more"

    Don't go crazy trying to reinvent the wheel.
    Learn the basics of grilling, sauteing, braising/ stewing, roasting and so on...

    Try to learn some classic time tested recipes, in that process you will start to appreciate classic flavor profiles and know what works best.

    That way you will have a solid foundation to be a decent cook and not be crippled by recipe cards and shopping lists.


  13. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030


    Apr 19, 2008
    Pandora, Home Tree
    Best way to learn to cook? Be hungry and head for the kitchen. You would be amazed at what you can teach yourself. I started cooking my own breakfast, french toast from scratch, at 8 years old. That was 41 years ago, and I have never regretted it. ;)
  14. greygray macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2009
  15. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2005
    Manchester UK
    My advice is to get organised and get really good at the boring parts!

    Things that are fun:
    Eating the food you just cooked

    Things that are not:
    Chopping endlessly
    Running around mid way through to find things
    Washing up

    Do all of your prep beforehand and clean as you go. Get good at the prep work (knife skills and the like). Then you can just get on with it. Once you are finished clean up as soon as you can. Then you are ready for next time.

    The things that always put me off are a messy kitchen and the thought of an hour spent peeling potatoes.

    If cooking is a chore you won't enjoy it and you will revert back. If you get the boring bits sorted, then cooking is a joy!
  16. palane macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2009
    I'll take a crack at this, because i think it's a great question. First off. If you've got the scratch, some classes are a great way to learn basic technique. I haven't had the time (young kids), but I very much want to take a knife skills class. If you're crazy about pasta and want to make your own, a class can save you a lot of trial and error.

    Failing classes, step 2. Good cooking shows. I saw someone else recommend Good Eats, which I heartily endorse. Alton Brown started a whole tenderloin phase for me. I'd never seen a tenderloin properly stripped. With beef being cheap right now, you can get a tenderloin for around $6 - $8/pound. Relatively lean and very tender (well, what do you expect?). Other suggestions. America's Test Kitchen. Often fairly standard dishes, but you pick up a lot of ideas. I have a nearly complete collection of Cook's Illustrated. Lydia Bastianich's shows are also a favorite of mine. Fast Food My Way by Jaque Pepín. José Andres show on Spanish food is wonderful! I live in the Washington, DC area and his restaurants are terrific!

    Step 3. Pick a cuisine and learn about it. The first real step I made to being a good home cook came from living in northern England. It was my first introduction to Indian cooking and I loved it! Then I moved back to the U.S. So, I set about learning how to cook a decent Indian meal. Fortunately, I found a terrific cook book and cooked my way through much of it. With experience, I can sort out the good recipes from the bad. Since then, I've taken on risotto (which I adore) and sushi.

    Warning. The web is not necessarily your friend. I have picked up a lot of recipes and that's fine. However, there's a lot of chaff out there. People will literally post recipes they've never bothered making. Individually, it works, but it's hit or miss. A few good cookbooks are an indispensable resource. Favorite sites of mine include Epicurious and

    You sound like where I was about 8 years ago. It's a fun adventure and you gain a lot more control over your diet. Go for it!!!


  17. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Check out Chef John at He's also got a YouTube channel and he's got videos on

    This is a simple top sirloin steak recipe that I thought was pretty darned fantastic.

    There's virtually no work: buy the ingredients, mix together the sauce, fry it in a frying pan as per the directions. It was absolutely delicious. And that cut of meat is dirt cheap.

    Some of John's recipes are beyond what I'm willing to try for a simple meal, but he's got lots of neat stuff in his channel.

    Best way to learn to cook?

    1. Decide that you want to eat something. Say, Thai green curry. Or, as in my case, the grocery store had top sirloin steak on sale and I wanted to learn a new way to prepare it.
    2. Google it or look it up on YouTube.
    3. Find a recipe that looks good.
    4. Go buy the ingredients.
    5. Follow the recipe exactly as written.
    6. Enjoy! And keep the recipe for next time. Make notes of changes you want to make. Too spicy? Add less next time. Think it would work better with something different? Try it next time. Keep your notes.
    7. Repeat until you have a large repertoire of food you are confident making.
  18. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    I am fortunate that my parents live 200 meters up the road. So if i want to cook something new, i go up there house they watch me cook and provide advise.

    They don't mind lol - Free meal for them.

    If i didn't have that probably been wiki'ing recipes and watching youtube vids on how to cook
  19. ejb190 macrumors 65816


    I'll toss in a few suggestions.

    A good basic cook book like the Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens might be a place to start as well. I used them to learn basic terms and techniques.

    In the end, the only way to learn to cook is to cook. You will make mistakes. You will learn from them. If you don't like something, maybe it's just not your flavor. (I can't stand hot foods, for instance.)

    And cooking doesn't have to be from scratch. I can show you 10 or 20 different ways to prepare a box of macaroni and cheese!

    And most of these "professional chefs" on TV take themselves way too seriously.
  20. Keniff macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2008
    United Kingdom
  21. palane macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Good basic cookbooks

    Joy of Cooking was my starter many years ago. I'd also recommend the Best Recipe (which is taken from the Cooks Illustrated books).


  22. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    True enough.

    OP - I really like your question and admire your determination. I spent three years as a cook when I was in college, and I'll tell you there's NO substitute at all for just getting in the kitchen and getting to work! It's also more fun to cook than to read, IMO.

    Soon you'll just develop a good feel for what tastes good together, how varying cooking temperatures and times affects the final product, etc.

    Good luck, and just have fun with it!

    ^^ What he said. I was a teenager when my mother went back to work full-time, so if you wanted breakfast in the morning, you got up and fixed it - or you went hungry. Soon enough, I got tired of eating cereal, and within a week I was able to make a good omelet (without burning it or sticking it!) without any help.
  23. cheferic macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2009
    Online video cooking school

    Learn to cook online, it is fun, interactive and affordable.

    My name is Chef Eric Arrouzé. I am a French Chef Instructor. By creating this online video cooking school, I wanted to give anyone the opportunity to take the same quality cooking courses as in a "real" school.

    Online Culinary School is a cooking school made of cooking courses, practice videos recipes lessons, exercises, homework, quizzes, progress report, personal chef support and a certificate of completion.

    I am looking forward to seeing you in class.

    Chef Eric

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