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26

Why bother paying for instruction or books. The best way to learn is watching a video and practicing. Youtube Youtube has a great wealth of videos on knife skills. I'm more a visual learner. I like to see a video. A book are not going to help me squat. Knife Skills: Julliene with Ann Burrell Knife Skills: Chiffonade with Ann Burrell Knife SKills: ...


20

One thing that my mother suggested to me when I first started getting interested in learning to cook beyond blindly following a recipe was that I try making scrambled eggs with one single spice in them to see how that flavor affects the taste of something I know well. It's actually a pretty good way to train your tastebuds to understand what flavor a ...


19

This is a really difficult topic to approach, and I think the only reliable way to identify flavours is through years and years of practice using those flavours in your cooking. To start with, I think the easiest thing to do would be to understand the different types of flavours. Those are: Sweet Everybody knows this one. Sweet is the taste of sugar, ...


18

It's not a "cheat sheet", and is rather too big to stick to your fridge, but I highly recommend the book The Flavor Bible, which is an encyclopedia of exactly these associations. What ingredients does any particular ingredient go with? How do you cook it? Absolutely terrific book!


16

I really like the book "Knife skills Illustrated"; it is a bit annoying that it has left and right handed versions of everything, though.


13

Like many crafts which originated in Japan, their sushi training more or less creates sushi artisans. If you just want to make a snack, you'll have plenty of ability given a basic review of techniques. You should focus your learning on understanding food-safety, getting the rice right, and making the roll not fall apart. The rest is just levels of mastery ...


12

First, trust your nose. Smell the food you're cooking. Open the spice and sniff above it (but not too close, and don't sneeze!). If they smell good together, they usually taste good together. If you're working with products you can't taste test (like raw meat), either wait until the food is cooked to season, or be very conservative in your early experiments. ...


12

Learning through repertoire is a good way to build standard skills in nearly every discipline. If what you want is to be able to create a variety of good meals then cooking out of books will serve you well. That isn't to say that the book you choose doesn't matter, of course it does! A book full of accurate facts and procedures does not a good teacher make. ...


9

To piggyback on Tim Gilbert's answer, my wife will actually open two spice jars and hold one up to each nostril at the same time, to see if they smell like they would go together. More often than not, she picks out good combinations. Since there have been some great comprehensive links I don't think I have much more to add to your specific question about ...


8

The Good Eats episode American Slicer was devoted entirely to knife usage.


8

You could certainly get a cookbook of side dishes and learn some new favourites, but what might be more useful is a book that teaches you about flavour combinations and menu planning. I would suggest Culinary Artistry as one such book. It's not about specific recipes (you can find those elsewhere or make them up), but rather it addresses the kind of skill ...


6

Books can get you a long way, but they can never become a teacher. Cooking is not just something you need to know about, it's a craft that you have to practice. A teacher can Spot flaws in techniques. Judge the result based on years of experience. Give you the tips and trick that you need. So while you can learn from a book, getting to a high lever will ...


6

I have one of the Betty Crocker books which dedicates several pages in the back to exactly this. I highly recommend getting something like this. Here are a few good ones online also: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/he198w.htm http://www.joyofbaking.com/IngredientSubstitution.html http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ciqsubs.shtml


5

I make sushi with friends about once a month, and it's not too difficult. The thing that took us the longest to get right was the rice, and we got that down after a few tries. It'll probably take a while to figure out the amount of vinegar you like in it, and how long to leave the seaweed in it while it's cooking. For nigiri, I've got a little plexiglass ...


5

'If you can read you can cook' - Anon


5

Cooks Illustrated has a couple of great videos (subscription, or free trial, required). Basic Knife Skills More Basic Knife Skills


5

Keep in mind that whipping cream or egg whites by hand may take longer than you expect. That said, there is a proper way to whisk egg whites, and it is quite likely that taking breaks due to your fatigue is interfering. See this site for detailed instructions. In particular, see below for an excerpt on one possible problem (although there are numerous ...


5

I don't think there are any shortcuts to trying the individual spices. If you only want to figure out that Indian dish, you could practice with just the typical range of Indian spices. It is often helpful to close your eyes while tasting and try to really imprint the flavor in your mind, and associate with the name and appearance of the food you are tasting. ...


4

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver In Defense of Food and Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan Those are the ones I've been working on recently.


4

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.


4

Jeffrey Steingarten - The Man Who Ate Everything and It Must Be Something I Ate The New Yorker Anthology of Food Writing Herve This - Molecular Gastronomy


4

Experiment. Experiment, experiment, experiment, experiment! Recipes and cheat-sheets can give ideas and guide your experimenting, but nothing else will help you really get to know the tastes of the spices and develop your olfactory imagination. Even experiments that fail can be well worthwhile. Once when I was camping, the lid of a pepper container fell ...


4

You really don't need a course, the most important thing is to practise and keep cooking.


4

To continue with smell: much of the flavor of food is the combination of tastebud sensation (sweet/sour/etc mentioned previously) and the fragrance of the ingredients. Many herbs have tiny bit of bitter or sweet, or even a little sour perhaps, but they have radically different fragrances. Something you can do is close your eyes and sniff herbs and spices ...


4

Good Eats (Food Network): Explains some of the science behind why techniques work, and occassional information about the history of the ingredients or dishes. America's Test Kitchen (PBS) and Cook's Country (PBS): Explain the techniques that they've used to improve dishes, and have occassional segments explain the science behind cooking processes. Mexico - ...


3

I learned how to cook from a book, and I could barely make toast when I started. While cooking classes can be very useful, I'd suggest nothing more than supplementing your own journey with them. If you cook out of a good book 7 nights a week, you'll learn quickly. My recomendation would be The Best Recipe. The advantage of this book is that there is a ...


3

To be a professional, yes there are schools in Japan that take several years to complete including lengthy apprenticeship requirements. That said, I've taken a 3 hour sushi class and I can make sushi rice, maki, nigiri, and hand rolls just fine. They sometimes lack a little in the appearance department though.


3

I second Harlan's recommendation for the The Flavor Bible. And a blatent plug here: http://www.spicesherpa.com is a site and blog dedicated to providing small bits of fun spice information and pairing guides. :-) For example, I just released a post on 10 Awesome Coriander Combinations. It's a way to get learn about spices, flavor combinations a little bit ...


3

The absolute best way to pick this up is to do it with the help of an in-person instructor. It is a motor skill that is best learned by trial, error, and the emulation of experts. Your local culinary institutes might offer courses or one-day workshops on various topics for the general public and cooking enthusiasts. For instance, here's a place in ...



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