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Old 06-02-2010, 12:50 PM   #1
DoinkMobb
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Default Can anybody learn how to cook? Or is it just something you know?

Is cooking an inherent ability?

I know how to cook. I can throw something together on the fly or follow a recipe. I never paid attention when my mom was cooking, I never took a food prep course or anything, it's just something I know how to do. I don't know how or why I know, I just do.

My wife, however, cannot cook at all. She has no concept of what ingredients can go together or in what amounts, or how long to cook this or that. Sometimes she can follow a recipe, but most of the time it ends up in disaster.

If someone doesn't have that natural inclination to know how to make food that tastes good, can they be taught?
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:50 PM   #2
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In for answers!
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:53 PM   #3
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I blame the Gay/Lesbian community. I had to cook cause none of the women I dated could. Damn equal rights movement.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:54 PM   #4
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Anyone can cook.

If you think you can, you will get good through trial and error.
If you think you can't, then you decided to not learn how.

This holds true for a lot of things...
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:55 PM   #5
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I dunno, I definitely learned. This is evident in the fact that I kick ass at making Italian food and grilling stuff (what I grew up on), but fail miserably at cooking fish or even the simplest of Mexican dishes. Asian food, too. Can't do it.

:shrug:
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:56 PM   #6
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I'm totally confused by people who can't cook at all. It's like a math equation with a cheat sheet. Get A, B, C ingredients. Cook at X temperature for Y amount of time. Done. That's it.

Especially really really simple things like fish or boneless chicken, things of that nature. Put on pan, dump some seasoning, place in oven, cook, pull out of oven, eat.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:56 PM   #7
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Anyone can cook. It is as damn easy as following directions.

People who "can't" cook are either simply uniterested or absent minded. If you burn something it is because you paid no attention.

That doesn't mean everyone can be a chef, but if you can't follow a recipe that is just a lack of motivation.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:59 PM   #8
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Anything can be taught if the recipient is willing to learn.

Most people have some quality they are "naturally" better at.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:01 PM   #9
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I have a hard time telling if fried food is "done", other then that it's all easy.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacecaR View Post
I have a hard time telling if fried food is "done", other then that it's all easy.
They make this cool product to temp the insides of food now
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:05 PM   #11
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I'm awesome at following recipes. I can not, however, make anything without a recipe. I freak out. I have no sense of what goes with what and how much that is.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrhappy View Post
Anyone can cook. It is as damn easy as following directions.
Bull****. That's not cooking, that's following a recipe. You sound like my stupid ex-girlfriend... "I'm a bomb cook." Horse****. Everything she made tasted mundane and soulless, because she just cracked open her Betty Crocker cookbook and followed the recipe to a T.

Cooking doesn't involve recipes any further than a vague starting point.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrhappy View Post
Anyone can cook. It is as damn easy as following directions.

People who "can't" cook are either simply uniterested or absent minded. If you burn something it is because you paid no attention.

That doesn't mean everyone can be a chef, but if you can't follow a recipe that is just a lack of motivation.

I agree that anybody should be able to follow a recipe. It's step by step, real easy.
BUT can somebody learn just how to throw something together? Most of the stuff I make is from scratch, a small portion is from recipes that I've come across and then modified. I'm not a master chef, but I can make what I like to eat.

My wife doesn't understand how I do this, and I can't teach her to "know" what will taste good.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:09 PM   #14
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I was always very interested in chemistry as a kid and did many experiments. Later, when both my parents went out to work, (I was about 14) I realized that since I got home from school before they came back, I could avoid homework by preparing the evening meal. I started off cooking the stuff that my mother used to make, but after a while I grew bored with this. At the local lending library I found a book called "Curries of India". I had no idea what most of the ingredients (especially the spices) were so I took the book to a herbalist store. (I lived in Edinburgh - medical center of many kinds.) The herbalist had all of this weird stuff and I went home with a "sampler" kit that they gave me for pennies. What an eye opener! It was like being a charcoal artist and then suddenly discovering colors! I cooked everything in the book and in the process picked up the knack of how to do it. I've never looked back.

So to answer your question I think it takes a range of qualities that many people have but some do not. You need to be creative, an experimentalist, a little bit daring, and enjoy doing things to please other people. You need to take great pride in your work and strive for perfection. It also helps if you're hungry
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r0bman View Post
Bull****. That's not cooking, that's following a recipe. You sound like my stupid ex-girlfriend... "I'm a bomb cook." Horse****. Everything she made tasted mundane and soulless, because she just cracked open her Betty Crocker cookbook and followed the recipe to a T.

Cooking doesn't involve recipes any further than a vague starting point.
Cooking is the act of heating something up. That is it.

You just have this need to be better than everyone so you take the most simple of things and try to make them seem more difficult, if only to make yourself seem somehow more important.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:11 PM   #16
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrhappy View Post
Cooking is the act of heating something up. That is it.

You just have this need to be better than everyone so you take the most simple of things and try to make them seem more difficult, if only to make yourself seem somehow more important.


You must make the ladies swoon with them pots and pans.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
I agree that anybody should be able to follow a recipe. It's step by step, real easy.
BUT can somebody learn just how to throw something together? Most of the stuff I make is from scratch, a small portion is from recipes that I've come across and then modified. I'm not a master chef, but I can make what I like to eat.

My wife doesn't understand how I do this, and I can't teach her to "know" what will taste good.
That isn't cooking.

As I said to robman, cooking is heating something.

You are talking about something more complex. And that isn't needed to cook.

Its like you are telling me that painting a wall with one color isn't painting.

It is, it might not be art, but it is painting.

Cooking can become an art form, and that is what you are talking about. But cooking is simply going through the steps to prepare food.

Now get off your high horses people.

You folks are the reason people think they can't cook.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrhappy View Post
Anyone can cook. It is as damn easy as following directions.
No...no not everyone. Cooking is just like an art. There are different levels of skills for drawing, some people could draw a stick figure, others could make elegant artwork.

Just like anything else it takes practice and someone to teach you. How many kids you know that can cook great that have never cooked in there life before?

Some have a natural talent yes just like drawing, they know what taste good together and enjoy doing it. You can give directions on how to draw the mona lisa...doesnt mean its going to look like the mona lisa. There are to many factors.

C/N: there are to many factors that decided if you can cook
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:15 PM   #20
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Most people can make/cook a meal.

But to create on the fly, to spontaneously make a meal with just <these things you had around>, to know what flavors complement others in meals...these are things that you must feel.

I've known a handful of people like this in my life and all but 1 was a chef.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:16 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoinkMobb View Post
I know how to cook. I can throw something together on the fly or follow a recipe. I never paid attention when my mom was cooking, I never took a food prep course or anything, it's just something I know how to do. I don't know how or why I know, I just do.

My wife, however, cannot cook at all. She has no concept of what ingredients can go together or in what amounts, or how long to cook this or that. Sometimes she can follow a recipe, but most of the time it ends up in disaster.

If someone doesn't have that natural inclination to know how to make food that tastes good, can they be taught?
If I was to have started this thread it would have been 99% the same, except it is my dad that can cook in the family. I never sat and really learnt how to do it, I just can.
I can make good tasting food from scratch without a recipe or really knowing what I am going for.
My wife on the otherhand, not so much. She has gotten better but more than anything sticks to things she knows how to make or has made before and liked. She doesn't like experimenting with either making new things or with unfamiliar flavors or ingredients.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:16 PM   #22
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My wife can't cook for ****. I blame her mom though. Her mom has her so brainwashed about getting sick from meat that she overcooks the **** out of everything.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:19 PM   #23
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It's Like Water for Chocolate....
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:19 PM   #24
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Anyone can follow a recipe.

As far as putting your own stuff together, to hell with cookbooks... that's a different matter. Some can do this naturally, some learn easily, some take a long time and have to be taught patiently. Others, however, have no acute sense of taste, can't combine flavors in their head, and have no desire to develop these things.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotelprowrx View Post
Most people can make/cook a meal.
I would say that most people can't make/cook a meal, unless you are including people who just open canned food and heat it up. Though I am not discounting the possibility that I only meet culinary retards.
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