• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

why don't more people learn how to cook?

Raven117

Gold Member
True.

Unless someone is a pro cook with great gear at home, trying to beat high end restaurant quality food is going to be tough.

But it cant be that hard if someone knows what they are doing. My mom cooked great stuff at home, had zero training and made all the stuff in cheap ass pots and pans, and an oven tray to make roast beef that looked like it was 30 years old in a shitty oven. No doubt my mom's apple pie is better than any I've ever eaten, whether it's store bought or from a restaurant. When I go to friend's BBQs, some of them make great shit and they arent cooks either. Often better than any BBQ I've ate at a restaurant.

I'm no cook expert, but I'd say some of the stuff I make at home is just as good as many modest restaurants and I'm just making this shit with normal grocery store ingredients and common dude cookware and kitchen appliances. Zero training or commercial grade equipment in my house. The main pot I use to cook stuff I got from Canadian Tire for about $30.

The one key advantage people at home have is time. We can take 10 min to make something or sit there for an hour. Whereas restaurants have to churn out your dinner in lets say 20 minutes. So they got a time crunch. BUT, they also got better equipment, are trained and spent time prepping and defrosting stuff all morning.
Absolutely with the time. That is a HUGE advantage a home cook has. If you are really going for it with patience, time and technique you can definitely get to average restaurant quality food...and with some work...even higher up the scale. Average cooking is about following the recipe. Great cooking is about focusing on details, treating recipes as guidelines rather than gospel, accounting for conditions in your kitchen, and, of course, knowing how to properly execute each technique at multiple steps throughout the process (when to salt, when to use acid, all that stuff). You are building a meal...not just throwing something in a pan.

I have outfitted my kitchen with as much commercial grade stuff as a I can within reason. But really, it comes down to technique more than anything (unless you are really leaning into high end stuff that uses elements of molecular gastronomy and all that jazz).

But damn, I just want to reiterate just how great it is to be sipping on a great bottle of wine, nothing rushed, listening to the music of choice (for me, its Coltrane)...and just going through the process on a rainy afternoon for a dinner with my girlfriend. Thats the good stuff.
 
Last edited:

chromhound

Gold Member
Well, that's one way to pay off your ubereats order.
qgSPM08.jpg
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
I have outfitted my kitchen with as much commercial grade stuff as a I can within reason. But really, it comes down to technique more than anything (unless you are really leaning into high end stuff that uses elements of molecular gastronomy and all that jazz).
Just curious, when you say commerical grade do you mean high end consumer brands that cost a lot? (Like how when my bro bought a brand new house, the default kitchen stuff he got in his house were Wolf and Dacor. I have no idea how good this stuff is compared to mainstream brands except they cost like 3x the price.

Or do you mean high end stuff that only restaurant owners would recognize?
 

Lasha

Member
Most restaurant food is prepared by unskilled kids following instructions. Exceeding that bar is surprisingly easy with minimal effort. Understanding how to manage a kitchen and plan meals is why people struggle to cook. Establishing a habit of eating at home is easier when one understands how to remove friction from the process.

My wife and I can prepare most meals within half an hour because our kitchen is always stocked with staples and the base ingredients for many dishes. We will spend a weekend afternoon making tomato sauce or bread which is frozen to be used over a month. Daily prep is usually vegetables or other simple prep. Eating out is mostly high end restaurants or stuff we can't cook at home (tandoor, prata, etc).
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Most restaurant food is prepared by unskilled kids following instructions. Exceeding that bar is surprisingly easy with minimal effort. Understanding how to manage a kitchen and plan meals is why people struggle to cook. Establishing a habit of eating at home is easier when one understands how to remove friction from the process.

My wife and I can prepare most meals within half an hour because our kitchen is always stocked with staples and the base ingredients for many dishes. We will spend a weekend afternoon making tomato sauce or bread which is frozen to be used over a month. Daily prep is usually vegetables or other simple prep. Eating out is mostly high end restaurants or stuff we can't cook at home (tandoor, prata, etc).
Ya.

Also saving time is following a schedule (or pathway) how to cook things and do errands concurrently.

For example, if I want chicken and veggies, I'll defrost meat overnight (sometimes two nights), marinade it up during that time or in the morning. When it's dinner time, throw the chicken in the oven or airfryer. Oven takes 50 minutes, airfryer 20 minutes. In the meantime, do all the other shit like cutting up and prepping veggies etc.... At the half way point, cook that stuff too.

If there's time leftover, you can also take a shower.

A big time waster is doing the reverse. Do all kinds of prep work, taking a shower, doing laundry..... and then start cooking the meat. That drags out the whole process.

A good time saver too (which I admit I dont do often) is make enough food for 2-3 meals so all you do is heat it up in the microwave or airfryer.
 

Raven117

Gold Member
Just curious, when you say commerical grade do you mean high end consumer brands that cost a lot? (Like how when my bro bought a brand new house, the default kitchen stuff he got in his house were Wolf and Dacor. I have no idea how good this stuff is compared to mainstream brands except they cost like 3x the price.

Or do you mean high end stuff that only restaurant owners would recognize?
A little of both. I only live in an apartment, so I don't have control of my oven/stove (but its natural gas and strangely great for being just a normal ol'apartment). That said, I can push my apartment kitchen to its limit of what it can handle.

But I definitely have professional grade knives. A mix of high end consumer pots and pans (all clad, always purchased on sale on their factory seconds sale), and restaurant grade carbon steel (like Matfer Bourgeat) and cast iron.

8 inch fry pan. 3 inch deep Sautee pan, 6 inch small cast iron skillet and stainless steel, stock pot (6qt or 8qt), 10 inch cast iron, 3 qt sauce pot. a few other pans, but those are the workhorses. Especially that 3 inch deep sautee pan.

Most other utensils, I just got to the Restaurant Supply store and get those. Id probably say from the gadget perspective, a good blender/food processor, mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), good strainers (like a chimois), is really all you need to really get cooking into resturant quality stuff. Not super high end...but at the neighborhood upsale gastropub.

Also, treating your dried spices is another key component. Buy them fresh and in bulk if you can. The little grocery store cannisters just wont give you the pop you want after you get used to using freshly dried whole spices, toasting them in a skillet, then grinding them with a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder depending on amount).

Really, that is all you need to get up and going to both ENJOY cooking (knives are huge...the wrong set of knives really put you behind on enjoying the process), and having the gear to make great food. You really don't need a lot of super high end equipment to get to some pretty amazing stuff. Knowing how to use your knives, a decent pan that conduct heats the way you want it to, knowing when to season with salt, ....you are going to be able to outcook most restaurants if you know what you are doing with just that.
 
Last edited:

Raven117

Gold Member
Most restaurant food is prepared by unskilled kids following instructions. Exceeding that bar is surprisingly easy with minimal effort. Understanding how to manage a kitchen and plan meals is why people struggle to cook. Establishing a habit of eating at home is easier when one understands how to remove friction from the process.

My wife and I can prepare most meals within half an hour because our kitchen is always stocked with staples and the base ingredients for many dishes. We will spend a weekend afternoon making tomato sauce or bread which is frozen to be used over a month. Daily prep is usually vegetables or other simple prep. Eating out is mostly high end restaurants or stuff we can't cook at home (tandoor, prata, etc).
This is exactly right. Building the correct kitchen with the right staples is such a key component. Cooking kinda sucks when you just have your recipe, go to the store, buy everything down to the salt and then go cook it. But when you can eyeball a recipe, know that you just need a few fresh things, and can freewheel the rest....Man...thats when it starts to get super fun. (Or better yet....start challenging yourself to only buy what's on sale and prep a meal out of it...thats when you know you are starting to break free of average cooking and actually developing skill).
Ya.

Also saving time is following a schedule (or pathway) how to cook things and do errands concurrently.

For example, if I want chicken and veggies, I'll defrost meat overnight (sometimes two nights), marinade it up during that time or in the morning. When it's dinner time, throw the chicken in the oven or airfryer. Oven takes 50 minutes, airfryer 20 minutes. In the meantime, do all the other shit like cutting up and prepping veggies etc.... At the half way point, cook that stuff too.

If there's time leftover, you can also take a shower.

A big time waster is doing the reverse. Do all kinds of prep work, taking a shower, doing laundry..... and then start cooking the meat. That drags out the whole process.

A good time saver too (which I admit I dont do often) is make enough food for 2-3 meals so all you do is heat it up in the microwave or airfryer.
You can do it that way. But you can also just defrost those chicken breasts in warm water (assuming that's what you are using), that takes about 15 minutes. Butter fly it. Sear it in a cast iron skillet (takes about 6 minutes), while your veggies are roasting in the oven at 425 for about 20 minutes. ...Can be eating a better meal (at least for my tastes) in half the time you are talking about. Just a suggestion
 

K2D

Banned
Capitalism, social engineering, advertisement psychology.

Normalizing mindset of working upwards of 40 hours a week, often uncompensated. Nonexistent surplus of energy as a result.

Local government - funding.
 

BadBurger

Many “Whelps”! Handle It!
I think many people just never get inspired, while also assuming it's a trade they can't learn themselves.

I worked in kitchens in high school and college, though only doing simple cookery (mostly grill and greasy spoon type stuff, also spun pizzas for a hot a minute), so I had a gateway. But I didn't really put in effort until I watched what was then the old show A Cook's Tour with Anthony Bourdain. I watched all of these people from around the world making what I thought were sophisticated dishes, but were actually simple-looking in practice.

I still don't consider myself a good cook, but when I really, truly try, I can make some dishes worthy of sharing on social media.
 

Raven117

Gold Member
Capitalism, social engineering, advertisement psychology.

Normalizing mindset of working upwards of 40 hours a week, often uncompensated. Nonexistent surplus of energy as a result.

Local government - funding.
What are you talking about? Don't mess up this thread that is discussing the simple pleasures of cooking.
 
  • Praise the Sun
Reactions: K2D

jason10mm

Gold Member
Sponsored shit. Take any oriental recipe and see what you need to buy for the "authentic" experience. And I'm pretty sure those gals don't bother with the dishes.

They're kinda hot tho
Nah, Giada was pretty legit. And Sandra Lee's "Semi-home made" was a great show for integrting some prepared stuff into a cooked meal to save time. The last lady I don't think I"ve seen on a "how to cook" show but she sure is purdy as a cooking judge.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
One thing that also helps making cooking exciting are sauces. I just buy premade marinades and stirfry kinds of sauces, so I'm not making my concoctions except some basic sauces I make which might be oil, salt and pepper and spices, soy and thick teryaki sauce.

But my cupboard or fridge or shelf right now has these sauces. Nothing extravagant. All these are cheap mass produced sauces, but who cares. The only thing I'm missing is I often have a bottle of teryaki and jerk on me. But I'll get those another time when I use some of my existing stuff up. I only use 3 sauces at a time then move on to other sauces as I dont want any to go bad. I also got Valentina and Sriacha hot sauces ready at any time. Even for burgers, I got various mustard, I got the boring yellow one, dijon style and sometimes I buy the seeded jar you spread the shit on with a knife.

- Diana BBQ
- PC garlic dipping sauce for wings, but I use it for sandwiches too
- Korean BBQ
- Hoisin
- PC peanut satay
- VH pineapple
- Divya Tikka Masala

A shit load of stuff from Costco
- KFI butter chicken (double pack)
- KFI chutney
- Pasta alfredo sauce (triple pack)
- Aioli dipping sauce (double pack)
- Clubhouse chicken spice
- Clubhouse steak spice
 
Last edited:

22:22:22

NO PAIN TRANCE CONTINUE
Nah, Giada was pretty legit. And Sandra Lee's "Semi-home made" was a great show for integrting some prepared stuff into a cooked meal to save time. The last lady I don't think I"ve seen on a "how to cook" show but she sure is purdy as a cooking judge.

Fair enough. Although I'm pretty confident those ingredients don't come out of their own pockets. Easy to make a well made meal full of ingredients most of us don't have laying around on the regular with a whole production team behind you. But perhaps I'm to cynical. Pleasing to the eye tho. I wonder why
 

22:22:22

NO PAIN TRANCE CONTINUE
You know the trouble I'll have getting certain ingredients for a relative simple Indonesian dish? Nevermind the costs.
They make it seem so easy when in reality it isn't by a long shot.

Just my experience YMMV
 

jason10mm

Gold Member
Fair enough. Although I'm pretty confident those ingredients don't come out of their own pockets. Easy to make a well made meal full of ingredients most of us don't have laying around on the regular with a whole production team behind you. But perhaps I'm to cynical. Pleasing to the eye tho. I wonder why
True, the sous chef chopping up all that shit they just casually throw into a pot or whatever is the secret sauce to all that cooking.

"A bit of rosemary, some thyme, a pinch of freshly ground pepper, 3 pinches of chopped sage, a dash of lemon zest, the juice of a crushed artichoke heart, the blood of a virgin olive, and VIOLA a perfect sauce for duck!"

ME: "Fuck! Thats an HOUR of prep!"
 

Wildebeest

Member
Are we talking people who refuse to heat up a frozen pizza or make a sandwich, or people who have never made a beef wellington from scratch?
 

22:22:22

NO PAIN TRANCE CONTINUE
True, the sous chef chopping up all that shit they just casually throw into a pot or whatever is the secret sauce to all that cooking.

"A bit of rosemary, some thyme, a pinch of freshly ground pepper, 3 pinches of chopped sage, a dash of lemon zest, the juice of a crushed artichoke heart, the blood of a virgin olive, and VIOLA a perfect sauce for duck!"

ME: "Fuck! Thats an HOUR of prep!"

Yeah that was my point.

Serves as a nice template but for most of us it's unrealistic.
 

jason10mm

Gold Member
Yeah that was my point.

Serves as a nice template but for most of us it's unrealistic.
A good compromise for my family were the "semi-prepared" meal services like Blue Apron, Home Fresh, etc. They often required some prep but you got all that exotic shit and the steps were pretty basic. If you are looking to break out of spaghetti and hamburger helper as the limit of your skills those services can actually help.
 
Because most people's parents don't teach them how to, not impart the joys of cooking and culinary skills onto their children.
 

Meicyn

Gold Member
You charring that thing with direct heat???

Get the EGGconverter on there STAT for indirect cooking!
Look closer, there’s a ceramic plate down below under the grates. It’s covered with meat drippings and char but you can’t see any hot coals below because of the plate.
 

jason10mm

Gold Member
Look closer, there’s a ceramic plate down below under the grates. It’s covered with meat drippings and char but you can’t see any hot coals below because of the plate.
Yeah, could be. Thats definitely the way I'd do it, probably foil the breasteses a bit earlier to prevent some of that browning as well.
 

Amiga

Member
..Its difficult to make stuff truly excellent (like high end restaurant grade). Anyone who says a blanket statement of "cooking is easy" is really missing it.

All about the ingredients. Good restaurants pick the good stuff. Good cooks are actually good shoppers.
 

K2D

Banned
What are you talking about? Don't mess up this thread that is discussing the simple pleasures of cooking.
I know right? But it answers OP first question and is 'on topic' and true from my perspective.

To answer your request though - personally, I most enjoy the chemistry aspect of cooking. I think I'd be a better food chemist than chef.
 
Last edited:

12Goblins

Lil’ Gobbie
Americans work too much to be cooking their own food IMO. Unless u got a stay at home wife that enjoys doing it, cooking involves constantly shopping for fresh ingredients, taking the time to actually cook x3 per day, cleaning all the shit and loading up the dishwasher constantly; it's a fuck ton of work, takes up a lot of thought, and it's just never ending. And for what? most of the shit we eat is not even good for you so ur better off not eating half the time. My parents are chefs so I'm a decent cook by osmosis, but at this stage in my life I just door dash some relatively healthy shit once a day, snack on fruits the rest of time and call it a day. It's the American way 🇺🇲 🤙

On a deeper level I wish I lived in the woods, didn't have to work, and hunted my own food
 
Last edited:

Raven117

Gold Member
All about the ingredients. Good restaurants pick the good stuff. Good cooks are actually good shoppers.
That is not the whole story. Id rather have a great cook with modest ingredients than an average cook with great ingredients. Of course your fine dining has both.
 

Raven117

Gold Member
I know right? But it answers OP first question and is 'on topic' and true from my perspective.

To answer your request though - personally, I most enjoy the chemistry aspect of cooking. I think I'd be a better food chemist than chef.
Well, Im going to ignore that word salad so we can find common ground on the joy of cooking!

You are absolutely right about the science behind all of it. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, is a great food science resource if you ever decide to look more into it and scratch your chemist itch.
 
I like to make salads. There's not much cooking involved, unless it involves eggs, pasta, or something else that has to be cooked first.

Salads just look and taste amazing. And the best part is, they are healthy and easy to prepare.
 

K2D

Banned
Well, Im going to ignore that word salad so we can find common ground on the joy of cooking!

You are absolutely right about the science behind all of it. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, is a great food science resource if you ever decide to look more into it and scratch your chemist itch.
I lack something of a patience with cooking consistently. Always screw up ramen i.e by getting bored half way through and half assing it. But I make killer hen fricassee once every blue moon..
 

Saber

Member
Theres alot of reasons people don't cook:
- Lack of time, arrive at home exausted from work
- It can be difficult to deal with the fact that your food will not be at the same level of tv or restaurants
- Alot of work and ingredients can be expensive for a person to keep practicing

I also not sure how people couldn't even do the basic, like frying an egg.
But in my case I got frustated when I'm making food on holidays and my family acts like a bunch of vultures flying around me. My father specially is a detestable person, going back and forth eating some of the ingridients.
 
Pfffft. You don't need that to fall in love with cooking. Just these two:

needs GIF
Gordon Ramsay Masterchef GIF by FOX TV


Maybe sprinkle some younger (though still MILF) Nigella Lawson in.

tumblr_mvuxprWyht1s1l0ilo1_500.gif

chef kitchen GIF

Coked out Nigella was the best Nigella for us but not her. Glad she's in a better place and back doing what she loves.

Also, this gets posted every time, it's a rule.

 

Amiga

Member
That is not the whole story. Id rather have a great cook with modest ingredients than an average cook with great ingredients. Of course your fine dining has both.
With great ingredients you just have to be competent and not ruin the process. So an average cook is all you need.
 

Raven117

Gold Member
With great ingredients you just have to be competent and not ruin the process. So an average cook is all you need.
You clearly don’t understand how technique in the kitchen works. An “average” cook doesn’t have these. So, no. A great cook with modest ingredients will cook a better meal than an average cook with great ingredients….
 

Raven117

Gold Member
I lack something of a patience with cooking consistently. Always screw up ramen i.e by getting bored half way through and half assing it. But I make killer hen fricassee once every blue moon..
Well, full blown ramen is intense! Instant, you should be ashamed :D

Hen fricase is awesome! Good work!
 

Sakura

Member
Who has time for that shit?

Should I learn how to ride a horse, or skin an animal to make clothes too?
It's 2022, we don't have to learn how to do this stuff anymore.
 

Amiga

Member
You clearly don’t understand how technique in the kitchen works. An “average” cook doesn’t have these. So, no. A great cook with modest ingredients will cook a better meal than an average cook with great ingredients….
I'm an average cook. And go to expensive restaurants. I match them pretty closely if I can match their ingredients. The only real difference is restaurants have a bigger material preparation scale, If I went into their kitchen and used their stuff I would produce close results.
 

lachesis

Member
It is certainly true, that restaurant food often taste better than homemade, unless the chef is a mediocre hack. I mean, chefs make those dishes day in and out, perfecting recipes. Often case, they get preferable treatment from the ingredient vendors too. They get better cut of meat that's not even available on the market, etc. Other than price that I have to pay, it's understandable how easy to go out and eat or even have a quick delivery right to your door - also saving one's precious time.

But restaurants achieve that taste with things, more often than not, that we should only eat in moderation. Sugar/carb, fat, salt, etc. They have to use ton of those to impress people and give them that dophamine rush. I think it's gotta be that first bite that counts the most, in order to be really be memorable as a good food - that it needs to be bold and pronounced.

If I could eat every day and whatever I could - I would love to. Except, it's just not healthy in the long run. I found pretty difficult to find a good restaurant meal with high in protein, and fiber, low in carb, salt and fat - and there are not much choice out there... especially true when affordability layer is added too. I make good money, but I don't understand spending 15+ bucks on food that's saturated in fat/carb/sugar/salt with often very little protein and fiber.

I've been watching what I was eating at home, and even though I thought I was eating pretty healthy asian cusine - they are just way too high in sodium. Also I wasn't paying too much attention to fat too - that as long as I keep down my carb/sugar like Keto, I believed fat and salt won't be much of an issue... but I was wrong, or perhaps I was doing this whole high protein/low carb diet wrong.

Used to think if I can't eat yummy food, a joy in life - life isn't worth living, but when I was notified alarmingly high LDL level, I realized I should have moderated and regretted it too - so that's one of the definite reason that I'm not really going out to eat that often. Perhaps once a month or two...
 

Raven117

Gold Member
I'm an average cook. And go to expensive restaurants. I match them pretty closely if I can match their ingredients. The only real difference is restaurants have a bigger material preparation scale, If I went into their kitchen and used their stuff I would produce close results.
I mean....are you sure you are going to places with great chefs?

My experience is opposite of yours. Fair enough. I'm a well above average cook, and can see how much I don't know when I see truly great chefs cook. You can say its ingredients all you want...but thats only part of the story. For me. I will say it again. Give me a great cook with average ingredients over an average cook with great ingredients any day of the week.

Its amazing how you are down playing the skill of great chefs to only the sum of their ingredients. You are wrong.
 

NinjaBoiX

Member
It’s one of the most important skills in life, it must suck not having a clue how to cook at all.

Most cost an absolute fortune too!
 

Celcius

°Temp. member
I like to eat but I don't like to cook.
Plus I prefer not to see raw foods and ingredients... just the finished product.
 

Liljagare

Gold Member
I love cooking myself, every friday and sunday are special meal days, and I always think about what to make for dinner.

But, I can see why people might not be interested, I just wish that fast food, restaurant food, and quick alternatives weren't overall so damn unhealthy for you, people who don't cook for themselves have a hard time eating healthy if they also don't think about *what* they eat. Causes alot of problems in western "modern" society.
 

Amiga

Member
I mean....are you sure you are going to places with great chefs?

My experience is opposite of yours. Fair enough. I'm a well above average cook, and can see how much I don't know when I see truly great chefs cook. You can say its ingredients all you want...but thats only part of the story. For me. I will say it again. Give me a great cook with average ingredients over an average cook with great ingredients any day of the week.

Its amazing how you are down playing the skill of great chefs to only the sum of their ingredients. You are wrong.
Cooking is not that hard, the chefs are great because of the discipline and preparation, the actual cooking is the easy part.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom