I have a reputation for being an atrocious cook. No one wants me to cook for them (I've had outright refusals), and my 'meals' have been the butt of jokes. Having had so many kitchen disasters I...
I have a reputation for being an atrocious cook. No one wants me to cook for them (I've had outright refusals), and my 'meals' have been the butt of jokes. Having had so many kitchen disasters I fear trying anything new or complicated. I try my best to follow a recipe, but things often start to derail and I don't know what I've done wrong. I have zero intuition then I can get into a spiral where things turn from bad to inedible.
Much I can attribute to how I grew up around food. The parent with the cooking duties didn't like to cook and didn't get to grips with it, but I didn't know any better. For most of my life, the dinner meal fit the same template: over-cooked (but not charred or burnt) plain meat, a carbohydrate (usually a root vegetable plain or mashed, but without any other ingredients), and over-boiled vegetables (soggy and tasteless). Table salt, pepper, and commercial tomato sauce were available for seasoning on plate - nothing was ever seasoned prior to being plated. We had no gravy, mayo/aoli, marinades, chutneys, dressings or the like, except for the Christmas day meal. Fresh herbs and whole spices did not exist in this reality, but some packet ground herbs and spices were kept and only to be used for the Christmas Day meal.
Needless to say, leaving home has been a bit of a revelation for me. I love flavorful food, and eating herbs and spices every day, but I struggle with cooking and don't have much confidence. I would like to learn how to cook, with an emphasis on health and nutrition. I know plenty about those topics, the problem is with the execution! I need to go back to the basics - learn techniques, experiment and fail, but still somehow improve over time. My primary motivation is to do this for myself, but it would be nice to one day be able to offer to cook for someone! I'm not very ambitious, I'd be happy with just doing a few things very competently and am patient and ready to work on this for the next few years.
I've hunted around on this site and found a discussion about the 'Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat' book/series, which I'm currently reading/watching and have learned a lot so far. I also found an old thread about culinary theory, but I think that's a bit over my head! (https://tild.es/6pc).
So, Tildes, has anyone taught themselves successfully as an adult? Any advice on how to start or any resources you can point me in the direction of? Ideally, I'd like to learn about the 'why' as well as the 'how', because I am just so clueless! Also, are there any food channels/blogs etc. that you follow that have an emphasis on healthy and fresh food? Very open to all cuisines. Thanks all!