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What are basic recipes that you think a young person absolutely needs to know?


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biscuits. If you master one good biscuit recipe, you can bake just about anything.

 

Chopping stuff - they should know how to chop stuff up properly so it cooks right - veggies, meat, dicing vs slicing. It's about a 30 minute lesson, but you would be amazed how many adults have no clue.

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A basic bread dough recipe that can be made into rolls or a loaf. Homemade bread is so easy once you get the hang of it. It's cheap, filling, and an easy way to round out a meal. Also, in times where the budget is really tight, homemade whole wheat bread, a jar of natural peanut butter, and whatever fresh fruit is on sale is a (relatively speaking) nutritious way to keep your belly full.

 

Beans and rice. Seriously, no one ever taught me how to make either of these, and they just weren't a part of my diet growing up. Of course, I realize *now how easy they are, but they were so foreign to me that they were intimidating at first.

 

Also, some basic cooking techniques would have been helpful to me as a new wife. What it meant to braise, fry, poach, etc. I can read a recipe, but if I don't know what 'brown the meat' means I should do, that can be confusing. And it's a bit embarassing as an adult to have to ask someone that.

 

Oh! I'd love to have known something about differnent cuts of meat, and the ways they are usually prepared.

 

Can you tell I had almost no 'home ec' training as a child? :tongue_smilie: Everything I know about food and cooking I taught myself, mostly after moving out on my own at 17.

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A basic rue and then some extensions of it like white gravy, or as a thickening agent for something like a casserole/mac and cheese.

 

How to make a light meat gravy from a can of broth. Chicken broth gravy is very simple with a can of chicken broth, salt pepper and corn starch.

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How to make a very basic soup (such as saute an onion, add broth/veggies/meat and saute some more, then add water and simmer). It's amazing to me how many people I know who have no idea how to make soup that doesn't come from a can.

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Biscuits

Muffins

Scrambled and Fried Eggs

Oatmeal

How to make coffee

How to make tea

How to read the nutritional information on a box of cereal

Salad

Sandwich

Some type of soup

How to use a microwave to reheat various foods

How to use a stove to reheat various foods

A variety of veggies

Pasta

Rice

How to cut up a whole chicken

How to roast a turkey

spaghetti

How to broil and grill a steak

How to fry chicken

how to grill a burger

French fries

How to properly use and store grease for fries and fried chicken

Fish

How to bake a loaf of bread

How to bake drop cookies

How to bake a cake

To know that one day they may need to adjust cooking times/temps for high altitude.

And most importantly how to read a cook book and follow the directions.

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Give your child The Joy of Cooking--this cookbook is the most wonderful reference tool on how to do everything.

 

I like the foods the others suggested. I would add that everyone should know how to make a roux and use it to make various types of gravies or sauces. Once you know roux (and it's so easy!!!--just melted butter + flour, then add your sauce or gravy stuff) you can make just about anything AND you're free from needing canned stuff.

 

I learned to cook by doing it. The adults in my house worked odd hours and often didn't have time to cook. At age 14 I was bored and wanted something other than TV dinners. The first thing I attempted was lasagna--and it was delicious!

 

I have had great luck encouraging dd to do the same--we don't balk at elaborate recipes, either. Whatever she wants to cook, she cooks. She had a magnificent time making lasagna with her cousin one night. Another day she saw a cooking show featuring potstickers--we downloaded the recipe and gave it a try. Just last week she made chocolate pudding from scratch (not from a box).

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Recipes are easy--just follow the instructions. I think kids should know the following skills:

 

use and care of knives

use and care of cutting boards

organizing your workspace so you can find what you need when you need it

proper maintenance of small and large appliances (aka cleaning out the toaster before it catches fire :tongue_smilie:)

using kitchen tools like a thermometer to tell if meat is done

how to use a hand mixer without making a mess. :D

how to manage shopping and the contents of your fridge/freezer/pantry

how to budget without feeling deprived

how to clean the slow cooker crock with little effort (and other such things)

planning the weeks menus based on what you're doing each day (I still struggle with this...)

food labels - what they tell you, and what they DON'T

 

Cooking is nice, but without the behind the scenes support for what ends up on the table, it's like trying to teach them algebra before arithmetic.

 

My ds is taking a cooking class this year, and I'm wanting to add hours at home to make it a high school credit (aiming for 1/2 cr which for us is about 75 hrs instruction). I'm sure there's lots more--feel free to add to my list (please!)! :bigear:

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I agree with most posters above.

 

Basic skills

A basic cookbook

Basic cuts of meat

How to prepare veggies (either cooked or raw)

A roux (used to make gravy, mac and cheese etc)

How to cook noodles

How to heat a pan

Kitchen safety (hot oil, fires, knives, keep sanitary)

 

Just think of the things you make in a week and the basic skills needed to cook it.

 

Eggs-

How to heat a pan

Oil safety

Sanitary issues

How to crack an egg

 

Also TIMING is critical!!!!

 

My DH loves to cook, and often cooks his own gourmet recipes that he makes up. Mostly, it is pretty good. :001_huh: lol But, my issue with him cooking is that you just have to know how long something takes to cook! A simple breakfast he would screw up because he would start cooking hashbrowns, then prepare eggs for an omlette, start cooking the omlette, put bread in for toast. The toast gets done first, then 5 min later the omlette is done, then it will still take about 20 more minutes for the hash browns. By the time breakfast is served, the toast is soggy and the eggs are cold! Then the hashbrowns are screwed up because he doesn't rinse off the potatoes before cooking. :tongue_smilie: I don't know how many times he does this, but he always wonders why he can't cook potatoes. I tell him, but he conveniently forgets the next time he cooks!

 

But, dinners he can cook well... This is a guy who has worked in restaurants for many years!

 

So, last thing is EXPERIENCE! Sometimes you just need to cook to learn how to cook! I learned basics in Home Ec in PS, I still have the recipes :)

 

Roux

Muffins

Spaghetti sauce

Eggs

These are things that I remember off hand :)

 

AND DESSERTS and their favorite foods that are cooked at home.

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Sad to admit, but can I come to one of your houses to learn all this stuff?

 

I never learn any of this - to the point that my husband prefers I stay out of the kitchen unless it's time to do the dishes. Not that he's a much better cook than I am.

 

I have a feeling when Boo is old enough, I'm going sign both of our happy tushies up for cooking classes.

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If they can prepare those ramen noodle soup packages that cost about 19¢, they'll be fine. :D

 

Just kidding.... although one of my girls would live off those if she could...

 

I totally agree with making sure they know how to cut/chop/dice/etc., and the basics like the roux and making your own stock...

 

They should be familiar with the basic staples that should be stocked in the kitchen at all times.

 

My kids started out learning how to cook eggs and egg dishes, from scrambled to omelets and now moving on to French toast. Other than that, we've mainly been focusing on easy lunch-type things that they can prepare for themselves when I'm not home. We'll start working on dinners eventually. I have them in the kitchen to help whenever possible.

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Not recipes, but I think skills are important.

 

They need to know the difference between slice, chop, dice and julian. They need to know how to separate white from yolk, how to tell if oil is ready for frying, how to double a recipe, how to know when a cake is done baking (middle pops back up when pressed) and when brownies are done (inserted fork comes out clean) and bread (sounds hallow when you tap on it).

 

It is important for everyone to know how to properly use the basic tools of a kitchen. I literally had to teach a friend how to grate cheese once. It was kind of odd.

 

Different knives are for different things, know the difference and which to use when.

 

How to use different kinds of measuring cups.

 

What is and why do you sift dry ingredients in baking, how to melt chocolate, how to follow a recipe. The difference between, mix,beat, cream and fold in.

 

Lettuce should be torn, not chopped. It gets brown faster if you cut it with a knife.

 

:iagree:

 

Having seen our oldest struggle with cooking during the two years she was on her own (she's back home now), I think that it's important that they have basic skills and know how to prepare a meal from a recipe.

 

My daughter knew how to make several things, but didn't know how to use a knife very well or understand how a cast iron skillet differs from an aluminum one and that the difference matters when cooking. She didn't understand the different terms in a cookbook (chop, dice, julienne, saute, etc) or that she either needed to prep all the ingredients before starting the recipe or be prepared to work quickly while cooking. I got a number of panicked phone calls, wanting me to help her long distance.

 

She'll be leaving again in a few months, but she'll have much more experience and the skills she needs to do well in the kitchen. She'll also have The Joy of Cooking and The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook in her suitcase.

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Recipes are easy--just follow the instructions. I think kids should know the following skills:

 

use and care of knives

use and care of cutting boards

organizing your workspace so you can find what you need when you need it

proper maintenance of small and large appliances (aka cleaning out the toaster before it catches fire :tongue_smilie:)

using kitchen tools like a thermometer to tell if meat is done

how to use a hand mixer without making a mess. :D

how to manage shopping and the contents of your fridge/freezer/pantry

how to budget without feeling deprived

how to clean the slow cooker crock with little effort (and other such things)

planning the weeks menus based on what you're doing each day (I still struggle with this...)

food labels - what they tell you, and what they DON'T

 

Cooking is nice, but without the behind the scenes support for what ends up on the table, it's like trying to teach them algebra before arithmetic.

 

 

 

I agree. This is great.

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As far as cookbooks, the Betty Crocker cookbook with the red plaid cover is great. It is worth looking in thrift stores for an early edition of this book as it covers some of the basic cooking skills that are hard to find in cookbooks today. I have my MIL's from the early '50s and it is my go to cookbook.

 

Another thing that I did for my daughter when she got married was to write out some of the basic recipes that I made and put them in a binder for her. Her new MIL did the same thing. My daughter started her marriage with a great set of recipes that pleased both herself and her husband. That is something that you could start now for your children.

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In addition to the other suggestions, I think that every young person needs one excellent dish to bring to potlucks and one excellent dessert. Young adults entertain with potlucks a lot, so it's important to have something to bring. When young adults are entertained by older adults, it's gracious to be able to offer to bring dessert. These two things will cover the majority of your food-related social obligations.

 

I always found that if I could make a really good from-scratch chocolate cake, I didn't need to know how to make any other dessert. No one complains about getting my chocolate cake again and again. :D

 

And my go-to potluck dish is dead simple:

Peel and slice potatoes and boil them until they are just able to be pierced with a fork. Layer them in a buttered baking dish. Top with salt and pepper. Layer sliced tomatoes on top and top them with basil. Layer slices of mozzarella cheese on top of that, and pour melted butter over the top of the whole thing. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes.

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Mexican beans, pinto and black

Mexican rice (tomato base)

salsa

guacamole

In my opinion, this is enough to be happy. :001_smile:

 

pie crust

chicken pot pie, and fruit pie

 

We're vegan, but I would say various eggs

 

steamed, sauteed, and grilled veggies

 

basic salads and olive oil/vinegar dressing

 

oatmeal (real oatmeal :)) and pancakes

 

sandwiches 101

 

how to make a proper cup of tea. black and green.

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Rice, biscuits, drop cookies, a cake, a simple pie, cobbler, white sauce, spagetti sauce, stir fry, a good salad, cole slaw, mac and cheese, roasting beef and chicken and grilling a fish. Roux and gravy.

 

How to chop veggies, brown onions and mushrooms, make a stock, and make soup/stew. Meatloaf if you like it. Fried chicken. Homemade simple bread and pizza.

 

Selecting good fruit, veggies, and meat at the market. Ingredients reading.

 

These are my basic goals.

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Great list! So other than The Joy of Cooking, any good books, home ec type or cookbooks or videos we should do?

 

Don't laugh, but I highly recommend Rick Rodgers' cookbooks Thanksgiving 101 and Christmas 101. They are very beginner friendly and walk the cook through the preparation of the various recipes step-by-step-by-step. I got them as a newlywed when I was faced with the prospect of hosting my very first big holiday celebration. That was almost 11 years ago and I still turn to the books frequently because the recipes are that good.

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Don't laugh, but I highly recommend Rick Rodgers' cookbooks Thanksgiving 101 and Christmas 101. They are very beginner friendly and walk the cook through the preparation of the various recipes step-by-step-by-step. I got them as a newlywed when I was faced with the prospect of hosting my very first big holiday celebration. That was almost 11 years ago and I still turn to the books frequently because the recipes are that good.

 

No laughing here but I am taking notes on all of the posts.

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I think I'd take a different approach and learn a couple menus.

 

Breakfast (ie eggs, pancakes, meat, quiche not cereal with milk)

Lunch

Dinner

Packable/Portable/Picnic

Holiday

 

Perhaps have them start with individual recipes that are their favorites or that will prep skills needed to learn favorites.

 

I started with the Joy of Cooking but I think it is a bit dated and that the average American cook might be better off with Fannie Farmer. I know some folks who like BH&G best. Or if you have special needs with food-ie veg, gluten free etc. start with the best of the type you need.

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I think I would put it in terms of techniques rather than dishes. Can they grill or broil a meat? Chop and toss a salad? Mix and bake a cake (even if it's from a mix)? Make up a vinagrette? Stir fry veggies or rice?

 

I think these skills are transferable to recipes that they haven't made before.

 

Then I would ask them what their favorite foods are and make sure they have those recipes and can make them on their own. Our family has a three ring binder with sheet protectors that has favorite family recipes.

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I haven't read every word of the thread, but I had to jump in and mention my *favoirte* cookbook series. The first one is called "Clueless in the Kitchen", and there is a baking one and a vegetarian one too. All three include basic recipes for simple dishes, from scratch. Things like roast chicken and mac cheese and chocolate cake with frosting. Quite a variety, really. Nothing super-exotic, using easy-to-find ingredients.

 

It's actually sometimes quite hard to find a *simple* recipe for things, like when you want to make something for the first time and you don't want a fussy recipe. This book is also good at telling you how to improvise, and when you can skip something without ruining the dish.

 

I use it *all the time*. It's *better* than Joy of Cooking, I think, for a new cook.

 

Some Amazon reviewers don't like the writing - the author kind of jokes around a bit. It doesn't bother me at all - makes it kind of fun, IMHO, but it's not for everyone.

 

This isn't a kid's cook book - it's more for teens, college students, and young adults. Or anyone who learned to cook using things from a can or box, and wants to learn to cook from scratch without getting overwhelmed with gourmet recipes or a huge list of ingredients.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Evelyn-Raab/e/B001K8V10E/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

I think it's the best of the young adult cooking books I've seen - better than "my apartment has a kitchen", better than "See Dad Cook", better than the "junior" cook books aimed at kids.

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I haven't read every word of the thread, but I had to jump in and mention my *favoirte* cookbook series. The first one is called "Clueless in the Kitchen", and there is a baking one and a vegetarian one too. All three include basic recipes for simple dishes, from scratch. Things like roast chicken and mac cheese and chocolate cake with frosting. Quite a variety, really. Nothing super-exotic, using easy-to-find ingredients.

 

It's actually sometimes quite hard to find a *simple* recipe for things, like when you want to make something for the first time and you don't want a fussy recipe. This book is also good at telling you how to improvise, and when you can skip something without ruining the dish.

 

I use it *all the time*. It's *better* than Joy of Cooking, I think, for a new cook.

 

Some Amazon reviewers don't like the writing - the author kind of jokes around a bit. It doesn't bother me at all - makes it kind of fun, IMHO, but it's not for everyone.

 

This isn't a kid's cook book - it's more for teens, college students, and young adults. Or anyone who learned to cook using things from a can or box, and wants to learn to cook from scratch without getting overwhelmed with gourmet recipes or a huge list of ingredients.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Evelyn-Raab/e/B001K8V10E/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

I think it's the best of the young adult cooking books I've seen - better than "my apartment has a kitchen", better than "See Dad Cook", better than the "junior" cook books aimed at kids.

 

I'll look for this, thank you.

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My mom finally bought me betty crocker's all you need to know to cook after too many calls that started like this: "mom how do you make...?" or " what do you do with this kind of meat?"

 

that was about 12 years ago and it really has taught me everything. All the things I make now that I get compliments on, I just say "Betty".:D

 

Seriously, too many things to list that I think are basics and everyone should know how to make from scratch, etc. are covered. I still use it weekly at least.

 

Jen

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There is going to be a cultural aspect to this. For example, waffles and pancakes (previously mentioned) wouldn't even be in my top five hundred. My list might include:

 

Eggs in all manners

Bolognese sauce

Pasta salad

Fried rice

Beans of some kind

 

Pan frying (chicken, fish, etc.)

Stewing (basic chicken stew, beef stew, vegetable soup)

White sauce recipes (soups, gravies, etc.)

Steaming/boiling (pasta, vegetables, etc)

 

With those four methods you can get a lot of variety and feel fairly confident with unknown ingredients.

 

Laura

Edited by Laura Corin
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my mother always said that if you can read a cookbook, you can cook. I could quibble with that, but there is some truth in it.

 

So I think people need to know some of the basic fundamentals, which are not so much recipes but kitchen knowledge. How to safely store food. How to safely handle food.

 

There is a right way to scramble an egg, and I want my children to know that.

 

Cooking rice has to be done properly, and it's something you should just know. Same with cooking pasta.

 

I think kids need to understand how certain foods react - how cheese melts (or doesn't), why potatoes can get gummy, why some quick breads rise and others fall flat. I think they need to understand how different leavening agents work, when to use butter and when to use vegetable fat. I think they need to know how to cook basic vegetables. No one actually reads a recipe for how to steam broccoli or saute summer squash, so we just do these things. It's good to know how to chop an onion properly.

 

They need to know how to select fruits and vegetable and how to wash and store them correctly.

 

I am someone who cooks by "feel" and memory more than recipes, so I do have a lot of things that I know how to cook. But if someone else is a "recipe" person, then I don't think they really need to memorize those recipes, but I do think they need to know how to do a lot of the basics that recipes don't really tell you how to do.

 

Typically when someone is a bad cook, it's not because they didn't have good recipes available. It's because they put the tomatoes in the fridge, used old carrots, have spices that have been sitting there for ten years, didn't really brown the chicken, thought they were supposed to stir the rice as it cooks ... you get the idea.

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First things first - PASTA. I don't want my children to be one of those connationals that cannot differentiate spaghetti from bigoli from vermicelli from bucatini, or who refer to everything which is not spaghetti-like as maccheroni. So we thoroughly teach about types of pasta, how each type is to be cooked, which sauces it goes with the best, when to cook al dente and when not, when to follow the instructions regarding cooking time and when to improvise, and so on. We like pasta. Our maid gets the same education.

 

After that, gnocchi and tortellini (both of which are extremely easy to make), and basic sauces (the kosher variant of bolognese, for example; or basic tomato sauces, arrabbiata, etc.).

 

Salads (arranging it nicely too :D), raw and steamed veggies. Salads/pastas with tuna as well. Eggs.

 

Crepes (with Nutella :tongue_smilie:), pita, piadina, with tchina.

Macedonia (fruit salad).

 

Basic minestrone (soup) with vegetables and rice. Risi e bisi. Pasta e fagioli.

 

How to make proper tea (black, green) and Greek coffee.

How not to treife the kitchen (and which foods to eat outside of it for that reason). What to do / whom to call if they still manage to mess things up.

 

ETA: Regarding meat and fish, I left that for my mother and MIL to teach them. :D

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I find it it interesting to see some of the cultural influences of what you all see as important basic recipes. (And I don't just mean Ester Maria;)) My MIL has passed on the recipe and technique for cooking empanadas to the kids. One of these days I need to get her to show them how to make lumpia. Now that is an essential skill!

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