"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

What every cook should know…

by Julie on October 5, 2010

in Chew on This


The good folks at the Kitchen pose this question. Seems Anthony Bourdain, the rock-star chef and author, has a list of his own featured in his new book,  Medium Raw. I love a good list as much as the next gal, but this one I dunno. It included:

  • Chopping an onion – Agreed. And something I still can’t manage. Learning to dice an onion is on my to-do list, however.
  • Making an omelet — I can do this, believe it or not. Maybe I need two hands, though, not the one Julia Child tells me I should be able manage with.
  • Roasting a chicken. – Ah, no. Can’t do this one. Still.
  • The correct way to grill and rest a steak — Can’t do, good buddy. That’s men’s work.
  • Cooking vegetables to desired doneness — Well. OK, I’m flying blind when it comes to cooking veggies.
  • Make a vinaigrette – Yes! I can do this one, thanks to Nora.
  • Buying a fish, cleaning it, and making it – Um…
  • Shop for fresh produce – Yeah. Got this one. Especially if I can get a chocolate croissant to fortify me while at the SaMo Farmer’s Market.
  • Roasting meat – I don’t know how to do this and I am unlikely to learn, seeing as I’m going veggie again…
  • Braising meats and vegetables. – Braising? Is that when you squirt stuff out of a turkey baster onto something in a pan?
  • What to do with bones – Kelli showed me this once…wait, I think I can remember….no. Never mind. I buy my stock from Trader Joe’s.

OK. So that’s an admirable list, I suppose. But as the Bad Home Cook, I have my own list.

It includes learning how to:

Pretty basic, I know. I’m gonna redouble my efforts too, I promise.

What about you? What’s your need to know list?

Seriously, I want to know…

Hit me…

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael October 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Sauces, definitely. Know how to make a decent glass of iced tea (harder than people think). Making a salad dressing – beyond the basic vinaigrette. How to poach an egg, for sure. Actually, learning as much about eggs and what to do with them will get a person well on the way to being a good cook, IMHO.


JulieR October 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Poaching a whole salmon or trout in court bouillon is actually really easy but seems like such a classic served with homemade mayonnaise (there’s one for the list). I would really like to learn how to make a roast. But, making decent tofu would be good too.


Bruce October 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm

A few years ago, I crossed my mom’s bulgogi recipe with a roasted tofu recipe from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook. Here’s a link to the evil, Frankensteinian spawn that resulted:


Hate to send a link to a site that I don’t work for, but there you go…


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