i know there are old posts about this subject, but i was looking for something more up to date. i didnt really pick up much from my family from cooking so i was just wondering for all those artisan chefs out there, if there were tips on where to pick up cooking for dummies (books, lessons, websites, recipes) whats a good place to start? thanks in advance
cooking for beginners?
I think the best way to get better is to do what helps for anything else... just think very critically about the food, what do i like about this, why or why not, etc. Just try to focus on one thing, get as precise as possible. The precision takes time, what to hone in on will be nearly immediate.
Good advice here. How to Cook Everything is not a collection of columns, but rather an encyclopedic cookbook. My recommendation is to buy this book (or another encyclopedic cookbook, but this one I know is very good and very simple) and start reading it. Read the introduction and beginning parts to get the basic concepts.
Then find a recipe that looks decent, buy the ingredients, and cook it according to the recipe. (Simple right?) The more you do this the more you will learn.
The recipes in this book are extremely simple and then have slight variations. It is great for learning to cook, but it will not impress anybody. Once you get the basics down, you might discover that you like a certain kind of food and then you can get a cookbook dedicated to that.
If you are looking to make some very basic dinners, Bittman beats the Joy of Cooking. The LA Times columns will teach you much more about actual cooking, i.e. technique, taste, flavor combination, etc. Russ' books (e.g., How to Pick a Peach) are terrific, too. For an organized introduction to foundational techniques and dishes, you might try James Peterson's Cooking. He goes step by step (with plenty of pictures) and so is a good source for beginners. The recipes aren't terribly complicated, but good technique makes for a much better daily meal.