Friday, February 18, 2022

How to Cook Food

“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.” - Anthony Bourdain

Thanksgiving Feast
Thanksgiving feast - 2021.  Simple, exquisite and delicious.  What more could you want?

Cooking is obviously an integral part of growing and using your own food.  If you can't cook it, what are you going to do with it?  Lucky for you, cooking with fresh food really isn't that hard once you know the basics of what you can do with each type of vegetable.  It also isn't hard to make fresh food taste good, it already tastes good and isn't like the cardboard crap you're used to getting from the grocery store.

I'll never forget my early days of diving headfirst into cooking with actual, real food.  My fridge would be stocked with vegetables.  I would open the fridge and just stare at everything trying to figure out what I can do with any of it.  I would ultimately pull a few things out and start experimenting.  This resulted in quite a few awful dishes, more than I care to admit, yet every now and then I'd happen to make a really banging dish that would have me writing down everything I did in hopes I could recreate it later.  The majority of the cooking memories that are burned into my mind are the not-so great ones such as when a trained chef coerced me into cooking them a meal, by myself, much to my horror.  What does a male in his early 20's do in that situation?  Boxed spaghetti and a can of pre-made pasta sauce of course!  That was my idea of fresh, from scratch cooking at the time which most definitely resulted in this person looking at me with the look of ... "uuuuhhhhh, you have got to be kidding me."  However I do remember that spaghetti being cooked just so and it was actually an enjoyable meal despite the lack of actual cooking that took place.

My how far I've come, as I mostly only do cooking from scratch nowadays (and actual from scratch at that).  I no longer have to stare at vegetables looking lost and trying to figure out how to prepare and cook them.  Give me a vegetable, I'll cook it and it'll likely be pretty damn good.  About 99% of my meals are really tasty with only one every now and then being not so great or downright awful (which is inevitable from time to time).  At the moment I can't even think of the last time I cooked something that wasn't good though, it's been a while!

It was a long road to get from having no idea how to cook with fresh food to being fluent at it.  It's really not that hard though and I'll be showing you exactly how you can achieve this fluency as well, right here, in this very guide.  You're probably not going to find any fancy cooking here, this is going to be a back to basics guide of how the hell do you cook?  Where do you begin?  Those are things that seem to get overlooked a lot and there seems to be quite a knowledge gap of going from popping a frozen tv dinner in the oven to cooking your own meals from scratch with the vast majority of online cooking ideas and tutorials being for fancy recipes.  Skipping straight to the fancy recipes is in itself a recipe for disaster so let's avoid that.

Here we are going to be going over your different types of vegetables and what the options are for cooking them.  We'll also be looking at some basic yet tasty recipes that can be made quickly (20 to 30 mins) and are very adaptable based on the ingredients you have available along with what you're feeling like eating.  These easy recipes are what I make the vast majority of the time as I go about my life and I couldn't be happier with their simplicity, ease of adaptability, or their tastiness.

Before we dive in there are a few important things to keep in mind:

-You can most certainly learn to cook, anyone can.
-You will fail at cooking but you will learn from your mistakes.  Starting out, you may make more not so good dishes than great ones, that is okay and that is how you learn, you can only get better and practice makes perfect.
-Keep it simple.  Good ingredients don't need a lot of fluff to taste good.  Olive oil and a little bit of salt is my super secret recipe.

Shall we get going?  Here is your back to basics cooking guide of: How the Crap Do I Cook Food?!

-Pumpkin / Banana Bread
-List of veggies (summer squash, winter squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, beans, potatoes, beets, garlic, tomatoes)
-In-depth dishes
-How to make Vanilla Extract
-How to make Cayenne Pepper
-Popcorn in a pot

(More articles will be added to this list as time goes on so be sure to check back often!)

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