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Creating a simple cookbook for dh to follow when baby arrives- suggestions please!

(98 Posts)
whizzyrocket Sat 20-Aug-11 23:49:43

Hey there,

As the title suggests I'm putting together a cookery book so that my husband has a few recipes he can follow to make easy nutritious meals for us when our baby arrives (due Nov)... he's a sweet intelligent chap but all his culinary knowledge has been picked up in the year we've been married so far.

So! What would you put in the book? Do you have any recipes you'd like to donate? What disasters should I advise him to avoid?

He knows to always use different boards and knives for veg and meat, can barbeque almost anything and can poach an egg, but he himself says that's about it! He cooked me a cake for my birthday (the first he'd ever baked) and managed to make a pyrex jug explode! Goodness knows!

clawsatELVES Sat 20-Aug-11 23:56:02

Get him Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food and tell him to man up. And stop babying him.

ninedragons Sat 20-Aug-11 23:59:44

I know it's fashionable to diss him, but I would suggest your DH watches Jamie Oliver. He's very good at the techniques you can use and easily available ingredients. He doesn't get hung up on fiddly recipes that require 7.8g of star anise, four lark's tongues and saffron picked yourself on a dewy morning.

Try 30 Minute Meals - lots of excellent basics there. If he can master a frittata, a vegetable pasta sauce, and the principles of a good soup, he's got the basics covered. All of these lend themselves to using up whatever is in the fridge, which I find is the bedrock of easy cooking. We had salami, mushroom and broccoli frittata last night, because the broccoli and mushrooms were on their last legs and I happened to have salami rattling around in the fridge, but you can really use anything. It's good for freezer ingredients too (frozen spinach is always worth having on hand).

ninedragons Sun 21-Aug-11 00:00:39

Ha ha, cross-posted with exactly the same suggestion (only more succinctly put by elves)

stripeybump Sun 21-Aug-11 00:03:27

I think if you leave it til the baby arrives, you won't have any jugs left!

Why not train him up now, just get him to help you with whatever you're making. I did this during my morning sickness and my DH actually made a white sauce! grin

Cooking just takes practice, so if you throw him in the deep end it will be stressful for you both.

whizzyrocket Sun 21-Aug-11 00:47:17

He doesn't need to 'man-up' as you put it! He's just new to it. He was never allowed in the kitchen by his parents (fussy mother couldn't stand the thought of him making a mess)... and I don't baby him, but he's been pretty busy- he's an RAF officer with his first command, we're moving and he's supposed to be studying for his second degree. I, on the other hand don't work, I brew our baby and keep house. It's an old-fashioned set-up maybe but I don't think it's babying him for me to cook, and I don't think that teaching him simple rules and recipes is babying him either.

We have Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food but he (Jamie) requires prior knowledge like what a griddle-pan or a table-spoon is (I can fill dh in on those but we have neither so it isn't really helpful!) or what fresh ginger looks like...and to be honest who has that in their cupboard, it would take a level of planning I'm not prepared to go to.

Nope, by simple cooking I mean just that. So far I've written a bolognese recipe and how to change that into chilli or lasagne (including the white sauce smile), and a few other pasta sauce recipes but I'd welcome suggestions for things I could put in that won't take too long and aren't too complicated. I'll share my recipes if you'll share yours!

TheCompanyofWolefs Sun 21-Aug-11 00:51:59

Jesus, let him figure it out for himself. Who is going to wipe his arse for him when the baby comes?

whizzyrocket Sun 21-Aug-11 00:56:14

Oh come on! Am I being so unreasonable to want to teach him a few things?

I'm not going to baby him- this is just a way for him to follow some instructions and learn without the stress of getting it wrong. He's busy but he wants to help, is that so bad?

lolajane2009 Sun 21-Aug-11 00:58:32

Tell him to look on myrecipe online. I taught myself to cook last year from hat site after hubby was unable to cook due an operation and I wanted to learn a lot more than basics.

PrincessJenga Sun 21-Aug-11 01:00:32

Isn't there a recipes board? I suspect you may get more help there smile

I would suggest that as baby is due in winter you teach him how to make a good thick veggie soup. I say 'teach him' though, rather than write a book, because I suspect if he doesn't already know by the time the baby arrives that he'll just keep asking you anyway (seeing as you already have cookbooks in the house that he doesn't use)

whizzyrocket Sun 21-Aug-11 01:02:27

Thanks, for that lolajane, it's nice to have someone willing to try being helpful! grin I'd not heard of that site, but we'll definitely have a look.

clawsatELVES Sun 21-Aug-11 01:05:25

Seriously, there is nothing better than that book. It starts from the absolute basics, teaches simple recipes with a few variations, and everything is explained in layman's terms.

He is an RAF officer, he will have had to figure out trickier conundrums than 'what is a tablespoon'. I assume that he has also had to navigate round some harder instruction manuals too.

Seriously OP, your domestic set-up is 100% your business; if you want to be more traditional, that is up to you. But please don't try to tell us that that book is too involved.

clawsatELVES Sun 21-Aug-11 01:06:22

Whizzy, 'nice to have someone willing to try being helpful!' ???

I was the first to answer your post with very helpful suggestion, incl link.

HipHopOpotomus Sun 21-Aug-11 01:08:10

Teach him how to roast a chicken - and then how to roast veggies to accompany, or serve with salad and spicy rice etc.

(could then go on to teach him how to make chicken risotto the next day with leftovers and stock from carcass grin)

HipHopOpotomus Sun 21-Aug-11 01:11:47

Heston did great pea and Parmesan pasta via waitrose recently which is fab, made from storecypboard/freezer ingredients and takes just minutes to make. One of use new favs.

whizzyrocket Sun 21-Aug-11 01:18:25

Sorry claws the fact that you also set the tone for the rest of the thread by suggesting I was babying him put my hackles up.

Thanks for suggesting Jamie, but having just looked at the book I have to say that for us, most of his recipes have things in them we don't generally have in our larder. He suggests that we're all there making our own pastry or our own meatballs too, which just isn't realistic! Norm may well be able to follow the instructions, but the pre-prep isn't worth it and I don't see why folk seem to have an issue with me writing him some instructions.

I also intend to teach him how to fold a nappy and all manner of other things. I have lots of domestic experience while he has none, so why not?

whizzyrocket Sun 21-Aug-11 01:20:58

And thanks HipHop that's the sort of thing I was hoping for. He'll be able to do that fairly easily. smile

HipHopOpotomus Sun 21-Aug-11 01:27:19

You're welcome - there shd be plenty of risotto to freeze a portion for a rainy day too!

Crosshair Sun 21-Aug-11 01:32:32

I second giving the Ministry of Food book another go, when I moved into my own house with no idea on how to even use the stove it was the only thing I could follow without feeling completely lost. blush

*Chilli con carne
*Spag bol
*Meat loaf

seeker Sun 21-Aug-11 01:37:27

If he's officer material he should be able to follow Delia Smith without female interpretation. I fear for his future promotion if he can't. Honestly - let him get on with it. Presumably he's never looked after a baby before either and that's much harder than making pasta sauce!

Pudding2be Sun 21-Aug-11 07:34:13

Hi whizzy

My DF was the same before he met me, his mum did all the cooking, so his idea of cooking was a tin of stewed steak and oven chips <boak confused>

I definatley recommend ministry of food, he does use it. But what I used to do when I was working late was email him complete step by step instructions. If there was anything he was unsure of I would put a description to help him or he would ring and ask. He is now confident in the kitchen and has put it down to practicing

Maybe a couple of nights you plan to cook together, to help build his confidence up, and then you could build up to sitting in the living room while he has a go grin. He used to pick which recipe he would like to have a go at. I think encouragement worked better for us and making him feel a part of it rather than me telling him. Although he might like you ordering him about grin

One thing I have done (I'm 39 weeks btw) is cook a few things in batches and freeze ready for when baby pudding arrives. I've also got things like beans and soup in

Don't forget there is some freezer food which is ok too - like birds eye salmon or cod in a bag which you can have with new potatoes and veg. That's always something he could put together easily

And I would teach him his fav meal. My DF loves steak grin. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned but sausage and mash is a good one to start with. If he knows how to make lovely mash there is loads that go with.

I don't think it's a matter of his ability, he sounds more than capable. It's about building his confidence

Let us know how you get on

peggyblackett Sun 21-Aug-11 07:38:48

In addition to JO's Ministry of Food, take a look at The Dinner Lady and Fay Ripley's Family Food. Both are packed with good basic recipes.

IHeartIona Sun 21-Aug-11 07:44:14

BBC good food website has plenty of good recipes, and you can search by ease of cooking too. The chicken cacciatore is a very easy recipe for example.

FellatioNelson Sun 21-Aug-11 07:47:10

I think OP wants to write a book that is not just for her husband put for future publication. That's why she doesn't want to be guided towards JO or DS!

But I agree with her, actually. There is nothing wrong in wanting to help her DH learn the basics - it doesn't need to be fantastically interesting recipes, but more or a basic manual of terms and methods and temperatures and timings, Once you have a handle on that (a roast dinner is the litmus test of knowing your way around a kitchen I think) then you can dicipher most recipes without too much angst.

Pippaandpolly Sun 21-Aug-11 07:51:44

Delis manages to make quite complicated things seem easy because her instructions are so straight forward-I love her smile how about a really basic pasta sauce that can be made in bulk and shoved in the freezer? Something like onion, garlic, chilli and tomato that he can then add whatever veg you've got to at the re-heating stage? Stir fries are also very easy and fajitas-fry some chicken, peppers, whatever else you like etc? As long as he's able to tell when meat is cooked and basic things like how not to overcook pasta he should be fine. I'd also make sure you've got bags of frozen veg in case you can't get to the grocers and run out of fresh. And if you're desperate, we have been known to lazily live off beans on toast, sausages and fishfinger sandwiches when neither of us can be bothered to cook blush (not all at the same time!)

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