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I really want to learn how to cook but...(i think this might be long, sorry)...

(21 Posts)
GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 15:22:26

I feel totally inadequate after DH has been doing it his way all these (14) years.

Firstly, i have wanted to learn to cook for quite some time, to take the load off him, as i know (lots of people must sympathise here) he gets bored of doing the cooking for our 5 person family day in, day out.

Secondly, he is lactose intolerant, so anything with lots of cream/butter/milk/yoghurt in is off the menu, though he can cope with a little.

Thirdly, he allegedly has to have meat in every meal (dinner and tea - yes we are northern grin) or he 'feels ill'. I have managed to get him to agree to one meat-free meal a week hmm But having said that, we don't consume large amounts of meat each meal anyway, so it's not that appalling, honest!

Fourthly, his way of cooking the meat and three veg (that make of most of our meals in one form or another) is that meat is grilled and the fat dripped off, and the veggies are done Very Nicely (leeks are par-boiled and then baked, same with beetroots, and carrot/parsnips are cut into the right size strips and roasted), besides frozen veg which is just boiled. The gravy (granules) has seasonings added and finely chopped onion/chives a lot of the time...

How am i supposed to match up to that when i've not cooked much before?

Also have a 2 year old who is fussy.

WWYD?

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 15:25:27

Well it wasn't as long as i thought was it really blush

(still talking about the post, don't be rude wink)

randomtask Tue 01-Sep-09 15:29:20

I'd start with the simple things then work up. Let him know that you 'want a go' and also to help, hopefully he'll encourage you. But personally, if I'm feeling inadequate (DH does a lot of our daily cooking although I do more of the 'showy stuff') I tell DH I want to do more, he stays out of the way and I determinedly do it.

The meat and veg thing may be due to him being lactose intolerant but isn't necessary. My nieces are wheat and dairy intolerant, I'm veggie. I've still managed to make meals we can all eat, you just have to think it through first.

Why don't you make a simple 'Saturday lunch' or Sunday tea and work up from there? If you go for something difficult in the first place you'll scare yourself off.

Good luck and remember, if you don't cook the same food as him, you won't be compared (and if you do, yours might still be better wink).

AMumInScotland Tue 01-Sep-09 15:29:34

I think you have to start by agreeing with him that when you are cooking, you will do it your way. You will of course avoid things which would cause him problems - ie lactose. But you will cook things which you choose, and the way you choose.

You are not a second pair of hands in his kitchen. You should not be expected to do things his way, or to be able to do anything fancy just yet.

Maybe you should focus on meals which are different from the things he does - eg stirfrys, curry, pasta and sauce, pies (eg shepherds pie, pastry is an arcane art as far as I''m concerned grin)

Peabody Tue 01-Sep-09 15:37:14

Personally, I found Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food book a godsend when trying to learn to cook.

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 01-Sep-09 15:44:07

Specialise - learn to cook things he doesn't cook although of course they have to meet his dietary requirements too.
Get an interesting-but-easy cookery book (Jamie Oliver v good) and do something which is a little bit more exciting than a standard version. Eg the second time I ever roasted a chicken I did a Jamie Oliver one with herbs under the skin and my mum said it was better than hers even though she'd been doing them for years shock.

My dh and I are both quite fussy about doing things our way, so the upshot is we each do the thing we feel most strongly about - eg I do risotto, pizza, he does stir-fry; if it's roast lamb he does it, if it's chicken I do it! (We fight over mashed potato though, because we have different views on what makes it good smile).

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 15:47:01

randomtask/AMumInScotland - yes you are right, and he has agreed previously to having things cooked 'my way', but if i cook only things he doesn't cook i'd have a problem! He does do stir frys, curry, bolognese, stew, and tomato-and-veg soup (one of the meat-free meals!). I'd have to try to find different recipes. And the lot of 'em are fussy about what they eat too, which is why so many chips/mash/jackets meals.

Where to even start is the problem!

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 15:50:19

See when i watch a cook on telly i am quite, quite certain that i'd never manage to do that!

(I am a big scaredy cat and terrified of loads of things, but i really can't avoid doing things forever. I could start about ten other threads about what else i am scared of but too embarrassed!)

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 15:51:06

chef (i think people who cook excellently and/or in big kitchens should be called chef, not cook)

AMumInScotland Tue 01-Sep-09 16:02:41

Most of us who cook just sort of "muddle through", we don't look anything like the ones who do it on the tv smile I guess there's an advantage when you learn earlier, because you don't start by assuming everyone else knows how to do it perfectly, and just start with the simple stuff and work up. It must be much harder when you have a good cook in the house and you're bound to feel there's a comparison.

But just pick one thing, or as other say get a recipe book and try something from there. Even if it doesn't turn out quite how you wanted, you're learning with every meal you cook.

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 16:10:18

Thank you, that was very helpful smile

i think that was what i needed to hear - that most people are not perfect. DH (who is lovely and doesn't often complain, lol) has learned since we moved in together (he was 19 and this was 14 years ago), by a combination of getting on with it and seeing it on telly! I don't learn from tv too well, i need recipe books and timings or things are underdone/burnt!

Overmydeadbody Tue 01-Sep-09 16:10:34

I would recommend buying a few quality cook books or searching online and following recipes exactly, to start with.

Things like proper chinese (Ken Hom recipes) and proper curries (madhur Jaffrey) are much easier to make than some people thing, without the aid of packet sauces and mixes etc..

I'd recommend starting with chinese stir-fries, as they are actually so easy, and alsoo learning the baiscs like making sauces etc from Delia.

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 16:12:04

Except for anything to do with cakes...cakes are my speciality i guess. When i say i can't cook i mean i can't do meals. As for cake related products...well, i taught him how to do pastry, but he makes the pies!

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 16:14:30

OMDB - that is my next stop i think. I would rather research online as it means i only pay the price of a printout. I have cookery books i have wasted money on because i've got them home and then found there isn't anything suitable.

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 01-Sep-09 16:14:34

If you can't do meals, is it because of the timing issues with having several pans on the go at once? If so, stir fries a good idea, or casseroles, or anything in one pot. Or a main meal which you serve with a salad instead of cooked veg, so you can do the salad first.

Overmydeadbody Tue 01-Sep-09 16:14:42

Godzilla, once you get some experience behind you it won't seem so scary, promise!

Cooking is just about physics, once you know a bit of cooking physics you can apply it across other tihngs, making it easier to adapt and cook without recipes etc.

For example, corn flour is used to thiken sauces in chinese cooking. Once you know this ditching chinese stir-fry sauces that come in a packet for home-made ones becomes much less daunting.

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 16:17:49

Kathy - yes, it is that i get behind on preparing things and miss when i am supposed to light the grill, for example!

GodzillasBumcheek Tue 01-Sep-09 16:19:09

OMDB - i know. i am currently trying quite a few new recipes for baking cakes/cookies etc and writing the results/improvements in a journal so i can do it better next time. I'm honestly not a total dunce in all areas!

kathyis6incheshigh Tue 01-Sep-09 16:23:14

I reckon if you can do cakes you will be fine! It's just a case of picking the right recipe.

FWIW I have tried several times to do things my dh's way and I always fail; it's easy to lose confidence like that. Whereas if you just focus on your own repertoire which uses the skills you have got, you will be fine.

randomtask Tue 01-Sep-09 16:24:34

Oh and if you want simpler, buy a student cook book or do what I do and borrow your child's!! I bought DSS a recipe book and use it for biscuits, fairy cakes and refridgerator squares. It's great!

Doesn't matter what you cook, but try what you'd like to eat.

As for fussy eaters, be strong and they'll eat it. DSS wouldn't eat most things (depending on the day) when DH and I got married. Now he eats whatever you put in front of him and probably only once a month tells us he didn't like something-much better than once a meal this time last year. When I look back it fills me with dread. I cooked something I thought he'd love (had prawns and tomato ketchup) he hated it as 'it's creamy'. There wasn't any cream in it. Took me a while to cook for him again as I was so deflated/annoyed!!

GodzillasBumcheek Sat 05-Sep-09 09:51:29

Well, in case anybody was waiting with bated breath (WTF does that even mean?) for an update...

Haven't done any cooking yet (DH has had it planned for quite a few nights), but i have bought a new book which sounds brill. I heard about it in passing on here tbh - 'how to feed your whole family'. It sounds perfect...the introduction says it uses only readily available ingredients, no fancy equipment, and not enormous amounts of time to prepare. Brill. Hopefully i will not procrastinate too much in using it!

BTW - didn't get on with buying Jamie Oliver books as i found them too pricy (the book i bought was a bargain in The Works), and will have to search online for Madhur Jaffrey or Ken Hom for same reason!

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