Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cooking 101

My sons (and a willing girlfriend) made this lovely meal with just the tiniest bit of supervision from me. Get in the kitchen with the people you love and pass on your love of cooking good food to them. 

I recently had the rare opportunity to spend an afternoon alone in a hotel room. I also did the rare thing of turning on daytime TV and I stumbled upon a talk show. What I saw really interested me, but not in the good way. I was intrigued and had to finish watching.

The host had invited a chef to teach both him and his guest how to cook a meal. Apparently, he had never prepared a meal for himself and apparently his guest had never even been in a kitchen. She was a young woman about to be married and the premise of the segment was to teach her how to cook a meal for her new husband.

The meal was a simple one: grilled asparagus and chicken piccata. The teacher was excellent and the students were willing, but what fascinated me was their hesitation at every step. It was apparent that neither had ever trimmed a spear of asparagus, couldn’t identify olive oil, couldn’t sauté garlic and didn’t know how to dredge a piece of chicken. Of course, in the end everything in TV land turned out fine, the meal made it to the plate, the audience went wild and the newly initiated cooking students were rightly proud of themselves for their first-ever home-cooked meal.

What I took away from the show was how important it is to pass on basic cooking skills to our children, our friends, our spouses, etc. I want my children to be able to put good food on the table, to understand how flavors work together, to see how food can enrich a person’s life and also to understand the satisfaction of feeding not only themselves, but other people.

Maybe you are like the young woman I saw on TV. I’m not sure how you learn to cook except by lots and lots of practice. Start simple, like with the meal here. Don’t get discouraged. Keep it simple and wholesome. Read basic cookbooks. Think balance. Imagine how the plate will look when you are done. Learn and focus on classic techniques. Keep at it!

Recipes can be found here: Chicken Piccata and Asparagus with Balsamic Syrup

One Year Ago: Chicken Queso Burger
                        Pizza Burger 

 Maybe you noticed that I also posted this article on my Mlive blog.... I know that's blogging cardinal rule number one (never re-post!). I just had to post in two places because I feel so strongly about this topic! Can you forgive? :) 


  1. Totally agree, Tracy...have to pass on our love of food and cooking. I grew up watching the women in my family cook and helping out. In college, I cooked for my roommates...basic stuff, but good. As the years went on, I did more and more cooking. It is one of those things that you get better at by doing. Great post!!

  2. I hope to pass on a true love of cooking to my boys. If that doesn't happen, I'll happily settle for providing them with an ability to feed themselves well.

  3. Nice recipe, it's true that we have to pass these recipes and skills to the next generation so that we can preserve all traditional recipes.

  4. What a lovely looking meal. I cook with my kids all the time - I want them to be confident in the kitchen.

  5. We should always welcome our kids into the kitchen with us and not shoo them away. You are right that we need to do our best to pass along basic skills to our children. And it's OK with me that you posted this important topic in two places :-)

  6. This is sad, but true, I've met people like that. It's good you are teaching yours, it will improve their lives. Your a good mama. Hope you are having a great week.

  7. So true! You did the right thing, Tracy!


Thanks for stopping by my Living Cookbook! I appreciate each and every comment!