COOKING 101: BASICS

Help us add detailed information with practical advice.  More categories will be added as necessary.

This page still needs a lot of work.  Please be patient!

First Things First: (we plan to add more details to this section, and eventually a separate page)

1) Prepare before you start cooking; Remember the philosophy of "mise en place" (everything in its place).  When "stir frying" it is essential to prepare all the ingredients before cooking starts.
2) Never rush.  Be safe (avoid burns and cuts).
3) If you are creating a menu ask the host-cook if any of the guests have food allergies or dietary restrictions.  If you are a guest give your host as much advanced notice as possible if you are requesting a personal menu item.
4) Keep your kitchen clean and organized.  If possible, clean as you cook.  If you do not have a dish washer prerinsing dirty pots and dishes before soaking simplifies cleaning.  However, do not soak non-greasy plates and other dirty kitchen equipment in greasy water.
5) Food storage: if you expect to have leftovers plan ahead.  If you plan to let guests take food home invite them to bring their own clean storage containers (or clean plastic bags from the market's produce section).

6) The sequence below (and in the left menu) is a rough recommendation for a sequence to follow.  For example, most people find cooking starchy foods and meat (especially ground meat) easier than cooking seafood.  This may be true if your goal is to cook a whole fish, although broiling or poaching salmon is quite simple.

Measurements & Conversions

Measurements and conversions on discussed on the "Equipment: Measuring" page.

Assessing Basic Skills:

1) What happens when you try to make tea, eggs, French toast, oatmeal, pancakes, pasta, microwave potatoes, or pizza?

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Simple Meals: Breakfast

1) How to select and purchase eggs & dairy (eg. eggs, milk, and cheese)?

2) eggs
3) hot cereal (regular oatmeal, steelcut oats, cream of wheat, farina, and grits)
4) potatoes
5) quick breads

6) what do people eat for breakfast and brunch in other countries-cultures?

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Sandwiches:

1) Sandwiches can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, and for late-night snacks!

2) Sandwiches are a great way to use up leftovers.

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Starchy Foods: Preparation

1) How to select and purchase starchy foods (eg. pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.)?

2) cooking pasta
3) cooking rice
4) cooking potatoes
5) cooking plantains
6) cooking taro
7) cooking yucca

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Meat: Preparation:

1) How to select and purchase meat (knowledge can save you both time and money)?

2) cutting up a whole chicken: meat, skin, & bones
3) deboning a chicken
4) preparing a meat-based broth

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Beans & Legumes: Preparation:

1) Basic bean cooking concepts

2) cooking azuki beans

3) cooking chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

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Fish & Seafood: Preparation:

1) How to select and purchase fish & seafood (eg. clams, mussels, oysters, & scallops)?

2) cleaning fish
3) cleaning clams

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Yeast Breads: Basics

1) How to select and purchase flours & starches?

2) Basic Concepts

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Deep Frying: Basics

1) Most cuisines have at least one dish which requires deep frying.  However, deep frying is messy and uses a lot of oil, so it makes sense to learn how to deep fry as part of a group (which shares the cleanup chore).  Join YaleCooks when we will prepare your favorite foods which are deep fried.

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Home Canning: Basics

1) Perhaps, not a skill which everyone will try, but understanding the process of home canning will help you appreciate ingredients including canned tomatoes.

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Fermentation & Pickling: Basics

1) Easier to do than canning (since no special equipment is needed), plus a great way to reuse the caps from canning projects.

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