Monday, May 24, 2010

Top 20 Cooking Myths

Cooking Myths
There are lots of myths in regards to cooking. Sadly, they tend to discourage people from practicing a very basic life skill. Here are the myths about cooking that I have heard repeatedly from friends, acquaintances and even cooking pundits. Are any of them keeping YOU out of the kitchen?

1. You can't cook anything good in a short amount of time
You don't need to cook something complicated or cutting edge (unless of course you want to!), plenty of great recipes take very little time at all. Here are just a few examples:

Asparagus Frittata from Simply Recipes
Black Bean Clams from Single Guy Chef
High-roast Chicken and Potatoes from Hedonia
Grilled Tri Tip Steak with Chimol Salsa from Kalyn's Kitchen
Orechiette with Sausage and Kale from The Kitchn
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Aglio e Olio from Skillet Chronicles

Choose from steak, chicken, pasta, seafood, some dishes are even vegetarian--all are delicious!
2. Cooking takes too long
I don't know what "too long" means. But I can cook dinner faster than you can get it served to you at a restaurant and quicker than it takes to get it delivered. Really. Don't believe me? Revisit the recipes above.

3. You need lots of ingredients There are tons of recipes that use 5 ingredients or less. Just check out this collection on Epicurious. Or just revisit the recipes above, the ingredients for those recipe would fit in a single grocery bag.

4. Cooking is not enjoyableCooking can and SHOULD BE ENJOYABLE! It's not just a necessity, it's actually fun or why would so many bloggers (myself included) be droning on about it endlessly?

5. Cooking is hard
Cooking in a restaurant is hard work. Cooking at home does not need to be hard. If you don't believe me, see Michael Ruhlman's sarcastically named, World's Most Difficult Roasted Chicken Recipe.

6. You need to use processed foods to save time, effort and moneyProcessed foods actually cost more than raw foods, not less. They do not necessarily save you time. The Kitchn did a test to see what the difference was between making a cake from scratch and from a mix. The results will surprise you!

7. Cooking from scratch is expensive, even more than eating outCheck out this blogger's challenge to create $2 a serving meals.

8. Cooking requires a lot of skill
Nope. Even dummies can cook French food.

9. You need expensive pots and pan to cookThe Breakaway Cook shows you how to use some of the cheapest pans around, cast iron.

10. You need lots of expensive knives to cookThree knives. That's all you need! And this from a restaurant blogger.

11. You need a very well-stocked kitchen to cook
A basic pantry doesn't need to be overflowing with ingredients. Not sure where to start? Check out this primer on Slashfood.

12. Good cooks never use recipes
There are cooks who advocate ratios rather than recipes, but you know what? They too use recipes too sometimes.

13. Good cooks always use recipes
Pastry chef and blogger Shuna Lydon dispels this myth, thoughtfully and provocatively.

14. Cooking is too messy
Yes, cooking can be messy. But you should be able to clean everything in your kitchen. Keeping your kitchen clean is not a good reason for not cooking!

15. Cleaning up takes longer than cooking so it's not worth the effort
The secret is to clean as you cook, just ask Martha.

16. Cooking is too dangerous for kids to do
When kids learn to cook with adult supervision it's not dangerous. Check out What's Cooking Blog to learn more about cooking with kids.

17. Cooking is fattening and leads to overeating By cooking you can control and be aware of exactly what is in your food. I guess if you cook well you might be inclined to overeat, but that's about will power, not cooking!

18. You must follow recipes exactly or they won't workIf that was true you would never see the word "adapted" next to recipes.

19. Cooking is menial or dullIn the 1950's women were told that cooking was a chore and not worth the effort. Laura Shapiro writes about the phenomenon in Something from the Oven. But cooking was and is something truly enjoyable. Cleaning might be menial and dull, but cooking is a joy. The classic cookbook that proclaims it so has sold over 18 million copies!

20. Cooking for one is not worth the effortLegendary cookbook editor Judith Jones would beg to differ. She's the author of The Pleasures of Cooking for One.