This set of observations came in response to a call out for assistance in encouraging the reluctant to cook …
When I look back on my own culinary explorations at few suggestions stand out:
– adopting a spice or an herb and scouring the cookbooks – this helped me develop confidence in seasoning – good place to start is with homemade tomato sauce which is quite forgiving if a wee bit more garlic is added or if the bay leaf is accidentily omitted.
– getting acquainted with equipment – wok, cast iron frying pan, steamer, omelette pan, bain-marie and the simple saucepan – good to known which cooking techniques are suited to the kitchen gear – recipes are often silent on such matters (I discovered that a bain-marie is good not only for custard but also for rice pudding; a video of Jacques Pépin and the good counsel of Julia Child led us to invest in an omelette pan which we now make regular use of – and of course knives! (I am now much more confident with chopping, slicing and dicing since having learnt to hone knives properly).
– using the library to rifle through cookbooks – good way to explore cuisines and chefs without investing in one’s own copy and seeing one’s shelves groan under the weight – there is one book that has no recipes but is a great resource for flavour combinations: Niki Segnit The Flavour Thesaurus (It has no pictures).
– asking the food purveyors for instructions – thanks to the butcher I discovered the way to cook duck breast to ensure its skin crisps up nicely and was encouraged to explore adding crépinette to my list of sought after pleasures
In short, there is no end to engaging with food – constantly something to learn and try.
And so we send all our best wishes in coaxing your cooking partner along.
And so for day 2406