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Need to Know Cooking and Kitchen Techniques

I was on board with the first couple of these. (Via Slash/Food.) I can chiffonade some basil and poach an egg. But is shucking an oyster essential for a home cook? Or peeling shrimp? Really?

What do you think are “crucial” cooking techniques for a competent home cook? My list would start with chopping an onion and peeling some garlic.


About Elizabeth

In no particular order, I am a writer, reader, wife, teacher, obsessive eater, and amateur home cook.

4 responses »

  1. Well maybe if you are living on the coast and eating seafood every day, but other than that…no. and what do they mean by peeling shrimp? Most Shrimp available today are already beheaded and deviened, peeling them at that point shouldn’t be a problem.

    Ok now I went and looked at the article. There is certainly a coastal skew. šŸ™‚ 4 of the 10 slides were for seafood and no other types of meat were mentioned. Not even how to de-bone a fish (which I am not so good at)

    On my list would be cooking a roast and a whole chicken, no not the most difficult things, but things that terrified me the first time I did them and have found to be good skills. Along that line some basic butchering knowledge. (like Chris I’m a total carnivore and was born on a cattle ranch to boot)

    Things like how to make a roux are important too.

  2. I agree with Melissa, this is a pretty odd list. Interesting things to know, but I wouldn’t classify most of them as *crucial* for most home cooks. Wholeheartedly nodding along to roasting a chicken and other cuts of meat + roux! I’d add making a good stock to the list as well. I think most of my thoughts are more along the lines of crucial dishes to make vs. techniques. Hmmm.

  3. I think that certain elemental techniques define us as cooks– where did you grow up? What were the staples? For me, the first basic is getting (and learning how to use) the right equipment. Then knowing how to cook things enough but not overcook them. How to create an attractive but nutriciously balanced plate… But seriously, for me, knowing how to make at least one good sauce or gravy, and how to adapt it for various menus, that’s a must-have trick.

    • I definitely agree about the sauces. I’d like to say I agree about the roux and roasting meat… alas, those are things I have yet to master.


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