Sabbatical

Food Blogs Coming Soon! [YAY!]

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So does anyone here remember when I tried to start that food blog and show everyone how to make 5 Star Meals on a Minimum Wage budget? No? Well, I don't blame you. It was a poor execution so it's highly forgettable. But you know the saying "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again?"... well that's what I'm going to be doing, only 3 fold. Starting in July, I'll begin posting three different types of food blogs that are designed to give people recipes that can be done at home. But before I do that, I'd like to start by doing a short post today on how to properly prepare yourself for cooking. Because despite what Rachel Ray tells you, cooking is more than just a 30 Minute deal... but it also can be fun and easy.

1. Plan your meal at least 1 day [24 hours] ahead of time.
You ever have those moments when you want to make something, start to make it, and then find out you're out of eggs? Or maybe you have all of the ingredients you need, but you just don't have the proper cookware? Well, if I had to guess it's because you didn't follow the five Ps [Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance] and now you're suffering. So instead of running next door to your neighbor for a teaspoon of sugar or just trying to wing it, make sure that you have everything you need ahead of time. A 24 hour time frame is plenty of time to get everything you need together.

2. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
And it helps prevent germs from spreading, which cause sickness. It can also put you in the middle of a lawsuit. So save yourself trouble by making sure you wash AND SANITIZE all of your cookware and your hands. If you have long hair, put it in a ponytail or in a hair net. Shave or wax away any hairs on your arms. Men with beards, put a hair net over the beard. Women, don't wear your wedding ring or finger nail polish. And most importantly, make sure you use proper hygiene. Believe me, this matters. Cream, milk, butter, eggs, and anything else with fat can absorb odors and make a beautiful looking dinner out to be the worst thing you ever taste. It also helps to make sure a fire extinguisher is safely nearby. Mistakes happen. I've worked in restaurants since I turned 16, and believe me even a high paid chef catches something on fire. So be prepared.

3. Open display does NOT equal fresh.
I hate when I go to a grocery store or a market and see the sign "fresh" above every single fruit, meat, vegetable, bakery, or even beverage that just happens to have an open display. And I also hate that things which aren't so open aren't considered fresh. Especially when it comes to fish. A lot of frozen fish is the freshest you could possibly get it, and in my opinion tastes better than anything you can get a fish monger. Unless you live in Maine or near the harbor. Frozen and canned vegetables and fruit are picked and packaged right at their peak of season and as long as they stay properly sealed or packaged, they'll last until the expiration date... sometimes even longer. Also, you see those big pile of berries? Nine times out of ten, they're not even grown within your country especially out of season. So again, be careful when shopping for fresh foods because they can be tricky.

4. Butter isn't bad for you.
Because I cook with it the most, I feel I should put this here now. Butter is NOT bad for you, it's made from cream which comes from cows. How it got such a bad reputation is beyond me, but hopefully I'll be able to get rid of that notion. However, if you are one of those people who think Margarine is a healthier option, I must ask how do you like the taste of your shampoo? Because that, in reality, is what ingredients go into Margarine. So the choice there is yours. Personally, I'll take Butter every time unless I can find lard for my biscuits. Then lard wins. Also, France has been cooking with butter for years and their people tend to be very lean and healthy. How can that be?

5. Salt also isn't bad for you.
Table salt, which is chemically made by unnatural substances is bad for you. Kosher salt, Pink salt, Sea Salt, and other naturally made salts are good for you, and doctors actually recommend you eat salt. In fact, in the last 8 months I've started an Onnit Diet where Pink Himalayan Salt is the key ingredient in the meals you prepare. I lost a total of 50 pounds, and no they're not paying me to say that. It's true, and I feel great about it. But because they're not paying me, I'm also not going to tell you to go buy pink Himalayan salt... just pick your favorite type of natural salt and stick with it.

6. A child is able to hand a knife by the age of 8.
I held my first knife at 6, and was dicing onions faster than my aunt by the time I was in middle school. So if you want your kids to help you, get them their own set of knives, a cutting board, and let them chop the easier items like carrots or celery stems. You can find smaller knife sets at your local Kohl's which are perfect for children. It is also proven that kids who help their parents cook are more likely to eat the food when it's done. So if you have a hard time feeding kids vegetables, get them to help and they may eat them. Of course, you do want to supervise the kids and make sure they don't hurt themselves. Also make sure that your knife skills are okay before letting them try. This way you can teach them how to properly hold a knife.

7. Work on your knife skills.
Chopping up two carrots and chopping a piece of wood are two entirely different things. You don't need to go around trying to be Luke Skywalker when you're simply dicing an onion or a few carrots. If you need a tutorial on how to chop properly, here's a quick one by everyone's favorite chef, Chef Gordon Ramsay...



I must suggest that before going on to chop anything, you should work on moving back your fingers so that you can find the right rhythm. Then you may practice. Other chopping tutorials can be found on Youtube. I personally suggest Gordon Ramsay, Chef John [Food Wishes], or Alton Brown [Good Eats].

8. Be confident in your cooking.
Did you forget to add flour before adding in your liquid for a gravy or stew? Are you worrying about whether or not you can pull off the recipes provided? What ever the case is... stop, walk away, collect your thoughts, and then proceed. The kitchen is your territory, not the food's. In my blogs, I will give you some tips for each recipe if you mess up on a step. This way you can get back on track and still achieve the proper result. In time, you too will be able to say "It's okay, I can fix this" and mean it. Who knows, maybe you could even design your own recipes as time goes on.

9. The greater the pallet, the better your range.
If you're someone who doesn't like to try a lot of new things, then you'll find yourself in a rut of the same meals. If you're someone who may like to try new things, but aren't sure about how it's prepared by others then hopefully you can prepare meals in my blog yourself and try them. Expanding your pallet range helps you better get why flavors are added together, and also helps you when developing your own recipes. I mean, have you ever tasted cheddar and grapes together? Such a delicious thing.

10. Ask questions.
Whether you're using a recipe from AllRecipes.com, one of my recipes, or just have a random cooking question; don't be afraid to ask. If you go into something not knowing what to do, you'll make a mistake. Getting some help also shows you're willing to learn, and that's a plus.


So there are 10 tips that I find useful, and hopefully you will too as time comes along. Also, because one of my blogs is centered around requests feel free to comment below with a recipe request that you'd like to see. If it soothes your mind any, I'm very skilled in French, Italian, Mexican, and southern US styles but am always learning new tricks to expand my skills. I'm currently learning from a chef at a Mediterranean restaurant.

Edit: Because it's the only thing that makes sense with the Categories given, I'm putting this in Fan Fiction until we get something better.

Updated 06-20-2014 at 12:35 PM by Sabbatical

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Comments

  1. Blue Buster's Avatar
    Looks very interesting, hope to see more of this
  2. Red Hood's Avatar
    Interesting. I'll definitely keep an eye on this for recipes and stuff of the like on here.
  3. Sabbatical's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Hood
    Interesting. I'll definitely keep an eye on this for recipes and stuff of the like on here.
    Any recipes you'd like to see personally?