Learning to Cook

I am not a professional cook. I don’t understand why recipes call for cooking things in certain ways, and I learn most of what I know from laughable failures.

I like to approach cooking as learning new skills, so I study up a little. However, the lessons I remember are the ones that come the hard way.

Did you know you shouldn’t use skim milk when making biscuits? When my grandmother handed down her generations-old recipe for big, Southern drop biscuits, she told me it was fail proof. As a young bride, she had apparently failed repeatedly at making homemade biscuits, which was not acceptable in a culture where biscuits are a breakfast staple. Her aunt gave her the simple recipe, which has always produced delicious biscuits with Himalayan-like profiles. That is until I got my hands on it. I only kept skim milk in the house at that time. Skim milk does not make mountainous biscuits; it makes pancake biscuits.

Did you know that bread flour isn’t really that great for cobbler breading or the above mentioned biscuits? I found out when I made cobbler last night for a party and then this morning when I wanted a down home breakfast.

Also, green beans will boil completely dry and roasting vegetables on a cookie sheet without edges can lead to fire.

Most of you probably already know these things. Maybe you have an intuition or common sense that told you these things. I don’t.

However, I just threw together leftovers from my fridge and made a kind-of-chana-masala that’s delicious and satisfying. Maybe learning by accident isn’t so bad.


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