The Rusty Fork

I was never one who was proficient in the kitchen. Let’s just say that back in the days I could burn a boiled egg and my piece de la resistance was oatmeal. However I never let a little thing like inability to cook get in my way. You see, I’m a big guy. A former ball player. Not a fat guy per say but I certainly won’t be blown away by the wind. As a person of size I want to eat. I don’t want to depend on take out nor do I want to rely on the wife to do the cooking all the time (cuz honestly… she’s a picky tree biter and really doesn’t cook the lovely meats ) so, I am forced to learn through trial and error.

Over the past couple of decades I’ve upped my game considerably. Considering my origin in culinary disasters I’m amazed that now people actually enjoy my cooking. Cooking is an art form and you can never know it all. It’s a constant learning process that keeps you on your toes. Contained on this page are quick & easy recipes that have been concocted by yours truly over the years. If it ever expands it’ll be broken down into sections but for now everything is lumped together.

For those of you out there who fear cooking or adamantly proclaim they’ll never be able to cook, here are some helpful tips to get you started in the right direction:

  • Recipes are just guidelines – A recipe, is just a blueprint to what you want. You make a recipe your own by adding or taking from the recipe you have in front of you. Everyone has different tastes and preferences. Baking is the only time that you should follow a recipe to the letter. It’s more science than cooking in that the recipes used are more like formulas that rely on chemical reactions in order to achieve a desired effect.
  • A clean workspace is a good workspace – It goes without saying but I’m saying it anyway. Wash. Wash. Wash. Get into the habit of washing your hands, utensils and boards after every item your cut up. It’ll keep both you and those who eat your food happy and healthy.
  • Do your homework – Culinary skill isn’t just going to magically wash over you. You actually have to put some time into learning the basics about cooking. This doesn’t mean you have to go to school. Simply turn on a food network and watch. Most TV chefs teach you very basic cooking techniques and provide helpful tips. You’ll also learn how to manage your ingredients to keep them fresh and bacteria free. Build up a knowledge base and you’ll find yourself far more comfortable in front of the stove.
  • Experimenting = Good – Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations of flavors, textures or ingredients. You can’t expect every pairing you come up with to work but you’d be surprised what you discover when you play around a bit.
  • Failure is an option – You have to know and accept that fact that you’re going to nuke a dish or two on occasion. That’s the whole basis of cooking. Great chefs don’t become great by making perfect dishes all the time. They bombed, learned from their mistakes and continued on. Perseverance is the key. If you killed a dish, examine why it’s bad. Did you cook it too long? Add too much spice? Too watery? Once you know then attempt to correct your methodology and try again. Keep at it until you get the meal right. You learn more from your mistakes than you do from perfection.
  • Get some good knives – A good knife will make you want to cook (or kill if that’s your thing).  You’ll know when you’re infatuated with cooking when you start shopping around for “your knife”. Until you reach that point though having a sharp 8″ – 10″ chef’s knife, a paring knife and a serrated knife will get you through practically every cooking endeavor you take on.
  • Love the food – If you see a vegetable as just a vegetable or fruit as just a fruit then you will never be able to cook the way you may want to. I never understood what it meant to have love for the food until I really started getting into cooking. Now I can go to a grocery store or a farmer’s market and truly appreciate the produce they have. If you can’t care for, understand or appreciate your ingredients how can you expect to cook masterpieces?

The Recipe List

Appetizers / Sides / Salads

Entrees / Main Courses

Snacks / Desserts

2 responses

  1. As someone who is also challenged in the kitchen, I really enjoyed reading about your mess … Makes me feel OK to be me. Thanks for the recipes, too. Great site!

    January 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by. Anytime I can help bring some ease in the kitchen, I’m happy to do it. It takes mauling a few dishes before one can become comfortable in front of the burners. 😉

      January 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

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