Basic Cooking Methods

One of the things that you need to know about adulting (And in my opinion one of the most important things) is the basic methods of cooking.  Cooking is important on so many levels- your health, your wallet and you love life.  In a world that’s full of celebrity, cooking shows everyone wants to pretend that they know about cooking but the truth is that so many of us don’t.  If we did we would know not to pay 23 dollars for a piece of salmon that should only cost 4 dollars.

Like so many things, before you really start cooking you need to know the basics.  Basic cooking methods are something that everyone can do and that they can do at home.  My first recommendation is to actually a textbook.

I know, I know.  You are done with that part of your life.  But when I started culinary school they told us to buy this book.  On Cooking is going to tell you everything you need to know about….well everything.  Its amazing and really any addition will do.  They are up to the 6th addition but I have the 3rd and its amazing.  Don’t be intimidated by its size.  It is basic and will tell you everything from cooking methods to Herbs.  It tells you how to take out bones from a fish and each chapter will tell you the basics of everything, and then give you recipes you never dreamed that you could cook!

But the first thing that you will learn in this post, even if you don’t buy the book, is basic cooking methods so when a recipe tells you to saute, you actually know what that means.

Broiling: Radiant heat from an overhead source.

Grilling: Sigh heat from the bottom (Can be electric or gas, wood or coal.

Roasting & Baking: Both processes involve surrounding food with dry, heated air in an enclosed environment.  Roasting is applied to meat and poultry.  Baking applies to fish, fruits, starches veggies and pastry items.

Sauteing (Stir-frying): A dry heat cooking method that transfers heat from hot pan to food with the help of a small amount of fat (Oil, butter, ect.) using high temperatures.

Pan Frying: Like sauteing but uses a moderate amount of fat.

Deep Frying: Submerging food in hot fat.

Poaching: Moist heat cooking method that uses liquid to transfer heat to the food in a speedy way.

Simmering: Like poaching but for a longer period of time.  Used to tenderize.

Boiling:  Few foods are actually at true boiling.  Pasta and eggs are actually cooking at simmering.  Turbulent waters and high temperatures will cook things quicker.

Steaming: Transfers heat from steam to food.  Usually associated with fish and veggies.  Foods are usually steamed by being placed on a rack above boiling water.

Braising:  Food, usually meat, is browned first by roasting and then cooked at a low heat using simmering in a liquid, stock or sauce.

Stewing: Like Braising but used with smaller pieces of food.


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