Mad kitchen skillz

So my summer Molecular Gastronomy class started this week. Our primary “textbooks” are Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking (which was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame this year) and Herve This’ Kitchen Mysteries. Delightful to read, and delightful that they didn’t cost upwards of $100 a pop!

Fun fact: You can use metal in the microwave! Surprised? So was I! Here’s what Mr. McGee has to say on the matter:

Metal foil and utensils can be put in the microwave oven with moist foods without causing problems, provided they’re reasonably large and kept some distance from the walls and each other to prevent arcing. Fine metallic decoration on china will spark and suffer damage.

I’m not sure I’m going to try this anytime soon, but still...interesting.

The fact that people are all over the map in their cooking skills has been on my mind a lot anyway, but even more so since digging into my reading for this class. How do people who didn’t learn kitchen skills from their parents, and don’t have money to pay for cooking classes, learn to cook. I don’t think watching the Food Network is the answer, especially since most of those shows choose their recipes for visual appeal and at least a touch of decadence. Healthy food is not the norm…and doesn’t make for the best escapist TV diversion, I’m guessing.
So imagine my delight as I was cruising for photos on Jamie Oliver’s website the other day when I came across Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills. It was developed to help kids (pre-teens and teens, I’m guessing) learn to cook, so all you grown-ups who could learn a thing or two? I think you could easily learn a thing or two? The website is insane, with how-to skill videos, how-to recipe videos, step-by-step photos. I mean, he covers  everything. Everything! Cooking with herbs, how to carve a chicken, the difference between a simmer and a boil, how to set up your kitchen (shown below). Heck, I’m going to be studying some of these videos, because I’m sure I have a hole or two in my skill set, somewhere.
Yep, mad kitchen skillz…that’s what we all could use more of. Enjoy!