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Bachelor in Need of Cooking Advice!....why do I never have the spices

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Demonaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 03:59 PM
Original message
Bachelor in Need of Cooking Advice!....why do I never have the spices
required for most dishes...how did northern europeans cook before cumin, paprika and wombat gall bile?

I have a "hugh" bag of frozen veggies and a little chicken, canola oil, butter and olive oil, lotsa turkey and cheese...can you build me something tasty?
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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. no.
go out to KMart and buy a cheap spice rack (one where the essential spices are already filled for you)

:D
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
2. Have you had English food?
That's how.

bland meat, bland potatoes, bland vegetables.
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Demonaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Being that I'm from that country I could'nt help but have it, must be
ingrained.........crap!
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I'll never understand the mustard though
Everything with 'english' stamped on it is either some lining of a sheeps organ style gross, or bland....except for the mustard. If used incorrectly the mustard will knock you on your ass.

I remember one time in Oxford I was at a sandwich shop and forgot that it was 'english' mustard and smeared it on a roast beef sandwich and it nearly blinded me.
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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Have you ever tried American food
It's English food made even more bland.
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Ravenseye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. What is American food?
Hamburgers, Hotdogs, macaroni and cheese.

Yeah I'd have to agree.

Stupid english settlers bringing their bland food with them.

Thank god for Thai restaurants.
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Demonaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. American Food is Fast Food: Micky Dees ,Burger King,KFC
everything else is a take off from asian and european dishes
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
3. The answer to your question is that northern Europeans
ate very bland food. I'm not kidding. My one trip to Europe was in the days before the big waves of Asian and African immigration hit. It was bland food all the way through England, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Holland. We went to Austria, but they had goulash there, due to the old Hungarian influence. France was a treat after all that.

To make anything edible out of your current stock of groceries you need:

1) garlic, paprika, carroway, dill, sour cream, and white wine for chicken paprikash

2) soy sauce, sake, and fresh ginger for a Japanese-style stir-fry

3) garlic, oregano, fennel, basil, and some tomato paste for a ratatouille

The turkey and cheese don't fit into any of these recipes.
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Demonaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. thanks, I've already made the purchase recommended by matcom
but even those cheesy racks lack essential spices needed in most dishes, BUT I have enough for #3...my tummy is in your debt.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
15. whatever did they do before 1492?
No tomatoes, chocolate, vanilla, bell/chili peppers, squash, corn, peanuts, pineapples, most kinds of beans, and potatoes!

I was reading the Edwards translation of Apicius -- there were ways around things (the Romans used a lot of wine, and local stuff like juniper berries and rue which we tend to overlook these days) -- but it sure becomes evident why "spices" were high on the list of desirable commodities. One estimate suggested that black pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon, until the 1800s, had a "street value" on par with narcotics today!
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Sentath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Wellll... Whats in the bag-o-veggies?
And what sort of cheese?

Is the poultry raw?
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Demonaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. no, I tried a "Shake and Bake" package but it was horrible
and the veggies are the Stir Fry mix, broc, sugar snap peas, baby corn, mukamame, carrots, port mushrooms, water chestnuts, bell peppers,green onions, shiitake mushrooms.
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LaurenG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. Make some chicken cordon bleu (sp)
flatten your chicken by pounding it, place your sliced turkey and a slice of cheese in it or on it and fold the chicken over. Then (do you have flour?) salt and pepper it on both sides roll it in flour and fry it in canola oil. Steam some of those veggies and eat when the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
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Sanity Claws Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
13. Get yourself a basic cookbook
Through experience you will learn to substitute one spice for another. I certainly don't run out to the store when I see I ran out of rosemary. I might substitute thyme or marjoram. It may not be exactly the same but the minor change does not affect the basic taste.
As for turkey, is it breast meat? If so, substitute it for chicken breast. It might take a little longer to cook but that's okay.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
14. the bachelor's spice kit ...
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 05:04 PM by Lisa
Some of this comes by way of a Canadian Forces reservist, who used to carry small containers of some of these while in the field. He swore they made just about anything edible ...


--garlic powder
--chili powder
--black pepper (if you add a can of tuna to Kraft Dinner, with a lot of pepper, it's actually pretty good ... the head chef at one of the big hotels in my town recommends this, after a hard day at work!)
--lemon pepper if it's available (nice with seafood)

It's possible to cook quite a variety of hot/savoury stuff with just these things. The fancier stuff is nice, but not really necessary if you're on your own (or even if you're cooking for other people who like good hearty home meals). I hardly cooked at all until I left home, and I had to learn a lot of this stuff just by trial and error.

I also like to keep those big packets of Lipton's chicken noodle soup handy. If next month rolls around and there isn't any extra grocery money, I have soup mix (and generally, cheese) to help stretch the food. If you boil up some water, throw in a packet of that soup, plus some (stir-fried and diced) turkey or chicken, and some frozen veggies ... wait until the noodles get soft ... then mix in some finely-sliced cheese (cheddar is best for this) and sprinkle with black pepper. A whole balanced meal -- nice and hot -- and there's hardly any stuff to wash up afterwards! I actually keep pre-cooked chicken, and frozen veggies, on hand in the freezer for this, as my "emergency supper". The pre-cut frozen veggie bags with broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, etc. are my favorite.

Other spices to have around -- ginger and soy sauce, and vinegar. These 3 things, plus a bit of garlic powder, make a pretty good "instant teriyaki" sauce -- stir-fry the chicken, add some vegetables, and serve over egg noodles or rice.

For pasta sauces -- tomato sauce (or cans of tomatoes) and some herbs (especially rosemary and/or thyme). You can buy them dried at the store, or grow some in a pot or a windowbox -- they're pretty resilient. Basil is also nice (you can add fresh leaves to salads). I usually have a can of tomatoes on the shelf, some onions in the fridge, and some ground beef or turkey in the freezer, for this kind of thing. Doesn't even have to be ground -- you can even do this with sliced-up chicken or turkey (raw or already cooked).

I see you already have oil ... in an emergency, it's possible to stir-fry stuff with a small amount of water instead (just be careful not to let it boil dry -- the lid on the frying pan helps).

Oh, just to add a note on basic utensils -- don't listen to those late-night infomercials that try to sell you zillions of specialized pots and pans. I've been in the homes of friends who trained as chefs and professional cooks, and they don't have most of that stuff! A frying pan with a lid (electric or regular) is very useful. As are 2 sizes of pots (a big one for pasta and stew, and a smaller one for whatever). A couple of mixing bowls, a baking tray (better than a cookie sheet because you can also bake chicken, fish, etc. on it), and a couple of Pyrex casserole dishes for microwave or oven use -- and that's about it. (I also have a 14" steel gold-panning pan which I bake cornbread or cook roasts in, but it's not something I use every day.)

I got most of this stuff at garage sales or the Salvation Army -- if you aren't fussy about matching things, you can often find some good stuff (stainless-steel pots, really nice European carving knives) for $5 or less. A couple of wooden spoons, a spatula-flipper thingy, a pair of tongs (nice for turning over chicken wings or getting pickles out of jars), and some knives (small one for paring, serrated one for bread, 6" one for most kitchen tasks like slicing veggies or cutting up chicken pieces, 10" one for carving turkey, cabbages, or watermelons), and an egg whisk -- that'll set you up for most chores.


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Demonaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. thanks, this I'm printing for future use!
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. extra bonus recipe, thanks to my dad ...
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 05:12 PM by Lisa
"Spanish Rice" -- he was a cook on a West Coast tugboat for awhile, and this was a great way to use up leftovers.

Needed -- some leftover cooked rice (long-grained or short, or brown -- doesn't matter)

Take some leftover meat (chicken, turkey, even bacon, sausage or hotdogs) and chop it up medium-fine. Put some oil in the pan, and stir-fry the meat, with some chopped onion, bell pepper, olives, or whatever you want. When it's sizzling nicely, pour in a can of tomatoes. Once things are bubbling, put in the cooked rice, put the lid on the pan, and turn the heat way down.

It's ready to eat as soon as the rice soaks up the juices.


p.s. my dad lived through the depression. He was the one who taught me how to cook (Mom was always scared I'd drop something or set fire to it). He doesn't like wasting food, and he doesn't have time for complicated stuff (Fanny Farmer often puts in way more steps than necessary, and there's so much stuff to clean up!). And "convenience" foods these days are expensive and (this is my mom chiming in -- have lots of salt and sugar in them). You can make your own soup, stew, chili, etc. and have whatever you like in them, plus not have to worry about additives, packaging, or high prices.
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LSK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
17. Bachelors cooking???
What kind of nonsense is this?

Every night is a Stouffers night! ;)

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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
18. McCormick "Salad Supreme" is a great spice to have
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 05:09 PM by SoCalDem
sprinkle it on potatoes while they are cooking with chopped onions..High heat to brown the cubes of potatoes..Yummmmm

Same for chicken. brown in olive oil, sprinkle both sides generously with salad supreme and finish 'crisping" them...

you can then cut up some cooked chicken ..add some diced celery onion, some mayo and some more salad supreme,,and you have the yummiest chicken salad ever..let it sit covered overnight in the fridge..even tastier..

That same spice can be added to cooked spaghetti,,with a splash of olive oil, some cut cukes, some cut up red onion, cherry tomatoes, a little oregano and you have a chilled spaghetti salad
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. before I read your post
I was going to say that garlic and basil will get you through 90% of spice emergencies. Fresh garlic ideally; my Garlic Genius is fabulous and so easy. This is the model I have and love:
http://www.chefsresource.com/gargeneasper.html
There's also a cheaper model now, which I haven't tried:
http://as-seen-on-tv-products.ws/store/product_info.php...

For sauces I actually prefer dried basil to fresh because the flavor is more concentrated.

But now I have to go get some Salad Supreme to change my life.
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-..__... Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
20. I grew up in a traditional working class Irish household.
Spices included...

Salt.
Pepper.
Ketchup.
Boiling water.

I didn't discover the wonders of meat cooked medium until I was about 20 years old (I always thought steak was supposed to be dry and grey inside).

My first attempts at cooking on my own were a total disaster.
Then after a few years I started getting much better at it, but I had a tendency to use way too many spices and/or too much.

Now about 28 years later I can cook just about anything with only an assortment of about 6-8 different spices: parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, lemon pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, rosemary.

If time isn't that much of a factor try to use fresh non-prepared/non-packaged spices from the vegetable isle... it really does make a difference.
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
22. Learn how to make a beer can chicken. Fun and damn good, will
feed you for a couple days. Many good recipes online, basically very simple.

Also get some kind of barbecue grill. Always fun, simple and good when the weather allows.
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bearfan454 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
23. Basic spices for bachelors are:
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, comino, onion powder, and maybe some celery salt. You can make a bunch of stuff with that.
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