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Old 09-09-2019, 10:21 AM
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Cookbook / recipe ideas for newly independent 22 year old?


Moon Unit will be moving out into an apartment in about 6 weeks (she's been in a therapeutic residential community for over a year).

She'll be 500 miles away from the family, and responsible for her own meals for the first time in her life.

We're helping her get set up with the apartment - basic furnishings, cookware etc, - and she *knows* how to cook, but has never had to do the meal planning or anything. She won't have a very large food budget, either. Her recreational cooking has tended towards desserts, and she's got a couple of good how-to cookbooks for those, but she needs to do real food as well - something a step above Purina Musician Chow tm (as a friend of ours called ramen from, well, his days as a musician).

Also ideas for what we need to get her for a basic kitchen setup. She has a nice set of knives already. I'll hit a thrift store for some pots and pans and a basic set of cooking utensils. What slightly less-obvious things would you really, really miss if you had to do without them?
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:29 AM
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A cutting board. A microwave-safe bowl for cooking. measuring spoons and maybe measuring cups.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:37 AM
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People's tastes are so different, it's hard to give you recipe advice. But a lot of single young adults like to make a big pot of something once a week. Chili, stew, pulled pork for sandwiches...Try to think of one-pot meals that she likes and that keep reasonably well in the fridge.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:52 AM
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I think everyone's first apartment should just come with a copy of Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!

I am a big fan of those silicone flippers with the angled edge. Great for getting under stuff like eggs and pancakes, but I also love a flipper with a nice totally straight edge that will get fond off the bottom of a pan.

Cutting boards are key to wanting to cook, imo and the trick is to find one that is as large as possible to maximize your worksurface but is light enough that you can carry it around easily and most importantly grip it securely with one hand while you scrape whatever you cut into the pot. Too large or too small and they never get used.

Microplanes are real handy for zesting citrus, chocolate and spices like nutmeg.

Mini prep bowls, mini prep bowls, mini prep bowls. Nothing makes you feel more like a four star chef than having all your ingredients and spices prepped and bowled ready for you to add to dinner. Keeps you organized and the space clean which makes cooking fast and pleasant.

Bench scrapers are great for easily moving things like chopped onion, scallions, herbs etc from the cutting board to prep bowls or the dish itself. Also great for manipulating and dividing doughs.

White kitchen towels. I have a laundry bag on a hook attached to the side of the counter and a stack (like 20+) of white towels in the sideboard cupboard. Wipe down counters and spills with the towel, throw it in the laundry bag and grab another towel from the cupboard. Throw the whole bag in the washing machine when it's full and bleach 'em white again.

When I am contemplating buying something more expensive or that takes up counter space, I write it on a list I keep in the kitchen and every time I wish I had it for a project, I mark it on the list. If an item gets 5 or more tallies in less than a year, I feel confident that I can buy it and put it to use regularly.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:58 AM
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Bag clips. With magnets. You can never have enough of these things. I'm a big fan of these kind: https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Magnetic-...dp/B06XSNC9PL/
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:13 AM
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I have a set of pots that have straining lids that come with them. Well, one on the saucepan and one on the big pot. Yesterday I was at my mom's using her regular saucepan without a straining lid and I was legit pissed off about it - I could either strain my noodles using the lid, while dropping a bunch of noodles in the sink. Or I could use a strainer which I'd have to first hunt for and then wash. DO NOT WANT.

Make sure she has multiple cutting boards so she gets in the habit of not cutting meat and not-meat on the same board. I have a set like this and they're super useful.

I have an electric stovetop so I have a set of stove burner covers to go over the burners. I don't cook much, so it keeps them clean while I'm busy not using them. I burn them from time to time (sometimes you turn on the wrong burner...) so I bought two packs so I can replace them easily. It's also good for protecting the burners when you want to use the stove for extra work space. If she gets these, remind her to remove the one that goes over the oven exhaust (the back left?) when she uses the oven. I don't know how this works in a gas stove but probably similar.

I get the burner covers at Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree is great for kitchen implements! Extra sets of measuring cups and spoons are always good, if she has room, for when you need the same measurement of wet and dry stuff. There's really no need for anything fancy when you're first starting out. Get stuff you can wreck and not feel bad about.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:25 AM
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This just goes to show that different people use their kitchens in different ways. I have never used a stove burner cover. I'm struggling to image what the purpose is. Do you go so long without using your stove that it becomes visibly dusty?
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:28 AM
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I've never used them either, and I use the stove so frequently that I suspect it would be a pain to take them off all the time, but I have multiple cutting boards with burner imprints burned onto them because I put a cutting board on a burner I thought was cool and it was not. Could be useful!
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:29 AM
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Don't forget a knife sharpener, and teach her how to use it.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:43 AM
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This just goes to show that different people use their kitchens in different ways. I have never used a stove burner cover. I'm struggling to image what the purpose is. Do you go so long without using your stove that it becomes visibly dusty?
Back when I had an electric stove, I had them because I am a sloppy cook and they helped keep the other burners clean. I can throw a burner cover in the dishwasher - cleaning the stove itself or a burner I've spilled sauce on is a pain in the butt. They also give you a nice flat surface to, for instance, set a spoon rest on if you are simmering something for a long time and need to stir occasionally.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:00 PM
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My daughter moved out as soon as she finished college. Last Christmas, the only thing she asked me for were Chrissy Teigen's cookbooks Cravings and Hungry for More.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:20 PM
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This just goes to show that different people use their kitchens in different ways. I have never used a stove burner cover. I'm struggling to image what the purpose is. Do you go so long without using your stove that it becomes visibly dusty?


Yep. I live alone and don’t hardly cook so they do indeed get dusty. If I do use a burner it’s just one, for boiling a pot of water or whatever.

I’m a 40yo woman but I probably cook less or the same as a 22yo student
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:52 PM
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As a 22 year old, this is what I couldn't live without (assume the existence of the usual tools: flatware, measuring cups, bowls, etc.)

Tools
- A medium/large stainless steel cooking pot, for boiling water for pasta.
With this I made "one pot meals" all the time: boil spaghetti, add sliced sausages, put the lid on and pour off the water when done (skip the strainer/collander) then add spaghetti sauce straight from the jar, into the hot pasta, then warm up a little more on the stove if need be. NB I still have this same pot nearly 30 years later. It's in 100% condition and we use it every day!

- A set of nesting stainless steel bowls for mixing baking ingredients. The largest one serves as a popcorn bowl.

- Cast iron pan. These are indestructible, cheap and if properly "seasoned" and maintained, can actually be non-stick. Use to brown meat / make omelettes / saute veggies. Can be used for "one pot" meals, see above.

- Microwave: For popcorn, reheating leftovers

- Toaster oven: For toasty sandwiches, pizza, even for baking brownies. Some of these come with a baking pan for brownies, frozen fish, frozen chicken patties, etc. Much better than a toaster, because you can do so much more with it. Laying the bread horizontally means you don't just toast bread, but melt butter on it / toast cheese, bake small items, roast fish... And it's cheaper to operate then a full oven.

Recipes
- Pasta...see the "one pot" recipe above.
- Brownies: Typically there's a recipe on the back of a bakers' chocolate box.
- Biscuits: Everyone should have their favorite biscuit recipe.
- Fried Rice: Use the pan for meat, eggs and veggies (onions first, add diced carrots and peas later). Add rice that you made in the pot, then oil and sauce, and stir fry it all together.

Last edited by Limmin; 09-09-2019 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:48 PM
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As far as cookbooks are concerned, I'd probably go with the Alton Brown "I'm Just Here For the Food" pair (cooking and baking) as good starting points.

I'd say that good measuring cups and spoons are a must-have. Oxo makes good ones in my opinion.

Also, some kind of instant-read thermometer is a good thing to have- I have a Thermapen, but they're spendy. Lavatools Javelin is a highly rated alternative for a LOT less cash.

Last edited by bump; 09-09-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:13 PM
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At that age I did a lot of frozen pasta (especially tortellini with cheese/meat) and frozen veggies. I boiled the water and then cooked them all together. Sometimes I would put pasta sauce on the after cooking, sometimes just grated cheese. Cheap, easy, and moderately healthy (if you don't skimp on the veggies.)
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:43 PM
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Another good beginner cookbook is the old standby Betty Crocker Cookbook. Easy recipes for everything from pancakes to roast beast.

Last edited by Chefguy; 09-09-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:04 PM
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With everything already on the internet, I've never been a huge fan of cookbooks, but they never hurt either.
If she's never done a lot of cooking, get her a Crock Pot or Instant Pot. If you're going to be with her for the first day or so, you could even show her how to make something easy. Fill up the crock pot in the morning, turn it on, go run some errands and come back to dinner.
At the very least, you could give her a few easy things to make with it. Beef Stew, Pulled Pork/Shredded beef etc and some rice/noodles/potatoes is all pretty easy.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:09 PM
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With everything already on the internet, I've never been a huge fan of cookbooks, but they never hurt either.
I mainly use cookbooks for ideas. I'll read them in the living room for inspiration, but once I'm actually in the kitchen, I'm mostly winging it.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:13 PM
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I mainly use cookbooks for ideas. I'll read them in the living room for inspiration, but once I'm actually in the kitchen, I'm mostly winging it.
I use the internet, but yeah, same thing. Normally I'll print out a couple of recipies I like and sorta combine them or take one and make a bunch of changes as I go. In either case, it's annoying when I go to make it again and don't remember what changes I made. If I'm thinking about it, I'll jot them down.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:19 PM
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Another good beginner cookbook is the old standby Betty Crocker Cookbook. Easy recipes for everything from pancakes to roast beast.
This is a great suggestion.

The Betty Crocker Cookbook is one of the first I ever received back in my distant youth and I still return to it periodically for a quick overview of the good old tried and true recipes. I still use their chocolate éclair recipe.

ETA: Re equipment, to the other fine suggestions already made I would add a couple sturdy cookie sheets which can double as hotel pans, and a pyrex 9" x 13" casserole. I use these things a lot.

Last edited by Aspenglow; 09-09-2019 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:30 PM
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I always recomend the Joy of Cooking as a first cookbook. It covers everything in an easy to understand format. For tools you might not think of I'd go with a vegetable peeler. That plus several sharp knives and a couple of pots and pans will allow you to do everything. Maybe a dutch over if she likes stews and chilies and stuff.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:44 PM
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I really like Budget Bytes. The recipes are reliable, easy to follow, include pictures, and typically have plenty of vegetables.
https://www.budgetbytes.com/

I might start with the recipes for college students.
https://www.budgetbytes.com/top-10-r...lege-students/

Easy dinners.
https://www.budgetbytes.com/19-quick...night-dinners/
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:49 PM
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I'd recommend a combo rice cooker/vegetable steamer.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:26 PM
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If she eats poultry, an easy recipe for roast chicken (they’re all easy!), a recipe for chicken salad, a guide to making chicken stock, and a chicken soup recipe will take her through the week. Also, 1\2 or 1/4 size sheet pan for roasting the chicken and all kinds of veg to go with it. Maybe an Aeropress if she likes good coffee. An espresso machine would be awesome, but 4-100 times the price.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:58 PM
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I always recomend the Joy of Cooking as a first cookbook. It covers everything in an easy to understand format. For tools you might not think of I'd go with a vegetable peeler. That plus several sharp knives and a couple of pots and pans will allow you to do everything. Maybe a dutch over if she likes stews and chilies and stuff.
That's the cookbook I started from my senior year of college. The internet is great for recipes and research, but I think a cookbook gives you a much better general understanding of food and recipes. These days, I might recommend Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything as a good baseline starter cookbook that is easy-to-read, and gives a solid introduction to ingredients and technique across a wide range of recipes (around 2000), though I certainly would not disagree with The Joy of Cooking.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

She's actually a fairly competent cook - I just want to make sure she has a repertoire of **easy** recipes so she doesn't get all bogged down in "I need to cook, and I wanted to make such-and-such, and it's too much time, so I'll eat a cookie for dinner". She's never had to do meal planning before, and when we've had her (and her brother) choose recipes to make each week for their turn at dinner, she tends to come up with stuff that's a bit more elaborate. The budget cookbooks will, I think, be good choices.

Definitely a good basic bit of everything cookbook like Joy of Cooking or Betty Crocker - I got one like that when I graduated college mumble-mumble decades ago and still use it. I remember my mother having Joy of Cooking (she got it as a gift) and the format was awful - her version didn't have the ingredient list at the top of the recipe, but was rather "Take 2 cups of flour. Cut in 1 stick butter. Add 3/4 cup whatever....". Very hard to use. Hopefully they've improved it....

Mixing bowls: I have a set I bought in 1981. I still use them nearly every day. Ditto the stainless colander I bought. I was actually NOT raised with dry measures - Mom literally never owned a set. They were quite a discovery for me. Moon Unit knows how to use them. So both of those will go on the list for her "trousseau". I doubt she'd take care of a regular cast iron pan, but I might get a lower-rent enameled one for her (not Le Creuset... I don't even have one of those and I have a job!).

She'll get my smaller Instant Pot, so that should cover most rice cooker / slow cooker needs. I'll have to remember to give her a cookbook for it; she's used mine once or twice but I'm sure does not remember how.

I should start printing favorite recipes and putting them in plastic sleeves, to make up a binder for her. We have one here; every time we discover a real "keeper" we put it in that, and it's great because we can take out the recipe while preparing the meal, and the plastic provides it.

I'll need to find out whether her apartment has a microwave; if not, we'll need to bring her one.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:00 PM
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Essentially, every good cook learns from three words: "Eat your mistakes." Cookbooks can wait until she figures out what she can afford, what she can cook, what she likes. Before "how to cook" comes "how to eat," and you and she have had plenty of time to figure that out.

At this point, it's not so much how to cook as it is how to shop. She needs to learn how to eat (and cook) two meats, three vegetables, and three starches. Baking, later.

This may seem odd, but I recommend, um, soups. They usually have a wonderful combination of proteins, fats, starches and vegetables, they are hard to screw up, they're easy to make a lot of, cheaply, and then freeze, and they can be the perfect cheap, easy, healthy companion to whatever deep-fried crap will inevitably accompany it. The best soup recipes are, unfortunately, the easiest recipes in the hardest cookbooks, which turns a lot of people off. Still, soup is the way smart people learn to cook.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:21 PM
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Some very good advice. One thing I would be concerned about is how much counter space she will have.

The Crock Pot/Instant Pot is very handy. I have a version made by Crock Pot that can sear, slow cook, and pressure cook. I assume the Instant Pot can do that as well.

One thing that I found very useful when I was younger was a George Foreman Grill. I now have a grown up version that is much better. Temperature control for the top and bottom, change the plates to griddle or grill, ability to adjust the height so it doesn't have to smash everything. I can cook tons of things quickly and easily on it and it is simple to clean up. The problem is it goes against my concern of counter space. Something similar to this https://www.williams-sonoma.com/prod...xoC-wkQAvD_BwE
.
Cookbooks... I agree with Joy of Cooking or Betty Crocker. I love How to Cook Everything but it could be intimidating to a new cook although if they try it the recipes are really fairly easy to follow.

Last edited by Spud; 09-09-2019 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:24 PM
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Joy of Cooking is a great reference cookbook, but the prose can be a little..... awkward for some new cooks. I'd recommend Good and Cheap: How to Eat on $4/day by Leanne Brown. It's an outstanding cookbook - and not just for how she shows you how to made food, healthy, interesting food for less than a Happy Meal, but also for how she shows folks how to plan meals (and how to use leftovers).

The book itself is beautifully done, but, if you'd rather, she also makes the whole thing available for free as a PDF download (at the same link as above).
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:38 PM
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Joy of Cooking is a great reference cookbook, but the prose can be a little..... awkward for some new cooks.
It's been revised and updated numerous times; last time in 2006, and there's a new version coming out soon, which adds a section on fermentation. I believe I had the 1997 edition in college, and I don't particularly remember the prose being odd or anything.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:50 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions!

She's actually a fairly competent cook - I just want to make sure she has a repertoire of **easy** recipes so she doesn't get all bogged down in "I need to cook, and I wanted to make such-and-such, and it's too much time, so I'll eat a cookie for dinner". She's never had to do meal planning before, and when we've had her (and her brother) choose recipes to make each week for their turn at dinner, she tends to come up with stuff that's a bit more elaborate. The budget cookbooks will, I think, be good choices.

Definitely a good basic bit of everything cookbook like Joy of Cooking or Betty Crocker - I got one like that when I graduated college mumble-mumble decades ago and still use it. I remember my mother having Joy of Cooking (she got it as a gift) and the format was awful - her version didn't have the ingredient list at the top of the recipe, but was rather "Take 2 cups of flour. Cut in 1 stick butter. Add 3/4 cup whatever....". Very hard to use. Hopefully they've improved it....
There are a bunch of cookbooks with recipes using only 5 or 6 ingredient, which are pretty simple to make, but have good variety.
There are tons of Weight Watcher cookbooks, which are good even if you aren't on a diet. Their recipes are usually pretty quick to make. I wouldn't use them exclusively, since they are heavy on boneless skinless chicken breasts and shrimp, but there are tons of them in used book stores.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:37 AM
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Ramen is actually pretty versatile and inexpensive. We used to eat fried ramen all the time.

You can eat it as soup as intended, but we'd boil it, with or without the spice, then drain it and throw it into a frying pan with some scrambled egg, frozen mixed veggies, cooked cubed pork or chicken or steak. Sometimes we'd add soy sauce.

It was always a favorite.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:53 AM
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A boxed set of Alton Brown's Good Eats series might prove helpful. Brown does a pretty good job of explaining not only how to cook something but why it should be cooked a certain way. It's one of the most useful and entertaining cooking shows I've ever seen.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:03 AM
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Ramen is actually pretty versatile and inexpensive. We used to eat fried ramen all the time.

You can eat it as soup as intended, but we'd boil it, with or without the spice, then drain it and throw it into a frying pan with some scrambled egg, frozen mixed veggies, cooked cubed pork or chicken or steak. Sometimes we'd add soy sauce.

It was always a favorite.
Ramen soup with an egg dropped into it is cheap, nearly as easy as plain ramen, and a decent meal.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:04 AM
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A boxed set of Alton Brown's Good Eats series might prove helpful. Brown does a pretty good job of explaining not only how to cook something but why it should be cooked a certain way. It's one of the most useful and entertaining cooking shows I've ever seen.
There are actually 3 volumes of recipes/commentary from the show- it's basically a recipe companion for the show- each episode's recipes are defined in the books, and in a few cases, were revised for publication based on show feedback.

That might be better than a set of DVDs or whatever. Plus, if she wants to see it done, I'm sure that the show segments in question are on YouTube or Food Network.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:44 AM
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It's been suggested (by you even) but a cookbook for an Instant Pot is going to be all she really needs.

You can do so many cool things with an Instant Pot that are easy, quick and don't take many ingredients. If by "my little one" you mean the 3qt version, you might want to spring for the 6qt for her. She'll be able to cook for friends and when she's by herself she'll have room for leftovers.

ETA: Forgot to mention...Aside from cookbooks, Instant Pot has pre-made mixes that all you need to do is add water (or stock) and the meat and you're good to go. The pumpkin chili and lemon risotto ones are fantastic. They have jarred mixes as well that you just add meat and veggies. The Texas chili is the only one of those I've had, but it was very good.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:54 AM
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Yeah...Joy of Cooking is a must-have, but can be (as others have said) surprisingly difficult to use. I've gotten in trouble more than once with recipes that turned out to be a lot harder than they looked at first glance. So be warned, there's some advanced stuff in there.

I believe many basic cookbooks do a good job of selecting easy, tasty and nutritious meals that "anyone can cook" and feel good about. So you'll definitely want a couple of these.

Far easier to have a good cookbook with several great recipes than have to look a bunch of stuff up on the internet then find a way to concentrate that info yourself. (Save to your device? Print it out? Bookmark it and hope to find it later??)
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:27 AM
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This is a great suggestion.

The Betty Crocker Cookbook is one of the first I ever received back in my distant youth and I still return to it periodically for a quick overview of the good old tried and true recipes. I still use their chocolate éclair recipe.

ETA: Re equipment, to the other fine suggestions already made I would add a couple sturdy cookie sheets which can double as hotel pans, and a pyrex 9" x 13" casserole. I use these things a lot.
I have a very tattered 1969 edition that the covers have fallen off of, and a 1991 "40th Anniversary" edition, which is also starting to show some wear. In the 60s, there was apparently a recipe for "tuna and jello pie", which could put you off cooking forever, methinks.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:49 AM
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It's been suggested (by you even) but a cookbook for an Instant Pot is going to be all she really needs.
I think this is getting at a good point.

Maybe the OP's daughter is different than me, but at that age living on my own, cooking was something I did because I had to eat, not because I wanted to cook. Most everyone I know was the same way in their 20s. We had better things to do, like drinking and finding trouble.

During this time in my life I prepared a lot of very simple meals: 1 lb of ground meat (I liked sausage meat), 1 lb of pasta (I liked penne rigate), and a jar of pasta sauce. Cook the meat, boil the pasta, combine it all together. That's dinner for like a week.

I'd do a similar thing with a box of Zatarain's jambalaya and a can of baby clams.

It's basically the "Hamburger Helper" approach to cooking.

I'll still make those meals occasionally to this day.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:27 PM
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One problem with internet recipes, and some book recipes, is that they are not well vetted. I made one the other day which took two cups of spinach but never said when to add it. I've seen some that neglect to mention the oven temperature.
An experienced cook can figure it out, but it could drive a new cook crazy.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:08 PM
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Another good beginner cookbook is the old standby Betty Crocker Cookbook. Easy recipes for everything from pancakes to roast beast.
This and the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook are great suggestions for beginner cooks.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:20 PM
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Stick to the edition of Joy Of Cooking that came out in 1974. You can find them at Goodwill and such. The more recent editions suck. I can also recommend The Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:36 PM
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I have a very tattered 1969 edition that the covers have fallen off of, and a 1991 "40th Anniversary" edition, which is also starting to show some wear. In the 60s, there was apparently a recipe for "tuna and jello pie", which could put you off cooking forever, methinks.
Oh, gawd, the tuna and jello pie! I don't think I'd have gotten past that recipe, either.

Mine is the 1978 New and Revised version. It is such a solid training-wheels cookbook, and I was a not-bad cook even when I received it. My copy is splattered and worn. For basic recipes that remind you of how the entire neighborhood cooked growing up (meat loaf, roast chicken, beef stroganoff, apple pie, chocolate pudding and blah blah), this is the one.

I have a well worn copy of Joy of Cooking, of course. In truth, I didn't start out using it much except as a compendium to learn about obscure methods (how to disassemble a lobster, e.g.). I found it very useful once I realized I really did love cooking and was ready to expand my horizons. But as a just-starting-out cookbook? I think I'd have found it intimidating, too wordy and the recipes too involved.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:34 PM
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I know it's pretty dates, and many of the recipes are also dated, but for tasty meals that get you out of the kitchen fast, I recommend Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Book. There are a couple of follow-up books that are also good.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:45 AM
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Ramen is actually pretty versatile and inexpensive. We used to eat fried ramen all the time.

You can eat it as soup as intended, but we'd boil it, with or without the spice, then drain it and throw it into a frying pan with some scrambled egg, frozen mixed veggies, cooked cubed pork or chicken or steak. Sometimes we'd add soy sauce.

It was always a favorite.
Nothing wrong with ramen - as part of a more balanced diet. Adding veggies / protein definitely helps.

A fellow we know lived almost exclusively on the stuff while in grad school.... and developed scurvy!!
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:59 AM
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I've done a little shopping so far.
- One cast iron enamel cookpot (not Le Creuset; Lodge). It'll add some color, as well as being a good basic pot that's good for quite a few things
- A Budget Bytes cookbook
- A couple of other simple-recipe cookbooks
- A set of stainless mixing bowls

I'll hit thrift stores over the next few weeks to look for other additions.

I expect I'll want to get some things new, e.g. cutting board, dry measures, measuring spoons, but other cookware will be just fine from the thrift stores.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:46 PM
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Oh, gawd, the tuna and jello pie! I don't think I'd have gotten past that recipe, either.

Mine is the 1978 New and Revised version. It is such a solid training-wheels cookbook, and I was a not-bad cook even when I received it. My copy is splattered and worn. For basic recipes that remind you of how the entire neighborhood cooked growing up (meat loaf, roast chicken, beef stroganoff, apple pie, chocolate pudding and blah blah), this is the one.

I have a well worn copy of Joy of Cooking, of course. In truth, I didn't start out using it much except as a compendium to learn about obscure methods (how to disassemble a lobster, e.g.). I found it very useful once I realized I really did love cooking and was ready to expand my horizons. But as a just-starting-out cookbook? I think I'd have found it intimidating, too wordy and the recipes too involved.
Actually, the first cookbook that I ventured into was McCall's, and the first ambitious recipe I tried from it was Shrimp Creole. Came out pretty good, although I made at least five trips to the grocery because I would stop every time I came to an ingredient I didn't have and run to the store.
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Old 09-13-2019, 11:02 AM
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A good crockpot and a good sturdy toaster oven. A large pot with a lid, a small one is only ok for boiling an egg. Kitchen doodads are cheap enough at the dollar store, I buy lidded plastic fake tupperware for storage there frequently. The thrift store sometimes has useful stuff. Long ago I loved Peg Bracken's 'I Hate To Cook Book' (and several sequels) but those recipes are hopelessly dated today. Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything' is wonderful, but is several steps up from '101 Recipes for Noodles' or '1000 Recipes for Ground Beef'.
  #49  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:11 AM
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The recipes in the "I Hate to Cook" book were dated back when I read them in the 70s. What was good about the book was the attitude and the humor. I suspect those have held up/
  #50  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:15 PM
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Another vote for Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. The version I have, and I think they still come this way, is in a 3-ring binder. So, those printed out recipes can be added right in if there aren't too many. It covers the basics and serves as a good reference. I still use it as a reference work, and occasionally for a basic recipe to use as a jumping off point.

My other suggestion is a basic kit of spices and such. Salt, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, plus the most likely other spices and herbs for her favorite dishes. It can be hard when you are contemplating recipes if you have none of the seasonings. And it isn't too big of a deal if you have to go buy a single spice that you haven't used before, but it can get really expensive if you need to buy 3 or 4 at once.

Oh, and rather than micro planes, I would suggest a good solid box grater with sides for small and large shredding.
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