Does anyone actually do everything cooking shows tell you to do?

Especially Alton Brown’s instructions on Good Eats (which is on right now). I understand he’s just being informational, but goodness man, I want to eat today, not tomorrow! This is especially true for things that need to rest or marinate overnight. I often don’t know what I want to eat until that day or even an hour before I start cooking.

And between tasting and munching on what’s being made, I sometimes don’t really feel like eating it once it’s done.

I especially ignore the instructions to repeatedly salt, salt, salt, and re-salt everything. And then arrange it nicely in a serving bowl and salt again.

I leave out the salt in most recipes, too.

I love that the cooks insist on using unsalted butter, then add salt anyway.

You don’t watch Alton Brown so he can tell you what you can whip up in the next 20 minutes. That’s Rachael Ray.

Brown’s show is about giving you a deep understanding of materials and methods.

I don’t even do what microwave ready meals tell me to do. Stop stir restart, fuck off.

That’s generally because they want to control how much salt there is, and they don’t know how much is in your particular brand of salted butter.

What drive me crazy is that I once saw a cooking show that said to dissolve kosher salt into the broth, but then sprinkled regular-grain salt on top of the dish. If you’re dissolving salt, you might as well use the cheap stuff, because it makes no difference. The only reason to use kosher salt in a broth is because you use it so often that you don’t bother to keep the regular-grain stuff on hand, which they clearly did because they used it later.

Yep, pro chefs are all about their salt. My SIL is exec.Chef and he tastes and salts constantly while cooking. Rarely is it oversalted, though. Hes a great cook. I love his food. He pisses me off running everyone out of MY kitchen when they are here. He wants no help cooking. He will give us all prep duties and then shoos us out. I love hanging around watching someone cook.
I do try to do things tv cooks tell me. I feel like they know way more than me. I am not cooking lobster thermador or some fancy dessert. So there’s that. You have to take their advice with a grain of salt ( heh!).

Interesting that you mention Alton Brown, because if I had an idol, it would be him. He turned me into a competent cook. I know enough now, though, that I never follow anyone’s recipe at all, because I know enough about most types of cooking to just do it instinctually.

I’ll point out that baking is an exception. That’s chemistry, and needs to be pretty accurate for good results.

I also don’t have the instincts for Asian cooking, yet. I’m getting there, though.

I don’t know if it’s still on, but I used to watch Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. I’d think to myself, some things sounded really good, then I’d look up the ingredient list. Usually, it would be as long as my arm and require quite a few items I’d never use again.

To be clear, I like and appreciate Alton Brown. As I stated, I understand that he’s being informational and educational, but some of his techniques, always measure your flour by weight not volume are a bit extreme. Will an extra teaspoon or two of flour really make difference in a recipe. Will letting something rest for 3 hours instead of at least 4, ruin the dish? Do I really need to put that much black or chili pepper in something when I don’t really like black or chili pepper?

My answer to the OP is: Julia Child taught me how to make plain old-fashioned omelets.

Xkcd guy explains microwaves, including those overly complex directions (not in a cartoon):

I don’t recall his ever saying that you couldn’t deviate at all from his recipes or use ingredients you don’t like the taste of.

And when he’s making a precise recommendation, he says why.

WAG: That might be because the kosher salt has no iodine, and therefore will not impart any off-flavors into the broth the way the regular iodized table salt could. Just a guess.

I loved the time she was in rural France showing an elderly local how to make a light and fluffy omelet. The woman dismissed the method because the result would come apart in her husband’s pocket while he worked in the fields. Her omelets were lots sturdier.

When I was a kid I watched Julia and Graham Kerr etc and learned some stuff. My daughter watches nearly nothing but cooking shows and knows nearly nothing. It’s embarrassing.

Brown has some annoyingly complex recipes, or they would be if I paid any attention. I like the tech stuff, but I know how to cook and find his endless measuring tedious. Y’know, you take a lump of something, add “about yea’s” of stuff, and heat until it seems done. Fast and easy.

MAybe I should watch more Alton Brown? People seem to like him. But I feel like the few bits I’ve seen give bad (or silly) advice. Like putting popcorn in the salt shaker instead of rice.

Cooking foods that take over 24 hours to prepare might be a problem from a planning perspective, but foods that take a few hours where a lot of the time is spent waiting actually isn’t too bad once you come to accept it. You just get used to setting a timer and then going back to watching the TV or whatever else you’re doing.

The waiting is the part I don’t like. It’s in the back of my mind all the time, like knowing the morning alarm is going to go off, but don’t know when. I don’t like doing laundry for the same reason, especially because I live in an apartment and use the community laundry. You don’t want to forget it or else the next person can’t use it. My ex and I made bread once. Never again. Too much waiting and effort for the final product.

The one time I followed Alton Brown’s advice was when I used apple jelly to make an apple pie, because the pectin in it was supposed to help the filling (apple slices and raisins) firm up.

Uhm, no it didn’t. I got some of the runniest liquid pie filling I’ve ever seen. I’d’ve been better off sticking to butter, brown sugar, and spices.

A few years ago, I tried some of Jamie Oliver’s tips on making Christmas dinner. Braising chicken wings and then mashing them to add to the dressing was a terrible idea. Better I should have stuck to boiling and chopping the giblets—much less effort and almost no waste.

I go both ways. I don’t watch cooking shows, but if I find a recipe I want to try, I’ll follow it pretty close. At least the first time.

On the other hand, I like winging it too. I have eggs, flour, lemon, garlic, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes. Oh, and parmesan. Got to have parmesan.

Hmmm… I wonder if there is a lemon garlic spaghetti recipe? Sure enough, there are. So I’ll read a few recipes to get some ideas. I put the recipes away and then just go for it. Yeah, those tomatoes and asparagus would work in there.