Category Archives: cooking

Self-sucfiency, Jack of all trades… ie being a man in a world full of Mancy’s

Cill got me to thinking, dangerous pastime, I know, about how men who were not raised up by traditionally masculine men can address their condition and improve their standing among men.

Being good at being a man entails being as independent as possible and reasonable… ie self-sufficient. It is unrealistic for all men to be good at all things, but most men should and can be reasonably good with their hands. A good stiff jab, a hard straight right hand, a wicked hook, a better upper cut, the ability to repair most shit around the house, to keep your rides tuned and road worthy and the ability  to get yourself out of a bind when your ride doesnt behave isn’t an unreasonable skill set to have and will do much to up your man score.

Nor do these things require a massive investment of time, energy and other resources. Lestwise not when you factor in the return on your investment. Basic plumbing class at the local community college is $85. A turd herder will charge you $40-$60 to come out and replace the inner workings of your shitter. Which takes…. 20 minutes & a $20 kit from Lowe’s. Need to replace the seal between your shitter and floor? That’s going to run you over a hondo for a $15 seal. Spark chasers will charge you $25 to replace a $2.50 outlet. Most HAVAC problems are simple as hell if you know a few tricks, go learn those tricks…. $105 at my local community college.  Knowing a tad bit about automobiles will save you time and money, bring you a sense of accomplishment, and keep you from getting fucked over by the slimy versions of mechanics on the big jobs. Hell the school has a 6 week class focused on repairing common mechanical problems with your car on the side of the road.

Knowing how to do these things, even at a rudimentary level, will bring you standing among men and women. As much as popular culture likes to run down these old school markers of traditional masculinity, the world still responses well to traditionally masculine men.  Imagine discussing your weekend plans and how bad ass it will sound when you tell the chumps you are building a deck while they go shopping with their wives…let those bitches hold sone bitch’s purse. You got man shit to do.  Imagine the sense of accomplishment and pride as you learn to rely on yourself more and other men less.

Especially  you nerdy office drone types.

20 minutes from Camp Ton Costal is my county’s community college where you can learn to weld, learn to do those basic repairs to your house, car/ truck, boat or bike. You can learn to sew, learn to cook, learn to make beer, learn to ride a bike, fix a bike and how to do the same things but on boats. Hell you can also learn to fly, do shit with computers, take photographs and get help creating a buiness plan and start your own bidness

Go forth and learn some cool shit and go do said cool shit.

Prepping for a road trip

I’ve been home for to long. To many nights sleeping in a bed is bad for the soul. The road is calling. The solitude is calling. Wind burn, sunburn, the cold, the rain…. the desire to see just one more mile of road, to see what’s around the next curve, to find that perfect spot to camp for the night…

Heading out on a bike for a few weeks isn’t a trek to the Artic Circle, but it does take some planning. Most folks plan routes. I don’t cotton to such things myself. Lest wise not most trips. I have an agenda in mind but no time line. I’m headed South. I want to hit Miami to meet up with a potential business partner, then I’ll run down to the Keys to link up with a dude from my Ranger Batt days. After that? Who fucking knows? I’ll figure it out as we go. We? Me and my Lady Pit will be on the road for 2-3 weeks.

I don’t know how many bike trips I’ve done, so this is routine for me. What will be new is taking the dog and the side car. Oh, and the bike is relatively new to me. I’ve put about 2500 miles on her. It’s an ’09 Electra Glide, 96″ motor, 6 speed transmissio, a 6 gallon tank, I bought it a few months ago just for the trip. I picked this bike because she is stock, which means less vibration, which means less mechanical problems, less fatigue and no searching for aftermarket parts in strange towns when I run into mechanical problems. I wanted an 09 or newer for a few features. 6 speed transmission for one. The 6 gallon tank extends my saddle time between fill ups, an extra concern with this trip because of the weight of the dog and side car. The 96″ motor gives good power and the extra weight hasn’t caused the power plant to struggle at highway speeds. This is also the year Harley made some changes to reduce engine heat. It breaks well, and withought the side car, handles better then my 04. I also wanted stock exhaust. Makes it easier on my doggies hearing, and noise can increase fatigue. I’m feeling my age and the little things adds up these days.

The interwebz has a lot of pre-trip checklists so I won’t speak on that much. Same thing with toolkits, but have one and do the other. Start with fresh tires, breaks and oil. Well not to fresh, but more then 200 miles on them, and hopefully most of those miles on one run. I don’t require a lot of personal gear, I’ve done coast to coast trips with a sleeping bag, tooth brush and ridding leathers. I do carry a fair amount of gear for the bike.

One of the nice things about owning a Harley is options. In this case luggage options. There are kits that will let you get the maximum use out of the limited space in your saddle bags. Use them. I carry a fairly extensive tool kit; with the right aftermarket tool bags they all fit into what would have been dead space in the saddle bags. I also have 2 one gallon fuel cans that also tuck into some not very useful space in the saddle bags. I always carry two quarts of oil, a small bottle of break fuild, Marvin’s Mysrty oil, octane boost, wd40, duct tape and a shit ton of zipties plus three different ways to repair tires along with two ways to inflate my tires. Method #1 is an electric airpump you can pick up at Napa. I have a hand full of air cartridges that you screw into the val stem, takes a couple per tire, but they can get the job done.

I’ll still have room in the saddle bags for my leathers and some water.

I… not sure what you would call them but I have a set of bags designed to sit on top of the saddle bags. I love those things. They are super easy to get on and off the bike and I can get all I need for short trips/ non camping trips into those two bags. Couple of quick releases, they come right off and are easy to carry into the hotel. Toothbrush, couple pair of socks, maybe a clean shirt, sun screen, spare glasses, gloves, long sleeve shirt… all the small things you like to have easy access to while your on the road. You can also fit rain gear in them if your a pussy and use those types of things.sisoursly though, lots of folks love rain great and it’s smart to keep it handy, I have never liked rain gear and would rather put my leathers on. This trip will be mostly camping and everything I want in the tent will be in those bags.

Lots of folks have touring packs/ trunks on their glides. I dislike them for several reasons. I go old school, a nice tall sissy bar, bags and zip ties. These days I have some luggage designed to be used/ strapped to the sissy bar. This is where all the camping stuff and a full face helmet goes.

As a rule, I hate helmets, but a full face helmet is nice to have when it rains. It’s winter time in the South, so I will for sure get rained on. Which is why my socks and what not will be in zip lock bags. Same with the box of spare ammo and mags for my XDM. I’ll also take some under armor in case it gets cold, 2 sets of gloves, hand/ foot warmers and a spare pair of boots

The main topic I wanted to address is camping gear. There is some cool camping shit out there but storage space is limited on a bike, you have the shit you would like to have with you like a towel and a bar of soap and you have shit you absolutely need like moonshine and condoms. Weight is an issue as well, and you need to pack all that shit on your bike in such a way you can get to your stuff in a hurry when you need it and in such a way as it doesn’t negatively affect your bikes balance and center of gravity. Camping in cool places is a big deal to me on this trip. I want to do a little fishing, a little drinking and a lot of sitting around the fire drinking, grilling and singing Johnny Cash songs with my dog so on top of the stuff you need like a tent and a sleeping bag, I want to bring a fishing pole, camping stool, hatchet and some cooking gear.

I’m not going to tell you what gear to buy but I am going to tell you a group of people who have successfully solved the camping gear vs size and weight problem

Backpackers have all that shit figured out. Light weight sleeping bags, light weight tents, stoves, cooking gear, dishes…. they sell all that shit and for less money then the places selling motorcycle gear.

Also I recommend a 2 man tent for the extra space and sleeping bag good to 20F with a poncho liner for extra weight. Saves you money and space and between the 3 things you’ll stay pretty warm even when it’s balls cold

diner

olive oil, garlic, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese

olive oil, garlic, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese

The wine is for the cook,

 

saute the garlic in the olive oil. each to taste.

saute the garlic in the olive oil. each to taste.

while drinking a bottle of wine. no glass needed

once the garlic is slightly browned poor the heavy cream into the pan.

once the garlic is slightly browned poor the heavy cream into the pan.

 

at this stage the cook needs more wine

 

add the cheese in small amounts, stir until its melted. rinse repeat until you are damn near out of cheese

add the cheese in small amounts, stir until its melted. rinse repeat until you are damn near out of cheese

this is the labor intense part. experienced drinkers… I mean cooks may continue the wine consumption

keep stirring until the cheese is melted and you have a smooth blend.

keep stirring until the cheese is melted and you have a smooth blend.

pour over the pasta of your choice. in this case I bought some Ravioli from Sam’s. One was stuffed with cheese the other chicken in cheese. We are having rib eyes on the side.

 

 

more musings on random man-o-sphere comments

In my mental wanderings I read a lament about women today and the need to teach women to value their virginity and to develop other skills to attract men.

I call shenanigans

 

#1)I married a virgin and it was still a fucking nightmare. Guys cling to this low to no N-count as some sort of magic fetish that will ensure marital bliss. Sorry friends I am living proof it doesn’t work that way. Nor am I the only one

 

#2) teach them what exactly? No one seems to get to that point, myself included. The Girls and access to their bodies is what adds value to my life. I reckon when folks say this ‘teach them to develop other things to attract men” they mean domestic stuff which is faulty thinking on several fronts.

  • it assumes men value the same kind of frilly, kick knack stuffed girly domestic life women do
  • does not take into account most domestic work done by women is for their own up keep
  • it does not take into account every modern convince that helps make a stay at home mom’s life easier makes the bachelor life easier
  • it does not take into an account how expensive women are to keep compared to having a house keeper, laundry service etc etc
  • cooking, cleaning and what not are not huge tasks, especially for a single adult man.

Men are perfectly happy in Spartan like conditions. When my majordomo walked into my house her response was “this is definitely a bachelor’s house”. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that I’d have… about 300 bucks. Women always comment on that. The walls are a soft Earth color and the 1st thing you see when you walk through the door is a Texas Longhorn skull with hats hanging off the horns. I also have some military stuff on the walls, lots of flags, tributes to my Confederate roots and dead critters. I had one recliner, an end table with coffee table books on it, a small kitchen table, the chairs to go with it, a TV, a PS3 and a shit ton of guns and booze….. I do have a nicely appointed kitchen ( back to that buy things that last deal), but my house is not that far off from most of the bachelor’s I know. If anything, it was more decorated. Men don’t collect bullshit like women seem to accumulate which makes for a more slimmed down and easier to maintain living quarters.

I have women living with me now and they require up keep. My bathroom is a combat zone of “stuff”. Most of which I have no idea what it is or what it does. It was a lot easier to clean my few items, and the shower drain didn’t get clogged with long blonde hair until Girl#1 arrived. Girl#1 did have some useful items to add to the home, but mostly it was just stuff. I limited her to 10 kick knack type items and her important books. No collection of house wife porn allowed.

Microwaves, pre-made meals at Harris Tetter or Sam’s, vacuum cleaners, all those handy cleaning wipes… you name it if ti helps a mom of three keep a house clean and family feed, it helps men. The number of these items is endless. 1 Clorox wipe a day keeps the bathroom clean, three a day keep the kitchen clean etc etc. Because its only one of you the mess is considerably less, you have more place to put the small amount of junk you have (or in my case a lot of fire arms). You make less of a mess cooking meals, your meal plan is easier because your not balancing other peoples tastes in chow

 

Women cost money. They need more clothes, more stuff for the bathroom, this gadget, that bit of make up, stuff to keep aunt flow from making a mess… again the list is fucking endless and costly. Not to mention the consumer research showing women spend more money then men.

 

I have already address how cooking, cleaning etc are not huge tasks and these things are what I can come up with? Imagine what a sober and more intelligent man could come up with?

 

People mean well when they say ” teach women to value their virginity and to develop other skills to attract men” but I reckon it is a very simplistic, idealized view of women and life, like some folks romanticized visions of the 1950’s.

They also must understand the nature of marriage, marriage no longer equals regular sex ( if it ever did) or any type of claim to children and family. Kids and therefore the family belong to the government and women

The solution is returning to what works; women and children being the property of fathers and husbands.

answering critics and some humor

Answering critics
Woman hater? A frequent blue pill claim about me and the RedPill world at large is we hate women. It’s fucking stupid. Most men have women in their life to varying degrees. Are we to believe RedPill men hate them? Recently I was called a woman hater by a Christian girl on the interwebz….#1 worst kind of women are Christian women. They get all the normal men bad women good message and then get a second helping of it on Sunday with, what they believe to be, a stamp of approval from God Himself.

The idea men hate women is ridiculous, me even more so. The women in my life are, my  daughter,  the Girls who are dear to me, one who is pregnant with my child, a sister, sister in laws, nieces, cousins of all sorts and an elderly lady who chose to live with me vs her kids. Are we to believe I hate these girls and women? My own flesh and blood? A woman who is to be the mother of my 3rd child? Well it’s a lot easier to say “you hate women” then to take an honest look at the unpleasant reality of women.

 

I was also told by the same girl I am not religious which is sort of true. I have faith not religion. I am not tied to some man-made denomination and their made up rules. For whatever reason, catholics are quick to make this charge, maybe because they have the largest number of made up rules? I do not talk about God, faith and religion much because most men are not qualified to have the decision. They are to low on the masculinity quotient to understand God and His ways. The more I talk to a man about such things, the more I have confirmed his place in the hierarchy of men. The Almighty God is a God for men, not these eunuchs who try to pass themselves off believers. The Almighty God is the God of war, the commander of the host, the Divine warrior and the God of Justice. Eye for an eye. That is Justice and mercy as it makes the punishment fit the crime but doesn’t go overboard. In the Old Testament He slaughters His enemies and demands terrible prices for crimes against His way. Most men what to turn Him into some kind of dope smoking flower child / magical wish granting Santa Claus hybrid. To understand God, a man must have balls (eunuchs not allowed in His assembly). Coming to an understanding of the Almighty and His ways is not possible without a working set of masculine genital.  One of the Almighty’s 1st commands is to go out into the world, fill it with children and take dominion over the earth. That’s man’s work baby, driven by testosterone. The Patriarchs of the Old Testament were men among men. When Abraham had some kin folk stolen he didn’t go running for the police; he rounded up his crew and pulled off a commando raid. Hillbilly style right there. David got his bride by bringing back the foreskin of his enemy. Moses was right there in the thick of battle. They had more then one wife. Joshua was a warlord, and mighty man of God, eager for battle and committing genocide on the command of his God…. Long story short, I don’t talk about faith with men who have a feminized version of God. Women are to hold their tongue in church, womanish men should do the same

 

Check this link out( would have reblogged it but I haven’t figured that shit out yet)
http://sistemaperalta.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/a-checklist-of-25-things-to-ensure-youre-a-manly-man/
This guy writes some funny stuff and I follow his blog. His manliness checklist is pretty damn good but I don’t get the max score…. Now go read it and get back to me. Here’s where I fall on the check list

But anyway, here is the checklist to see how you stack up in manliness. There are also five bonus points that can be earned.

 _ You own at least ten flannel shirts *(bonus point for twenty or more). own none. I think that is more of a yankee thing vs Southron thing. I own 3 long-sleeved shirts that aren’t dress shirts or camo. Not much call for them here. It was 60 degrees yesterday and I rode my bike for hours… and owning 20 shirts…. WTF?
_ You can hike a minimum of six miles on moderate terrain. LOL I use to walk for a living back in my infantry/SOCOM days
_ You’ve made something useful out of wood. I’m a fair hand at many carpentry tasks.
_ You get daily compliments on your facial foliage. LOL damn near daily and had an Afghan general stop to talk beards with me
_ You own more than one bottle of whiskey. and then some
_ You have never seen an episode of “American Idol”. I have not, nor Oprah or any of that shit. I have not had cable etc in 15 years and would tell the ex to turn it off/ change the channel when I walked into the room
_ You have used a bone as a toothpick. I have
_ Your diet is 75% red meat and/or bacon. And then some
_ You own a legit survival knife that actually does its job. I do, but I have never needed more them my buck knife despite 3+ decades of hunting, fishing, camping etc and 24 years of infantry/ SOCOM service. Those things are over kill if you ask me and a pocket knife and hatchet are better options
_ You can construct a tent without instructions. There are folks who cannot do this?
_ You need at least a six pack to get any kind of buzz. There are folks over the age of 8 who can get buzzed off beer?
_ You can’t tell the difference between kale and the stuff used to decorate Easter baskets.LOL We grew kale when I was a kid so I know what it looks like.
_ You have at least one friend that is a wild animal *(bonus point for an eagle). Sort of.I have a large mouth bass in a fish tank vs pet store fish and a Barn Owl lives on my property who I check up on
_ You find a legit reason to use your multi-tool multiple times per day. Multi-tools are beta
_ You own snake-proof boots and actually have a use for them. Nope. Snake proof boots are beta. I have been an outdoors men for as long as I can remember, have killed more snakes then I can count on 4 continents(including South America/ the Amazon rain forest) and never worried about having snake proof boots.
_ You’ve worked out with a log *(bonus point for throwing it after the workout). I have a caber to toss and two steel logs to press.
_ You’ve made a fire without using a lighter or matches. Yep
_ You’ve eaten a fish that you caught yourself. LOL a good amount of what I eat is what I have caught, killed or grew ( well sort of. I don’t do much of the gardening stuff)
_ You can diagnose what is wrong with your vehicle *(bonus point if you fixed it).Yep and yep, bike and truck too.
_ You can cook a stellar ribeye in a cast iron skillet. LOL I can but prefer to grill them. Its rarely to cold to cook outdoors here but I only owned cast iron cookware until the Majordomo moved in
_ You have chopped your own wood. Every year.
_ You have read at least five Louis L’Amour novels *(bonus point for ten or more). yep and yep
_ You have good accuracy with a tomahawk. I can hit a man@ 20 feet with one and make it stick…. Only have done it to wooden targets though. My 1st trip to Afghanistan we didn’t have interwebz etc so to settle all the dumb debates/ bar type arguments  folks state side would goggle we use a throwing ace and target. 1st one to stick the axe won. Apparently the sky is blue because of the lucky charm’s Leprechaun. Who knew?
_ You make ribs that aren’t just mediocre. People have told me, my ribs and BBQ have ruined all other ribs/ sauce for them
_ You can make at least five manly cocktails? Booze on ice, booze with no ice. Done on the manly cocktail front.
Here’s how you measure up:
25+ points = You are a mastodon of manliness.
20-24 points = You’re still a beast and on the verge of greatness.
15-19 points = You need some work but every grizzly starts as a cub.
10-14 points = C’mon, dude. Turn off “Bridezillas” and go put a gorilla in a headlock.
5-9 points = Stop buying Justin Beiber CDs.
0-4 points = Deduct whatever points you have because you don’t deserve them. You’re a zero.

Pretty damn funny list.

Guest post #2….. Cooking with Sumo

once again our very own SUMO

 

Cook (soup stock) With Sumo

When I was a kid, my mother would crack open a can of soup, dump it into a pot on the stove, and a few minutes later, would slop it into a bowl and scream at me to sit my ass down at the table and eat. At the time, I couldn’t articulate why I found the prospect of eating soup disturbing, I just knew that I didn’t like it. At all.

 
Once I hit my teenage years, and started to learn how to cook, I realized that my mother didn’t know shit about food. Still doesn’t, to this day. This is a woman who thinks that it’s perfectly acceptable to throw a half frozen roast of beef in the oven, then serve the overcooked, dry chunk of leather to people.

 
In any case, my mother’s deplorable lack of culinary skill isn’t important; what is important is the fact that I eventually learned that soup , when done properly, is a delicious, beautiful, satisfying meal that contains a multitude of flavors and textures.

 
Different varieties of soup will naturally require different techniques in order to execute, but they all share one thing in common – the base. Whether you’re making beef, chicken, pork, fish, or vegetable soup, you need to start with stock. Or possibly broth. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, but there is a small difference between the two. Soup stock is made with bones, which contain collagen, while broth is made from various cuts of meat, which does not contain collagen. The collagen provides stock with a gelatinous quality that makes it more desirable for deglazing pans, while broth is normally utilized for light soups and recipes that require a lighter flavor.

 
How does one decide which to use? Well….unless you’re working in a high end restaurant where attention to minute details is paramount, or you’re a hardcore foodie (I hate that word, BTW) who can be a little OCD when it comes to preparing meals, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Given the choice, 9 times out of 10 I’m going to go with stock, simply because I view it as being less “wasteful” – throwing some bones into a pot then chucking them into the garbage a few hours later is preferable, in my opinion, to throwing meat away afterwards.
So, making stock – first, get yourself some bones. Beef, chicken, pork, whatever. Any decent butcher will sell you some for a reasonable price (under $2/lb, most places), and you can freeze any that you’re not going to use right away. Decide whether or not you want to roast the bones first. Roasting improves the flavor of the stock dramatically, but when it comes to lighter (chromatically speaking) stocks, such as chicken stock, some people dislike the color that result from doing so. Then choose a few vegetables to add. The “classic” French combination is carrots, celery, and onion, known as mire poix. If you’re making an Asian soup stock, you might need different veggies, but the principle is the same. You can add some herbs if you like, but when it comes to leafy herbs like parsley or cilantro, only use the stems, never the leaves. There are a couple of reasons for this; first, the stems actually have more flavor, and second, the leaves will become slimy and affect the end texture of the stock.

 
For making stock, you don’t need to know any fancy knife work, just chop the celery into chunks, peel the carrots and chop into similar chunks, and tear the little thready bits off the root of the onions. Cut the onions in half and throw them in the pot, skin and all. Leaving the onion skin on gives the stock a nice, golden color. If you haven’t added the bones to the pot yet, throw them in, then cover everything with enough water to cover the ingredients by about 2 inches. Fire up the burner, bring your stock to a simmer, and find something to do for the next few hours. Oh, and don’t add salt. Ever. I know this contradicts what I said in my last post, but never salt your stock, only add salt to your soup. This allows you to control the salt content in the finished product.

 
While everything so far has been fairly low-key, this next bit is important: DO NOT LET THE STOCK COME TO A BOIL!!!!!!! If it boils, your stock will be cloudy and visually unappealing. Skim off any scum that appears on the surface of the stock, and be patient. For chicken or fish stock, it should be ready in 3 or 4 hours; beef or veal stock may take quite a bit longer. The chefs I work with usually start making veal stock in the evening, and let it simmer overnight. Once you figure that it’s done, strain out all the solid bits, and if you don’t need it immediately, let it cool to room temperature, then pop it into the fridge. If you have room, just throw the whole pot in there. Eventually, the fat will rise to the top and solidify, then you can just peel it off. The stock can be frozen at this point for future use; either in containers or in ice cube trays. If using the trays, once the cubes are frozen, remove them and store in a freezer bag. If you have a recipe that calls for a tablespoon or two of stock, well…..there you be. No need to thaw out a large batch.

 
Well, that’s about all I can think of for the moment. While not terribly complicated, homemade stock is far superior to anything you can buy in a grocery store (although I do use those if I’m feeling lazy or I’m pressed for time), and will elevate your soup to a higher, and tastier, level.
To paraphrase (and blatantly plagerize) a friend, let those who have stomachs eat.

 

Cook With Sumo

Our 1st guest post… on cooking by Sumo. I believe that men should live like warrior kings and kings eat well. Plus if you can cook, you cut down one more way womynz can get you twisted, and cooking is a powerful game too. Especially for the brothers doing the three dates to get the bang. Third date is bringing her to your place to cook. You bullshit with her, she drinks wine, you show off your mad skillz in the kitchen and then its on. This is true of me as well as I generally need to play down the Bad Boy game and play up being a well rounded man about town……Here’s Sumo

 

Here’s the thing – anyone can cook. You don’t need to be a professional chef in order to put a decent meal on the table. Sure, it helps, but it’s not necessary. At all. The only reason why chefs are “better” at cooking is because that is what they have been educated and trained to do, in much the same way that a professional soldier is going to be better at combat than a non-soldier.
I am what you could call an apprentice chef. I currently work at a cooking school where our purpose is not to train people to be chefs, but rather to teach folks how to liven up their own kitchens a little bit. While we provide people with all of the recipes for the dishes we show them, the more important aspect, as far as I see it, is that we teach them a set of basic principles from which to build their repertoire.

If you’ve ever studied martial arts, it’s a similar process – first you learn how to stand properly, how to punch properly, how to block, how to move, etc., then you put everything together and start laying the smackdown on folks. Only in the current context, you’re laying the smackdown on people’s tastebuds.

What I intend to do with this essay is share a few basic thoughts with you, in the hope that it will aid you in any culinary adventures that you might wish to undertake. Comments, questions, and complaints are all equally welcome. Except the complaints will probably be answered with a smartass remark. I have to entertain myself somehow, after all.

To start, get yourself some decent equipment. A <a href=http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/06/25/cast-iron-cooking/>properly seasoned cast iron pan</a>, one or two stainless steel pans, a Dutch oven, and a couple of small to medium sized pots are a good place to start, and really all that you need to put out a decent meal. If you feel the need to buy some more specialized or “fancy” equipment, go for it, but for most applications, it’s not necessary unless you do a lot of baking. Certain baked goods are impossible to pull off without the right gear, such as cheesecakes, bunt cakes, and so on.

Avoid Teflon/non-stick pans for the most part. After time, the coating will start to flake off, which in turn may cause food to stick to them. The flakes themselves are pretty much harmless, but it’s visually unappealing to some people.

Also, invest in a couple of high quality knives. A 7 or 8 inch chef knife and a paring knife will cover about 95% of the jobs in a home kitchen. Again, if you find yourself engaging in more specialized endeavors, by all means, get more knives, but if you’re on a budget or just don’t have enough space, those two blades will serve you well. At my job, there are 3 highly talented, professional chefs who both teach the bulk of the classes (I get to teach one), and try to pound some knowledge into my thick skull. While they all have a number of specialized cutting implements, the knives that get the most use are the chef knife and the paring knife. Food for thought (yes, yes – bad pun. I know.). In addition to the knives, get yourself a couple of decent cutting boards. Wood or plastic, at least 18 inches by 12 inches, so you have plenty of room to work. I would recommend getting one specifically for raw meat, one for fish, and one for anything/everything else. Plastic boards are ideal for this sort of set up, as they come in multiple colors – red for raw meat, blue for fish, etc. Also on the subject of cutting boards, place a damp paper towel under your board before cutting anything. The paper towel with give the board a decent amount of “grip” on the counter, which will prevent it from slipping/moving around, which in turn will minimize the chances of your cutting yourself.

A food processor and an immersion blender would be the only other “essential” equipment that I would suggest you have on hand. A food processor is a blessing for large jobs of chopping, grinding, shredding, etc. and an immersion blender is just fantastic for making smoothies, milkshakes, certain types of soup, and just about anything else that needs to be pureed.
I collect recipes the way that young boys collect baseball cards (do young boys still collect baseball cards…?). I enjoy reading through them, as I get a lot of new ideas, but the important thing you need to remember about recipes is this: they’re <i>guidelines</i>, not <i>RULES</i>.

Don’t be scared. Alter a recipe to your liking. If you like one ingredient more than another, add more of it. If you don’t like something that’s in the recipe, substitute it for something else. Personally, I hate green bell peppers, so I swap in red or yellow bell peppers for the green without fail. Do whatever the hell you feel like doing; this is YOUR kitchen, after all. The only time I would recommend that anyone follow the recipe precisely is if you happen to be baking something. Baking is an extremely precise exercise that depends on the proper balance of ingredients, and I am not knowledgeable enough about the subject to understand how or why it works.

As far as actual cooking goes, specific techniques may be required for certain dishes, but generally speaking, avoid overcooking your food.

I know, right? So simple that it sounds foolish, doesn’t it? Just think about for a minute, though – if you overcook vegetables, they become mushy and taste like baby food. Overcook pasta and it falls apart. Overcook meat and it becomes tough and dry.

For veggies and pasta, just bite into a sample during the cooking process, and once it reaches the point where you’re comfortable with it, then it’s done. While that may sound vague and annoying, just bear with me and try it the next time you’re in the kitchen. It will make a lot more sense then, I promise.

Meat is a little more complicated, but only a little. Invest in a meat thermometer, and you’re on your way to ensuring that you’ll never have to chew on shoe leather again. Whether you want to slice into the meat right away, or let it rest is entirely up to you.

What do I mean by “rest”, you ask? One school of thought says that after cooking, leave the meat alone for a few minutes (depending on it’s size – a steak should rest for 3 to 5 minutes, a roast or a turkey for about 30 minutes) in order to let the juices redistribute evenly. The other school of thought says that is rubbish. I tend to lean toward the “don’t rest” school, mainly since I hate waiting. *IF* any juices are released from the meat when you cut into it, just pour them over the meat or use the cut up pieces to mop them up, and eat ‘em. Problem solved.
One last point I’d like to make is <i>season your food</i>. You know how those granola crunching, hippie liberal pansy-asses go around screaming about how salt is bad for you? Fuck ‘em. Too much of ANYTHING is bad for you, but I can think of two damn good reasons to use salt just off the top of my head. First, the human body <b>requires</b> about 1500 mg (milligrams) of sodium per day to remain healthy. Second, salt is a flavor enhancer, so if you don’t use it in your cooking, your food will be bland. Bland food is an offense against the Food Gods. True story.

How do you know if you’ve used enough salt, but not too much? That’s easy – taste your food while cooking. If it seems a little bland to you, add some salt and give it another try. Add it sparingly, though. There’s an extremely fine line between maximizing flavor and over-salting your food. Also, keep in mind that salt draws moisture out of food, so when adding it to meat, ensure that you only do so immediately before you start cooking.

Well, there you have it, boys & girls. Cook With Sumo 101. If any of these tips helped you out, then my work is done. If you’re a better cook than I am and are laughing your ass right now, well…..at least I put a smile on your face. If you want to get a few more laughs at my expense, feel free to stop by my blog, <a href=https://cookwithsumo.com/>Cook With Sumo</a> and look around. Peace.

thanks Sumo, a great 1st post….. now its time for you to build on this one…..