For the individual just starting out in the kitchen, or someone looking to broaden their cooking resume, learning to cook a different ethnic cuisine is a great and fun way to taste new flavors and learn about different cultures. Each type of cuisine has it’s own characteristics; Mexican is known for being very spicy, French for being very rich. To choose which type of cuisine you want to learn, listen to your palette. Look through cookbooks and determine which sounds good. After you’ve chosen one, there are a myriad of different ways to approach the learning process.
Cooking classes are often the most thorough way to learn and understand a type of cuisine and the culture it comes from. Whether you take a class on a Saturday afternoon to get the basics, or once a week for a few months, the class is sure not to disappoint. Learning from a master teacher and listening to other students can be invaluable experience.
Cookbooks are another great way to pick up the characteristics of different types of cuisines and the region that inspired them. These specialty cookbooks are often packed with many great pictures of the country and landscape, and offer examples of traditional cooking.
1. Southern cooking is a fun food to learn to cook; it consists of ingredients local to the South, especially cornmeal. African Americans have had a great influence on Southern cuisine using ingredients such as okra, black-eyed peas, sweet sorghum, and watermelons.
2. Home cooking is also another type of food closely associated with Southern food. It is meant to bring people back to that feeling of youth, “just like mom used to make”. This is often the easiest type of cooking to master, as it is often the food and ingredients that you grew up with. What’s also fun about home cooking is that it varies depending upon the region; what’s considered home cooking in New England is vastly different from home cooking in New Mexico.
3. Another method of cooking is the once a month technique. This works especially well for busy moms who don’t want to spend time cooking every night of the month. The cook spends one entire weekend cooking and then freezing meals for the rest of the month long. Nearly anything can be frozen with good freezer bags.
4. Vegetarian and vegan cooking is another popular way to prepare food. While it may have been difficult in the past, nearly anything can now be substituted for meat or dairy to make a vegetarian recipe.