PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Web becomes great teacher for new cooks

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

New technology continues to change our world. I don’t have to be particularly smart to know that.
Here I am, the “senior” reporter for obvious reasons, and I’m Tweeting and blogging and Facebooking and uploading stories/photos to our Daily Journal website.
With all this new technology comes our ability to learn more and learn it as soon as we want to know it.
Take cooking, for example.
At one point, a couple of years out of college, I was “between jobs,” as we’d say, so when I stopped laundering my old doll clothes, I asked my grandmother to tell me how she made a lot of dishes I liked, such as what we call Tuna-Bean Salad, fried chicken and her version of jambalaya.
I filled my recipe box with little 3-by-5 index cards and hoped I’d be a good cook one day, like Grama.
But actually, I didn’t come into my own as a cook until rather recently with the advent of all those TV cooking shows. They’ve taught me a lot about good cooking and given me the confidence to try things the right way.
Braising, brining, chopping and flavoring – all things that seem so natural to know, for me they’re newly learned and, especially, newly explained.
Perhaps that’s why so many younger people, who still cherish their grandmother-mother’s recipe boxes with the messy notes and magazine clips, are turning beyond TV cooking to the Internet for their recipes.
Turns out that the Web’s social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, have become ways for would-be cooks to find, save and share recipes.
When I’ve got a cooking question, I often turn to Martha Stewart’s recipes or Alton Brown’s website, usually for different reasons because they approach cooking differently. But either way, I get my answer immediately.
My daughter’s beau is an avid novice cook, and each week he and a former college buddy get together to cook something new. Often, it’s complicated and extravagant. But they really enjoy the challenge and, usually, the result.
My son also enjoys cooking and consults the cooking Web-kitchen quite often.
These guys basically grew up with this developing technology and consult the Web very matter-of-factly. It’s their “virtual” recipe box.
They can store their recipes and the photos they take of each dish to remember what it looked like. They also share their successes and what they’ve learned with their friends.
It’s almost like community cooking. In many instances, it’s also healthier meals than Grama would have served up.
So, it turns out that while you can still use the Web to find out the latest news, look for a job or a new romance, it’s also become quite a cook’s dream of information and good advice.
It also may be helping build a new generation of smart men who know their way around the kitchen instead of just to the table.
If only I were 30 years younger!
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.