How to Cook
The Making of The First Timer’s Cookbook- Teaching people How to Cook
Over the last 3 years we have been asked over and over what makes the First Timer’s Cookbook different from other cookbooks. The answer is simple. This is a book that teaches you how to cook, not what to cook like most cookbooks. This means that you can take the principles and techniques taught in the book and apply them to almost any dish or item that you are making, in other words learn how to cook. It also means that you can use this book in conjunction with every other book out there as kind of a reference guide. When a recipe calls for an item(s) to be poached, a lot of people don’t know what that is or how to properly do it. That’s where the First Timer’s Cookbook is really handy, you can see how to poach something effectively and get a basic reasoning on why you do that so that you’re not just blindly following the recipe. In fact, once you learn how to cook, then you can change recipes to fit what you like.
Most cookbooks out there are collections of recipes. How does following a recipe teach you how to cook? Sure you can follow it and hopefully get a result, but what if you’re unfamiliar with some of the ingredients, or don’t know how to poach/braise/grill (or whatever cooking medium the recipe calls for)? What if you don’t really like some of the things in the recipe, do you know what each ingredient does so that you know if you can omit it or not without ruining the recipe? There are cookbooks out there that will define these things and show you how to do them and even give you a recipe to try in alot of cases, but they are usually over 900 pages in length and sometimes cost $50 to $150 dollars! Why not learn the basics of cooking for $12.95 and even get a personal demonstration and recipes to practice (classes that private culinary schools charge $1200 to learn) for only $39.95
Now for those of you who have been to Chef Shawn’s classes, or been to a demonstration, you have probably heard the story of how the book came to be. . . But for those of you who haven’t, here it is in his own words . . .
“Being a chef, I would get asked alot by friends and family members to ‘teach (them) how to cook.’ Unfortunately, while working in professional kitchens doesn’t allow for lots of time to devote to teaching people how to cook, so I would try to recommend books that people could use a basis for learning how to cook when ever I was asked to teach someone how to cook. The problem was I could not think of any books that would work for people that were just getting started but wanted to learn how to cook. You either have a larger-than-life professional chef textbook that includes everything from dishes that are impractical to cook on a daily basis by the home cook, to ingredients that are not readily available in grocery stores-some of which you can’t even pronounce the names. On the other hand there are an amazing amount of recipe books out there, but they are just that, a collection of recipes. They don’t always explain why they do things or why they use certain ingredients. In other words, they give you the opportunity to make a dish but not truly understand how to cook. So I decided to write a book that would show the universal principles and techniques of cooking and explain when and why we use them, i.e how to cook. Thus, to borrow an old proverb, giving people the ability to fish (teaching them how to cook), rather than just giving them a fish (following a recipe). The book is designed to be used in conjunction with any other cookbook out there and is a good reference guide as well as a simple way to get started.
The book started as a simple word document that I would hand out to people when they would ask me to teach them how to cook. Soon, enough people were asking me for it that I felt it would be beneficial to maybe add some pictures and maybe try selling it. That was when I spoke with #1 NY Bestselling author Richard Paul Evans.
Rick and I had known each other for a year or two when he shared with me a new venture he was launching to help authors get published and I thought ‘Hey, why not.’ He even gave it to his newly-wed daughter as a wedding gift to get her on the path to learning how to cook.
A year later, The First Timer’s Cookbook was on store shelves, teaching people across the country how to cook.
Just as its easier said than done to learn how to cook, getting the book to this point was no small thing. Thousands of hours, thousands of dollars and lots of writing and re-writing, led to getting the first basic “how to cook” book on the shelves initially. Then of course came the crash course on marketing, publicity, recipe and class development. As Chef Shawn said, “No one told me that I couldn’t just write a book and have it sell, I had to become a master at marketing and business just to get in the stores, let alone learning how to get them to move the book. . . I just wanted to cook.”
So maybe it hasn’t always (or ever) been easy, but it has been a labor of love. “As more and more people approach me and tell me that they love the book and that they learned how to cook from it . . . And of course that it makes great wedding gifts . . . I can’t help but be grateful for the experiences, both good and challenging. I can’t wait for the second edition to come out with all the updates and clarifications from everything I have learned!”
So the question is, do you want to try it out?
Check out the Online Cooking Program right here and take the next step in learning how to cook!