Learning has always been a two-way-street. There should always be a mentor or teacher and a student. We are familiar in a classroom setup wherein the teacher educates while the student absorbs and applies the information. That probably is the most typical method of learning. Aside from the classroom set-up, reading and observation prove to be as effective.
In my case, I did not have any formal training in cooking when I was starting. I learned my cooking techniques and styles by reading cookbooks and observing what the experts are doing. Eventually, I learned. I am not claiming to be the best cook or even a good one – all that I’m saying is that I can simply cook good food. Being able to cook great dishes is not hereditary; it is a skill driven and developed by interest, passion, need, research, and experience. You are visiting Panlasang Pinoy and other food blogs because you are interested to learn how to cook. That interest might have sprouted from reasons such as: you recently got married and you need to cook for your husband or wife; to impress your in-laws; to be able to put-up a profitable food business for additional income; to be able to feed yourself. Whatever your reasons are, I’d say that they are all valid.
It is a good thing that the internet is bloated with useful information on cooking. When I was learning how to cook, all I do is read my mom’s cookbooks and watch her cook. Sometimes, I borrow the neighbor’s cookbook so that I can make new dishes. I would say that the books of Nora Daza and Reynaldo Alejandro were the ones that got me interested in cooking. I learned a lot of techniques and styles from them most of which I am using until now. If you want to enhance your cooking skills, I suggest that you also try to read some of the cookbooks that I read.
Here is the list of my Favorite cookbooks:
Let’s cook with Nora
The Philippine Cookbook
The Filipino American Kitchen
Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking
Filipino Vegetable Recipes
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Owning the best cookbooks might be nice but it won’t improve your cooking skills if you have no interest in cooking. Having an interest to learn how to cook is definitely a good thing but being passionate about cooking is even better.