Not all cooking is meditative and beautiful, no matter what Chef's Table may suggest. It's often rushed, made in the not-yet-dissipated cloud of workday stress and commuting traffic anger.
But many people do have at least one meal—often only that one—in their arsenal that provides an oasis to it all.
It's a dish they always come back to, as much to enjoy the process of putting it together as enjoying its taste at the end. Or it could be the trusty choice on account of its function: a reliable, delicious plate that manages to impress every time.
And even better than knowing those recipes are somewhere out there is having access to a whole slew of them.
Elizathefirst asked, "What do you love to cook?"
"I love making things with dough. Pasta, noodles, baozi, breads and pizza... I find it greatly soothing watching yeast do it's hard work and imagining magical sparks as enzymes get going and gluten develops; as well as a great treat at the end."
"My family disagrees with me that the dough is part of the reward, but I know."
Checks All the Boxes
"The perfect steakhouse meal: New York strip steaks, grilled to medium-rare, with pan-seared mushrooms and a side of garlic mashed potatoes."
"And if I really like you, or if the group is a little larger, needing to spread the side dishes a bit more, add oven-roasted asparagus and oven-roasted Brussels sprouts."
Key Ingredient: “Wooden Hammer Thing”
"There's this thing my girlfriend taught me how to cook. A Texas BBQ escalope is what she calls it and it's delicious. It's a chicken breast sliced open, tenderized with this wooden hammer thing and laid out flat."
"You Get 2 bowls, one with egg yoke and the other with breadcrumbs, cover the chicken breast in the yoke and then roll it in the breadcrumb bowl so that the breadcrumbs stick to it and then stick it in the oven for a bit, just long enough to get it cooked to the point that the breadcrumbs are going to stay on the chicken properly."
"Then you take it out, pop it in the frying pan until one side is fully cooked. Then you take it out and use a knife to spread BBQ sauce over the cooked side and sprinkle some cheese on it. Pop it back in the frying pan until the other side is cooked. The cheese melts in the process."
"It's bloody delicious."
A Divine Mac
"There's a Slovak dish called Halušky, which is kind of like eating Mac n Cheese, if Mac n Cheese was made by the God of Flavortown. It's pretty simple to make, only requires potatoes, flour (traditionally an egg, but not required), onion, bacon, and cheese." -- bjornnsky
"I'm like 99% sure Guy Fieri has made mac n cheese." -- stormzerino
A Historic Taste
"There is this crazy dish that I cook maybe once every five years. It's an insanely complicated recipe from the 1700s that starts with boning an entire chicken without cutting it into pieces - you cut it open along the spine and then bone out from there while keeping the whole chicken intact. You stuff it with layers of forcemeat, truffles, and nuts, sew it shut, and cook it."
"Sometimes I just really want to cook something ridiculous, and this dish always scratches that itch. It's an all-day, lose-yourself-in-your-cooking task."
Dinner for Breakfast
"Shrimp fried rice, specifically for breakfast. I make extra rice and extra stir fried veggies just so I'll have leftovers to make fried rice with. There's a grocery near me that carries bags of frozen 'salad' shrimp. Rice, veg, shrimp, egg, soy, toasted sesame: breakfast!" -- Flahdagal
"You're telling me a shrimp fried this rice? Yeah okay." -- therealAndrewLingo
"Large scallops and angel hair pasta, its soo flipping easy to make, and scallops are fantastic for me right now since I just had a gallbladder removal surgery and need to be on a low fat diet. I highly recommend trying your hand at scallops and pairing it with any pasta or veggies!" -- zombiamante
"Scallops - the ocean's most perfect food. Preferably seared on hot cast iron." -- acjgoblu
Sensing a Theme Here
"I make a mean nontraditional Irish stew with beef, carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, and a bottle of Heineken. (Tried Guinness once but it was too bitter)."
"It takes a while to make but it is always so worth it and my family really seem to like it so it makes me happy that I can give them good food they genuinely enjoy."
"Bonus: I also love making my coffee/chocolate Bailey's Irish Cream cake."
Meat, Best as a Sphere
"Meatballs. Any and all kinds. Jerk pork meatballs with red pepper gravy, Asian meatballs, lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce, next is a thanksgiving meatball with cranberry." -- FoodTruckFiletMignon
"Same, I have no recipe and make them a bit different each time, sometime moore cheesy, or more onion, chili, hint of curry, almost anything will work in a meatball. No matter how many I make they are gone same day." -- OldMork
For Winning at Parties
"Not exactly cooking, but I do like to make marshmallows. They're relatively easy, taste great(marshmallows are my favorite candy and homemade ones are way better than the ones you buy), and they're pretty impressive, because people don't really know how they're made. It's also super easy to mess around with flavors."
"Basically, you make a sugar syrup and then whip it a lot with some gelatin. There are tons of recipes online, if you want to make them." -- Llama-en-llama
"I made marshmallows for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I was so impressed with myself and I shamelessly told everybody about it." -- themamajo
Simple, but Beloved
"Chocolate Chip Cookies. Nothing can beat just making Chocolate Chip Cookies." -- 121mc555
"Eating them beats it." -- ZLUCremisi
"I've been driving myself crazy trying to recreate the Famous Amos recipe. Every single 'copycat' I try ends up too pale (even using 100% dark brown sugar) and not deep in flavour enough."
"Also, with the lockdown, I can't share the delicious failures with friends and coworkers." -- _antelopenoises
"Pasta. So many things you can do with it. Toss is with some sauce, toss it with some pesto, toss it at your kids, the opportunities are endless." -- Herogamer555
"The worst part is waiting forever to get the water to boil if you are making a big amount." -- Cowboy_Spongebob
" 'Dad, I'm hungry.' smack." -- poopellar
A Good Friend to Have Around...
"I love baking cakes." -- [deleted]
"Same, I just don't do decorating. I'm not wasting time on something like that." -- MosquitoRevenge
"Oooo! We could be friends! I like to decorate and hate wasting the time baking the cake." -- YouKnowHowIBe
An Impressive Choice
"There are a lot of things I like to cook but candy is one I really enjoy. I make Almond Roca, and a peanut butter cup to die for." -- StalwartExplorer
"I want to be friends with you. Two of my most favorite candies! Is the process hard? I've always wanted to try my hand at candy making. I'm not a good baker bc I hate to follow directions, I wonder if candy making would be better for me." -- counterspell
Keep It Movin'
"I love to cook soups in the fall and winter. Creamy tomato bail parmesan, vegetable, Asiago bisque, and if you count it as a soup, chili."
"In the summer and early/mid fall, I really live to work the grill. Chicken, steak, corn, vegetable and meat kabobs, and sometimes I will smoke a brisket."
"Year round I enjoy making homemade pizza. I hope to have a wood fired oven one day."
"Borscht soup (sour soup)."
"It's a very healthy dish and the only thing my husband taught me to cook that actually stuck with me."
"..I cook it when I'm missing him."
Some Pleasant Monotony
"Stuffed grape leaves! My Egyptian mother in law taught me how to make them, and I'm so grateful. Filling them and rolling them up is so relaxing, and they're so delicious." -- sentient-cookie
"If you like doing that, may I recommend making gołąbki too? It's a similar process but a different culture's but still really relaxing and tasty." -- deekochana
A Spin on the OG Pancake
"Buckwheat salty pancakes. It's a traditional dish from Brittany, France. You mix an egg, 300g buckwheat flour and water. Make large and thin pancakes. Fry the pancakes in butter, put cheese, an egg and some ham on it while is frying and close it."
"It's bloody delicious. You can put anything you want in it, cheese+egg+ham is just the classic combination."
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.