The other day Mark Bittman published a short piece where he mused about three recipes that he could give you to “turn you into a cook.” I thought the piece was pretty good, and agree with its basic premise. He presents three dishes that appropriately varied could be used by anyone of reasonable ability to cook enough different kinds of food to live on. In fact, it was similar in nature to my on and off series of “dinner in half an hour” articles, although I would not be so bold as to think that *I* thought up this idea.

Sadly, not everyone on the Internet is that smart.

Just to prove it, the worst cook on the entire Internet “reviewed” one of the recipes, a simple chicken stir fry. The result sort of speaks for itself, but I will interject two points.

1. I thought that I no longer had the capacity to underestimate the general incompetence of others, but I see I was wrong. Two hours to cut up meat and vegetables?

2. Note how she also doesn’t understand “amortization.”

Here are my hints to aspiring cooks who are just as incompetent as the above writer:

1. Jesus, practice a little. If you can’t chop an onion in (say) a minute and a half, just give up. Go out to eat, what do I care?

2. Learn some basic life skills, like time and cost management.

3. Stop writing on the Internet. If you don’t know what a god damned button mushroom is, you should really go back to school and grow up a little before trying to be gainfully employed in the real world.

Ok I’m done.


11 Responses to “The Worst Cook on the Entire Internet”

  1. Mahim says:

    If the world didn’t have stupid people, who would we laugh at? Wait, you don’t laugh, you just get brain aneurysms. Never mind.

  2. Christy says:

    Wow…and people think it’s a good idea to make home ec an elective or just cut it out altogether.

    I kinda wanted to pelt that writer with button mushrooms.

  3. Connie says:

    Forget about whether or not she can cook. She can operate a computer to type an article but not google “button mushrooms” from her phone at the grocery store? What is this, 1998?

  4. Thomas Lord says:

    The woman wrote a funny critique of Bittman’s article. The gist of the critique is that for the intended audience, the advice given is insufficient and possibly worse. Writing recipes for the cooking-phobic or cooking-terribly-naive is pretty damn hard and Mary Kate Frank’s article does a pretty good job of pointing that out.

  5. psu says:

    I disagree. The piece is neither funny nor intelligent.

  6. Jukka says:

    Even though I otherwise agree with the criticism of the aspiring cook’s article, I think Bittman made a mistake when he speficied “button mushrooms” in his recipe. If you go to a typical grocery store looking for “mushrooms”, you’ll find button mushrooms that are merely marked “mushrooms”.

    After I moved to the US, it took me a while to realize that when people said “mushrooms”, they always meant button mushrooms, which I in turn tried to specifically call “champignons” while getting nothing but blank stares.

  7. Carl says:

    The problem is with recipes. If someone is unsure about what to do, they will follow the recipe to a T to avoid messing it up. Following written instructions not a good way to learn to cook.

    The recipe writer should have their audience in mind. If substitutions are allowed, say so. If it’s not imperative to have fresh-ground pepper, don’t say fresh-ground pepper. Everyone has a pepper shaker. The best skill for a home cook (or a professional cook, for that matter) is the ability to use what food you have on hand. You get that mainly from experimentation.

    But what kind of person doesn’t have vegetable oil in their house? Or soy sauce?

  8. bhudson says:

    The blogger knew *nothing* and ended up with a meal. That’s a triumph!

    Cooking requires accumulating a very large number of techniques — each one individually easy. It also involves acquiring a relatively large number of tools before you can get anywhere. It’s extremely daunting.

  9. DGL says:

    Saith Carl, “Following written instructions not a good way to learn to cook.”

    This is one of the points Alton Brown makes in his books. A recipe is like getting directions to someone’s house: Go two miles, turn left at the liquor store, drive to the third intersection, turn right, and we’re the fifth house on the left. If you miss the third intersection, you’re screwed. But if they gave you a map instead, you could see that you can still get where you’re going by turning at the fourth intersection and driving around a bit more.

    Cooks need maps, not directions.

  10. JF says:

    You have got to be kidding me. Because someone who admits she’s never cooked before had problems with her first recipe, you think you can insult her intelligence? Smarts have nothing to do with this. No matter what the field, anyone who tries something for the first time is bound to run into snags – and likely, take a long time to complete the given task. It’s inexperience, yes, but not stupidity. Your harsh, knee-jerk response clearly demonstrates you took the post way too seriously. It was funny and relatable. You, on the other hand, are a complete and utter snob.