why should it take up valuable space?
Well, for one thing, you never know when an undercover assignment is going to come up, and there’s ALWAYS room in the kitchen for another tough guy, whether it’s on a cargo ship, working the mining camps, or out on the trail. Why is this? Because bad cooks tend to mysteriously disappear – being able to actually cook will protect your cover and keep you from getting killed by the ostensible good guys.
Also, for the more debonair among you, cooking well is a way to impress the chicks. When you can whip up a four course dinner from a piece of celery and some condiments, you’re well on your way to seduction, if your particular method of slap-and-tickle is heavier on the tickle.
So this issue, we’re going to start on some basics – soups. With soups, you get some basic principles, how to use a knife (you think you know already, doncha?) and some other lessons that’ll carry you through on further lessons. Walk before you run, grasshoppa.
Gear – first things first – you need a knife. Combat knife will NOT do. But you’ll
like the chef’s knife – it’s got a BIG blade. Go find one, the bigger
and sharper the better. Don’t go spending a lot of money either – a mid-range
knife will do you just fine. As a matter of fact, the best kitchen knife is
one you’ll find down in Chinatown in the market – looks like a cleaver,
only lighter, and will set you back about five bucks.
How to use a knife : if you want to get through this with all your digits, you need to learn how to hold a knife. Fortunately, if you use a combat or scuba knife, you already know. If you use a switchblade, pay attention. Basically, you hold the knife in a good firm grip, high on the handle, as if you were going for the low disembowel, spleen to sternum. There’s no hilt here, so you’ll be gripping it high on the handle, and by the end of the day, you should have a blister on the first pad of your index finger. Quit whining, in a week, you’ll have a callous. When you’re chopping (vegetables, not people), you’re going to be laying the edge of blade flat on the board, creating a rocking motion and feeding whatever you’re chopping to the blade with your other hand – the tip should never leave the board and if you’re making a bunch of noise, you’re doing it wrong. Think stealth mode there, Cookie.
thing you’ll need is a Burr mixer – Burr is a brand name, and there are
a lot of pretenders in stand up mixers, but come on, do you want to work with,
a Cuisinart or a BURR? What separates the men from the boys here is the heavy-dutyness
and of course the power tool orange handle.
Ok, here we go.
A word about recipes – generally speaking, tough guys don’t follow recipes – there’s little room for measuring cups in your gear, and frankly a cup of motor oil is no different than a cup of olive oil (and you all should have an idea about volume in chemicals, right?). You’ll also note some optional ingredients in the lists below. These are by no means exhaustive lists; if there’s something in the fridge you think would make it better, add it. Feel free to use your judgment and for god’s sake, taste that crap as you’re going – if it tastes good, you’re doing fine. We’re not pastry chefs here.
The Holy Trinity – soups and sauces start with the basic three: carrots, onion, celery. Generally an equal amount of the three, but this can vary by soup. In all of the following lists (not recipes, remember) you’re going to start by dicing or chopping the carrot/onion/celery combo. If your pieces are about ¼ inch or so, you’re doing fine – anything smaller is mincing, and tough guys don’t mince. Ever. We don’t have time for the intricacies of recipes and cutting into powder.
Start the process by cutting off one of the round sides of whichever vegetable you’ve chosen – you want it to lay flat on the cutting board so it’s not flailing