Learning To Cook Reluctantly: Real Classy Food, Real Simple

I had no rolling pin to roll out the crescent rolls (also, how great is opening crescent rolls? They literally pop out of their little container!). Frankly, this entire process of learning how to cook seems to be about me continually realizing that I do not have any of the basic cooking tools. I still really need to buy a pan.

But then I realized that any cylindrical object in your house can work as a rolling pin, so I’m never going to buy a rolling pin. I’m just going to use this container of flavored salt for popcorn which, remarkably, is a thing I do have in the house.

It’s a tiny bit phallic, them laid out like that. Don’t think about that. It’s distracting. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin or sea salt container or whatever you’re using. Then place the brie on top of the rolled out dough. Oh! You’re going to want to slice the rind off the top of the brie. You don’t have to, but, well, it seemed like it worked well. I guess it depends on how much rind you like. It will look like this:

Then you’re going to want to spread 2 tablespoons of jam on the (rindless) (or rindy) (your call) top. You may also want to let any heat from the oven really fog up your iPhone camera lens, so everything looks as though it is soft and beautiful around the edges. If I were a woman with wrinkles, rather than getting botox, I think I would just demand to be photographed through this sort of lens all the time.

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    • Tania

      I’d only bother with a real rolling pin if you plan on starting to make your own pie crusts instead of buying pre-made ones. Or cinnamon rolls. Otherwise you seem to have the whole improvisation thing down.

      The 9-inch pan is a must, especially for roasting veggies or baking brownies that won’t leak all over your oven. Hmm, a whisk and a peeler were things that I forgot I needed. Paring knives are great.

      Other than those, if I don’t have something I improvise with what I do have. No casserole dish, but I have bread pans (I don’t know why I have a bread pan) and they work well enough.

      They don’t tell you that half of cooking is improvising with what you have, both utensils and ingredients.

    • Angyi

      I refer to Pertetualkid.com to find any cooking utensils I need. If I can’t find it there I sneak into my mothers house by the light of the moon and “borrow” what I need. If you do this be sure to leave a friendly note in the empty space of her cabinets.

      Also, thi might be helpful to you.

    • Cat

      I know! I LOVE baked brie! I discovered how to do this in high school! Its the simplest easiest party food ever and everyone is always super impressed. (little did they know it took me barely 10min to prepare, heh heh)

      For a great savory baked brie, I top the round of brie with a mound of super caramelized onions, yum! And if you want to be calorie/carb conscious (well you probably shouldnt be eating brie) you can skip the pastry dough entirely and, after topping it with the onions, just bake the brie in a ceramic crock or covered casserole dish to make it all melty and gooey and delicious! (but keep the rind on this time because it will hold the cheese together until you cut into it)

    • Natalie

      No real advantage to rolling pin/pastry brush other than they are easier to use and clean. I’d say go with a good set of pots/pans/bake wear. If you want to just buy pieces and not spend a shit ton, go to TJ Maxx or Marshal’s. They actually have some good stuff. And a good set of knifes goes a longggg way!

    • Kate

      I like to use a wine bottle as a rolling pin.

      I also don’t think you need a full set of knives – a paring knife, a good chef’s knife, and a good bread knife will do pretty much everything (I have them on a little magnetic strip on my wall).

      The cookware I can’t live without are my cast-iron skillet (it can go on the stove or in the oven), small nonstick skillet (eggs!), pot for pasta, and a small pot that has a pour spout. Oh, and a 13×9 brownie pan. As far as kitchen utensils go, I think the necessities are a good pair of tongs, a wooden spoon, a silicon spatula (perfect for eggs!), and a turner that’s thin enough to get under anything sticking to a pan. I’m also madly in love with my $10 slicer from Walmart because I hate chopping things.

    • Val

      Loved this article! informative/funny/ and l’ll be real, I’ve adapted a hair styling tool for cooking utensil before.

    • Melanie the Constant Reader

      Okay. I’m about to try this in my tiny-ass apartment kitchen. With BLACK RASPBERRY jam. It better be as awesome as you say because, um, I didn’t get anything else for dinner.