Learn to Cook (Giveaway!)


UPDATE 2/9/13: We have a winner, and she’s been notified. But you can get your hands of your own copy of Learn To Cook: A Down and Dirty Guide to Cooking (For People Who Never Learned How) right here.

One of the most sobering aspects of adopting Paleo eating habits — after you recover from mourning the loss of rice, sandwiches, and cheese (oh, cheese!) — is the realization that you’re going to be cooking a lot more homemade food. And yes, I know my Well Fed recipes help. But do you ever feel like you’re all thumbs in the kitchen? Or read a recipe and feel like it’s written in a foreign language? (You’re not alone! I had to take a knife skills class a few months ago because I felt embarrassed — even alone in the kitchen — because I was such a slow vegetable chopper.)

Anyway. Thumbs. Confusing terms. Frustration.

But there is a solution! Remember my pal Hilah? She looks like this:


And around Halloween, we did this together:

Well, Hilah recently released the book Learn To Cook: A Down and Dirty Guide to Cooking (For People Who Never Learned How). And you guys, it’s pretty genius.The first 100 pages or so are a snappily-written primer on cooking basics. Hilah covers everything from cooking terms to how to cut produce and meat, plus recommendations on essential kitchen equipment and tips on how to read a recipe so it doesn’t feel like you need a translator. My favorite part — which will come as a surprise to exactly no one — is her extensive chart on spices which covers what each spice tastes like, what it goes with, substitutions, and fun facts. (SPICE FUN FACTS!)

The remaining two-thirds of the book is packed with Hilah’s signature recipes; they’re not all paleo, but most of them can be easily adapted by substituting paleo ingredients or just skipping the offending ingredients. (And who wouldn’t want to try Pineapple Lemon Chicken of classic Braised Pot Roast? I can tell you I’ve eaten Hilah’s Sauteed Collard Greens, and her recipe is damn good.)

A word of warning for you “I eat with my eyes” people: there are no color photos inside the book, but there are ridiculously cute cartoons, like these:



One of my favorite things about Hilah is that she reminds me that playing around in the kitchen should be fun, that eating well — and even following the strict rules of paleo — can be playful and silly and goofy. Take a look at her answers to a few of my questions to see what I mean…


1. You can have dinner with any characters from movies, TV, or books that you want. Table for 8. Who’s at the table?
Phoebe (from Friends) because I love Lisa Kudrow, and I hear at least five times a day that I look “just like Phoebe,” so I think I deserve to meet her. Tommy and Tuppence from the Agatha Christie novels; they are so cute and if there was a murder at the dinner party (I mean, heaven forbid…) they could solve that crime STAT. Inigo Montoya (from The Princess Bride) because he is a total badass and has an awesome accent and I love Mandy Patinkin, plus he could kill the murderer, if there were a murder at the dinner, which would be really terrible. Elle (from Legally Blonde) because she is actually super funny, and nice, and turns out she’s a secret law genius. We’d be BFFs. Andy (from Parks and Rec) is a lovable doofus, and I love doofuses. A.L.F. (He’s hilarious and he’s an alien! And he’s probably the murderer.)

2. Apron or chef’s jacket? Discuss.
Neither. I’m an unabashed “wipe my hands on my pants” girl so while an apron would make the most sense, they make me feel all bound up. I still prefer my pants, although I am getting much better at keeping a towel nearby while cooking in hopes of ruining fewer pants.

3. Favorite spice? Most over-rated ingredient?
Ooh, toughie! Favorite spice might be cumin. Or smoked paprika. Most overrated? I think I’m gonna have to go with saffron. I know I’m supposed to pick up some exotic, heady aroma from it that just makes me go wild, but I don’t. (Note from Mel: I did not bribe her to say cumin is her favorite spice. Truth.)

4. Nutrition has no meaning in this scenario. It’s Friday night and you’re ready to watch your favorite movie. What are you eating (in your pajamas)?
I’m assuming that getting full is an impossibility in our scenario, too. First course: thin-crust pepperoni pizza with jalapeños and parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes; cooled, lightly steamed broccoli with lemon and soy sauce for dipping. Second course: popcorn with butter, salt, and maybe Tabasco or lemon juice, depending on the mood. Third course, ice cream sundae: coffee ice cream, banana chunks, spoonfuls of strawberry jam blobbed around. Trust me on this; it is the absolute best sundae you will ever eat. Also, I would have red wine with my pizza. And then maybe smoke some reefer and have some Saltines with cheddar or pepper jack cheese and apricot jelly. And some smoked almonds. Then I would pass out halfway through the movie, and Chris would have to drag me to bed.

5. One thing you will not, cannot, do not want to eat…
I’ve tried and tried again to enjoy foie gras and sweetbreads but they are both just totally gross to me. It’s the minerally flavor, the squish texture, and the idea of what I’m eating that gets me — so, basically, everything about them.

Win a copy of Learn to Cook

UPDATE 2/9/13: We have a winner, and she’s been notified. But you can get your hands of your own copy of Learn To Cook: A Down and Dirty Guide to Cooking (For People Who Never Learned How) right here.

To Enter
So easy! Leave a comment on this post and tell us something that makes you feel nervous in the kitchen.

Deadline to enter: 11:59 p.m. Central on Friday, February 8, 2013. I’ll randomly select a winner and announce it on February 9.

More about Hilah and Learn to Cook

Hilah practically has a whole cooking school online, thanks to the always delightful, and frequently hilarious, episodes of her cooking show. Gt more Hilah at the links below.

Learn more about Learn to Cook
Check out Hilah Cooking
Watch Hilah on YouTube
Be friendly on Facebook
Connect on Twitter
Buy Learn to Cook on Amazon (I get a little kickback if you use this link.)

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  • Tammra says:

    I am actually very comfortable in the kitchen. I love to cook!! However, my oldest daughter just moved out on her own and does not know how to cook much at all. I believe top ramen and cookies are about it for her “know hows”. She never showed interest in the kitchen as a little girl or when she was getting older unfortunately. Now she eats out all the time and not on healthy foods 🙁 This could possibly get her going in the right direction. Thanks 🙂

  • Ivonne says:

    Hilah is awesome! And her book looks fantastic! I cook quite a bit, and people have no idea, but I tend to stick to my tried-and-true repertoire and don’t go and try anything fancy with unusual or uncommon ingredients because I’m afraid I won’t do them justice and it will just be a disaster of a meal. For someone who regularly tells others to be fearless in their kitchen, that right there is my one fear – failing at something fancy.

  • Betsy says:

    This book sounds like exactly what I need. 🙂

  • Paul Mirek says:

    I am finding a new-found enjoyment with the kitchen after starting eating paleo-y. However, my worst nightmares in the kitchen are knifes. This is a product of horror movies and memories of bloody wounds. I don’t like blood, so I am a slow knife user and envy all those cooks who can slice & dice an onion before their eyes get all cloudy with tears.

  • Lauren H says:

    anything with offal. anything!

  • Shawn says:

    For me at least, it’s not so much being able to follow a recipe, I can do that pretty well, it’s that I’m so inefficient in the kitchen and have to have a recipe to be able to cook something. I can’t just throw together spices and meat and get something that tastes good. Also, I may follow a great recipe, BUT then it takes me 25 minutes to cut the vegetables to throw in it. I need to build some knife skills, basic techniques and a basic idea of how to use herbs and spices.

  • Michelle says:

    Last summer we met some new “soulmate” friends. Totally “BFF!” The wife is a graduate of Cordon Bleu (IN Europe)and some other big culinary university on the East coast. I LOVE going to their house to eat or going out to eat with them! But I totally lose it if they are coming to our house to eat! I totally screw it up on even my best dishes. I need help! What can I cook for them that is at least edible??

  • Alana says:

    I am terrified every time I chop onions. My eyes burn so badly but I just want to get the chopping done so I close my eyes and chop blindly (usually while simultaneously sobbing and cursing). I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose a finger, but I love the taste of onions!!!

  • Briana says:

    I always think everything is going to be harder than it is. What makes me nervous in the kitchen? ummm everything! But thanks to this Whole30 (day 30!) I am branching out a little bit. This sounds like EXACTLY what I need though. ok- Specifically cooking higher quality meats that might take, or benefit from, some finesse.

  • Susan says:

    I hate to cook! I am of the “Convenience Matters” persuasion, would prefer a pill! However, I am married & my husband cooks for himself a lot. I would like to be able to cook for him more. Used to be able to throw together a few meals but after going paleo, it is much harder! Thanks!

  • Natasha says:

    My biggest kitchen fear is preparing food for “an audience.” When there’s no pressure and the only people I have to please are my husband and myself, it’s no big deal. But the thought of serving something that no one likes at a party or showing up to a pitch-it with something overcooked and mushy makes me soooo nervous!

  • Lynda B says:

    Burns! My hands have a good of RA deformity, and it’s really hard to pull things out of the oven without brushing the rack – and potholders don’t fit my hands well. So I avoid oven meals unless someone else is around to take things out.

  • Andrea says:

    Things that scare me in the kitchen: burning food and chopping my own fingers.

  • shannon dakin says:

    Every thing makes me nervous in the kitchen! I want mad, wicked kitchen skills! Help me!

  • Anthony says:

    I’m often scared of using my mandolin. Always scared I’ll just go too fast and slice off the end of my fingers.

  • Laurel says:

    cooking meat. I seem to burn or overcook it every time.

  • Julie says:

    My dull knives make me (rightfully) nervous, and learning how to sharpen them makes me (stupidly) nervous. Thanks!

  • Manuel says:

    I guess what makes me the most nervous is the fact that sometimes I watch cooking shows and they talk about some basic techniques and know-how that “everybody knows” …but I’ve never heard about. I definitely need to go to a knife skills class

  • Alicia says:

    At the back of my mind I am always afraid I will chop a finger off, especially since purchasing a new awesome set of knives! Kinda clumsy in all aspects of life… lol Think the knife skills class might be a good idea. Another thing I am too intimidated to try is cooking live lobster or crab!

  • Stacey says:

    Organ meats! I’d love to learn how to cook with them properly so they taste good. I think the one time I had liver (which totally turned me off) it was a rubbery mess!

  • I have always been afraid of baking. It’s like a huge math problem that I can’t figure out and I avoid it like the plague

  • Candy says:

    Right now, I’m most nervous about my mandoline slicer since I sliced my finger trying to make jicama chips!

  • Shari says:

    Oh wow, I need this book! I am definitely intimidated by cutting up a whole chicken. And I tend to need a recipe to follow. I would like to become more free in my cooking style!

  • Marinka says:

    Making a good, medium steak makes me nervous every time. I feel like I’m just doing something but never am sure when it’s just right and often end up with a steak that’s either too rare or cooked through. No matter how many steaks I make.
    I’d love to learn a method that allows me to a cook steak just the way I want it to 🙂

  • Brandy says:

    My biggest fear in the kitchen is cooking fish, I have never done it and am worried that I will over cook it!

  • Alan says:

    Nervous in the kitchen? Two things: not having enough time and not satisfying my guests. So that’s why I prefer to cook alone on Sundays – that way I have the whole day for cooking (so there’s enough time), and it’s for me so I don’t fear disappointing someone.

  • Jackie Eiynck says:

    I am comfortable in the kitchen cooking clean meals for myself, as I like most food. I am most nervous cooking clean meals that my whole family will enjoy!

  • susanna says:

    my sweetheart and i are relatively new to paleo (within a year), and also relatively new to following recipes, good food-sourcing, and more deliberate cooking and eating. we’re chugging along ok, but we’re falling back a lot on chilis and “garbage stir-fry” – easy stuff. it’s getting repetitive.

    i’m excited by how excited he is in the kitchen, so i’d love to encourage him to be more adventurous, and expand his general know-how.

    also – i agree – ORGAN MEATS! they completely intimidate me.

  • Crystal says:

    Growing up my mother rarley cooked nutritious homemade meals. Most of our meals consisted of fast foods or food that required little time to prepare. ( KD) So I have learned how to cook on my own. It can be nerve wrecking when it’s something new. I find meat the hardest to cook! We didn’t eat much meat, so I am clueless on how to cook different types of meat. I over cook it to a point it’s not tender at all! Love to win a copy of your cookbook! Thanks for the contest!

  • Diane says:

    I am always nervous when we are having company and making sure everything is on time.

  • shelley says:

    I’m new to paleo so some things are a bit intimidating. What makes me nervous? I’m never entirely secure cooking meat, so I tend to overcook it. Would love this book!

  • Jessica says:

    Love to cook. Major fear is that whatever I am making will not be good. So I guess failure is my insecurity. I do love trying new recipes and experimenting. Love new items and trying different styles of cooking.

  • Amy says:

    Knife skills are one of the skills that make me the most nervous in the kitchen, especially because I am still healing the last two fingers on my left hand from chopping my veggies just this past week! :/

  • car says:

    i still can’t figure out a good way to remove bones from meat — mostly ruminants. raw or cooked, it always seems like i end up wasting a bunch of meat (well, ok, so i try to use the bones for stock, so it’s not *exactly* wasted, but i’d rather eat it!).

  • Nervous? Hmm… The first time I try a new recipe, especially if the ingredients are expensive (I tend to burn things while distracted by the kids trying to kill each other)

  • renata says:

    Cooking is my passion. I love trying new recipes and since I got a new dehydrator I’m crazy about making all sorts of chips. Unfortunately in order to make chips I need to use my mandolin a lot and my biggest fear in the kitchen is that I will cut my fingers while using a mandolin.

  • Andrea says:

    Using a pressure-cooker – scary!

  • Bailey says:

    Hilah sounds awesome. Biggest thing for me in the kitchen is learning time management and learning to cook efficiently . I often end up with cold eggs and hot sweet potatoes.

  • Celeste says:

    I’m always nervous about how things will turn out. I love to cook and experiment with new flavors but what happens when it doesn’t turn out right? Turns out that my boyfriend ended up helping me face my fears when he proclaimed that the veggie lasagna roll-ups I made for him was, “The worse thing he has ever put in his mouth.” And then goes on to say, “oh, that you’ve made…” Nice..way to make me feel better about it. LOL

  • janelle says:

    I have no idea how to cook any type of fish/seafood. Growing up it was always either smothered in batter & fried or in “stick” form. I have not really aquired a taste for it as an adult either so the try it & taste it way to cook doesn’t work for me. I would LOVE to learn how to cook & season a variety of seafood!

  • Deanna says:

    While my knife skills are adequate they could definitely use some improvement. Another thing is timing – getting everything prepped and done at the same time. And last, but not least is fear of modifying a recipe. I tend to follow a recipe exactly and have a hard time branching out to tweak a recipe even after making it numerous times.

  • Suset says:

    I think I’m pretty good in the kitchen..I have all my digits still….reading some of the previous posts make me feel good about the limited skills I do have (thank you stay at home Mom! I wish!! I could cook for YOU now) Learning new and better skills is always a good thing.
    Cooking for guests is always scary for me. Even making tried and true recipies I KNOW I knock outta the park ( well fed best chicken …I rock that!!) I just want them to love my food as much as I do 🙂

  • LKG says:

    Frying scares me.

  • Rachael says:

    Removing skin from fish.

  • Linda says:

    Anything I haven’t done before makes me nervous in the kitchen. So currently it’s cook a whole chicken or a whole lobster.

  • Maggie says:

    I always dread cooking vegetables. I’m never quite sure how to make them interesting. I’ve figured out how to keep them from getting mushy but sometimes the taste just falls flat.

  • Susanna Austin says:

    I am nervous about cooking meats. If I don’t cook it long enough someone might die of food poisoning! 🙂 I love my slow-cooker!

  • Linda Joyce says:

    First, to all the commenters that basically said I love and am great at cooking, why are you even entering? Duh? It’s gals like me who suck at it that need this cookbook. Second, nervous? Like where does all that broth in a stew come from? Do you boil your veggies in water and pour it off, then put them in tomato sauce or chicken stock or. Do you keep that water and add flavoring to it? too many unknowns in the basic stuff. Today is my first day starting the Whole30 and learning to cook, not out of a box or from a menu and I’m nervous that I might starve. But luckily that’s why I found this site.

  • Linda Joyce says:

    And you do look like Lisa Kudrow. ;). That one time for today.

  • Renee says:

    Another vote for fear of mandolin. It’s been taunting me since I got it for Christmas and finally made jicama “chips” yesterday without losing any digits. I love spices and am intrigued by her section on what spices go well together for different flavor profiles. BTW, your mayo mixed with chimichurri makes an awesome veggie dip. Big hit at the SB party yesterday along with the previously mentioned Jicama chips and nomnom’s green pork sliders.

  • Kelly says:

    While my knife skills don’t bother me, occasionally other people comment on how scary I am with a knife…

  • April says:

    I am so uneasy about spices. I DO NOT know what goes with what, except that garlic goes with everything. I generally just smell spices and if they smell like they might go with what I”m cooking, I throw a dash in. As you can imagine, somethings turn out great, and others are awful horrible concoctions.

  • Kelly Wright says:

    The kitchen has never been my friend: I survived on spaghetti and canned pasta sauce in college, and would eat lots of “diet” foods like turkey and mustard on one slice of bread. I realized my diet was slipping into the vegetarian “pasta 2 times a week” yet again in the last year, and decided to make a change. I’ve been eating more primally for the past month, and learning to enjoy cooking is definitely a big part of this. I’ve discovered some new easy favorites, but the thing that I still get nervous about is cooking meat. I’m so afraid of under cooking it that I sometimes overdo it…but I am slowly getting better!

  • Alison says:

    Cooking meat makes me very nervous! A few months ago, I accidentally served my boyfriend undercooked turkey… That was the opposite of an aphrodisiac, let me tell you… I guess I need a meat thermometer!

  • While I love cooking and I’m pretty good at it, I have to say, the thing that makes me most nervous in the kitchen is taking things out of the oven! I’m always terrified that I’m going to touch the sides/tops of the oven and burn myself, or not put the hot things down before the heat gets through the towel!

    (It’s worse if I accidentally use a damp towel to lift things out of the oven. TOO HOT!)

    p.s. I totally agree with “smoked paprika” as a favourite kitchen spice! I once found a Spanish Smoked Paprika that tasted like NO OTHER smoked paprika, and cost about €6 (in Ireland at the time) but was totally worth it. Delicious.

  • Erica M says:

    First of all, I just got Well Fed and it’s my favorite cookbook yet! One of my problems in the kitchen, though, is that I was a vegetarian for 25 years. I converted to omnivore a little over 2 years ago, and I’m still nervous about preparing meat. I need to learn how to skillfully cut instead of randomly hack.

  • Haha I definitely could have used this book last year. My boyfriend and I switched to paleo and immediately had to learn how to cook in a baptism by fire method. I will never forgot googling “how to cook chicken breast,” get so frustrated and eventually call my mom. Now a year later, I’m cooking lobsters, whole chickens, fish. Although I’m still nervous about making my own recipes. I feel like I can follow directions, and even alter other recipes, but making something brand new is so foreign to me. How do people figure out what tastes good together?

  • Patti says:

    Making Paleo Mayo makes me nervous. I put it off until my husband finally made it. And it was fantastic!

  • Lisa says:

    I’m a part of a mommies workout group and have been wrapping our heads around the nutrition aspect… And some have never been in the kitchen. This would be a great tool!!

  • Kristen says:

    Oh I would love to win! I have an irrational fear of food touching my sink when it’s in a colander. It’s a bit ridiculous 😉 I’m also scared of making anything fermented. Kombucha and sauerkraut are a no go for me.

  • Susan says:

    I am uncomfortable with my knife/chopping skills. I especially struggle with cutting an onion – the pieces are usually 500 difference sizes and shapes.

  • Great idea for a book! Learning to cook has been a big and fun challenge since starting a paleo lifestyle. I’ve come a long way but I still get nervous about handling and cooking meat.

  • Carol says:

    When a recipe says ‘cut the meat against the grain’ I have NO idea which way the grain is going and end up cutting half the meat one way and half the other.

  • Sabrina says:

    KNIVES scare me. I love to cook but haven’t learned to chop like a pro. I am so scared I am going to slice my finger off.

    Also cooking steaks to the
    perfect temp scares me. I can’t get it right!

    But it won’t stop me because I LOVE to cook! I rather cook any day of the week then go out and eat crap! #committed

  • Karen C. says:

    I feel nervous about a lot of meat dishes, and esp. roasts. It seems like they should be easy – just pop meat in the oven and take it out when it’s done, right? But they never come out right 🙁 And I’m always nervous presenting new dishes to my family – I’m a more adventurous cook than they are eaters. But probably what makes me most nervous is asking my husband to cook dinner. Because he’s never really learned how to make more than the most basic dishes (he makes a mean plate of scrambled eggs). This book would be a great birthday gift for him 🙂

  • Bonnie Wilkinson says:

    Pressure cookers freak me out. I’m just afraid I’ll blow a hole in the ceiling.

  • Lisa P. says:

    What makes me nervous is knowing when meat is done.

  • Melissa says:

    Something that makes me nervous in the kitchen is the proper temperature and doneness for different meats.

  • Heather says:

    Since I just took a slice out of my thumb last week whilst chopping scallions, I’d say that my #1 fear in the kitchen is cutting myself. Followed closely by not timing things correctly. You have a main and a side going simultaneously, and one gets done before the other, so it sits around and gets cold/dries out/congeals. I just can’t seem to get that right.

  • Jackie Friedland says:

    My main issue is cooking meats well…I either overcook or undercook and so I just don’t cook! Also, chopping veggies…always think I’m going to chop a finger off.

  • Lynne says:

    My husband makes me nervous in the kitchen. If I was not around he would eat boiled hot dogs, bacon, and fried eggs all day everyday. Oh wait, no he wouldn’t, he would go back to eating candy, cookies, crackers and other crap! He promised me 20 years ago that he’d learn how to cook and never followed through. Maybe this boo will help 😉

  • Jennifer G says:

    Anything involving chopping or knifework makes me break out in avoidance hives. I have been known to buy the bowl of pre-cut onions at Target (gasp!) to avoid cutting my own. There has got to be some help for me!

  • GinaG says:

    Not a lot makes me nervous in the kitchen – I LOVE to cook. But pressure cookers? They make me nervous.

  • Tina says:

    I am terrified of anything having to do with “knife skills” as I have zero and I also am not very confident with cooking most meat, especially steaks…I could really use this book!

  • Nick A. says:

    Cheese graters always make me nervous. When I was younger I got a good piece of my finger grated off. I have a nice big scar to remind me of it too.

    Everytime I use a grater, the voice in my head goes: “ohgodohgodohgod!”

  • Steve Davis says:

    Cooking with fish makes me nervous.

  • Ferne says:

    I am terrified of quinoa. Each time I try to cook it, it’s a disaster. I’m also afraid of getting food poisoning from tomato sauce or onions. I’m not sure if it’s an urban legend, but I’ve read that onions and tomato sauce cause a lot of food poisoning. I’m very vigilant about those two food items and their expiration dates.

  • Emily Osborn says:

    Hmmmm, since I’ve gone on a low-gluten diet since 2009 I’ve still not tried to make my own GF bread. Needless to say, it’s the last frontier I haven’t tried on my own with the GF diet.

  • Carleen says:

    :). Cooking beef right…a nice roast, or steaks. 🙂

  • Alicia says:

    Eating right throughout the day so that I can make good choices when I get ready to cook up some chow (verses being starving)!

  • Jesus says:

    Biggest fear is disappointing guests that come over to eat whatever I manage to cook. I have very picky eaters as friends unfortunately.

  • Debbi says:

    I get nervous preparing meals for company. I guess that’s a self esteem issue that i need to get resolved but regardless its my biggest “fear” in the kitchen.

  • Cathy says:

    I love Hilah, and I want her book! She is a complete breath of fresh air after all the superstar chefs, and even if you are already confident/experienced/relaxed in the kitchen, her recipes are more fun to cook. Give her book to your kids when they leave home.

  • Letty says:

    I love Hilah! One thing that makes me nervous in the kitchen is my shoddy knife skills. I have such a short attention span, I feel like I could really lose a finger one day.

  • Lynn Mott says:

    Cooking dinner for more than 4 people since I moved to my SMALL kitchen condo. Think I won’t have enough room to make it.

  • carolina s. says:

    I love making food for other, the only problem i have is that i still can’t get the temperatures for the oven. Specially when I’m making chicken. Love your recipes… Great skills =)

  • pamela says:

    meat always makes me nervous, there’s such a fine line between not done enough and way too done!

  • Heidi says:

    This book sounds amazing because I love to cook but I’m afraid to have other people eat my food!

  • Jessica says:

    I’m pretty confident in the kitchen, it’s my husband that scares me. He’s quite creative when it comes to cooking, not always in a good way. Sometimes though he shocks me

  • Megan says:

    I learned a lot from my first Whole 30 when I was forced into the kitchen for the first time on a regular basis. I am still fearful of cooking seafood and knives. But my bf bought me a knife skills class for Christmas at the local ‘chopping block.’ Now I cut things with sharp knives and more efficiency and it totally makes a difference!

  • Brye says:

    Knives! I think it’s great that you took a knife course and now it’s something I totally want to do. 🙂

  • Kristin says:

    I love Hilah’s videos! Although I didn’t catch on until she came out with her Chic-fil-a tutorial, I have kept up ever since. Can’t wait to get a copy of her new cookbook – it looks fantastic!

  • Rachael says:

    Chopping through my thumb (again) is my biggest fear. It has happened more than once, although only BADLY once so my boyfriend bought me cut resistant gloves!

  • Patsy says:

    I love to cook but tend to overcook my meats so I make the hubs do it.

  • Hombre de Queso says:

    I get nervous when I’m cooking without a recipe … gonzo … out there … loose without any controls, no one watching over me. What do I add?? Does this go with this? Oh my god, what in the hell am I making!!?

  • Chrissa Hunt says:

    I love to cook, but I have a hard time with cutting properly and evenly. I’ve sliced myself a few times with my mandolin!

  • Linda says:

    I get very nervous if: 1. …I’m cooking for my grown children and grandchildren. Some know much more about food than I do; some are majorly picky eaters. 2. …I’m cooking for company (people whom I’ve never cooked for before). 3. …I’m trying something new to serve to my husband! He’s the pickiest eater of all!

  • Put me in the scared of cooking meat camp; I also belong in the no knife skills camp.

  • Hindy says:

    I love cooking. Raw meat makes me anxious. Cooking eggs like in a custard form makes me nervous. I always end up with scrambled eggs.

  • jessica w says:

    The idea of raw eggs in milkshakes

  • will says:

    LOVE me some Hilah! For me, rice is what makes me most nervous. For some reason I rarely seem to get it just right, especially sine each variety of rice seems to have different cooking instructions depending on where you look.

  • Valerie says:

    I get extremely nervous when I’m trying to figure out how to cook different meats (especially beef) and the various ways to cook them. I have alot of trouble following recipes because I’m not familiar with some of the techniques or the ingridients for that matter!

  • Jodi king says:

    Multi tasking….. Ugh…. Trying not to over cook veggies while burning sautéed onions and pulsing away at the cauliflower with the meat cooking and drying out.

  • Emily says:

    Knife skills! I got a fancy schmancy set of Shun knives for Christmas and currently have four (that’s right, four) bloodied fingers because I don’t know how to use them properly. Hubs may have to lock them away if I don’t figure this out!

  • Elizabeth says:

    The juices and handling of raw meat! I mean, I love my steak on the rare side, but I’m nervous that I didn’t clean up my prep area enough sometimes!

  • michele miranda says:

    I am so afraid of slicing my fingers on a mandolin. But I love the perfect cuts they make.

  • Nicole says:

    Roasting vegetables….or cooking vegetables period. I have a couple of stand-bys that I always use but I want to become more adventurous with less typical veggies.

  • misty says:

    Anytime I have to fry something, I set fire to the stove last week trying to cook fries, thank goodness I had a fire extinguisher!

  • Summer says:

    Cooking meat has always made me feel nervous. I can never tell if its undercooked/overcooked so I usually err on the side of caution and then it’s overcooked and dry. I usually just make vegetarian dishes for myself to avoid the trauma. I need help!

  • Katelyn says:

    I have a really hard time cutting vegetables quickly and efficiently. My vegetable prep generally takes the most time from my overall cooking time.

  • Spencer says:

    Cooking steak makes me nervous. I would like to one day be able to get them just right every time.

  • Jenn S. says:

    Cracking eggs make me a tad bit nervous. Biting down on a bit of eggshell in your food is never pleasant.

  • Knives! They make me super nervous!

  • Emily says:

    I cannot cook a steak to save my life. I make my husband do it. He can get a priceless crusty sear every time; mine turn out like odd little grayish-brown pucks. That and digging the gizzards and stuff out of a whole bird. I do it, but I girly-squeal “ewwww!” every time.

  • Mon P says:

    Season to taste scares me to death! What’s it supposed to taste like? (especially if they add herbs/spices to your liking….which ones?)
    Prep time…if recipe says 15 minutes prep, it will take me 30 or 45, more if there is a ton of chopping and not just measuring out portions.
    So that leads to my last one, knives and my lack of skills with them.

  • Rachel says:

    The pressure cooker…I haven’t bought one yet because I’m not sure if I have the courage to use it!

  • Madison L. says:

    I love Hilah! And I would LOVE to have a copy of her book.

    I’m relatively confident in the kitchen, but I can’t cook a damn steak to save my life. I haven’t tried many times for fear of ruining something beautiful, so I just cook different cuts of beef instead, like thin strips in a stir-fry or ground beef in soup and sauce.

  • Marianne P. says:

    Sauces – I’d like to perfect making my own mayonnaise!

  • Jessica says:

    Clean up. Never enough time or motivation after cooking.
    I love the cooking part. Clean up not so much….

  • Sallie says:

    Oh. Chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing…anything to do with knives. I try to chop like they do on “Chopped”and all those other Food Network shows, but I pretty much suck at it. I would LOVE to win this book! Thank you!

  • Milena says:

    My pressure cooker really scares me!!

  • Elizabeth H says:

    Dough. I won’t even consider any recipe that requires making dough of any sort. Not sure if its my laziness or if its that dough is an uncharted territory for me.

  • Otis Poon says:

    I recently discovered Hilah Cooking and really have been enjoying her colorful, light-hearted and honest approach she takes in her videos. She’s a quintuple threat! (singer/actress/comedienne/author/cook): She’s GB&D (golden-brown and delicious) 🙂 and I sure would like to read her books.
    My fear has to do with knives: A couple of years ago, while cooking Christmas dinner barefoot (on account of I’m a bit of a beatnik), I inadvertantly dropped a carving knife, point-down into the top of my foot and bled all over the kitchen floor. I got over the wound — and now always where my cleats — but am still a bit nervous about where the cutlery is placed on the counter.
    Wish me luck!

  • Helen says:

    My biggest fear in the kitchen is cooking meat. I’m just learning, after years of veganism. I also fear spending a long time making a meticulous recipe and having taste like crap. Hello mole (sounded so exotic- ick!)

  • Michelle says:

    I love to cook and have to say after seeing your zucchini noodle recipe in the book, I went crazy and planted 8 plants in the garden, No I didn’t realize how many dang zucchini’s I would get:) To me when you noodle it and sautee it up, it has a totally different flavor/texture than slicing it.

    I get nervous when cooking something that costs alot and the fear of ruining it. So GrassFed Burger it is 🙂

  • Petra says:

    Cooking meat in a pan. You know, a good steak.
    I end up cooking beef/pork in the crockpot, in a stew, casserole or something..

  • Stompy says:

    I’m pretty comfy in the kitchen, but I’m the slowest chopper ever. Also, I’m a little scared of my food processor I got for Christmas. Probably my biggest fear is not using spices to their fullest potential. My spice rack is overflowing, but drastically underused. Cardamom is my favorite in case you were wondering….. 😉

  • Leslie says:

    My anxiety in the kitchen centers around too many dishes and timing them to be done at the same time. Thanksgiving dinner would put me in a fit but I wouldn’t mind a one dish meal that was complicated. This cookbook is a wonderful read and has great recipes. Good work, Hilah. You should be very proud!

  • liza bennett says:

    i want to cook more with my kids, but one thing that makes me nervous in the kitchen is letting them near my chef’s knife.

  • Jennifer says:

    Cutting up chicken…well really hate cutting up raw meat period, but a whole chicken or turkey or any other poultry, I just cook them whole.

  • Kathi Weyer says:

    For years I lived in big cities and purchased dinner ingrediants from the butcher,baker and green grocer as I walked home. Now I am living in a small town and have to shop weekly, I have trouble with frozen meats, thawing it safely and how to store leftovers safely, and how long to keep things. I believe it would help to plan a weeks worth of meals and build a shopping and eating plan. I ma embaressed at the food I waste.

  • I don’t love to cook, but I love knowing what I’m eating all the time. I like to try new recipes that are simple enough for me to grasp, and don’t use a bunch of ingredients or techniques I’ve never heard of. My husband really loves sauces, whereas, I’m more simple, so cooking to please both of us is always adventurous (and scary!)

  • Candice says:

    I’m a good cook, I have a nose for spices and knowing when things are done, but I was raised as a baker, so I have no frying/chopping techniques. Also, draining meat.. Biggest pain in the ass!!

  • MelissaS says:

    I have a consuming fear of over-salting my dishes that I cook for others. I salt and then taste. Then I think it needs a little more so I salt again. Then I taste and begin questioning whether or not my taste buds are really telling me the truth and start thinking I’ve over-salted. I wait and taste again and then have no idea if it’s under-seasoned or over-seasoned. I live alone and don’t have the luxury of having a neutral taster to help me out. Maybe I’ll train my dogs…

  • Shelby says:

    I would love to can summer vegetables, but that is the one thing that makes me nervous in the kitchen. One day, one day.

  • Brittany S. says:

    Cooking without knowing how the end result will be makes me nervous! Even if someone (or a ton of people on the Internet) says the recipe is good, I usually don’t make it. Especially if it calls for lots of weird ingredients or lots of veggies…because I don’t want to waste the money on food I won’t like. That is my biggest challenge in eating healthier.

  • Emmy says:

    I’m always nervous cooking meat, because it never seems to come out the way I wanted it. But I suppose practice is e way to go. And I’m always totally sure that I will slice my fingertips of when using my mandolin.

  • Mara says:

    I get nervous when I have to cook something medium rare-I’m scared I’m either going to overcook it or serve it bloody!!

  • Kathryn says:

    I have no intrinsic sense for cooking – without a recipe I am lost. I am nervous browning meat, as it raraly browns but rather seems to boil in its juices. I am also slice/dice challenged, and on more that one occassion have sliced off a finger tip – fortunately, my husband was kind enough to super glue the tip back on for me after I retrieved it from the pico de gallo. Anyway, I can use all the help I can get. 🙂

  • Jessica Dennis says:

    It make me nervous preparing food for more than just my husband and I! And I always cut my nails when chopping up vegetables. Dangit!

  • Michelle says:

    I’m still a little nervous when it comes to cutting meat. The whole with the grain/against the grain thing confuses me. I always end up over-thinking it and stressing myself out.

  • Paul E says:

    Improper care of my cooking utensils. I do not like when i mess up a good knife or a pan.

  • Lee Anne P says:

    I’m nervous cooking for anyone but myself. I’m pretty used to eating over/undercooked food, hot food with tepid food, everything glopped together on one plate, experimentation with weird spices, etc. but I don’t like inflicting my cooking on anyone else.

  • Sarah K says:

    I need better knife skills. Takes me forever to dice so we usually just eat larger chopped veggies and I’ve accidentally trimmed my nails cutting onions a few times.

  • caitlin says:

    I love to cook, but only since realizing I have to have be OK with the mishaps and experiments gone wrong. Quiches scare the crap out of me. For some reason my pastries are always delicious, but the oozing mess inside never is!

  • Mollie says:

    I’m so nervous to ruin quality, grass-fed meats! Will they be too dry? too tough? too raw?

  • Delaina says:

    Fresh herbs- I would love to be able to cook with the herbs that I grow every summer, but tend to get overwhelmed trying to figure out how to use them.

  • Sharon says:

    What makes me nervous is cooking for guests- especially a new recipe. For instance, I made a new dish yesterday and threw the whole thing out because I wasn’t confident enough to serve it. :/ I could really use some help when all of the women in my family are excellent cooks.

  • Debbie says:

    Spices! Oh my goodness. If I didn’t have a vast repertoire of recipes I would never have a clue what spices to use with what.

  • Holly C. says:

    I’m all the way in MN and absolutely LOVE your Austin flair on food (I lived in Austin for 2 yrs so it takes me back). Thanks for being such a hoot to watch! Oh ya, and Can I get your cookbook please?!

  • lauren says:

    I have celiac disease but I love to bake! I always get nervous that something isn’t good because I often cannot taste it myself!

  • Anita says:

    Using a pressure cooker! I’m down with the grill and the crock pot but the pressure cooker terrifies me!

  • Vee says:

    spices (sorry Mel) but I just can’t get the hang of them.

  • Lisa V says:

    Pork chops scare me, especially natural bone-in ones. They always come out dry and tough. I cook them often, and they always taste terrible.

  • Elisha says:

    Hilah’s book sounds funny and like a refreshing twist to cooking in the kichen! People get so serious in the kitchen! I get most nervous about cutting poultry. I wish I could debone a duck like Julia Child!

  • Christine says:

    I am new to your blog and the whole paleo concept. Discovered you last week while reading “Whole30” and have begun my journey! I am so happy to have you along with me, as your recipes are simple yet “restaurant quality” as my husband put it. 🙂 Already made the olive oil mayo, ranch dressing, Moroccan Meatballs (my 6 year old son loved it!), and Meatza Pie (another hit!).

    Cooking is a passion of mine, handed down from both sides of my family. Love it. It’s therapeutic, really. And nothing says, “I love you” like something made from scratch, with fresh, delicious ingredients. What makes me nervous in the kitchen? Serving a never-been-tried-before dish. A new recipe. I’m anxious til someone says something about it, whether good or bad! 🙂

  • Mike* says:

    The shiny, ever so innocent looking Mandolin. I even have a plastic one (received as a gift) but it has the shiny metal insert. To use in prepping is not as big of a deal as “cleaning the mandolin”. A mandolin is so necessary in preparing scalloped potatoes. I guess ya gotta have the right tool for the job!

  • Laurel K says:

    Chicken livers. I bought a pound of them and desperately want to cook them but I’m afraid!!!

  • Jon says:

    I’m nervous when a kitchen visitor reaches for one of my knives, and I don’t know if they’re accustomed to properly sharpened knives. So I keep my truly scary-sharp blades put away out of view when not in use, and have a set of only moderately-sharp knives in the block on the counter.

  • Jenell says:

    Cooking steak in a cast iron pan. Last time I did that, I set off the fire alarm…in the entire apartment building…in the middle of winter. Now I have fear.

  • Lindsey says:

    I am newer to Paleo and just completed my first Whole 30. I’ve been cooking more now than ever in my life, and I am just excited to keep the momentum going. I seriously lack skills with how to properly slice and dice:(

  • Michelle B says:

    The thing that scares me most in the kitchen is still chopping onions…haven’t mastered the curved fingers yet!

  • Yvonne says:

    I am a new momma and I never had to have to cook. I get super nervous and it more than overwhelms me when I have to cook a meal or plan meals. I feel like “i just don’t get it” and I want to be able to cook for my family but not just cook, I want to cook healthy. The thought of relying on store bought food repulses me. So I am trying and doing somewhat good, but there are sometimes weeks where I’ve barely made a meal because I just give up and take the easy way out. Sometimes I just feel like a failure 🙁 I would love this book so I could learn the basics first and work my way up from there.

  • Delena says:

    Things that scare me in the kitchen is cooking food that are healthy but yet taste good. Also we have a tendency to eat a lot of chicken and ground beef and the same ol’ same ol’ ways of making them are starting to get boring. I need help!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Cooking with seafood makes me nervous! I’m not sure how to scale fish and I worry about it being dry.

  • Kate says:

    I’m nervous my friends will start finding excuses not to come to my new weekly dinners if things don’t turn ’round real quick.

  • Sarah says:

    OOh fun competition! what makes me nervous in the kitchen: having people witness how much of a damn mess I make! xxx

  • Michelle says:

    I am constantly buying kitchen appliances and gadgets, but I never use them! The only thing I’m good at right now is using the crock pot.

  • Arlene says:

    Deep frying makes me nervous…

  • Stephanie Cowart says:

    My knife skills suck so any help in that department would be most welcome!

  • Michelle says:

    I’m terrible at judging how large of a pan to use when cooking food on the stove. I always underestimate and have to dirty two pans! I swear whenever I think I’m reaching for a “large” pan the recipe calls for, it’s never big enough. How “large” is a large pan anyway?

  • Nrschaef says:

    Having people watch me chop, wash, and handle food….sometimes it feels as if they are judging my way of doing things – not sure if I am doing it right or wrong – I just get it done 🙂

  • Cat says:

    I am afraid of chopping one of my fingers off while cutting veggies!

  • April says:

    Since i’m a new meat eater, I’m terrified of messing up expensive meats–which I actually did last night. :/ Darn it. GRR!!! Still learning….

  • Jacki C says:

    I need help with sauces–especially paleo-friendly. I also get nervous with larger, higher quality cuts of meat, knowing that if I ‘F’ it up, I am out a chunk of change.

  • Heather says:

    I NEED this book! This is what I am struggling with right now.

  • Kaitlin T says:

    I have recently graduated and am cooking for myself (instead of eating pizza and ramen everyday)and have became more serious about my paleo diet. This is a dangerous combination! My sister sent me your wonderful book Well Fed, but I need some serious help! This Sunday when I started my first cooking WOD, I quickly realized this was going to become a serious chipper. I have to cook all my food on the weekend due to commuting to work and I need all the help I can get to make this process less stressful and dangerous!! I have no idea how to cut my meat and while I did cut veggies for a snack pack, they are all different shapes and sizes! This is only the tip of my iceberg of cooking chaos. All nerves.

  • Erika says:

    Baking MAKES me so nervous, especially since I ALWAYS want to change the recipe.

  • Alyce Kremer says:

    I am least comfortable making dishes that are foreign to me. I don’ t know how to use spices an would love to know how to do that.

  • Marisa H says:

    Ruining a special ingredient that is wicked expensive!

  • Stephanie says:

    I’m nervous when a recipe calls for something I’ve never tasted before (spice/ingredient) but ill try anything once!!

  • Kay Hart says:

    Feeding people for the first time. I stress because my food tends to be kind of rustic. Presentation is not always great. I should realize that flavor is the most important.

  • Karla Thomas says:

    My biggest difficulty in the kitchen is that I’m so easily distracted, mainly because I lose interest if the cooking goes on too long. If I wander out of the kitchen (and I’m sure to, because my kitchen is tiny) something else will catch my attention, and I completely forget that I have pots on the stove. I have, no exaggeration, forgotten I was boiling eggs until they boiled dry and exploded and I was cleaning egg off the ceiling. So I have to stand there and obsessively watch and stir, and if it’s something that goes on for a couple of hours and doesn’t require stirring, I’m lost. I rely on my timer for salvation.

  • Rachelle M says:

    I hate cooking anything With more than a couple tablespoons of oil. It terrifies me. But I love to eat the results!

  • Selvi says:

    Baking! Any baking recipe I have ever tried didn’t come out right..

  • jean says:

    Just found your blog.So glad because thinking strongly starting paleontologist.Thanks for a great blog.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have often gone for the smallest knife available when chopping things, because I’m intimidated by the thought of how easy it would be to hurt myself with a very sharp knife. I’ve never once picked up the butcher knife in our house. I do use the chef’s knife for many things nowadays (Whole30 complete!), but in the past, I have chopped many an onion with a dull paring knife that had a bent tip because the chef’s knife was big and scary.

    I am also nervous around boiling oil in large quantities, such as for cooking tortillas. I fear fumbling the pan somehow and getting the burning-hot oil all over my hands.

  • Christina E. says:

    Just about everything makes me nervous now. Following a Betty Crocker or Kraft recipe felt comfortable. Now, it seems as if we are always trying something new and different. New foods and new methods can be overwhelming so I have passed my spatula to the hubs. He’s just better at it than I am.

  • Erin Sutten says:

    I feel very comfortable in the kitchen but most of my skills could use some serious honing. I tend to experiment alot and I think I could benefit from so reminders of how to do things the best way, plus it could help my husband learn to navigate in the kitchen too!

  • Kerith Nicholl says:

    This cookbook looks amazing! Bought a copy for my friend for her birthday and she loves it 🙂 My mother has this unique ability to throw together a meal and have it taste amazing, but I am always nervous about adding spices and mixing flavours. Wish I could be more confident in the kitchen.

  • Jacob says:

    Having my dog running around when there’s a flame on the stove top and something needs to come out of the hot oven. Get especially nervous when he starts sniffing around the oven, but appreciate his compliments of my cooking!

  • Alison says:

    I’m alwasy nervous when I have something that can’t be tasted before it’s servered to make sure it turned out OK. Like a pie. There is no good way to explain why part of a pie is missing.

  • Alison W. says:

    Honestly, I’m not nervous in the kitchen – it’s my favourite room of the house! I am scared of my EuroSlicer (like a mandolin) though. First time I ever used it I thought it was so cool, until I discovered I had slided the side of my thumb off (including nail). I much prefer using a knife – and then I tell everyone when you use a knife, you’re cooking with love!

  • Suzanne V says:

    I am most nervous about how to add flavors, for example how to use herbs and seasonings. I can pretty much cook only simple stuff and that can become really boring but every time I’ve tried to experiment with flavorings it ends up pretty terrible.

  • karen says:

    what makes me nervous in the kitchen?? everything. i am learning to cook as i learn to eat paleo, so both are a challenge. spices scare me – i’ve learned that i don’t like coriander, but i have no idea which spices to eat/use to get a flavor that i do like. things i’ve cooked taste ok, but i haven’t found that perfect YUMMY taste for anything i’ve cooked. Yet. reading/using Well Fed has helped me tremendously so far! Hope i win!

  • paola says:

    i just found your site and love it!!! im new to cooking and since i lost my job i have the time to look for recipes and stuff but still i always come to cook the same things!
    so what makes me nervous in the kitchen? flavors!! lol i dont know how to make it happen, condiments and stuff intimidate me, thats why everything end up tasting the same, my poor husband says he loves it but he gets bored easily and me too but since we are trying to stay in a budget so having a book like yours would be a huge help!! good luck to me!! 🙂

  • April H says:

    What’s makes me nervous in the kitchen is when there are a ton of ingredients including spices! It overwhelms me just a little still since I am just learning how to cook the Paleo way. I know it will get easier, but it still makes me nervous as there are various things and ingredients I can mess up. =)

  • Kristy S says:

    My husband. Hands down, he makes me most nervous when he’s in the kitchen. Love him to death and all, but he don’t no squat about cooking! This book would be perfect for him! 🙂

  • Kmom says:

    Ooh spice fun facts! I need that! I actually said that out loud lol

    Spices are what make me nervouse in the kitchen. I don’t know what they are or what they go with so I just stick with the easy things. I’d really like to get more adventurous with spices and seasonings.

  • Renee says:

    Cooking steak – no idea how to do it!

  • Victoria says:

    Still a little intimidated by cooking fish! And especially stuff like mussels, prawns, and the like. Am sure I’ll end up poisoning someone.

  • SHelby Sutton says:

    Oh mess! Organ meats really scare me in the kitchen!

  • Caitlin says:

    I’m always scared to try a new ethnicity! I would LOVE to try my hand at some Indian recipes (a perfect treat meal: naan, one samosa, saag, and chicken korma). I have yet to find a good place here in Southern California (but I’m open to suggestions).

    Also – baking non-sweet items. Bread, “pop-overs”, etc. Yeast is straight up scary.

  • Regina says:

    I’m very good at following recipes but would like to experiment more. I just worry about the outcome being edible given the high cost of food these days.

  • jess says:

    browning meat….I never know when it is done enough!

  • Pam says:

    I switched to a Paleo lifestyle several months ago, and never looked back.

    However, I haven’t gotten beyond grass-fed ground beef when it comes to beef!

    I’m intimidated by all the cuts of beef and how to cook them. And I hear that grass-fed beef needs different treatment than conventional beef.


  • Stacy Sprouse says:

    I’m very comfortable in the kitchen, but my husband is a major novice and due to my being in school again, he will be the Kitchen King for the next year and so he needs a manual to fulfill that role!!! Plus he needs to maintain our paleo lifestyle without killing all the nutrients of the ingredients…lol. Thanks for the opportunity with this give-away.

  • Carla says:

    I’m pretty confident about trying new things in the kitchen and willing to sacrifice something to the garbage gods if I screw it up. The thing that gets me nervous is the timing of multiple dishes. I’m fine one on one but when I’m doing a whole meal thing it just all goes to hell. There is always something that gets over cooked because my focus is on something else or one dish is taking a lot longer than anticipated so everything else gets cold.

  • Krystal says:

    I am a bit of an adventurous cuts buyer even tho my cooking skills need mad help. I have a freezer full of heart, tongue, goat heads, liver, etc. I just made head cheese with my pig head, I have never had it or tried anything of this sort. What makes me nervous about the kitchen is that my husband will decide just to eat a sandwhich instead of what I am concocting and my serious lack of following instructions (of course I pretend I know perfectly what I am doing) As with the head cheese, he is still scared!

  • Christina says:

    so this may sound CRAZY but…..eggs.

    i love to cook, and i’m pretty flexible in the kitchen with amazing cooks who have come before me, and taught me how to cook with my instincts. i work as a home health support worker, in which i find myself cooking for elderly and infirm clients who are unable to cook for themselves. i LOVE producing a delicious and healthy meal for somebody who could really use some food as medicine. and i always get a kick out of producing said amazing meal with a sparse fridge and freezer vegetables of questionable origins.

    but the elderly love their eggs. and they know their eggs. my mom and grandma never did eggs very much…frittata yes, but poached hell no. anyways my first day on the job, i was 19 years old and asked to poach an egg. luckily i’ve had many patient and lovely clients who have taught me poached, soft boiled, over easy….of course the list goes on. anyways it’s my biggest pride in the kitchen, and also my biggest fear. the nerves just never go away until i see the first cut and the yolk flow from the perfectly cooked white. 🙂

    in conclusion, i would reeeeeeeeaaaaaally love that book 🙂 and my starving student salary would never allow this, so i’ve taken to begging. <3

  • steve says:

    I am just learning to cook. Hilah makes the process easy to understand. Also she eats like a guy. Plenty of bacon.

  • Megan says:

    Timing. No matter how much advanced prep I do, I always end up with something unprepared. Thus resulting in something burnt, under seasoned, missing, or just a giant panic.

    It’s never peaceful, always a race. Need to slow down my pace and maybe the heat.

  • Beth Reisweber says:

    Just finished Whole 30 with Well Fed and theclothesmakethegirl recipes by my side. I would love to be able to play around with spices to create and change my own recipes to make them healthier, more compliant. This may be just what I need!

  • Angela Bednarek says:

    I over cook everything, even when trying to pay attention and cook at lower temps. Getting better but need some serious help

  • Cindy says:

    What makes me nervous in the kitchen? My husband! He is amazingly talented in the handyman category and has totally renovated our home. But he never learned to cook. He will probably retire in the next few years and I have told him one of the requirements is that he learn to cook so he can have dinner ready when I get home from work (!). He desperately needs this book! Help save this 40 year old marriage!

  • Kim says:

    I afraid of being adventerous with spices in the kitchen. I have an entire rack full of them, but usually only grab my four favories off the shelf to use. I feel bad for the sad, unused spices.

  • Hannah says:

    Fish!!! I’ve never cooked it and I love to eat it. Teach me how!!!

  • Tara says:

    I get nervous about how much and when to add salt… I often undersalt as I’m paranoid about ending up with a salty mess at the end.

  • Ashley says:

    Pressure cookers make me nervous but I am fascinated by them and would love to know more about using them. Cooking fish is also a frustrating task. I enjoy most fish but seem to be pretty picky when preparing it.

  • AustinGirl says:

    Frying stuff makes me darn nervous in the kitchen. I’m starting to get less wimpy about it, but even caramelizing the carnitas in your (AMAZING!!!) recipe took me a while to get the hang of. I wasn’t raised with ANY type of frying going on in the house, and popping grease is kind of scary for me!

  • Carolina says:

    I am comfortable in the kitchen most of the time, but when one of my five kids is in there playing with our dog…and I’m starting to cook a little later than I should, I get nervous, anxious, and very cranky. Being crunched for time and interrupted to get kids and dogs out of the kitchen, while I’m holding sharp knives are not the most calming of experiences in the kitchen.

  • Emily says:

    I get nervous going off recipe in the kitchen! If it’s something I’ve made a bunch of times, I can make variations no problem. But I never understand people who can look at a new recipe and just add or subtract ingredients at will. I am an unadventurous cook–though a very adventurous eater!

  • Blake says:

    My husband. All of his cooking education is based on television competitions and he rushes around the kitchen as if Gordon Ramsey is screaming at him, making a huge mess along the way.

  • Sonam says:

    I am twenty-one year old college student trying to maintain being healthy, eating enough, and eating on the run. Eating out on a budget while living in Philadelphia isn’t the easiest, and being in that awkward stage of wanting to entertain friends with delicious and healthy foods, rather than just carrot sticks and hummus would be a great idea. My goals for this year are to learn how to cook healthy, maintain a clean balance in my eating habits to try and maintain my PCOS and weight gain.

  • Jana Hicks says:

    Goodness…. I would say trying to fry anything. My childhood home caught fire from a pan of grease and every since then I have never fried anything in my kitchen!

  • MK Gavin says:

    Things that make me nervous:
    Weird liquid ingredients I don’t know what to do with… (Ex: Why are there so many different types of vinegars? Oils? Stocks, sauces…help!)

    Things that terrify me:
    Cutting and preparing any kind of meat except for the babysteps strips of meat you can get in the grocery store.

    Let me win!

  • Jen says:

    I’m always nervous about getting the timing right on all my dishes so they’re on the table at once, piping hot and fresh. Still don’t have it quite down!

  • AMY says:

    I love to cook, but I do have a tendency to overcook my meats: uuuggghhh!

  • Sheila says:

    In the kitchen I’m most nervous about ruining a meal. Cooking is not something I’ve taken the time to learn and trying to eat more paleo has definitely been a challenge with limited kitchen skills. I’m afraid of falling back into old habits if I get frutstrated with trying to cook and failing.

  • Audrea says:

    Trying new recipes that have multiple prep steps. I’m all for being adventurous in the kitchen but if it’s trying something new & there are a bunch of steps, I’m pretty much guaranteed to miss one.

  • Dale says:

    Cooking for other people makes me nervous! When it’s just me, I’ll eat just about anything, lol.

  • Cindy says:

    Cooking a “sit down” dinner for guests!

  • Bridget H says:

    Cooking makes me nervous when it involves fish. There are just so many ways to mess it up when you are not familiar with it!

  • Ashley says:

    What makes me nervous in the kitchen is that people won’t like the meal I prepared. Makes me not want to cook the minute I step in the kitchen. 🙁 …. I need guidance and tips along the way also great recipe ideas! HELP PLEASE!!! ..!

  • ladywild says:

    I’m a good cook. I cook often. I get TERRIFIED whenever I have a recipe that requires me to take apart any kind of poultry. I just can’t do it. I’ve watched videos. My mom has helped. I still can’t do it.

  • Neonmoon10 says:

    I’m scared of fish. I love to eat fish when I go out, but I’ve never had a good experience at home.

  • Abbey says:

    Raw meat – for the longest time my husband would do all of the raw meat prep for me before I cooked dinner because it just grosses me out to the max! I am slowly learning how to handle such things, though.

  • Jamie says:

    Main thing is not knowing what spices to use with what and how much (1 Tbs cayenne pepper is not a good substitute for 1 Tbs chili powder – oops!)

  • I have a lot of friends who are wonderful home chefs, and I get very, very nervous when I cook for them. I need to relax and learn from them. 🙂

  • Greg Williams says:

    I’m interested in the possibility of a way of eating to get healthy that I can maintain. What makes me nervous is spending time and money on cooking for others and hoping I’m not going to have to eat it all myself. And the other thing thing that makes me nervous/apprehensive would be the clean up after all that work. Hilah is awesome.

  • Diana says:

    I think I’m a pretty great cook but cooking seafood still makes me nervous. The line between underdone and overdone seafood is so fine!

  • Meredith says:

    Anything with heat – LOL – always afraid I’m going to burn whatever I’m cooking!

  • Kathryn says:

    Love the idea of the spice chart! Baking yeast bread makes me nervous and I have yet to take the challenge.

  • Johna says:

    I get nervous about meat I’ve never cooked with before. I am so afraid of preparing it wrong!

  • telly says:

    Chopping. 🙁

    I’m nervous that I’m going to either: a) chop off a finger! or (and most likely) b) take WAAAY too long.

    I am for certain, the World’s Slowest Chopper.

  • Kelly says:

    Omelettes make me nervous. It’s the VERY rare occasion that I can get the shape, the fillings, etc, to all work out properly. Flipping that half circle of egg-i-ness makes my stomach lurch every time.

  • Melissa says:

    Mine is kind of silly: what makes me nervous in the kitchen is cooking meat. I’m not a vegetarian, so you think I would be used to cooking meat, but I’m always terrified of under- or over- cooking it. Which invariably leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Susan Ruff says:

    I get nervous touching raw meat, especially chicken… Ewwww.

  • Kat m. says:

    If I can’t make it by tossing it all in one pan on the stove, the recipe automatically becomes “new and scary”

  • Erica says:

    Raw anything and by worrying about not cooking it long enough, over cooking it!

  • Chris Kraemer says:

    Cooking an expensive steak makes me nervous every time.

  • Nik says:

    My new pressure cooker!

  • Larissa says:

    I always seem to ruin any fish I cook!

  • Allison says:

    Raw meat! It’s so squishy and unsettling. That’s definitely my biggest obstacle in learning how to cook.

  • Karen says:

    What scares me in the kitchen. I would say the use of spices. I have always been a bland cook…who would use way too much butter. Learning a new way to cook is challenging and can be frustrating when you don’t know what spice to put with what food.

  • Kiana says:

    What makes me the most nervous in the kitchen is being able to tell when something is done or not. As well as cooking multiple things at once. If I can’t just throw everything in a single skillet, panic will set in.

  • Maggie says:

    Something that makes me nervous in my kitchen is Salt!!! Often my food is not enough salted and so it misses taste.

  • Sharon Finarelli says:

    Using a pressure cooker makes me nervous.

  • peppergrass says:

    I love to cook but I’m still nervous about cooking a really good steak. We don’t have a grill so I’d have to do it on/in our stove. Also, I have a 14-year-old who exhibits zero interest in learning to cook – he sees no point in it. ?!

  • Jamie Catanzaro says:

    I love cooking, but always worry if my family will enjoy what I make. I still get confused over what all my different knives are for.

  • Trixie says:

    I have no confidence in my ability to cook fish. I get so stressed thinking about ruining my expensive, wild-caught poisson!
    Love your book Melissa!

  • Monica says:

    Beef liver. Texture gets me every time.

  • Margo says:

    I have a BFF who patiently tells me the most basic things, like, “Save your bacon grease and use it for cooking/baking.” “Stick a piece of bread inside the bag of your dried out brown sugar and it will reconstitute like magic.” So, what makes me feel nervous in the kitchen? The fact that I try to follow recipes and make elaborate dinners when I don’t know the most basic stuff about cooking. I come from a long line of Southwestern women whose men (and therefore families) were pretty much content with biscuits & gravy, burnt chicken fried steak, and Betty Crocker instant mashed potatoes.

  • Lindsay says:

    I’m so intimidated by my knife set! I need a class on using them properly ASAP!

  • lisa says:

    i LOVE cooking & have passed this to my daughter who is applying for culinary school…
    although still a little nerve racking when i have to cut up a chicken or debone a dove.
    (stumbled upon your site & i LOVE it!)

  • Melissa says:

    Started the family on Paleo in September and I am intimidated by organ meats. I would love to cook some and get all the wonderful nutrients I keep reading about, but I am afraid they won’t turn out well. Maybe someday…

  • Stephanie says:

    Making a roux/adding thickener to a sauce or soup always makes me nervous. I’m pretty good at it now, but I had several roux- and cornstarch slurry-related disasters when I was first learning to cook that have made me shy.

  • Sommer says:


  • Sarah says:

    children in the kitchen make me nervous. 🙂

  • Teri Pittman says:

    Well Fed helped me a lot with learning how to cook. But I’ve learned that I really could use a set of Paleo “fast food” recipes. I’ve been sick for over three months with what turned out to be pneumonia. I have not been able to stand long enough in the evenings to cook. At one point in January, we even went off diet because there wasn’t much that I wanted to eat. We did a lot of close enough canned soups (as long as they didn’t have grains) and I even added a few potatoes, because I could bake those in a microwave.

    So, if anyone has a mind to tackle it, it would be great to have a list of “close enough” Paleo, that can be put together quickly, or purchased pre-made, for those times when you can’t manage to cook. (Yes, after 2 rounds of antibiotics, I am finally starting to feel better, but still not ready to tackle Paleo Comfort Foods!)

  • Stephanie says:

    Oooo I’m just getting in on time!! I am in desperate need of these pointers – I never really learned to cook properly and just taught myself while I stumbled along the way. I get nervous cutting big squash (butternut or spaghetti) – I just hack away and I will likely eventually hurt myself

  • Billie-Jo Newbery says:

    I cant experiment in the kitchen! I have to follow recipes…My partner is always telling me to just add some of this and that and make it up but Im too scared Ill stuff it up! I wish I could just whip something up without looking at a recipe lol

  • Billie-Jo Newbery says:

    Oh no I realised I was too late 🙁

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