Teach Dave to Cook is a new video miniseries from Washington Post Video and Voraciously, featuring Mary Beth Albright, The Post’s host and editor of food video, and her friend Dave Jorgenson (who also happens to work at The Post as a video producer, editor and writer for “The Department of Satire”). Dave wants to learn how to cook, but he doesn’t know where to start. Mary Beth is here to help, with handy tips, sage advice and just the jolt of confidence Dave needs.
Mary Beth: People confess all sorts of things when they hear I’m a professional food person. (I also eat dinner in bed sometimes, you’re not alone). The only thing I push back on is when people tell me they can’t cook.
Everyone, if they go back far enough, has ancestors who found ingredients and made meals happen, with open fires and rocks. (Some of us don’t even have to go that far back.) They passed cooking down to us. It’s in our bones to cook; it’s just a matter of whether we choose to wake that part of us up.
Sure, cooking is creative. It’s also (mercifully) fairly predictive, so I wanted to give Dave some tiny gems for his pocket. When Dave makes a steak that is 135 degrees at the center (and he has, many times, since we shot this episode) the meat will be medium-rare. As long as we look at any diversions along the way as adventures and opportunities for learning, we will all be okay. In cooking and in life.
Dave: When I first found out Mary Beth was a professional food person, I was excited because I knew this meant she would often have extra food that needed to be eaten. This turned out to be true, but it wasn’t even the best part. Mary Beth is a really good teacher too, and, fortunately for me, she’s also extremely patient.
I didn’t inherit any recipes from my Great-Great Grandpa Thor. I did spend some time in the kitchen with my mom. But until this series, I had a 12-year-old’s education in cooking. Developing my cooking skills was important to me, and not just because there were suddenly three cameras in my small apartment. I wanted to make my kitchen have a purpose that went beyond storing my cereal and making pizza. Now, it’s quickly becoming a place filled with memories and even better smells.
This first lesson was essential because it reintroduced me to the kitchen as an adult. I needed that reminder that cooking can be learned at any age. And now, at the age of 28, I have made that steak nearly a dozen times already.
Here are my other big takeaways from Episode 1:
- How to actually use a knife properly, unlike my ancestors who apparently used rocks, according to Mary Beth.
- A chef’s knife is worth buying, but you don’t need a 10-piece knife set.
- A meat thermometer is well worth the $20.
- Pan sauce is so easy! And fancy.
MB: My proud teacher moment came when Dave and our colleague Hannah were in Los Angeles for work and Hannah texted me a photo of Dave cooking steak for her in his rental kitchen.