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: Pam the Butcher is the best. She used to have a pastrami list — you had to be on the list or else you couldn’t even buy her pastrami. How did I get on the list? Don’t know, don’t care. It was every woman for herself.

We could have done an entire episode on how to choose the best produce (I once did a whole radio series on it). I think the few tips Dave and I discuss are a great start for basic shopping, including that you don’t have to smell everything in produce. Sometimes people just smell stuff because they see other people smelling stuff. Then suddenly the whole place is sniffing. With some produce, you can save time and just move on with your life.

Dave: Pam the Butcher is the best. Mary Beth often says the last person she met is the best, so I was skeptical when I was informed of Pam’s best-ness. But it turns out, Pam knows her stuff and is indeed the best.

I’m not on Pam’s pastrami list, but since this episode, I’ve started to know the butcher at my local grocery store. I hope to be on his list one day. Though, if we’re being honest, being on a “butcher’s list” sounds potentially problematic.

MB: Just don’t buy any pies from Mrs. Lovett.

D: Another great tip! Here are a few of my other takeaways from this episode:

  • There are certain foods that are worth paying a little extra for – specifically, olive oil.
  • A small grocery store does not equal a bad grocery store.
  • The chicken thigh is the best-tasting part of the chicken, according to Pam. And I trust Pam.

Watch the full series: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5

More from Voraciously:

Embrace spring with these tips and recipes for 5 of the season’s produce stars

10 fruits and vegetables you’re storing wrong

A marinating meat primer: Simple answers to the tough questions