Getting started

At Coding with Knives, I’ll be working my way through Learn Python the Hard Way‘s fifty-two chapters. I’ll share my struggles and victories with the exercises, as well as other tips I pick up along the way.

But I’ll be honest: I’m nervous.

I haven’t taught myself how to do anything since, um… well…

since I learned how to cook!

Over the past fifteen years I’ve been honing my skill daily. I’ve worked in and out of restaurants, from managing staff and advising on recipe creation, to cooking for families throughout Atlanta as a personal chef. These days I can roll up into your kitchen and make a gourmet meal out of whatever you have on hand, but it wasn’t always that way. It’s taken the commitment of daily practice, an insatiable curiosity, and even some risk to get to where I am. The best part is: I’m still learning!

I think the same might be true with learning how to program. Sure, you could take a bootcamp (and I’ll admit, some of them sound awesome) and learn a language in three months, but most of the folks I know who are successful have been curious about programming their entire lives. It seems to be as much a daily practice for your average FOSS* contributor as it is for a skilled cook. You’re always learning, growing, making new connections, challenging yourself.

Whether you’re here to cheer me on, pick up some cooking tips, or just because you’re curious: welcome. I’m glad you’re here.

So, what are your burning cooking questions?

I reached out to some of my smart friends and heard back the following:

  • How to time a meal when preparing multiple dishes
  • How to cook rice
  • Sauteing onion and garlic together such that the garlic doesn’t burn up.
  • Storing vegetables (What can go in the fridge? What shouldn’t go in the fridge? What should be wrapped in towels, etc.)
  • Making tofu taste good
  • Cleaning mushrooms
  • Roasting vs. Baking vs. Fire-roasting vs. Broiling etc. (basically, what do all these terms mean?)
  • Cooking with different oils
  • Anything to do with baking. Baking scares me.
  • Cooking with dried beans (which need to be soaked, quick-soak techniques, slow-cooker techniques)
  • Spices.  When would I use one over the other?  Which ones “go” together?  I want to rosemary in everything, but not everything wants rosemary.  How long can I keep spices?  Ditto makeup. 😉
  • Buying organic.  When does it really matter?  (I kinda know this, but I think it’s good to cover.)
  • When would doubling a recipe be a problem?  Or is it ever?  Especially with regard to crockpot cooking.
  • RICE! There are so many kinds. Also, there are lots of kinds of beans. When should I use which?

I’m looking forward to covering all of the above and more in the days to come. But for now, what are YOUR burning questions? +1 to any of the above?

*That’s the acronym for “free and open source software”, which we’ll chat about, too!

2 thoughts on “Getting started

  1. Wow, cooking and Python, I cannot imagine anything better!! +1 the question about cleaning mushrooms, and I’m also really interested to hear what got you interested in learning to code. I hope your experience with Zed’s book is good — he is … opinionated, but his more formal writing has always seemed spot on to me.


    • I really appreciate your support!! What’s your current strategy for cleaning mushrooms? I like to remove the caps and place them on a cutting board gills-down. Then I take the nozzle head of my sink and spray the tops with water, dislodging any dirt. My goal is always to protect the underside/gills of the mushroom, since that’s where they’ll absorb the most water the quickest. A fast rinse of just the tops doesn’t seem to make a difference in texture or cause them to become waterlogged, in my experience!

      Zed’s totally opinionated, but then, so am I when it comes to cooking. 😉


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