Cooking 100 stir-frys


“Oh, you want to learn to cook? That sounds like a great idea!  You’ll be able to make your own meals instead of having to rely on other people or going to restaurants. You can cook from fresh ingredients, bond with other cooks, make your spouse love you, and understand what all those people on TV are talking about.  It’s really easy, and we want to encourage everyone to cook because we are a food-based society, and everyone should have basic food literacy. ”

“How do I get started?”

“Oh, that’s easy. Just pick a recipe you want to make, and make it.”

“But what if I don’t know all the recipes I can make?”

“They’re not hard to choose from! Just pick one…Asian, Mexican, comfort food, soup, pasta…anything.”

“Ok. I want to make chicken tikka masala!”

“That’s too hard for a beginning cook. Let’s work on making stir fry first. Nice and easy.”

“Ok, I’m ready to stir fry!  But which recipe do I use? There are a hundred websites and a hundred ratings?”

“Just Google around until you find something you like. Go on StockpotOverflow and see who else has cooked it and what they have to say about it.”

“Ok. There’s a guy who says he made stir fry but he didn’t season his pot.  Do I need to season my pot?”

“Yes. I forgot to tell you. You need a wok and you need to season it before you make stir fry.”

“What’s a wok?”

“Oh, that’s easy. It’s like a special pot.”

“Oh ok. So I need a wok, and I need to season it. Ok, let me buy that. And I need groceries.”

“Yeah, but don’t get too carried away. Before you go buy groceries, you need to understand the history of farming in the United States. Let’s start by talking about how corn grows. First, it’s planted. Then, it goes through something known as a dormant stage-”

“Wait, what does corn have to do with stir fry?”

“You want to put baby corn in your stir fry, right?”

“Yeah, that looks delicious.Let’s go get some at the supermarket?”

“You can’t. They only sell it at the Korean grocery store down the street. They don’t sell it in regular supermarkets.”

“Ok, so I need to go to two supermarkets?”

“That’s right, and you need the special wok.”

“Ok. That’s it, right?”

“Oh. I forgot. You usually eat stir fry with chopsticks, so you’ll need to buy those. You can usually buy them at the Asian store, but if not, we’ll need to make a stop at Crate and Barrel.”

“Can’t I just buy them at the dollar store? I’ve seen them there before.”

“Yes, but noone uses the ones at Crate and Barrel. You’ll understand why once you learn more about the history of chopsticks and the materials they’re made out of.”

“I just want to cook!”

“Be patient. First, you need to learn a little about different cooking methods.”

“No, I just want to cook!”

“Ok, let’s go to the store.”


“Ok, now that we’re back from the store, let’s look at all of the ingredients we bought and cut them up.”

“Can’t I just cook them?”

“No, first you need to wash them, cut them, and make sure you measure out enough of everything. Then, go ahead, throw them in the wok.”

“I’m cooking now!”

“No you’re not. Look, the temperature isn’t on. You should have pre-heated the wok.”

“How was I supposed to know that??!!”

“Once you become a good enough cook, you’ll know. Ok, the wok is sizzling, go ahead and throw those veggies in.”

“Starting to smell good! But what about the rice??”

“You didn’t make any rice yet? It’s right in the recipe.”

“Oh, I didn’t know I was supposed to. This one girl on StockpotOverflow said that she usually made the rice later.”

“She’s not right.”

“How am I supposed to know that???”

“You will after you make 100 stir frys….watch your wok! It’s burning! Here, let me take over.”

“How am I supposed to learn how to cook if you do it for me and don’t explain everything?”

“100 stir-frys. Then you’ll know.”


“Here, your stir fry is done…DONT’ FORGET TO TURN OFF THE STOVE!”

“It tastes…like oil and grease. And a little of my blood.”

“The first ones always do.”


Based on my experiences of learning Python, Unix, Hadoop,  AWS,  JSON, and Git.