Why am I finally learning to cook

Hello, my name is Savannah Guthrie. I can’t cook, and I’m hosting a new cooking show.

I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, what? How did this happen? Why? And… why would anyone watch this show?”

All good questions. If you’ve watched TODAY over the years, you’ll realize that I, myself, are a challenger in the kitchen. See here, here, and here. Over the years, our well-meaning producers have tried to teach me how to cook multiple times, even enlisting top chefs to try the impossible.

Spoiler alert: I never learned. Fortunately, I have a husband who can cook and a weekday babysitter who makes healthy dinners for my kids. I am very lucky. And let’s just say that my lack of knowledge, skill, and confidence in the kitchen has been a boon to the New York City restaurant scene. But how many ready-made sushi rolls can one person really eat?

This time, it will be different. It must be! Here’s why: Unlike all of my previous TODAY kitchen intrusions, I’m actually—wait for it—I’m going to be cooking. I’ll be the one doing the slicing, slicing, peeling, chopping, dehydrating, burning, blanching, decomposing and any other cooking verbs I haven’t learned yet. Entire.

I realized that the main reason I didn’t pick up cooking even after all those lessons—aside from laziness and inattention, I mean—is because the talented TODAY Food designers did all the work for me early on. All I really had to do was dump the ingredients into a bowl and – presto! – Thanks to the magic of television, dinner was served.

The problem with this approach is that I can never repeat those recipes in my kitchen. To me, even the basics—from choosing the right pot to setting the right pan temperature—are vague and baffling. I need to learn… everything. I don’t know how to chop onions. I don’t know how to cut weeds. I don’t know how to boil an egg. I don’t know when the chicken (or beef, fish or tofu) will be ready for delivery. The only way to learn is to do it – and ask a lot of stupid questions along the way.

So this is what we will do! Every week, I will try to list from scratch. I would be joined by a real, honest, good-for-goodness chef, someone patient enough to watch this agonizing process unfold and answer all my goofball queries, like my hotline on Butterball. Starting From Scratch is my earnest, honest, and unintentional culinary journey. It’s for you, the one who doesn’t mind learning to cook but doesn’t have the time…or the talent. It’s for you, the one who thinks it might be a good idea to put something on the counter every once in a while that didn’t come in a Styrofoam container. It’s for you, the one who will enjoy the shock of family members seeing you in the kitchen doing something other than mixing a drink or getting ice cream out of the freezer. Joined! It’s going to be fun and educational and only one of us (yes, me, in episode one) will burn.

Here are the recipes I cooked in the first episode:

Lana Abisukh / Lana Abisukh

“If you want a comforting dish of flaky meat without babysitting roasting all day, shall we suggest the humble chicken thigh? Cooking or roasting in the pan produces the same decadence in a fraction of the time. The trick to this recipe is to leave the skin really crispy in the initial browning stage and then Letting it finish roasting, skin-side up, just barely set in the sautéed vegetables and broth and wine – unsubmerged. That way the meat will stay tender while the skin will get crisp and crunchy (that’s technical terms, you know). It’s the best of both worlds.” —Job

Chole mashed potatoes with yoghurt and chives

Lana Abisukh / Lana Abisukh

“It definitely scratches the mash of mashed potatoes, but the cauliflower and yogurt make it lighter and we can easily incorporate it into our regular rotation.” —Job

Baby Kale salad with lemon breadcrumbs

Lana Abisukh / Lana Abisukh

“This breadcrumb is like a sophisticated older cousin of Croton. It’s a little more delicate, but it delivers the most satisfying crunch in every bite. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to prepare.” —Job

Watch the first episode of “Starting with Scratch with Savannah Guthrie” on TODAY All Day at 11AM ET on Friday.

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