Hadrian DeMaioribus

Cooking Shaman

I have been teaching absolute beginners to cook for a while now - a task I am well suited, because I myself was, until recently, an adult beginner with zero knowledge about food. And I learned firsthand how difficult it was to find organized materials to learn to cook!

My cooking story starts when I was very young -- that was when I was abandoned by the side of the cooking dumpster, left to fend for myself in cruel food world. Alas! I was a Cooking Orphan -- someone who, for one reason or another, grows up without being taught how to cook and eat. There are lots of us in the world! And like many, I grabbed whatever was near. Candy, frozen pizza, mac and cheese boxes. I grew soft and hazy.

But later, after some fortuitous events and omens, as well as a hundred years of hard work, I learned to cook. (The Cooking Gods, one finds, are jealous of their knowledge.) My labors bore fruit: I lost fifty pounds, my manic depressive disorder calmed, and I regularly hosted whimsical dinner parties.

But learning to cook shouldn't be so hard -- especially since it's an essential skill that everyone should learn -- cooking orphans included. So why was it hard to find things ordered for beginners in any pedagogical sense? How come experts forget what it's like to be a true beginner? And why do real-life factors (busy-ness, budget, kitchen size) tend to fall by the wayside? After all, the stuff that matters first is the stuff you might make 95% of the time.

And so I decided to try my hand at making a primer in realistic cooking. Something that might make the journey to Cookingdom a little easier and more straightforward. (After all, we Cooking Orphans have to stick together!)

When I'm not teaching others to cook, I'm an alternative education shaman. I left college in order to self-study and explore alternatives to conventional institutional learning. How can one self-study effectively, optimally, and what is the role of institutions in all of that? And, he frowns perplexedly, what is worth learning?

I currently live in Portland, OR.