This question has been put on hold as too broad. I don't think it's too broad at all and is a valid question. I posted an answer that I thought was appropriate, and I think it's a great way to start cooking, it's how most people get started before they move on to other recommended paths.

1 Answer 1


I closed this. To expand a bit on my comment there...

Broad doesn't mean it's not a valid question. It means that reasonably answering it will involve writing an awful lot. The standard in the help center is:

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

This is a case in which we have real-world proof: people have written many, many books about how to start cooking.

In general, broadness is not about whether you could possibly write a short little summary of an answer. It's about what it takes to actually address the question in a reasonably complete way. You might want to think of will happen when 1000 different people look at the same question. If they might well all write 1000 different versions of an answer, choosing different details to include, and taken together those start to add up to a book, that's still a bad thing for the site, even if each individual answer managed to stay short and highlight just what they thought was important. We really don't like questions that devolve into a large number of partially overlapping answers, and are hard for any one person to answer thoroughly.

This doesn't mean that we have to avoid questions on broad topics altogether, though. There are generally plenty of more specific questions that we could answer. You could ask about equipment - in fact, all the various equipment selection questions (what should I look for when buying X) are essentially little facets of starting to cook. You could ask specifically about how to know if it's a good idea to improvise as opposed to following recipes. You could ask how to quickly look through a cookbook and decide if it's suitable for you (skill level or otherwise). You could ask about advantages and disadvantages of focusing on a single cuisine to start with. Note that some of these would have to be asked carefully to avoid chatty, opinionated answers, but they're nonetheless narrower subtopics.

Some of the most obvious earlier questions along these broad lines are not only closed but deleted now, since they're so old. If you have sufficient rep, you can see them. When I have time, I'll try to add in summaries of the answers for those who can't. In general, the answers often start listing a lot of detailed things - cooking techniques, cookbooks/websites/TV shows, equipment, dishes, and so on.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with too broad - am too busy atm for more. For now: There's an organized Comunity Wiki over at German SE with a collection of resources. Perhaps a similar approach could be our New Year's resolution for 2016?
    – Stephie Mod
    Dec 17, 2015 at 15:23

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