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When i start cooking and I think I might need them, a pan with chopped sweet onions (wallawallas if I can get them) go on the fire even before I start preping anything else. I think the only thing I do before is to put a pot of water on the burner. While the onion is going I have time to prep everything else.
I think the author's idea of what "golden brown" means and that of many cooks may differ. You certainly cook onions until they golden in 5 minutes - but that is a very different thing from caramelising them and some of the author's he cites as "liars" are not suggesting that it is. You shouldn't be caramelising onions for a lot of recipes you might want to be cooking with them. Real, caramelised onions (eg for onion soups of the French variety) are unusual.

And too sweet for me.
I remember an epic day I barely survived, attempting (and mostly succeeding) an Emeril casserole recipe. Oddly, the recipe was written for the perfect time to cook the onions to nearly carmelized--what I mean is, while that was going on, you were mostly busy preparing the other parts. The recipe was brilliant and luckily I was so busy following it I didn't have time to panic about all the learning of new tricks--the problem was, the time estimate was preposterous (35 minutes) and I think it was invented to keep from discouraging people, but if you added up the time of the longest chain (simmer chicken for n minutes, let cool for x minutes, add the stock from that to the other partly cooked segment of the dish and cook for yz minutes, then layer and bake for 60 minutes) the cook time (ALONE) was over 90 minutes. (I took twice that, but I'm including the cutting and other pre-prep.) I blame the shoddy state of recipe editing these days, although considering The Joy Of Cooking Brownie Disaster of 1980, it's always been true.
I think I've sped up browning onions by Alton Brown's tip of significantly salting the onions as they hit the pan. (Wonder if you can pre-salt...) They aren't going to brown until you get a lot of the water out, and salting helps.
And then, you can really cut the time down by buying them in a jar from Trader Joe's.
Most restaurants serve you barely heated through or almost golden onions, but the Running Rooster in Hollister will do you right when you order a burger with carmelized onions. (It's possible they cook them all day on the grill out front.)
I successfully cooked - without assistance - many of the recipes in "My Fun to Cook Book":

It has one of the easiest - and in my view best - flapjack (UK tray bakes, not weirdo US pancakes that you eat for breakfast <- truly odd behaviour) recipes I have ever used.

So, not all cookbooks are necessarily in error.

I confess I do have difficulty knowing how good or bad pastry and similar classic desert cooking recipes might be. My father's mother looked after me as a child. We had little in common, but she used to cook all the time, really well and like a demon. I spent a lot of my childhood making cakes, pastry and so on at sufficiently early an age that I am not sure what I know.

My wife is always baffled by how easy I make cooking pastry look. As am I. I can't see how it can ever go wrong, but I gather it can.

Thus I use things like "The Glasgow Cookery Book" for English food which do just give minimal instructions.

The key I think to good cookery books is they are not, or not just, recipe books but explain, in advance, what is going on: what is important and what is not important and explaining any new or unusual techniques. Also to warn (or encourage) cooks when things get unintuitive.
Is that allowed? Hmm, looks like a dangerous and misleading book--the cover implies cats can cook...or have my little feline friends been lying to me, the little bastards!
The cat gave a lot of very helpful advice as I recall. I imagine milage varies with cats.
"The Glasgow Cookery Book"? Now there's a scary title. ("Chapter One: Getting to grips with your deep fat fryer.")
Actually, Chapter One is entitled: "Finding your nearest chip shop". There is no Chapter Two.
As you know, those are stupid remarks. The "Glasgow Cookery Book" originates in the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science - an influential institution and a highly important publication.

I realise that the importance of traditional British and indeed Scottish cooking is often underrated. For complicated reasons (the French revolution being one) there has been a tendency to see a nation's cuisine in terms of what famous cooks and restauranteurs produce, not what is regularly put together at home.

That tradition is rich and valuable. Had you spent time in Scotland growing up you would know how wonderful some of the dishes are and how unusual and varied the cuisine can be, especially given its historic lack of lots of useful and interesting ingredients we take for granted.

Its true that Glasgow is somewhere one can actually buy halfway decent Chips from a Chip Shop, which puts it into a minority of UK towns (I have no idea what the situation is worldwide - dire I suspect) and there are some fine restaurants that produce excellent examples, but its a much richer and more varied city than that.

Sigh. At least you aren't having a go at the greatest city on the planet. Now then I'd be asking people to hold my coat.
It was a joke, Francis, based on the unfortunate reality that Glasgow had (in 1999) the highest heart attack rates in the world, and that study after study has shown that poor diet is a serious problem in the city. It even seems to affect people who had a healthy diet before moving to Glasgow:
Glasgow also notoriously introduced the world to deep friend Mars Bars and deep fried pizza.

If's any consolation, Texas is as bad—at the state fair they have served deep fried butter, deep fried beer, and fried bubblegum.
Lack of locally produced fresh and interesting fruit and vegetables is an important factor I suspect. If one lives in Malta, one can find fresh oranges growing on trees, not in Scotland - at least not outdoors. Cold climates can also make people want high carb and cooked food and, sadly, fish and chips is a very cheap way to consume both.
During my all too brief (10 days) visit to Edinburgh and London, I didn't have a bad meal once. Most were excellent, and the only blah food we had was a stop at Burger King. So I should say, I didn't have bad English or Scottish meal. At other times, notably the pie shop in the West End, and then the B&B in Sussex (which, I confess, is not London), the food made me weep with happiness. (Of course, after a full breakfast, we often weren't hungry until 9pm.) I can't afford expensive restaurants, and we did avoid one slightly dingy tea shop.
Perhaps it's something to do with rationing in the US stopping at VE day, at which point those of us who weren't starving poor or their descendents, began eating for quantity and screw quality. (Of course the trip was punctuated with the wandering onstage of other American tourists complaining about the lack of Fruit Loops and pancakes like the ones back home.)
Now that I think of it, that smoked haddock pie may have been a small spiritual awakening...
Well, I do know a little about Glasgow's cuisine, since I was suckled on it for about two weeks, give or take 23 years.

Due to a little-known quirk of Scottish law, revealed only to True Scotsmen and Mel Gibson's divorce attorney, this also means I'm required to mock the place with an admixture of sarcasm and affection at every opportunity, on pain of having to move back for rehumorification if I fail to Fry the moment ('Frying' being legal shorthand for 'Deep Stephen Frying').

I hope you understand my obligations in this batter.
Doesn't Hungary have a high heart-attack rate? However this doesn't stop any one from eating Hungarian food...nnnggngngngngngngnngngng...
All that fried novelty stuff--it sounds hilarious, but, frankly, when I'm slogging around a county fair, I go for the bbq: if it's going to kill me, at least I'm taking some cow or pig with me. I mean, at least I'll be full and happy.
The Texas State Fair steals unhealthy deep-fried food ideas from Minnesota. Deep fried butter, deep fried cheese curds, deep fried twinkies, deep fried candy bars...

My arteries are clogging just thinking about it!
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