So what if you wanted to say that you're cooking with your mother - as in you're mother is assisting you in cooking, not... Hannibal-style.
I would say "Ich koche mit meiner Mutter zusammen." The 'zusammen mit' gives the idea of 'along with' or 'in the company of' ('zusammen' basically means 'together').
And if one were cooking with several chickens (Julia Chicken and her friends) man sagt"Ich koche mit vielen Huehnchen zusammen"?
Hühnchen is used in biology and Hähnchen in cooking. (Like the difference between cow and beef in English, I guess.)
How come "viele" is sometimes accepted as "lots of" and sometimes "several"? Context?
The simple answer would be "yep-context".
"Viel" can function as an adverb or an adjective, and any time we see an ending (viele, vielen) it's an adjective. Sometimes you feel a lot better (viel besser), sometimes you have many several films in your collection (viele Filme).
The distinction between hens (female) and cocks (male) applies only while the bird is alive. Once it's an ingredient, it's all "chicken." Just like cow as an ingredient in cooking is "beef."
Hähchen is "Neutral" (das Hähnchen), so for "Dativ case" should be "mit vielem Hähchen", right?
Anything ending in -chen is neutral, and you're right that "das Hähnchen" would be "dem Hänchen" in the dative. However, the plural of any -chen word is unchanged, so "die Hähnchen" does become "den Hähnchen" in the dative.
Duolingo didn't accept it, but i believe "We are cooking using many chickens" is OK, isn't it? Does it sound "natural" to native English speakers?
In English, to cook ''using'' many chickens suggests that your chickens are cooking instruments like spoons or pots.
To be honest, I would never say 'we are cooking with many chickens' either because this sentence suggests that your chickens are helping you roast themselves! But hey, that's Duo for you! ;)
Only if you were roasting the chickens whole. Normally you would just say "a lot of chicken." "Chicken" (like beef) as an ingredient is an uncountable quantity, so you always use the singular. Think of it like salt. You say, "I am using a lot of salt," not "many salts."
Thank you, Cha5117.
You've just uncovered one of my many "linguistic" blind spots.
I say that because, when I posted my question above, I was trying to check whether "using" and "with" were interchangeble in the given sentence.
That is, is the sentence "We are cooking using a lot of chicken" the same as "We are cooking with a lot of chicken" ?
(It didn't cross my mind that the use of "many" would give the sentence a somewhat different meaning.)
Yes, they can mean the same thing. I would make the ingredient the direct object: "We are cooking a lot of chicken." People say "with" or "using" when they are talking about spices or other secondary ingredients. "I am cooking chicken with mushrooms" (compare to "à la" in French). Or, "I am using lemon in this chicken dish to give it extra flavor."