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When did you learn how to cook?

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  • When did you learn how to cook?



    I'm curious - how did you learn to cook? Do you use recipes always or "grandma cook", as I call it - use what you have and make it up?


    My Story: I learned to cook when I was a wee little kid. I learned the basics from my mom & grandma. I greatly improved upon my skills by cooking a ton on the weekends as an adult, thanks to the Frugal Gourmet (if you're old enough to remember him) & Julia Child. Now I'm mostly working on my "grandma cooking" skills.


  • #2
    1



    My mother is a terrible cook. Frankly I learned to cook from the television when a teenager. "Yan can cook" and "the Frugal Gourmet" and later the food network, Emeril, Mario, and the crew.


    Learning the basics technique and of a recipe and then being willing to try. A whole lot of experimentation through the journey.

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    • #3
      1



      I learned how to cook from my father somewhere around the age of 12. Maybe a little sooner. I try new recipes from time to time and sometimes try to get fancy, but for the most part, I prefer simple meals without a lot of fuss.

      Start weight: 250 - 06/2009
      Current weight: 199
      Goal: 145

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      • #4
        1



        I started by watching my mom and helping as a young kid. As a teenager I worked in restaurants and saw a completely different side of cooking. Finally, in law school I was on my own and developed my own style of cooking, which (thankfully) has continued to evolve - though not always for the better - ever since.

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        • #5
          1



          My mom wasn't a great cook, but at least she cooked. When I was still living at home, I helped make the basics like potato salad and beef stew.


          When I moved out, I took a couple of college cooking classes: Chinese Cooking and Vegetarian Cooking. Don't laugh; that vegetarian class exposed me to lots of ways to prepare a wide variety of veggies.


          Through the years, I've developed much more confidence in my cooking abilities as far as deviating from recipes and making up my own based on the ingredients I want to use.

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          • #6
            1



            Age 8 or 9 -- scrambled eggs. I was a decent cook by the time I left for college, and a serious one by my mid-20s.

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            • #7
              1



              My grandfather taught me the basics of how to cook when I was about 8 yo (how to use a knife and cooking based on firmness of raw veggies). My dad taught me how to BBQ when I was about 10 (start and control outdoor fire). I learned a lot from watching my mom and sisters cook as a teen (mostly Mexican and TexMex food). So when I moved out at age 19, I was well prepared to feed myself.


              I also watched the Food Channel quite a bit for a few years (2004 to 2007), though I have not watched it in over 2 years now.


              I never use recipes or measure anything out. I do look at recipes on rare occasions just to get an idea of ingredients but never follow them exactly and always make it as I go with what I have.


              Therefore, I never cook the same thing exactly the same more than once.

              “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creeds into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”
              —Robert A. Heinlein

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              • #8
                1



                i took over cooking for my family at the age of 9 when my mom had 3 jobs, grandma was ill andsister had eveningschool. before that it was grandma-the-cookbook kind of schooling for years. i really liked it and still do.

                challenge yourself
                i blog here http://theprimalwoman.blogspot.com/

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                • #9
                  1



                  My mom hated cooking. She had a few things that she made over and over, but I had come to believe that cooking was boring and unpleasant so I never even learned to make most of those. My grandparents (who lived with us) are the same way really, only a couple dishes they care to make, and all of them REALLY simple. My dad likes cooking and is darn good at it, but he usually worked 60+ hours a week and just didn't have time.


                  Until about 2 years ago I hardly cooked at all, because I didn't really know how and didn't want to spend the time to learn. But then my husband was unemployed for over a year, and I'm in graduate school making very little money, so I learned to cook out of necessity. We couldn't afford to buy prepared foods or eat out, and I needed to find ways to prepare whatever was on sale at the store each week, or whatever my dad gave me after his hunting trips.


                  So, I guess I learned to cook at age 23. =]


                  I started out making recipes that I found online, then watching cooking shows, and eventually reading cook books (I've read through The Joy of Cooking in its entirety) and food blogs. Now I've got the basics down, but I'm definitely still learning.

                  "mayness, you need to have a siggy line that says "Paleo Information Desk" or something!" -FMN <3

                  I'm blogging again, at least a little bit.

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                  • #10
                    1



                    My mom was one of those hurried women that cooked from a box--i learned to "cook" that way when i was about 12, but i had casually observed my grandma cooking for real (never with a recipe) all throughout my childhood, so when i moved out and started doing the mom thing myself, i had enough memories of the techniques my grandmother used to do things from recipes. I usually read a recipe the first couple of times i try something, but from then on i just go by feel and memory.

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                    • #11
                      1



                      Started learning on my own prob around 6-7. Both my parents worked, so during the summer breaks me and my younger brother use to always cook stuff up from the family recipe canister or just make things up. I have some good memories of making scrambled egg concoctions with just about every sauce we had in the fridge. I think we used to like the A1+Tobasco+worcesterhire mix the best.

                      Cub/Boy Socuts was another invaluable tool i had for learning to cook from about the age of 8-9. Every camp out we would have to plan, buy, and cook our own meals.

                      My mom cooked every night of the week and my dad usually made the weekend meals. My brothers and I were expected to help in some aspect either buying, prepping, cooking, or cleaning.

                      One thing I&#39;ve noticed is people just don&#39;t know how to cook very many things anymore and I think it&#39;s in large part because their parents didn&#39;t cook very often. We probably at most ate something not made at home maybe once a month, it&#39;s sad to see some of my nieces and nephews now eat out prob once every couple days.

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                      • #12
                        1



                        Up until two or three years ago my specialty was toasted sandwiches. Sad, I know.


                        Nowadays I cook simple things like soup, varieties of salad, stir fries... not fancy meals, but decent. I mainly &#39;cook for function&#39; at the moment because of a busy schedule.


                        I try a new recipe once a week or so. On Saturday I&#39;m going go out and get seaweed and other whatnots so I can make Mark&#39;s Sushi with a Twist!


                        Cooking is a lifelong journey I believe. =)

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                        • #13
                          1



                          I always say that I learned to cook by eating. Actually, I just wanted to eat a lot of things that I didn&#39;t know how to make so I tried to make them over and over, burning them or otherwise ruining them until I figured it out. I also found that reading a lot about cooking helped. It was by reading that I learned how to group spices, how to marinate, the best way to cook each vegetable, how different substances could be tricked into staying together, etc. Cooking, for me, is a great combination of homey craftiness and nerdy science. I learned throughout my early 20&#39;s. I think I&#39;m a decent cook now, and I never use a recipe, except as general inspiration. The name of a dish is usually enough for me to get started.

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                          • #14
                            1



                            I grew up with 4 grown women, my maternal grandmother, my mother and her sister, all of whom shared the cooking duties. My grandma was I guess the head chef and her food to this day is the best I&#39;ve ever had. True to our Peruvian roots we almost always had an animal protein (my grandma kept ducks and chickens, sometimes rabbit and we bought a goat once... hmmm goat meat is delicious) and usually rice and some starchy veggies. Probably not the most nutritious diet, but you bet it was tasty. I didn&#39;t really cook when I was growing up but I believe I observed enough to pick some things up.


                            Now I only live with my mom, dad and sister and my cooking is evolving. Animal proteins are still a big part of what we eat but now I replace the rice and potatoes/beans/etc with green leafy veggies, avocados, etc.


                            I bought a BBQ book for $3 (got to LOVE those clearances) and there&#39;s sooo many great recipes I&#39;m just dying to try out. Most if not all center around an animal protein and there&#39;s very little mention of rice, legumes, grains, etc so I&#39;m very excited to try some of these out and spread my culinary wings.

                            I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                            • #15
                              1



                              My mom taught me a lot of basic techniques, such as roasting a chicken, making a roux, etc...but there were big gaps in my knowledge because she also used a lot of boxes and cans (it&#39;s just what people did then). She also had two or three spices she used all the time. My dad liked his meat well done, so I thought I didn&#39;t like it :-(


                              I learned a bunch more in Junior High, in Home Ec (do they still offer that?)...rest is self-taught, because I really love to eat!

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