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    DebFM's Avatar
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    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.


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    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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    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.

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    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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    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.


  6. #6
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    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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    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.”
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    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.

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    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.

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    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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