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Old 01-11-2011, 12:30 PM
2,407 posts, read 5,150,713 times
Reputation: 5998


My Mom
I would also watch my Grandma too when I was young. She was a great cook.
My other Grandma...bless her heart she couldn't cook at all, but made a mean bowl of oatmeal.
Homec all thru middle school & high school.
Myself...just reading cookbooks & collecting recipes from family & friends.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:31 PM
Location: NE CT
1,496 posts, read 2,788,845 times
Reputation: 707
I grew up in the restaurant business from age 9. I had to begin taking out the trash, cleaning the rest rooms, and moping the floors, washing pots and pans when I got home from school. Until I was 14 I couldn't work out in the commercial restaurant not owned by my family. Ilearned the breakfast and lunch menu in my folk's business by age 14. This meant knowing how to cook on a flat top, using an oven, and a french fryer. Cleaning a meat slicer at the end of the day was a very careful task! After then I could work a grill, french fryer and a broiler so I could sell my skills to commercial kitchens.

My first job at 14 was a breader in a fish joint. Breaded everything for the fry cooks. Then one day a fry cook quit and I was the new one. After that, by 15 I worked in a small gourmet Itallian kitchen as a chef's helper. By age 17 I was a broiler chef earning $400 a week in 1968. I graduated to the sous chef after that and cut all of the fish and meat and portioned out for menu servings. I couldn't dare screw up a whole filet mignon. Each one had to be cut in 6 and 8 oz portions while using the left over pcs for streak tips. $400 was great money back then and I earned every cent and learned so much in the kitchen.

I went off to college in 69 and worked in a Ho Jo's in Brattleboro VT nights & weekends while I attended a collge near by. By the time I was 28 I was a full blown chef but left the business for my management career in the trucking industry.

This was all before cook shows, except for Julia, and cheffing was no where near as glamourous as it is today. It was very hot, sweaty and greasy work with 60 to 70 hour weeks. In summer time, in front of a 1000 degree F broiler for steaks was no picnic. Salt pills were a must as well as gallons of cold water. 800 dinners nightly was no small task for a line of three guys. Oh to be young again. Youth is wasted on the young said someone!

I taught my wife wife how to make sauces, gravies, cook, broil, briase, steam and boil just about anything. She taught herself deserts, cookies, pastries, etc. We taught both our children who can both now cook on their own.

It's fun if you don't have to make a living at it. TV shows glamorize the industry but make no mistake it is hard work with long hours when you work for someone, and even longer when you own your own place. You may as welll set up a bed somewhere in your own restaurant unless you live within a mile of your place. Nothing is ever as great as it seems on TV!
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:58 PM
Location: Inception
947 posts, read 2,181,444 times
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Currently self-teaching after realizing I could not go my whole life as a FOODIE and not be able to cook. At some point, I will enroll in a culinary program. Now, I rely on recipes (cookbooks, internet, mags or forums/blogs) or the Cooking Channel.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:12 PM
Location: NoVa
18,434 posts, read 28,516,023 times
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I learned from watching Mom, Dad, and Grandma! Lots of practice, and beginning when I was 15-16, I cooked dinner every night and started taking care of Thanksgiving dinner as well...... Still cooking! 20 years later! Guess I was doing something right back then! =)
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:44 PM
2,870 posts, read 4,457,132 times
Reputation: 3554
I learned to cook after I learned to eat!

By that I mean I used to just eat generally, and thought as long as it was filling and tasty enough it was good. But then I started to slow down when I ate, and found there were flavors that were specifically tasty, that I wanted to reproduce. That's when I started paying attention to how stuff is made and what each ingredient contributes.

I'm still not an expert cook. As I learn, cooking gets easier though. But incidentally my taste in foods gets simpler too, to try to enhance the individual flavors.

That's where you get into textures--like custards cooked properly and meats not overdone--which just takes sensitivity to what the process actually does to an ingredient. But...knowing just a little about those things is really knowing a lot, and (even better) knowing how to learn.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:40 PM
Location: Happy in Utah
1,224 posts, read 2,940,338 times
Reputation: 901
I just tried to do it to help my mom. I also love watching cooking shows and trying different foods, who cares if it comes out great the first time you can allways improve on it
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:40 PM
10,452 posts, read 10,224,950 times
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I picked it up from my parents and also just like to make what I think tastes good. I went to Italian Cooking school two summers but I hardly ever cook Italian so most of what I know about cooking has nothing to do with what I learned there.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:44 PM
Location: Nebraska
1,078 posts, read 937,934 times
Reputation: 871
My mom taught me. I started cooking dinner for the family when I was 10. I didn't burn the house down
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:32 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
Reputation: 35864
My mom started raising her young family during the depression, so she was a wonderful example of WHAT to cook. All I needed to do was to figure out the basic procedures in the kitchen, and I could replicate it. Early girl friends, of course, also had depression era moms showing them how-to, so they were pretty handy. Just a matter of knowing what a home cooked meal looks like, and what it's made of, and then watching the practitioners at work as a sous-chef.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:59 AM
Location: In San Antonio
1,673 posts, read 2,657,744 times
Reputation: 1242
Hours of watching my dad and my mom. My dad was a great chef and my mom learned from her mom. So I made out like a bandit. And it helps to watch cooking shows, along with experiements.
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