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Old 02-13-2013, 07:26 PM
 
271 posts, read 461,243 times
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I learned how to cook when I was very young, my Mom worked and I had to start dinner everynight. This was when I was 10-11. Just did the basics though, nothing very fancy.

When I got married 10 years later, I was really interested in trying to be more creative, more ethnic foods. I bought some cookbooks and just went from there. My mother pretty much like just plain foods, so when I was on my own I got more into Asian cooking.

Now I just kind of eyeball recipes to get a general idea, and take it from there.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there...
3,653 posts, read 7,263,820 times
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I've been cooking since I was old enough to stir a bowl, my grandma had us help her, then my mom and home ec. There was cooking everywhere, when I was 11 my mom worked second shift and since I was the oldest girl, I got to ake dinner every night, mostly basic things but I tried experimenting and my dad liked it so I kept trying new things, that's basically how I started. With having a house full of kids it kind became second nature. My husband makes breakfast once in a while but says it's too hard to multitask a big meal so he just makes two items at a tim, Amateur!!!
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,529 posts, read 11,632,560 times
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When I was 15 my Mom declared the kitchen was closed and she was retiring. I learned to cook to keep from starving. Trial and error. I got better and better. Ten years later, married, I discovered the wife, ex now, could start a fire boiling water. So I did all the cooking. I would read books, and just learn. Today, years later, I'm a great cook and really enjoy cooking. I can just about cook anything.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:11 PM
 
16,487 posts, read 20,337,485 times
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I think some people just have a knack at cooking. My mother was not a good cook at all, so I did not learn a thing from her. I didn't really begin cooking until I was in my early 20's. Cooking has always come easy to me. I looked at and read cook books, and often adapt a recipe to what sounds good to me. I have cooked and baked all kinds of things. Now I watch tv cook shows a lot. For awhile I had a job cooking for the state Fish and Game fish spawning crew. I think some of the best things I make are lasagna, spaghetti and my cheesecake.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Dallas area, Texas
2,234 posts, read 2,758,874 times
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I practiced a lot. And then, my husband started watching "Good Eats" on The Food Network. I searched and found the Good Eats Fan Page. The members there were (and still are) so helpful with suggestions and hints on improving my cooking and techniques. As the OP said, it can be a class, a mentor, but yes, having someone to help really raises the bar on your cooking.
www.goodeatsfanpage.com • Index page
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Islip,NY
16,935 posts, read 19,680,616 times
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I learned from my mom but, I already knew how to cook well since I am 18. My mom learned from her mother in law and her father. My other grandma was not much of a cook.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
21,465 posts, read 22,706,474 times
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I wouldn't consider myself a great cook because I cook almost entirely from recipes. I need to plan and follow directions. By doing that my technique has gotten better and I can adjust recipes to my taste, but I'm not one of those people who can just whip something up from whatever's in the freezer or pantry.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:48 AM
 
Location: San Diego
993 posts, read 769,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberrykiki View Post
My new year's resolution is to learn to cook better and to cook more often. I can do the basics pretty well and I can make some pretty good stuff (beef stew, fajitas, stir fry - good, but not too fancy or complex), but I really want to take my cooking to the next level if that makes sense. I was looking at the meatball thread in the recipes section, and thinking wow, I wish I could make homemade meatballs, and sauce...I'm guilty of usually using sauce from a jar, which is not the same as homemade. I'd like to learn to bake pies from scratch, make homemade sauce, etc.! My question for those of you who cook a lot and are really good at it is - how did you learn? Did you take a class, did someone teach you, did you experiment on your own? What is your best advice for learning to be a better cook?

Oh, and just for fun, I am curious what is the fanciest thing you make? The thing you're most proud of? You know, the thing you'd make if the Queen came over for dinner?
Trial and error (not too many of those thankfully)...and the shows: "The Best Thing I Ever Ate", "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", and "The Best Thing I Ever Made".

And this amazing thing called "the internet". No need for cookbooks anymore, just type "rosemary sage gnocchi" into Google and you're likely to find a great recipe for gnocchi with those ingredients. Once you get a recipe, all you gotta do is follow directions.

Another good place is www.supercook.com, there you can type in the things you have in your kitchen and it will come up with recipes that use those ingredients.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,289 posts, read 79,469,982 times
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I think the first thing, which was mentioned: you have to have a knack for cooking, just like anything else creative. From there it is a matter of desire, which will come if the creative juices are in your system. Some people want to be good cooks but it isn't in their blood enough, sorta like wanting to be a good athlete but lacking the physical skills.

My father was an excellent cook, mom was so so at best, but her mom was a geneous in the kitchen. I showed a love for cooking as young as 10 years old and by the time I was about 12 (which was way before more of you were born) I was planning one dinner a week including doing the shopping for the meal. I took every foods class offered in Jr and Sr high and went on to major in foods and nutrition in college. I am still willing to learn and love trying new recipes and new ethnic cooking.

My sister, on the other hand loved to sew,knit and embroder but she was lost in a kitchen. I have 2 daughters, one is a great cook, the other is just so so. She never developed a real love for it, but has a husband that does a lot of gourmet cooking. She does some things like a champ...

I do feel, anyone who wants to develop their cooking skills can, regardless of age, but the desire and knack has to be there. Between the internet, cook books, and some wonderful cooking classes offered in CC there are a lot of opportunities to learn the ins and outs.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:46 AM
 
455 posts, read 732,904 times
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For me, I always loved to cook but there was no technique to it and no real aesthetic of taste. After a while, I started getting tired of every dish just tasting like the same seasonings I put in everything. So I started watching cooking shows, getting recipes and getting a feel for what naturally goes with what, then using that as a baseline to put my own spin to.

I think my dishes started to really take off once I started putting thought into what I was doing, but also buying fresh ingredients and using decent cookware really made a difference. Even the type of olive oil you cook with and finish with, and what kind of wine you choose either to cook with or have with the meal makes a difference with contrasting flavors and types of food.

Ultimately, I think learning the basics and getting the basic ideas down and getting the execution right gave me a better foundation upon which I was able to build my own ideas and taste to really make my dishes pop.
Also, you gotta love doing it! I'm a guy and it's my second-favorite activity...
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