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Old 01-20-2008, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma City area
655 posts, read 1,683,586 times
Reputation: 530

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Mother and I lived with my grandmother and they did simple things. (It was the 1950's.) Nannie made cherry cobbler, apple dumplings and roast with Yorkshire pudding. Mother made tuna casserole and angel food cake, beating it by hand. Until Nannie got sick and couldn't cook any more, I never knew that roast or steak could be cooked any way but well done. As I got older I started cooking a few things to have when they got home from work. The only cooking class I had back then was a semester of home ec in college.

I picked up a few recipes from relatives, recipes that I still use today. My first real cooking classes were at a cooking store in Oklahoma City in the 70's. In the 90's I started going to chef's classes at another shop and my husband (also a foodie) went with me after we both retired in 2000. I've been to classes in Santa Fe, western Washington and other places in Oklahoma. I'm 62 and still learning.
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,850 posts, read 19,592,282 times
Reputation: 6479
My mother was not a good cook, but an excellent baker and followed recipes rigidly (mostly by Betty Crocker). My father never baked, but was an excellent cook and rarely followed recipes. Since I loved to eat well prepared food, I learned how to cook from both my parents at a young age. This suited me for quite a few years. Then one day I experienced my first gourmet meal and instantly fell in love. I picked up "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I" and "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II" by Julia Childs. I also aquired "Le Cordon Bleu At Home" and several other Le Cordon Bleu cookbooks since.
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:19 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
429 posts, read 661,391 times
Reputation: 107
I was blessed to be raised in a family where everyone is a great cook.
My paternal grandmother specialties are the best coconut cake, buttermilk cornbread and sweet tea. My maternal grandmother was known and loved for her Spaghetti & meatballs (I think a few of the boys I dated really just asked me out so they could be invited over for Sunday dinner). She always could make the best biscuits and Gravy, Lemon Ice Box Pie. My mother could cook anything, but I loved her Chicken and Rice, Shrimp cocktail sauce , Chocolate Pie and fried chicken. My father is known for his grilling; pork chops, hamburgers, steaks, you name it. He grills everything on a grill that he welded himself and he uses charcoal.
My dad and brothers have friends and family bring them Turkey and Turkey Breast over during the holidays so they will inject them with all of these delicious flavors and then deep fry them. As you can tell I grew up on Southern Style cooking, but since I moved to NC I have learned to cook a few "sophisticated" recipes. The only difference between all of the cooks in my family and myself is that, they hardly ever use cookbooks or measure anything and I MUST have a recipe and I follow it to the t! I guess I'm afraid of cooking something that's not fit to eat!
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:21 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,402,860 times
Reputation: 47449
from 2goldens, supercook.
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:24 AM
 
Location: friendswood texas
2,489 posts, read 6,449,698 times
Reputation: 3061
Survival instinct... my mother was not the greatest cook. My Dad was a meat and potatos guy but everything had to be well done. Very well done, also he doesn't like anything with onions or herbs basically anything that tasted good. So I grew up with very bland food. When I got married I think I could make maybe 5 things. Lucky for me my husband is a very good cook. He is one of those people who can look in the cupboard see five things and create a gourmet meal. I am not that way. After we had been married for several years he took a second shift job so if the kids and I wanted to eat, I had to learn how to cook.

I taught myself from cookbooks. I can't even count how many I have now. If I have a clear recipe, I can make it now.

Now baking....I learned that from my grandmother. Cookies, cakes you name it, I learned from her. Breads I learned when I was in college and worked at a french bakery. Granted the dough was frozen but we still had to knead it for its final rise, shape it braid it etc...Now years later, after many doorstops, I can finally make bread from scratch..

That is how I learned to cook.
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,072 posts, read 10,868,678 times
Reputation: 1718
I learned how to read a box or label Actually, the fund raiser cookbooks are the best with easy recipes. I have several.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 21,516,228 times
Reputation: 19858
By learning how to eat and taste. I was taken to restaurants since I was a baby and fed just whatever my family was having. I was never allowed any "food tantrums" or "yuk, that's gross , I'm not eating that".

I know what things should taste like and what usually goes together and what goes into different recipes. The rest is a bit like chemistry. Specific techniques have been acquired through watching other people cook mainly. But I don't believe anyone can be a decent cook if they don't love food and understand how food works.

I actually hate cooking, I am reasonable at it, but derive no pleasure from it whatsoever. I love eating though. Food to me is a passion and I will never understand people who can go through life just pushing around a piece of lettuce and have no interest in it.

Food is one of the greatest pleasures in my life and I would rather spend money on going out to a really good restaurant than buying shoes, or jewellery...

I am terrible at baking because baking is a very precise art. I am the kind of cook who doesn't usually use recipes and as long as the ingredients are good quality, and go together, the results can never be that bad.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:51 AM
 
Location: In a house
21,902 posts, read 20,895,074 times
Reputation: 14817
My grandmother, bless her soul, took time to show me some simple things to cook. She was a great cook...lots of German-type foods. Nice and hearty. I wasn't around her a lot so I only learned a few things but I do remember them 40 years later!!
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
1,969 posts, read 5,286,927 times
Reputation: 2657
I am currently in the process of learning how to cook - LOL - and my new friends here on city-data are trying to help! Better late then never right!
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Looking East and hoping!
28,227 posts, read 19,210,597 times
Reputation: 2000000848
At this point in my life I'm starting to bake. Got a KitchenAid mixer and raring to learn. With cooking per se I never measure-just eyeball everything so being precise is something new.

Love all your stories and aren't we all just amazing!!!
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