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Old 07-31-2008, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Finally made it to Florida and lovin' every minute!
22,677 posts, read 16,809,250 times
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I know what you mean. We went to Red Lobster as a "treat", spent $90 and I could have made it better at home! :O
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Southern, NJ
5,402 posts, read 5,244,791 times
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By the time I was 6 my grandmother taught me how to scale and clean fish. I started learning at a very young age and enjoy making new things constantly.

I fully agree with the favorite restaurants, O.G., R.L. etc. I have a $4.00 coupon for O.G. in my bag right now and homemade spaghetti sauce (from the garden) with meatballs, sausage & braciole in the freezer, so I will be throwing the coupon away.
Our local supermarket has fresh jumbo shrimp on sale today $7.99 lb., large fresh sea scallops, $9.99 lb, 2 lbs. fresh mussels $4.99. I know where I am going after the allergist app. today. It used to be fun going out to dinner, now we find it fun staying home making dinner together.

Happy Thursday everyone!
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Way up high
14,072 posts, read 20,232,690 times
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Cookbooks but no trial and error yet. I stick to the recipes. Im hoping to go to Johnson and Wales in the future. I'd love to go just to learn all the right way and techniques but not to work in a restaurant. Maybe a private chef though..
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Middle Tennessee
184,959 posts, read 75,197,475 times
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The first time I remember cooking I must have been 11 or 12. I was home alone.... and... well let's just say I got creative in my moms kitchen. I had observed my mom putting flour on chicken and putting it an iron skillet of hot Crisco. That worked so I got a can of cherry pie filling out and red the directions and somehow had a pie. Just don't remember how I did it because that's over a 1/2 century ago. What I all to well remember is somehow managing to get water from the kitchen sink into the pan that the chicken was cooked in before it cooled and I've still got the scars on my arm from that lesson learned the hard way. I don't bake much at all but give me a brisket and some fresh veggies and we are going down town. I'm stuffed from today's dinner and now getting all worked up about tomorrow's dinner fair. I enjoy dreaming up new things like peanut butter cookies with hot fudge filling. I had never heard of such but we did some and that's a favorite now.
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:31 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 8,910,406 times
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My mom was a good cook, albeit unimaginative. I learned the basics from her, which stood me in good stead when she took a second-shift nursing job after my younger sister was born. I've never been very adventuresome, though; I usually follow the recipe unless it's one that I've made many times and am confident about altering.

The spouse learned his superlative cooking skills because his mother absolutely HATED to cook, and it was either learn to cook himself or go hungry. He's very much the experimenter by nature anyway, so when you turn him loose in a kitchen, you never know what you're going to get. It's usually delicious, though, and even when I can't quite describe it as yummy, it's always at least interesting.
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:39 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
700 posts, read 2,289,311 times
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I have spent 21 years in the dark depths of professional kitchens from Tokyo (currently) to Puerto Rico, with stops in Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami and Portland.... "What a long strange trip its been." J.Garcia

I'm currently an executive chef, however just started my own restaurant development company here in Japan designing concepts and restaurants for private investors. Previously I have been involved in opening/designing/conceptualizing many, many facilities all over the US.

I have formal training and continued training...(just spent a week in Napa last fall doing some wine pairing classes...from what I remember I had a good time)

My spark...It came from my family in New York....
My father has the same pot that his mother made Sunday "gravy" in....His takes all day and he covets each tomato and garlic slice....That love of the meal is something that inspired me. (Mom was no slouch either)

But, all this I think means nothing, if you dont truly have a passion for food and a commitment to excellence. My biggest reward as a chef (though the money is decent at this level) is when I know in my heart I have created a wonderful memory for one of my guests in a restaurant. They will talk about the dinner they just ate for years...Thats the "juice" that keeps me behind the stove. Many people spend their most precious days ( weddings, anniversaries, proposals, celebrations) in my hands.... I want to come through for them.

The hours are long and the stress is high. This is like a virus you get and you dont want a cure....

I personally have a love/hate relationship with the food network....
I love that it has educated many people on food and cooking and created a new market level for chefs....I also hate that it had educated so many. I actually have had someone walk up to me in a restaurant and read me the riot act because.."thats not how Emeril does it!!"...Oy vay....

But...I love every minute of it....
Its not just a job its an adventure!!!

Regards...
5

Last edited by 5chevin5; 08-01-2008 at 02:41 AM.. Reason: spelling is over rated
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:53 AM
 
9,912 posts, read 12,217,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaceyEx View Post
I basically learned out of survival. My mother was and still is a terrible cook and my grandmother was average but bland. Never was a clove of garlic allowed to cross the threshold. Roast beef was cooked to consistency of shoe leather.

When I was 13, my mother got a job from 3-11PM-so my job after school was watching my 3 younger siblings (one an infant) and cooking dinner. I started making things up in my head and making them. Boy was my Dad happy.

A couple of years later, my best friend's Mom-who was a wonderful cook, found me watching her every move in the kitchen. I credit her with my love of food and experimentation.

I enjoy watching cooking shows on TV-especially Lidia Bastianich and Barefoot Contessa.

So what's your story?
The grannies.

Always the grannies would have me sit up on the bench and help with measuring out stuff and stirring and checking flavours.

One granny taught me how she would cream sugar and butter with her bare hands!!!

Yeah, from as early as I can remember, one of the grannies was always cooking and the best place in the house was to be in the kitchen with them learning how it was all done.
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:35 PM
 
5,905 posts, read 5,094,193 times
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I also owe a lot to my grandmother. Growing up, I had a stepmother who was a disastrous cook who turned every cut of meat into a Goodyear radial and turned all vegetables to mush. But my grandmother was a consistently good cook who loved to experiment--and who loved to teach me her secrets.

When I got older, I took several cooking classes in school--two in junior high, and two advanced cooking classes in high school. When I married in my early 20s (and had a kitchen of my own), I was finally able to expand on what I had learned and then grow through trial and error (and boy were there some errors LOL). My cookbooks and handwritten recipes (self-created or borrowed) are my prized possessions.

After my grandmother passed away, the only things I wanted (and received) were her cookbooks and recipe files, some dating back to the 1920s. Like a previous poster, I find it very comforting to see her handwriting and notes on the cards and pages...and recreating her signature dishes makes me feel like she's in the kitchen with me.

My current husband was raised by a mother with a) no cooking skill and, worse, b) no identifiable palate lol. I've been on a quest to show him--and his family--that food could and should taste good, and to introduce them all to ingredients and dishes they've never tried nor heard of before. It's been a great way to show them my personality and to share my life with them.

But try as I might, I can't seem to instill any interest in cooking with my own daughter.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:33 PM
 
342 posts, read 1,589,079 times
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My mom's a great cook, so from early on I loved food. But growing up, I was the designated taster (and occasional whiney help) rather than sous-chef. I'd be the one tasting and critiquing my mom's culinary experiments and suggesting improvements. With such a great cook in the house, I had no inclination to cook. So while I wasn't the one doing the work in the kitchen, I became familiar with food and different ingredient and flavor combinations.

I didn't start cooking until I moved into an apartment during college. Part of it was me being frugal, part of it was my inner foodie blossoming. I started cooking, and my arsenal of spices and kitchen utensils grew and grew. When I moved after college, I basically packed what I could fit into my car and took off, but half of my possessions were kitchen stuff.

Now, years later, I mainly cook for myself, but I love to try new things and experiment. But I'm constantly looking through cookbooks, cooking magazines, and the internet for new recipes and inspiration. I usually attempt anything that looks appetizing to me, and especially if it's not too difficult a creation, my philosophy is to make it rather than buy it. It's gotten so that my mom now comes to me to swap recipes or for ideas on what to serve up at her next dinner party. Given that I hold my mom's cooking in such high esteem, that's quite an honor.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:25 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,441 posts, read 5,262,335 times
Reputation: 3100
My grandmother and mother were great cooks. But then I joined the Navy at 17, and for a long time, just ate what they cooked. When I got old enough (and senior enough) to get my own place, I realized that Top Ramen, as good and cost effective as it is, wouldn't sustain me much longer.

I bought a couple cook books (ones with LOTS of pictures ) and tried making some things I thought sounded good. As I grew in confidence, I started tampering with the recipes to make them more for my tastes. Then, as many on here have already said, I would watch a cooking show, or eat something out that I thought, "hey, I could probably do that" then started experimenting.

After a while, being a single father for a while, I had to learn to cook for my kids, too. So, again, I started branching out with different things that just kept adding to my repertoire (sp?) of recipes. So much so, as I put in a different thread, that I am thinking of putting a small cookbook together to give them as they graduate (hopefully college!) and get on their own. Then they can recreate all the meals I cooked that they like, and can change them to suit their needs!!!
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