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Old 08-04-2008, 11:36 AM
 
230 posts, read 797,580 times
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Does anyone remember EZ Bake ovens? I got one for Christmas when I was a kid, and the "play-cooking" I did with that was my introduction to cooking. Not only did I make cakes with it, I remember making candy, pretzels, pies, and cookies. FUN!

Anyhow, my mother worked long hours and hated cooking, so I started helping her out at a young age. I remember making a lot of Hamburger Helper, tacos, mac and cheese, hot dogs, and fish sticks and tater tots for us kids when she wasn't at home.

When we visited my Sicilian relatives during school vacation, I was fascinated by the variety and amount of food there was in that household! Really simple but wholesome and delicious food. I got my own kiddie cookbook that had recipes for stuff like "cream cheese stuffed celery" and "tossed salad." So I remember my aunt allowing me to prepare the "appetizers" and salads for our meals.

During my teen years I worked a family restaurant that served stuff like pizza, subs, burgers, and fries, and so I got some experience there. Later on I lived in Europe for a few years, and that opened up the door to learning different types of food and preparation techniques.

But it wasn't until the Food Network came along that I really started to branch out and experiment in the kitchen! Now it's a hobby that I really love, and I love learning and experimenting. I wish I could make it my career!!
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
2,374 posts, read 5,241,610 times
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Trial and error, along with hand me down recipes and new ones I find. I usually follow the recipe at least once and then I start to add and subtract things. My husband's grandmother once told me a recipe was a guideline, not something you had to follow to the letter.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:52 PM
 
17,168 posts, read 22,199,672 times
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my first "job" was out on my fathers lobster boat, hauling traps with him everyday, then we'd dig clams and go fishing,,, in the winter, we'd go draggin for scallops, so i was exposed to seafood very early in life, and loved it, after high school, i worked in a supermarket, and became a meatcutter, then meat manager, i often got asked how to cook meat, so all along the way, i cooked all i could, experimented, and asked others.(and read alot of books)
my passion today (even in my work) is trying new marinades, making training videos, and trying to come up with some very unique entree's
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:53 PM
 
9,602 posts, read 23,092,444 times
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I learned to cook watching my Roumanian grandmother. She never wrote anything down, and she never measured, and everything always came out perfectly...I'm a pretty good cook, but I've never tasted anything as good as, nor can I even come close to replicating her apple pie.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,108 posts, read 5,000,496 times
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Default How did everyone learn to cook??

Right out of High School in 88 I went to a little cullinary arts program.
It was nothing major, not at all meant to teach a person to become a 5 star chef.
It was more Basic things like Knife skills bare bones basic cooking instruction. Think a paid for heavy duty home Ec class.
I did learn alot there but I think I learned more by watching my Grandparents cook while I was growing up.
Now I take what I learned in the cullinary program plus what I see on the food network (Alton Brown type food science) combine that with Grandma's cooking and BAM I'm a pretty good cook.
I also seem to have this uncanny way of looking at things I have on hand and making a pretty decent meal out of it. I always wondered if the ability to do something like that comes to a person as a natural sort of ability.

I do have a Problem with Spices.. Not salt and Pepper but more exotic spices.
There is alot I have yet to try and it's hard for me because I cook for people set in their ways.
When I first tried indian food the flavors just blew my mind, there were tastes in there that just did not (in my head) belong in a savory meal.
Yet it just tasted so darned good. It was sublime, Made me want more.. I have since cooked tandoori chicken but not in an actuall tandoor.
Pretty much thats as far as I have gotten with the Indian food.
I think if I went to the same cullinary program again besides the knife skills I would get so much more out of it.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Middle America
35,821 posts, read 39,409,007 times
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-Basics from my mom, who learned by watching her mom and grandma.

-Browsing cookbooks, something I liked to do even as a kid. Ain't nothin' like a "how-to" manual.

-The couple of months of home ec that my junior high required. Don't laugh, but I still make omelets using that same basic teaching and recipe.


And, predominantly...

-Just doing it. Trial and error. I've had way more successes than misfires. I tend to start with the skeleton of something from a recipe or from something I've previously made, and then doctor it according to what I have on hand, my mood, and/or various whims and flights of fancy.

I would love to do a culinary program, but given that I just cook for fun, and don't plan to become a professional chef, ever, it seems like an unwise monetary investment. Local schools here do have the nice habit of doing community offerings and workshops, though, which can be cool for general interest, hobby-type stuff.
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:47 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
33,634 posts, read 51,854,627 times
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Watching/helping parents - that was a great basic. Later I just tried different dishes and learn from mistakes. Sometimes I tried to cook something that I ate at restaurant or friends house. Sometimes I tried to make a similar dish when I saw a picture of it. And many times I just improvise: I open the fridge and see what I have in there.
I have cookbooks, and I use google
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Old 01-10-2011, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Heading to the NW, 4 sure.
4,470 posts, read 6,619,898 times
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At age 9 had to learn. No one at home to cook, so I's open up a can of Franco Am. Spahetti and added this and that, well too much monosodium glu told me I had to learn. So, my grandfather first helped me make oven roasted dove/gravy and boiled potatoes. Then it was on to makin eggs etc.
Now, guess I am fairly accomplished after a being in the food biz etc for over 50 years.
HW
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,108 posts, read 5,000,496 times
Reputation: 11842
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter Wold View Post
At age 9 had to learn. No one at home to cook, so I's open up a can of Franco Am. Spahetti and added this and that, well too much monosodium glu told me I had to learn. So, my grandfather first helped me make oven roasted dove/gravy and boiled potatoes. Then it was on to makin eggs etc.
Now, guess I am fairly accomplished after a being in the food biz etc for over 50 years.
HW
Yeah Hunter, thats another thing.. My Mom had the art of cooking down to the science of boiling water.. Growing up with the old folks taught me how to cook for her, my little brother and myself when we were able to get along on our own..
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:26 PM
 
Location: GLAMA
16,584 posts, read 32,669,787 times
Reputation: 16786
Experimenting, mom, grandmothers, reading, and taking a Chinese cookery class.

I was also a firehouse chef for 27 years. I learned a lot doing that, as you do NOT want to irritate your fellow firemen, especially the ones with silver or gold bugles on their collar.
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