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Old 10-14-2007, 07:56 AM   #11
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It's a toss up between my Aunt Tessie and Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet. We weren't starving in my house, with my mother cooking..far from it. But, I knew my mother lacked the understanding of how certain foods could be prepared 'better' by changing the cooking method, or adding an herb, or just changing the cut of a vegetable. At 8 years old, I had a better understanding of food science than she did.

How can we sleep while our beds are burning???
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:35 AM   #12
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My Grandmother, and mother of course, but the lions share of influence came from Bertha "Berta" Coleman, a creole lady of color from South Louisiana who worked as a cook in my home when I was a small child. She was "family" and continued to work for me part time until her death in 1984. Due to her age at the time, it was mostly just hanging out for a few hours a week. Washing a pot here and there, and relating old stories to the kids. She also fanned my fanny more times than my mother did I think of her often! Oh! she also introduced me to "Aunt Jane" our resident ghost, who still roams the house on occasions.

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Old 10-14-2007, 08:16 PM   #13
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Wow! There have been so many wonderful replies to my question, I feel like I should just let it go and read on...

But I can't help but mention my grandmother on my father's side, whom we call Mutte (little mother in German). She is an amazing person and an amazing cook. She has been to so many countries that I could only dream of going to. She is still around, in her mid eighties, and has macular degeneration, but will never give up on her NYT crosswords! Anyhow, she gave me a wonderful folder full of soup recipes from across the globe that I cherish (especially in the winter time). She also gave me my now stained and dogeared copy of Joy of Cooking... The greatest cookbook I've ever read.
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:00 PM   #14
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My own tastes, foods I enjoy. Thats what motivates and influences my cooking.
"wok-a wok-a"
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:17 PM   #15
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A combination of things really. My first job at age 16 was in the dietary department of a general hospital. I learned about special diets. My mom and dad both cooked home style foods. From there I just made up my own recipes/tweaked their recipes, and used cookbooks. I too love the influences of Julia child, and Gram Kerr. I suppose some of my influence also came from catering when I was a young woman in my 20's.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:05 AM   #16
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I started cooking for the family when I was in 7th grade.My mom worked with my dad in their dry cleaning business and I decided to try doing the evening meal on my own. I was given carte blanche and tried many different recipes. My parents encouraged and praised me from the beginning.
I can resist anything, but temptation. Oscar Wilde
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:16 AM   #17
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I know my mother cooked every day but I don't know that she influenced me to cook. I moved out of the house when I was about 17 and certainly got by just fine. At around 19 or 20 I wanted to "expand" so I bought a cookbook and just started cooking from the recipes. Pretty soon you realize a few things from this recipe can be combined with that recipe and the bug got in me.

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:44 AM   #18
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I started out in the kitchen with my mom when I was 3, cutting out Christmas cookies. Once she discovered I was interested, she manufactured little tasks for me to do along with her. By the time I was 5, she employed me to stir the gravy for Sunday dinner while she did the myriad things that have to wait if you've the only pair of hands in the kitchen.

She really loved to cook for family and friends, and transmitted that love to me!

I probably would be just a good home cook without the influences of 2 extraordinary women... Julia Child -- I received Lastering 1 for Christmas the year it came out, and used that book to teach myself to "cook French." Later, when I lived in Boston, I was lucky to become a friend and colleague, and have the benefit of her personal words of wisdom. My mantra is hers... "All things in moderation." and Judith Dunbar Hines -- the chef with whom I learned to cook professionally. She is a talented chef and even more talented teacher. Currently she is the Culinary Coordinator for the City of Chicago. If you live near there, you should google her name and take some classes with her. A great woman and an great teacher!
Wine is the food that completes the meal.
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #19
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My largest cooking influence was both my parents. Neither of them came from homes where food was anything besides something you did to grow your kids. But when they married, they decided to enjoy food, and did their best to instill it in me. The best encouragement to good food is having a good audience for it. To this very day, when I go to visit my parents, the first thing I'm asked is what am I going to cook, and where are we going to eat. That is my biggest inspiration.

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