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Old 05-05-2008, 11:34 AM   #61
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Thanks, BuckyTom for starting, and restarting this thread. Only thing is as I tell my story you will probably regret it.

I actually believe I was born a foodie. My Mom was of English/Irish heritage and was probably the best cook I've ever known. She would let me watch or help her in the kitchen as long as I remembered. She was also ill a lot and so when my sister left for university when I was 11, I started to make meals. Of course they were pretty simple at first - things like macaroni and cheese (baked) or spagetti, but I did pretty good. On Sundays when Mom was well we would have beef or pork roasts with all the trimmings and I would get to help. Mom also hosted most of the Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving dinners because all our other relatives were older. I loved those times.

Then there were the weekends when I would stay with my Dad's parents. My GranMom was also a great cook and she would let me help her make huge batches of candy (turkish delight), "nuts and bolts" and her famous ham loaf for my great-uncle's club bazzars. Also, when my friends were watching cartoons, I was watching cooking shows (the Gallopping Gourmet, Juilia Child) and reading cookbooks. The first one I bought was a paperback version of the Betty Crocker cookbook (just 2 years newer than ExpatGirl). It is now in several pieces and brown with age but I won't let DH or anyone buy me an updated one!

But I think my true calling started around the age of 8 when I started making the Christmas dessert. It started out with Jello type desserts from recipes I found in magazines to grabbing the November issue of Bon Appetit or other magazines, carefully writing out the instructions for the fancy cover dessert and replicating its every detail (even chocolate holly leaves and ribbons!). I loved the ooooo's and aw's I would get. (I wrote them out because I would return the good as new magazine back to the shelf in my Dad's drug store ) This branched into birthday cakes for my nephew's and friends.

I digressed and went to university for my other passion, writing; however it didn't stop my experimenting in cooking and baking. All but one of my jobs through high school and university were to do with food, and I would experiment on my room mates and friends as much as possible.

I went to school in another province and had an aunt by marriage close by where I would spend weekends. Her Mother was Romanian and she taught me to make perogies, stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls, etc. I also had some room mates from other places and learned a lot about French-Canadian, Szechuan, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and Italian cooking. I was majoring in English and minoring in French, but I think I learned more about food than either subject.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago when my DH and I sold our internet business that he was able to convince me to go to culinary school with some of the proceeds. I surprised everyone (including myself) by taking the culinary program instead of the pastry, but I had taught myself enough about that and really wanted to explore the savoury flavours for a change. I still ended up in off hours in the pastry kitchen asking questions and even conning the instructor into letting me try things.

When my 80 year old Dad watch, with tears in his eyes, me get my diploma in culinary arts, he said he knew my Mom would be proud of me. I told him that she was my inspiration and the best "chef" instructor I ever had.

Sorry to be so long-winded. I am just so greatful to all the people who inspired me that I get carried away!

"Variety is not just the spice of life, it is the key to life" - Chef Michael Smith

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Old 05-05-2008, 11:40 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by suziquzie View Post
When I was younger I actually thought I was deprived because everyone else's parents would make them Hamburger Helper! Silly......
Me too! And Kraft Dinner (though I did get a lot of this in university when I couldn't afford the ingredients I wanted!

"Variety is not just the spice of life, it is the key to life" - Chef Michael Smith

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Old 05-05-2008, 11:47 AM   #63
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the day I left home at the age of 17. I just knew there was a whole culinary world out there that I had been left out of with my mothers' cooking. Us kids were so depraved, culinary wise, that we each have sought out cooking as an important part of our lives. For mom, it was a chore at best. For us kids, it is a delight to explore, raise, prepare and eat. This is so different from the way we were raised.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:49 PM   #64
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No one in my family was really passionate about cooking and I was never encouraged to cook while living at home. I also only really started getting into cooking when I started living on my own.
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:58 PM   #65
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Since I was 6 or 7 I always spent my time with my mom in the kitchen. Or rather whenever she was in the kitchen cooking I was always near. I think when I wa about 12-13 I decided to become a chef, well, that did not happened, but love for cooking is still there.
You are what you eat.
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:09 PM   #66
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Julia Child's cooking shows really inspired me, too. There really was nothing like them at the time. I was watching them from day one. When she plunged that lobster, he-man that he was, into the boiling pot, and her mouth describing the process sounded like it was full of butter, I was hooked. Went out and priced lobsters that day....could not afford it.......but I remembered how to do it and years later when we could I secretly thanked her for her inspiration
The only difference between a "cook" and a "Chef" is who cleans up the kitchen.
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:53 PM   #67
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My childhood exposure to food/cooking was much like bethzaring's. My mother was a pretty decent basic cook, but had no interest in doing it. Besides my dad, she had to cook for 5 children. However, she was, let's say, less than dependable because she constantly feigned illness or would pick fights and leave my dad for weeks, months at a time.

By age 8, I became the family cook. I was the oldest and a girl, so that seemed natural. I didn't seem to think the arrangement unusual and cooked everything imaginable right out of the gate. This should've soured me on cooking but, instead, I became fascinated with the process and by the time I was 13 I'd enrolled in a cookbook "book" club. I still have all those wonderful first cookbooks...and more.

Love food and love cooking to this day. Been at it for 50 years. Hope to be doin' it for another 50.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:25 AM   #68
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For most of my life, food was food with some of it better than others, and cooking was something that you did to eat, although, it was always good to "play" at doing something new. But it didn't really start until i was in my 20's and got to experience decent food in restaurants (inasmuch as it wasn't cheap eats cafes etc or home cooked (however well done) food) that my tastebuds expanded.

It wasn't though until I developed kidney failure and a lot of foods were denied me that my perverse nature took hold and I wanted those foods!! Also, with the change in hormone levels, my tastebuds also changed and foods that held no appeal previously, were now well and truly in my vision. Going out to eat became a treat for all the medical appointments and treatments (not to mention the hospital food!), and with that came greater inspiration to expand my culinary experiences. For the most part, if someone else wants to cook for me though, I am happy for that to happen. I just have different standards now as to what I consider good cuisine.
Too many restaurants, not enough time...
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:53 AM   #69
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Bilby, sorry to hear about all your health issues but I can really relate as to how that can change your eating habits.

BTW, I'd be happy to be your personal chef....I have always wanted an excuse to see Australia!
"Variety is not just the spice of life, it is the key to life" - Chef Michael Smith

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:56 AM   #70
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Hmmm, it really wasn't until my kids were grown and on their own and my husband left me for a newer model that I really discovered I was a foodie. All those years of raising children and being the breadwinner, well, I was lucky to slam anything edible on the table. Then I came into this quieter time in life and I began to realize that cooking is an art that I could experiment with and really enjoy. I learned to savor food. I always tell my friends, if you are coming to dinner at my house, bring a box of Kleenex because the food is going to be so good you will weep at the table. When I cook for friends, I go hog wild, if you know what I mean.

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