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Old 04-30-2013, 01:00 PM   #11
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First off would be my mom quickly followed by both my grandmothers. Mom had the responsibility of feeding her family from a young age since her mom was usually out in the fields helping grandpa on the farm. She could make a meal out of anything. One of our favorites was creamed mackerel on toast! My grandmothers also were fairly accomplished in the kitchen. My dad's mom was the baker and candy maker. We loved it at Christmas since she always had multiple pies and lots of candy (toffee, divinity, different fudge flavors, chocolate covered caramels, you name it!) and cookies. My mom's mom made the best taffy and donuts around as well as wonderful baked beans. We have her recipe for the beans but somehow they never taste the same.

Of celebrity chefs I'd have to Rachel Ray. She was the first one I watched that emphasized "use what you have on hand" kind of cooking. She was always quick to point out substitutions for her recipes and didn't promote a lot of recipes that used exotic things than most people wouldn't have in their pantry. I don't watch cooking shows much but I did like hers. I haven't watched it in years so she may have changed some since I watched her.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:57 PM   #12
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My food heroes are also family members. First would be Mom. She allowed me in the kitchen with her at a very young age to help in any way I could. I don't ever remember not being in the kitchen. She had passion in the kitchen, and took the time and effort to make our food the very best it could be. She instilled the love of cooking and baking that I still have today. Next would be my maternal grandma. She made the best cookies and her kitchen always smelled great. I almost always have homemade cookies in the cookie jar, and I always bake cookies with my grandsons when we are together either at my house or theirs. Last but not least is my paternal grandma. She made bread every week. It was amazing to watch her make the bread with no recipe to follow, and get it perfect every time. I still remember the first time she allowed me to knead the bread, and told me that I had done a better job than she had ever done in her entire life! I knew that she was just kidding me, but it sure was a good feeling that I still get while kneading bread. All three women were really good at changing recipes to make them their very own. I have always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, and that is why I can do it with the confidence that it will turn out well. My signature at the bottom of all my posts is from a plaque on the wall in my maternal grandma's kitchen.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:08 PM   #13
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My signature at the bottom of all my posts is from a plaque on the wall in my maternal grandma's kitchen.
This reminds me of a Chinese proverb: Blessed to be closer to the kitchen/cook.

My room was always close to the kitchen when I was growing up .
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:27 PM   #14
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The only inspiration I got from home was; there has to be a better way to prepare food.
Thanks for sharing! My mom is like this, too! My dad was the gourmet in our family. One time, the cook was away and the maid had to make dinner. She didn't know how much mushroom to put into the mushroom soup. She rang my mom to ask. Silly girl, she should have asked my dad! Our mushroom soup that night was an insipid and limpid affair: some very lonely-looking mushrooms lurking about despondently in a clear chicken stock. "What happened?", we asked. Mom confessed. When the maid rang her, she had no idea, but she didn't want to look completely clueless, so she remembered that to make tea in a teapot, you put in one spoonful of tea for each person, plus one for the teapot, so she told the maid to put in one mushroom for each person, plus one for the tureen.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:30 AM   #15
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I was the only child in a home of four adults: Dad, Mom, her sister, their aunt. There were two women in our family that inspire me in the kitchen. First, I learned much of what I know about cooking meals from my Mom. She let me help from when I was little. Dad didn't make a lot but it was always enough to meet our needs plus a little extra. I think the way my Mom took a piece of inexpensive meat or vegetables and made it taste top shelf made us feel rich. And I always remember her making more than you needed for the meal - you never know when someone might stop by at dinner and it wouldn't be polite to not invite them to stay. The one time she practically counted the spaghetti noodles to prevent leftovers was the day my aunt's car broke down and a coworker brought her home. Mom had to whisper to me to not take too much food and she'd take care of me when our guest left. Like her, I always throw an extra potato on.

My other hero was my great aunt, Nana, who lived with us. My grandparents had all died before I was born and so Nana was like my grandma to me. She did most of the baking for the family since we didn't trust her with regular meals after the fruit-flies-in-the-soup issue. I would watch her work the flour and shortening together to make the world's best pie crust but always figured she did it that way just because we were sitting and talking. It was years later I learned the science behind her process. No matter why, it works.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:19 AM   #16
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As an only child (son) my mom did not want me to be dependant on a women for food so she taught me the basics. Wish she would have taught me more outside the kitchen :) Today I like Ina Garten. Everything she does is wonderful. She can make it simple or elegant.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:20 AM   #17
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I really enjoyed all of my paternal grandmother's cooking and baking. Oddly my father did not. With the exception of some Italian dishes and roast turkey my maternal grandmother's cooking was not too swift but my mother thought it was good.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:37 AM   #18
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I have a food hero, but I don't know who she is lol My mom is somewhat excitable and OCD and didn't like having help in the kitchen. After DH and I moved to Virginia, I took a class in cooking with herbs at a local horticultural center. I had never cooked with fresh herbs before and was amazed at how much better my food tasted. Now I have a large herb garden and teach others.

Then I had surgery with a 6-week recovery at home and discovered The Food Network. Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals has lots of little tips that make cooking easier, which was really helpful for me.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:47 PM   #19
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I have a food hero, but I don't know who she is lol My mom is somewhat excitable and OCD and didn't like having help in the kitchen. After DH and I moved to Virginia, I took a class in cooking with herbs at a local horticultural center. I had never cooked with fresh herbs before and was amazed at how much better my food tasted. Now I have a large herb garden and teach others.

Then I had surgery with a 6-week recovery at home and discovered The Food Network. Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals has lots of little tips that make cooking easier, which was really helpful for me.
I had a bad car accident 7 years ago. Lots of broken bones. Rachel, Sir Alton, and Mrs. Deen kept me sane when my family wouldn't allow me to cook.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #20
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Hmm. Dad was a chef. He worked for a business that operated cafeterias in factories/large businesses. He'd travel from location to location, introduce new dishes, train employees, and do some cooking along the way. In the evenings, he'd sit in his easy chair and tell me to get the typewriter. I'd set up a card table in the living room with an old Remington portable typewriter and his recipe book - a three ring binder with 6"x8" pages. I'd roll a couple of sheets of paper with carbon paper in between (corrections were a pain in the butt) into the machine and he'd dictate a recipe. I'd type it one line at a time then he'd proof-read it. It amazed me he could come up with recipes off the top of his head like that. I never got to see him at work.

Mom was a home maker and worked at home part-time beading wedding gowns for a Boston company. She cooked the best tasting food ever. Much better than her sisters and others we visited for dinner. She also hated to cook.

Between the two of them they fostered my interest in food and cooking. My parents were Armenian immigrants so my sister and I were fed Armenian foods growing up. I loved to eat (still true, just look at me) so food was a focus. I'd occasionally hang around the kitchen and watch my mom prep food and cook the dishes that made my mouth water. Dad almost never cooked at home except for the occasional shish kebab on a cheap charcoal grill. The precision with which she prepared her mise en place and changed them into delicious smells that in turn became the foods I loved, sank into my feeble brain and must have struck a chord.

From there, a hiatus during the years of my marriage when I wasn't allowed in the kitchen as that was her job. There were two exceptions, the girls and I made chocolate chip cookies for Santa every Christmas and I'd make them chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast some weekends.

As a divorced man, I finally got to cook. It fell to TV chefs to expand my interests and knowledge with Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and Martin Yan being the first, followed by Alton Brown who peaked my interest in the science of cooking. Over all, my TV hero is Jacques Pepin. His knowledge was encyclopedic and he did everything which such ease I was captivated. I still record his shows and watch then when I can.

So, "food heros"? I never looked at them that way. Let's say they were my inspirations.
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