Katie, similar circumstances here too. I am the oldest of 4 kids and my mom would get sick with a migraine for 3 days a month, throwing up and couldn't get out of bed. So, I started cooking when she was sick and my dad worked 2nd shift and was not around.
I started cooking around 8, I remember making brownies and having to bother my mom while she was sick, asking her if I could open some soda pop (we weren't allowed soda), for the brownies........it actually called for baking soda, but I didn't know the difference.
My two grandmothers (Molly and Molly, one american one canadian) taught me cooking when I would visit them. Pasties, pastries, soups and stews, and some ethnic specialties--Yujoslavian (sp?))
When my mom was well, she loved to make food from every different country, everyday (except when my dad was home, then it was meat and potatoes, veggies and bread/butter). This exploration caught on with me and my siblings and we all love to cook.
My sister ended up in publishing as an editor, now of cook books. For me it is my down time. My brother's love to cook too.
I have three grown boys and I've taught them all to cook (as well as sew, clean, laundry, gardening, lawn and shrub care and budgeting). And of course, fishing.
I don't want to end up in an old folks home someday with lousy food, I want to live with them (should I ever need to) with someone who CAN cook.