Good cooks in family?

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Sous Chef
Apr 24, 2022
unincorporated area
My mother billed herself as a very good cook. She wasn't, but I didn't find that out until I was off to college and found out the wide variety of tasty things. Sunday dinner was baked chicken with barbecue sauce smeared on it, her "specialty" was goulash which was hamburger, pasta, chopped onion and ketchup.
Fortunately, my husband's mother was even worse. She was the queen of thaw. If it came frozen, she'd get it, mess it up by not reading instructions, and plunk it down on the table. She also loved styrofoam--no washing up of dishes, cups, or glasses. For her husband's birthday she got a 12 lb. frozen lasagna, let it thaw for two hours, baked it (?) and immediately served it although the instructions said to let it sit for 15 minutes. Then she wondered why it was so "runny."
Having bad cooks in the family certainly takes the pressure off other family members. Do you have any good cooks in your family?
I could just about fry an egg when I was in my twenties, then after getting married and starting a family, I must say (sorry for boasting🙂) that now I've definitely "outdone" both my mum and dear late MIL! My darling cherished husband (who is no longer in this world) always used to say this to me💔😢.
I was surrounded by good cooks. Mom and Dad, my aunts. Then my sister was a very good cook (I got my Mom's recipes from her). All my sister's in-laws were great cooks. Is it any wonder I love to cook and that I'm somewhat past my ideal weight. As they say, "I'm not overweight, I'm undertall."
My mom did the cooking when I was a kid, although my dad did the outdoor grilling. Typical for a 1960s family. My mom's food was under seasoned and overcooked. Veggies came from cans. My dad could turn any cut of meat into shoe leather on the grill. Steaks were cooked to well done, and to check for doneness, he would cut into the steaks while still on the grill, and as expected, any juices in the steak came gushing out.

My sister is capable of cooking, but is very close minded. Like my parents, not butter is allowed in her house. Only margarine. Canned veggies, most of the time. The leanest cuts of meat available, like 90/10 ground beef, and chicken breast only. She also tends to under season foods, unless there is a recipe involved. She will follow recipes to the letter, other than using low-fat or fat-free ingredients where possible. Fat is the enemy. Ironically, she is seven inches shorter, and 45 pounds heavier than I am. Her problem is that sugar is not the enemy, it's her best friend.

I am the cook in the family, and my family loves my cooking. I just have to sneak things like butter into the house if I am cooking in their kitchens.

When I was married, my wife and I were both good in the kitchen. She was an outstanding baker, which I am not.

My mother was a great cook.

Both of my grandmothers were poor cooks. My mother attributed it to the fact that they both raised families during the Great Depression while working to help the family make ends meet.

My sister is a good magazine/can label recipe cook.

I’m a good basic S&P cook for things like an old fashioned Sunday dinner or hearty country breakfast.
My mother was a great cook.

Both of my grandmothers were poor cooks. My mother attributed it to the fact that they both raised families during the Great Depression while working to help the family make ends meet.

My sister is a good magazine/can label recipe cook.

I’m a good basic S&P cook for things like an old fashioned Sunday dinner or hearty country breakfast.
I've always wanted to visit Mount Pilot...and Mayberry...
I've always wanted to visit Mount Pilot...and Mayberry...


My internet home is near Mount Pilot but I’ve never actually been to Mayberry.​

"Mayberry: It's Not Just A Town. It's An Attitude!"​

My mother was a pretty good cook. She over-relied on recipes, in my opinion, but there are a handful of dishes that I make just the way she did, or with tiny changes, such as using kosher salt instead of regular salt. There are very, very few things I make that are an improvement on her dinners.

There are a few things my grandmother used to make that I really, really wish I knew how to make. She made mock chicken legs which were to die for, and a triple chocolate cake that I still remember from 50 years ago.
We had a GREAT time in Mount Airy (the town with the Mayberry attitude.) Definitely go to Snappy Lunch and take a tour in the Sheriff's car if you go.

I have said this before: The women in our family are either good all-around cooks without a specialty OR they are great specialty cooks and average all-around cooks. I'm a good all-around cook as were Mom, my grandmothers, and great grandma. My sister is an amazing baker as was one of our aunts and several great-aunts. (One of the great aunts made candy....the most amazing candy ever.) The men in our family did things like Oh....and grow cabbage to make sauerkraut. They were handy when it came time to dressing game, preserving foods via the smokehouse, etc.
I think it's all relative. I had a cousin who thinks her mother was a wonderful cook. I ate at her house four or five times a year when I was growing up. I didn't hate the food her mother cooked, but it certainly wasn't the highlight of the visit. I remember one Thanksgiving when her mother burnt a frozen pumpkin pie and then put Dream Whip or something like that, from a spray can on the pie while it was too hot and it melted.

I think my mother's cooking was really good. Sure, she used canned veggies a lot, but it was the 1950s and 60s, so that was normal. She did start switching out some of those for frozen veg as it became available. I can't remember ever seeing her use a recipe. It took me years before I even wanted a cook book. I always just winged it. My mum did have the advantage of being professionally trained to cook. Her training was as a housekeeper, so cooking was not the only thing she was learning during her apprenticeship.

My dad was also the typical 1950s 60s suburban dad, where it came to cooking. He did the grilling. He was actually quite good at it. He built a motor and rotisserie for the grill (which we called a BBQ). This made for some seriously good chicken.

My M-I-L was a decent cook. She was tired of cooking. It didn't really interest her.

I don't have any family close by.
In defense of Mom and her sister...their mom passed away when they were very young. 5 kids in the family, their father did his best, but sent the girls to boarding school. Guess they didn't have Home Ec classes there, or at least not cooking classes. Mom was an amazing seamstress!
Mam was a competent cook. She didn't mind cooking but relied on recipes
Dad was a good cook. Intuitive.
Dad cooked in the weekends and holidays. Mam during the week.
We all enjoyed food, meals esp in the weekend could take hours.

I loved spending time with dad, so helped quite often in the kitchen from an early age and learned to cook and like cooking and eating.

All uncles and aunts on dad's side were/are cooks. Granddad couldn't even boil an egg though ..
@Badjak Your last line reminded me of my grandfather. He had never cooked anything until my grandmother passed. My mother stayed with him a bit and he told her, "I'm going to surely starve to death." He disliked restaurants, so they went to Walmart to get a microwave and then to get some better quality frozen dinners. He was pretty proud of himself for making his meals for about 3 weeks. He then called and said, "These meals are okay, but nothing like Thellen (Martha Ellen) made." He was losing weight.

For Christmas that year, I bought him a cookbook with more country recipes that were very simple to make. He chuckled when he got it and said, "You know I cannot cook." The cookbook was called "You Can Cook." I replied that he could learn. He paged through it a few times, but didn't make anything until we left. A few days later he called me and said, "There ain't nothing to making biscuits!" He used this cookbook a lot and was extremely proud of himself whenever he made anything: Meatloaf. Mashed potatoes. Etc. It was really fun to watch him muddle his way through cooking and to see how pleased he was of himself. Some might say 'too pleased.' "I think these potatoes are better than what your granny made, don't you?" :ROFLMAO: No way I would have said no. I mean, we would get a meal upon arrival. For the rest of the visit, we were expected to cook. I still have that cookbook. :heart: And no, the potatoes were not as good as what Granny made. ;)
My mother was a good cook, and while she never cooked very exotic things like Asian/Indian/etc, she was excellent at getting everything on the table at the same time (like thanksgiving where everything cooks at different temps/times). She cooked basic meatloaf, stews, chilis, etc. but she loved gardening and every year we canned crates of freakishly delicious salsa, rhubarb jam, and had garden green beans fried in bacon grease every night. It was work picking that stuff but so worth it.

My dad's a master griller (charcoal) and I aspire to be as good as he is as I've only charcoal grilled like 5 times in my life. We ate surf and turf every Sunday night and also BBQ chicken legs were on the rotation. And his charcoal flames burgers are, IMHO, better than any other burger in existence.

I am now headed as the "goddess of food" by at least 3 members of my family, and my friends say my house is as good as any fancy restaurant. 😊. Now whenever my dad or mom has a cooking question they always call me. 😂
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