Interest in cooking?? How did yours start??

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Chef Extraordinaire
Nov 4, 2004
When I met my husband... he told his mom that "HE was going to have to do all the cooking because I pretty much sucked at it"... I set out on a quest to prove him wrong! He and his mother both admit that I now am a much better cook than either of them. : )

I don't know how many times I heard "Why don't you use my moms recipe"
I started using her's and lol.. now I cook her dishes and she asks me for the recipes!! I've changed them and made them much more tastey!! I love it.
I have three younger sisters and grew up in a military family. Both parents came from homes where cooking was pretty basic and blah, and Mom learned to cook from other military wives, especially 'war brides'. For some reason I loved it from day one. I've always loved eating "exotic" (read: various ethnic) cuisines and trying to re-create them at home. Always loved the feeling of sitting down to big holiday dinners, often a table full of strangers. As a kid, I even loved trying foods I didn't like. I was never the kid who made a fuss and gagged, I just tried everything, if I didn't like it, I'd eat a few bites politely and move on. I'm 49, and think that if I'd spent the past few decades feeding a fussy husband and kids, I'd have been cured, but hubby loves 99.9% of what I cook, and I chose childless, so no one has ruined my love for cooking. I think I started helping in the kitchen around 7 or 8 years old (I mean serious helping, not cookie-cutting) and was more than happy to cook sunday dinner when I was in double digits, although I didn't have to because Mom loved to cook and was great at it. So it has simply always been a pleasure for me.

A do it yourself job.

My partner could burn a boiled egg when she started.

She has been better for a while. But I cannot eat eggs anymore.

What a waste of effort.

Still, life is like that.
I can't ever remember not being a part of the meal making process. I have always loved to cook. I remember being little and sitting up to the breakfast bar watching my mom cook and her talking to me and telling me what she was doing. As a teenager I took a cooking class in school which only deepened the love. Now I'm the one everyone asks to make goodies or pies. Now I can't go to MIL holiday meals w/out bringing my sweet potato casserole as well as my pumpkin pies. I love to cook and eat <winks>
oh yeah! Eating is the reward for long hours spent in the kitchen!

I'm quite blessed to have a mom and grandma who are awesome cooks.
I always helped around the kitchen (especially when there was sugar involved!) but in 7th grade, my elective class was foods/sewing. Well, I took the first semester (foods), but then switched to drawing. The following year I did the same. Now, I cook and draw quite well, but can't sew to save my life!
I wanted no truck with cooking until I got married. Before that, I considered that my role in the deal was strictly eating. My mother and grandmother would sit me down in the kitchen while they were cooking, and try to teach me. They'd be like, "Someday you'll have to do this, you know," and I'd go, "Tchyeah, as IF." BOR-R-R-i-i-i-ng!

Then a long time later I got married and we soon discovered that we couldn't afford to eat every meal out. So somebody had to learn to cook and in those days, that meant me. Yuck. So one day I bought a package of chicken and brought it home and sat it on the kitchen counter and stared at it and it stared back at me. I didn't know what to do with it and I resented that it didn't jump out of the package and cook itself. Somehow I figured it out, and we had roast chicken and baked potato for dinner -- my first effort. It tasted not bad. To my surprise, I found it interesting. I found I wanted to do it again, maybe with some other stuff. So I bought [/i]Joy of Cooking, and never looked back. It was love at first chicken.

I got the cooking bug like everyone else here, I guess. I learned from my parents and grandparents but mostly helping my Mamaw cook when I was about 6 or 7 until I was 14, Bless her. I'm used to the simpler foods, I can make sammys and wings and such like nobody's business (in my opinion) but the more complicated the dish, the more I need a reality check and some help! :LOL: So goes the learning process...
I got started when I was in my late teens / early twenties. I knew that I would be moving out soon, and that I didn't know squat about cooking except for oatmeal, mac-and-cheese out of the box, French Toast, eggs over hard, scrambled eggs, and Bisquick pancakes. I decided that I had better start learning, and soon, as I was going to be moving out one of these days.

I went out and bought a couple cookbooks, and started reading those, and the ones my mother had. I started cooking those recipes, and learned, albiet slowly, as my parents cooked a lot, or I would eat out.

Then, the fateful day came. I left the nest. Nothing motivates a person to learn how to cook like an empty stomach. I also bought a few other cookbooks, that actually gave you the "why" as well as the "how". I started branching out, trying other things. After a couple of years, I actually started getting pretty good.

Then, I realized that I actually had a bit of a passion for cooking. I was trying exotic stuff that nobody else either liked, or had heard of. Some of my co-workers told me that I ought to go to a local college and get my Culinary Arts degree. I did just that. I didn't finish, but, I did learn what I needed to learn. My cooking improved dramatically.
My mom started my brother and I helping her in the kitchen as soon as we were old enough. And it just blossomed from there. I love to cook, especially for other people. For example, we are having a potluck next Wednesday at work. I am bringing sweet and sour meatballs. For me the fun part of cooking is sharing your food with others.
My mom has always been a great cook and the kitchen was always her domain. It was natural that I stayed away from the kitchen. When I started to live on my own, I found myself facing the stove to cook rice, and realized I've never cooked this staple before. In fact, I'd never cooked anything more complicated than eggs. I had to make several phone calls to mom and friends. I ate out most of the time and eventually learned to cook very basic stuff. Cooking was always a chore then, a means to an end.

Then between my job and dating, I got to eat out a lot at fine restaurants. I also travelled. Little by little my taste buds got more educated and more discerning. My first truly unforgettable meal was at a French restaurant/hotel in New York years later. I had the best French onion soup and herb-encrusted lamb chops with demi-glace there. It hit me then that I regretted not being able to cook so that I could recreate this wonderful meal whenever I wanted.

Years passed and we got cable TV with the Food TV network. I got so absorbed in the cooking shows and started applying what I learned. I finally enrolled in a 4-month crash course-culinary school (saturdays only) and had the most wonderful time. I was so happy! I also did 100 hours apprenticeship at a fine dining restaurant as part of the course.

Now I can cook my favorite dishes and even bake! (To think I had never turned on an oven before I went to culinary school.) Now, I can whip up elegant 5-course dinners for friends and family! I also regularly give away home-made goodies to friends.

There's still a lot to learn though and it's so great to have found this forum to share my love for cooking/baking with all of you!
Born to a family of English/Scottish/Irish types, none of whom were exactly "spectacular" cooks, my Mother was killed at a very early age, and my father re-married a Norwegian...which led to some very "different" recipes being served up!

And I was such a "rotten" kid that I was more often than not caused to be seated in the kitchen, under my Mom's eye, and thus "caused to observe" how she "did it"...and she could make a meal taste like a million bucks on a nickle budget!

So it was no big "trick" when I moved out, to start trying "weird" ingredients, concepts (umpteen days of being "volunteered" into various Army Cook Kitchens probably did no harm either!)(and neither did it "hurt" that a rich "great aunt" bought my Dad the MkI charcoal BBQ-I learned a lot!)(LOL!)(don't use old 2 cycle mixed gas to "ignite" it!)

When we got married, I "discovered" that Margaret a) HATES to cook and b) had the "English" Mom whose parents had died early in her life, and therefor had no clues or I just sort of said "You take on the household bills and payments, the flower garden designs, Christmas Cards, interior designing, etc...I'll do the "bull work", "cooking", shopping, etc...

Its worked out well...

when i was a kid, i was lucky to have had been fed by great cooks which made me love food. my mom, my aunts, my italian friends' families (ate sunday dinner with them every week), my jewish friends' families (my high school girlfriend's dad owned a kosher meat plant and the whole family kept kosher. her mom was a great cook, and the food was awesome), and even my dad, who was a notorious 3am chef. best irish hamburgers you've ever had.

my family wasn't that well off, so when we went out to a restaurant, usually chinese (a place in tenafly nj called china quarter), it was a big deal. i loved it,having someone wait on you, and eating delicious "exotic" foods (lol, probably just chop suey or something).

so when i got my first pretty good paying job in nyc at the ripe old age of 20, i kinda went nuts going out to eat. i ate out all the time, during lunch hours, and after work. nyc is a great place in which to do that. shortly thereafter, i got my first apartment and realized that i'd like to be able to reproduce the homestyle meals of my childhood, as well as the fancier things of the restaurants.
i started slow, asking my mine and my friends' moms millions of questions in person and over the phone. little by little, i've learned to cook different basic things pretty well, and have started to really get into it as of the past few years.
i still love to eat out a lot; ya still can't beat being waited on, and delicious exotic foods made by real chefs. but now it also serves to give me ideas for things to make at home...
My parents where great cooks and all but they refused to make breakfast, and I usually got up around 5 am so I was starving by 7 or 8. By the time I was like 7 or 8 I was making myself eggs and stuff. Funny part is that I was still afraid of lighting matches, so I would run outside, light a piece of rolled up newspaper using the boiler pilot light, run back inside, light the stove with it and put out the newspaper in the sink.

If your THAT commited moving on to greater things is a snap. Also we had a maid growing up and she would make me breakfast only half the time, half the time I cooked for the two of us. She really helped me not grow up spoiled by convincing me that I needed to cook my own meals, take care of my own room and help her with the house chores.
Both of my parents worked, and my mom was not too interested in cooking after a long hard day. They owned a drycleaning business and spent many hours at work . We had a housekeeper, who made dinner at noon and we would have a very light meal for supper. Anyway, when I was in 7th grade that all changed. No more housekeeper, and I had to learn. Well, I loved it. I had carte blanche to buy and cook whatever I wanted to, and I did. It was great and I have always enjoyed cooking since then. The housework part took me a little longer to work up any enthusiasm for, but I keep a pretty neat, clean home. Never have to apologize for the mess, so I guess that turned out o.k.,too.
My folks were pretty traditional, ie mom did most of the cooking. The exception was that my dad had a few 'specialties', or at least so he thought! :LOL: Why is it that every male, even if he can't boil water, seems to think he friggin' invented chili? :roll:

Anyway, Mom is a great cook, but I actually didn't learn a lot from her, at least early on, as it wasn't really a "guy thing." I learned a bit from my Grandmother, a woman born in Germany (didn't speak English til she was maybe 7 or 8 years old). She was a good cook and my siblings and I spent a lot of time at here house as kids (she baby sat a lot while my folks worked) Mostly I learned from necessity, and because it was something you could earn a living at without a lot of training.

My mom will tell you she knows nothing about cooking compared to me, and in the classical sense that's probably true, but Mom knows lots of things that are just beyond me. Like candy making- she makes great taffy, divinity, peanut brittle, etc- I have no clue whatsoever how do do any of that. Plus my mom is a better baker than I am by far. That's just not what I've focused on in my working life as a cook.
I grew up in a family, like many of you, that loved to cook. I can't think of anyone in family that can't cook. I always helped out in the kitchen when I was little, and Grandma was making everything from Spaghetti to Koldolmar (swedish cabbage rolls). My mom was a pretty good cook too, but she worked all day long. So, when I was around 13, I used to start suppper for her before she got home, then we would finish it together.

Another thing that developed my love for cooking is growing up watching tons of cooking shows. People like Graham Kerr, Martin Yan, Julia Child (of course) and Jeff Smith paved the way for me to try new things and experiment with different types of cuisine.
Both my Dad and Mom were pretty good cooks, as was my grandfather on my Dad's side. I was one of those extrememly tiny and skinny kids who couldn't eat enough food and was usually hungry, though I was given plenty of food to eat. I have always been inquisitive, with a need to know why and how things work. My appetite, inquisitive nature, and opportunity to try so many different foods, in so many different places insured that I had to learn to recreate foods that I had experienced and loved, and later, to create new recipes of my own, and to find out why foods behaved the way they do, and learn the techniques that gave me the best results.

My wife started cooking our meals as I worked and she was a stay home partner, taking care of the domestic duties, especially when I was at sea. But she quickly tired of my pestering in the kitchen, asking her why this was that and what about if you changed this little thing, or added that llittle herb. One evening, she turned to me and said "I give up. You are now the official cook." That was about 27 years ago and I've been doing it ever since.

I don't think my nature gave me any other choice. :D

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
From what I have read Goodweed, you're one of the experts! :D So, I'm glad you were thrown the apron! :LOL:

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