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Old 04-09-2014, 12:14 PM   #1
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How Did You Learn To Cook?

I'm curious. I usually think of everyone else (not me) as having learned to cook from their mother or some other family member, but I wonder how universal that is among good cooks.

I didn't start cooking until I was an adult and learned by reading recipes in magazines (Gourmet and Bon Appetite) and cookbooks - primarily Joy of Cooking and Better Homes and Garden. I didn't cook regularly until I started following a low carb diet and learned how to cook that way from most of you. So now I'm wondering how did YOU learn to cook?

Any great tips you'd like to pass along?
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:46 PM   #2
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I learned from my mother! She used to be a really good cook. She'd let me sit up on the counter from about the time I could really sit upright steadily, and "help" her cook. So I literally learned at her elbow.

I took quite an interest in it too. I love to read about food, shop for it, prepare it, serve it, and eat it out! I have a mountain of various cookbooks. I seldom actually USE a recipe, but I read tons of them and get great ideas, with my own tweaks to make them to our tastes.

I have given cooking classes too, as part of a job I had at Friedmans Microwave stores, and at community centers/churches. It was a lot of fun!

My tips would be read through cookbooks and online cooking sites; explore new methods, like sous vide, smoking, cheesemaking, etc. Watch YouTube videos of anything you want to see how it's done! Experiment and enjoy!
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:27 PM   #3
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I learned some from my Mother and mostly I just kept practicing and trying recipes until I got pretty good at it.

Of course learning to cook low carb and basically vegetarian were also two new types of cooking I had to learn on my own.

I started when I was 13 and to help my mother out cuz she worked and was tired when she got home. I never could quite make her biscuits and gravy as good as she could though, but they were edible. lol
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:34 PM   #4
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I learned from following recipes and watching Alton Brown's Good Eats show and other cooking shows. I probably learned a few things from my mom but she hates to cook so I didn't really have an interest until I was married.
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Old 04-09-2014, 03:07 PM   #5
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I watched my polish grandma and my stepmom made great Italian food. But I learned my self. I'm such a foodie.

I still teach canning because I think it is a great art.The Joy of cooking cook book is the best.
I'm very into making whole food and grilling and canning and seeing what I can come up with.
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Old 04-09-2014, 03:33 PM   #6
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I learned from both of my parents and my paternal grandmother. My mother was a pretty good cook, my father a good cook and excellent baker, and my grandmother was fabulous. I cook like her most of all, because I just cook by taste and feel, and don't really use recipes. I remember when I would try to get a recipe from her, and she'd use descriptors like "enough" and "just a bit;" I would get so frustrated, but I totally got it as I grew more confident in myself as a cook. She died when I was nine or ten, but I have strong memories of being with her in the kitchen.

I watched Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet as a kid, and when the Food Network came along, I was in seventh heaven! I also started my kitchen gadget thing as a young teenager. I was either asking for books and dictionaries, or woks and mixers.

But I'm also lucky in that we were required to cook for the family at least once a week from a young age. I think I started cooking dinner by myself at about 8, but we were allowed to help in the kitchen from the time we could stand up. That really helped both me and my brother learn how things work, how to improvise, and not to feel like cooking was some insurmountable obstacle. We're both really good cooks now, though I still have more of an interest in it.
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Last edited by Ntombi; 04-09-2014 at 03:36 PM..
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:27 PM   #7
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I learned some from my mother. I wasn't really interested in learning when she was around. I wish I would have paid more attention now that she is gone.
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:05 PM   #8
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I learned how NOT cook from my Mom. She was of the school, cook it until it's dead again. Seriously. A lot of vegetables I didn't think I liked. Turned out, it was how she cooked them. She was an excellent baker, but did most of that while we were at school. She wasn't much for having helpers.

It wasn't until I got married that I started cooking. Had too! The Good Housekeeping cook book was my bible for a long time. I did learn Italian from my first MIL, and husband. But I love reading recipes and loved the cooking shows. I still learn stuff if I'm not careful! Collecting cookbooks and recipes? don't get me started!!

I had my girls in the kitchen a lot more and we are all pretty darn good cooks. It's just been in the last few years though where when I just 'know' the recipe isn't going to work that I am comfortable tweaking. Listening to my instincts has really helped a lot!
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:01 PM   #9
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I learned to cook from my mother. We had a family friend who was into gourmet cooking, so I acquired a few cookbooks from different places as gifts.
I learned to bake bread, went to candy making and cake decorating classes.
My first cookbook was by my request since I'd read my mother's from cover to cover a few times: The Settlement Cookbook. I liked that it had information on canning and freezing as well as how to set a table, etc. Reading recipes has always been a hobby. I had Seventeen Magazine once, and the only thing I can remember from it was a recipe for Irish Soda Bread that I've been trying to track down ever since...
We love to cook together, and before we restarted this weight loss kick, I was making sourdough bread weekly (our own culture). We have egg laying chickens, so we eat a lot of eggs here.
I'm always learning. The folks here have some really neat ideas.
Thank you all for your ideas!

Last edited by MsKitty; 04-12-2014 at 01:01 PM.. Reason: typos typos typos
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Old 04-12-2014, 02:54 PM   #10
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I forgot to mention that I went to quite a few cooking classes. I was moving from city to city with my job and it took awhile to make friends, so I would go to cooking class for something to do. You meet the NICEST people at cooking classes.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:48 AM   #11
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I learned how NOT To cook from mom. She calls herself "queen of the microwave" and now that she is widowed, has gone back to microwave cooking. I learned to cook when I got married. My husband says I became a better cook after becoming low carb after child #2 15 years ago. He loves meat!!! I credit lowcarb and my lowcarbfriends for helping out in the kitchen.
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:55 AM   #12
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Mostly from my mom, grandma and a bit from my aunts.

My mom cooked basic stuff every day and I helped. I started baking at about 6 (my mom likes to tell the story of the cake with a half a CUP of vanilla, not tablespoon).

During the summer my grandma would come over for canning and jelly-making and I would go stay with her and learned how to make biscuits, gravy, homemade sausage, chicken and dumplings, and all manner of delicious things I don't eat anymore.

At holiday times we all went to one house and I learned how to make my aunts' specialties.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:18 PM   #13
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I learned to cook when I was about 37 years old and was tired of eating eggs and cheese on low-carb. My mom wasn't an amazing cook, and my Dad's other wives weren't either. It's never too late! Have fun and look for those things you miss most. Necessity is the mother of invention.
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