How did you learn how to cook?

  1. I'm just curious because I can't cook at all but some people just seem to be complete naturals at it.

    Did you learn by watching your moms when you were growing up? Cooking classes? TV? Cookbooks?
  2. My mother was/is a HORRIBLE cook and working the equivalent of 1 1/2 jobs. In fact, when we were younger, she would take us out for fast food 5-6x/wk for dinner after she picked us up from school (no joke, Pioneer Chicken, McD's, Burger King, you name it), Saturday would be Shakey's pizza for lunch and out for dinner, and Sunday would be Chinese dim sum for lunch and Sizzler at night for dinner :throwup:... Honestly, I don't know how my brothers and I weren't as brain-damaged as we should have been as a result. We rarely had any home-cooked meals, which might be Chinese rice porridge at best or a vegetable beef stew with literally vegetables, beef and water (no spices).:throwup:

    As a result, I never cooked growing up. Once I got married, however, I made the decision to not have my family go through the same process. So I started out making simple Internet recipes...

    If you like Asian food, try Everything is really, really simple and really, really good. My first dish for DH three years ago was the Hawaiian oxtail soup. I've also made the Japanese beef potato stew for DS The Japanese salmon kasusuke is good... everything is good and easy.

    Once you start "building" a pantry (collect ingredients along the way, don't just buy spices for the sake of it), then you'll realize that there is a basic set of ingredients for Asian foods... and you can make 90% of your recipes using them.

    Then I moved on to for more Chinese recipes. You can punch in what you like, and most come up pretty easily... There are great dimsum recipes, which taste a million times better without all the MSG they load up in it at restaurants. There are still a bunch more of great Asian food websites...

    For American food, I love, Type in anything you like to eat (eg. Prime Rib), and voila, out comes a free recipe. Once you go through the ingredients, see what you find is "do-able" for you and go for it!

    Once you do this enough times, you'll gain confidence, have great, inexpensive restaurant-quality meals, and will go out to restaurants more for the experience than the food.

    Three years later, I now cook for DS and DH about 4 dinners from scratch during weekdays and 1 meal/day on weekends. There are some great cookbooks out there, but until you are actually committed to cooking, I would just browse online recipes and start from there.

    Do NOT be intimidated. It's not hard. Good luck!
  3. My mom was a good plain foods cook, but didn't teach me very much. When I got married, she would write out in complete detail how to cook our favorite family recipes. She assumed I knew nothing and described every single step. I still have those old recipes.

    I depended on some basic cookbooks in the beginning (Betty Crocker, Better Homes & Gardens, Joy of Cooking). Years later, I've taken several classes in Chinese cooking, making a complete gourmet meal, brunch recipes, etc. Those are fun to round out menus when you want something different.

    The other thing I do, just for my own sanity, is avoid recipes that require a long list of ingredients. I'm not willing to spend that much time gathering and measuring that many things to make one dish. That's why I gravitate to simple cookbooks. I've heard Rachel Ray's books are good for simple, tasty meals.
  4. My Mom is an amazing cook as are/were both my grandmothers. And my Dad LOVED making breakfast on weekend mornings, so making pancakes and waffles (from SCRATCH, not Bisquick) using great grandma's recipe was a special bonding time for Dad and me.

    How did I learn to cook? Well, when I realized with my post college roomie that we got sick of 7-for$1 top ramen or ordering pizza got old we started cooking and learning together.

    When I first lived on my own in 1992 (!) I think I suddenly pulled out one of my Mom's Junior League cookbooks she had given me a few years prior and just got inspired to try something. Now, I love cooking! I realized, shoot, it's just FOOD and nothing to be scared of. I didn't watch any food TV back then (didn't even have cable) so I literally learned on my own through trial and error. And when I entertained I would only serve something to company that I had tried out once prior on myself to make sure it turned out OK.
  5. My mom used to make me watch and help her cook every single weekend. I used to hate it!! Today, I am grateful for it cause I can eat all my favorite foods whenever I want by cooking them myself.
  6. I've always loved to eat and my family is involved in the food industry, so I just sort of grew up around it. I can't remember ever learning to cook... Even as a very little kid, if I wanted something to eat I either made it or helped make it :shrugs:

    Now, even though I know how to cook I still read cook books and cooking websites constantly. There's always more to learn!
  7. For the most part, I learned from watching my mom. However, when I was a kid I used to LOVE to play around in the kitchen, and my parents would buy me cookbooks aimed towards kids. Later, when I grew up and moved on my own, I'd pretty much go from memory, no cookbooks, but I still call and ask my mother or grandmother when I'm stumped, as I did with today's ham.

    The way I learned to fry was different, I was always scared to because of the hot grease. Well, one day I was at my cousin's house. She's like 20 years older than me, but this was about 15 or so years ago. She made me fry some chicken and porkchops at the same time. She disallowed me to move from the stove and threatened to beat me if I did. What was weird was that it was her dinner and there were no side dishes, just fried meat. So that's how I learned how to fry!
  8. LOL reminds me of when my parents now invite others over to our house for meals... they don't want to come off as 'cheap'... So there will be tons of plain huge salmon steaks, chicken wings, ribeye steaks, giant tiger shrimp (all for the grill), crab or lobster... then sushi (pre-prepared) as a side dish and some bagged salad... MMMMMmmmm LOL :throwup:.
  9. NOT my own mom. I started to cook for her and my dad when I was 12. I moved out when I was 16 and started to cook for all my friends and puppy love boyfriends at 18..that's when I knew what my palatte was and how I could adjust my taste to whats around me..infusing eastern and western is my passion. Inventing something risky for my family to try is my true love. Specially when I work so hard to perfect something and just to see their smiles and contentment- I'm in heaven!!!!!!!

    I learn the MOST from other friends' moms!
    The minute I meet a new mom- I go right into their cooking styles and advices and we end up sharing and learning!

    - it's even great to talk about food at parties with strangers- I get tons of ideas my head starts to hurt!! Everyone loves a good tasting dish! Moreso the gift of FOOD!
  10. I learned from my mommy. She's a wonderful cook. And to this day I still watch her cook and I'm 24! The first thing I baked with her was a custard pie. It turned out ok, only half burned and not too bad for a 5 y/o (my mom made the crust and she helped me with the filling) To this day I love to bake more then anything and it's a good thing too b/c my bf will only eat warm cookies.

    I'm really glad I can cook for myself and others. Every Monday I cook dinner for everyone in my house. :smile:
  11. Well, my Mom NEVER cooked, so I always had to cook for myself(since I was like 7, seriously). I was horrible at first, but with experience, I got better. When I moved in with my MIL and FIL(when I was 17), my MIL opened up a whole new world of cooking. Shes Panamanian(spanish) and the things she makes are TDF. I like to think I learned so much from her that my food tastes just like hers now;)
  12. My mom cooks & bakes amazingly well and she would let us sit around and help out in the kitchen (more often than not, we just made a huge mess; it was great fun). I think my love for cooking & baking was born right there in our kitchen. I also had toy pots & pans etc growing up. She would give me some scraps/ pastry dough to 'cook/bake' with.

    Then later at school, for 3 years I had to learn to cook - as in it was part of the school syllabus.

    Now my mom and I share recipes. I also attend the ocassional cooking classes; sometimes with my mom. Cookbooks and several cooking shows help too. There's always something new to learn :smile:
  13. I use to watch my dad and mom cook. They each had a different style of cooking but equally good. What I really like about their cooking is that it's simple. I like simple food and taste better imo. Now if I go out and eat in restaurants and crave for that same food, I search for the recipe on the internet. I will look for recipes with simple ingredients and low in fat and salt.

    When I was in Paris this year, my first meal was pasta carbonara, fell in love with this dish, and when I got home, I searched and found the recipe. I tried it and came out really good. I made it for my family and ds friends and they love it (but their fav is my seafood pasta and they will beg to come over for dinner, lol).

    When we go out and eat now, we usually just go and eat Japanese or Thai food, foods that I prefer not to cook.

    I don't use any of my cookbooks anymore. I just search the internet now to find recipes.
  14. I learnt by watching my parents cook when I was little. I also watch the Food Channel pretty often, and my sister gave me the Le Cordon Bleu book of Cooking techniques which is pretty useful for learning the basics. I've taken a few cooking classes too. I come from a family of's in my blood!
  15. My mother was a pretty good cook. I think my first cookbook was the Better Homes and Gardens. Most of my learning has been trial and error. I did take a series of cooking lessons once and had a lot of fun with that. I learned some basic things I had not known like knife skills. I'd love to take more lessons someday. I consider myself a fair home cook. I can follow recipes and will try most anyting but I'm not innovative or creative. I just read an article that suggested making a recipe 4x. The first two times using the recipe. The third time by memory. The fourth time by memory but with changes or additions to suit yourself. The point was that by the fourth time you have made the recipe "your own." If I had to rely on my memory for a recipe I'd be in deep trouble--I guess it would get creative.