DanCole42 Posted August 10, 2006 Share Posted August 10, 2006 Whenever I cook for my less culinarily-inclined friends for the first time, I'm always asked where I learned how to cook. So I'm curious. Share your stories. How did YOU learn how to cook? I suppose I'll get the ball rolling. My dad grew up in an Italian household, and his darling mother is everything a Genovese Italian grandmother should be (i.e. she makes ravioli that, for whatever reason, is unduplicatable until you yourself have a grandchild). He was the only one of his five siblings (again, Italian household) who showed any interest in cooking. The family rolling pin (the closest thing we have to an heirloom) was to be passed to the eldest daughter, who would have hung it on a wall somewhere. What a travesty that would have been! The century-old dowel passed to my father who still uses it the way it was intended. So through my grandma, my dad acquired some basic non-technical culinary know-how, and he's still at his best in the kitchen when he's working intuitively rather than from a recipe or an established technique. My mom grew up in a very different, non-culinarily-oriented household. She learned to cook by following recipes on the backs of soup cans, flour sacks, taco spice mixes, etc. She'd always find some way to make the recipes her own, though, and to this day my best steak marinade is derived from what was on the back of some Italian dressing mix that hasn't been on shelves since the 70s. So I grew up with a father who had an intuitive knack for good food, and a mother who excelled at following recipes and improving upon them. I learned a few go-to dishes from them, but it wasn't until college that my cooking really took off. I wasn't particularly fit, I was poor, I lacked the ability to form complete sentences when talking to women, but let me tell you - you get a college girl into my kitchen long enough for me to cook for her, and she's all mine. So once I realized I could turn my apartment into a giant girl-trap with my cooking as bait, I started playing a much more active role in my culinary education. I pressed my parents for more recipes, more techniques. I started reading cookbooks and watching the Food Network. Before I knew it, I'd snagged a winner, proposed to her, and it was all thanks to my Italian dressing steak marinade. I continue my education by watching the Food Network. Most of what I cook comes from inside my head, but frequently I'll head over to X cooking website so I don't have to sweat the technical stuff. Like if I have an idea for a really neat biscuit, I'll go look up what the hell goes into a biscuit and how long you're supposed to cook one. Another thing I like to do is to try and duplicate dishes from restaurants - it's a great challenge and learning experience (I'm close to getting the scallops of RTS down), and provides a lot of inspiration for new dishes. So, the rest of you - where'd you learn YOUR stuff? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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