May 24, 2016

When Did you Learn to Cook?

Apr27

cooking with kids_opt(my sweet daughter making her famous cheesy noodles)

Don’t miss the comments on learning to cook…it’s fascinating to see the scope of learning. I just love hearing your heart on this topic.

When did you learn to cook? Let’s be honest.

I’m curious as to how many of us learned the majority of our kitchen skills after we were living on our own or married? Now I’m sure there are specific studies that have been done on this topic, but let’s conduct one of our own…so fess up.

Learning to cook? When did that occur for you?

For me, I admit, it was after I got married. As a single working woman, I had no desire to cook for just myself, which meant I had a lot of learning to do in my first years of marriage. My mom was wonderful and tried;ย  I will say I mastered baking Zucchini Bread one summer in 9th grade, ( it was my chore every day for two weeks,) but I want to give this gift to my children long before they leave our home. Our eldest daughter is embracing to it naturally. She’s wound up that way, and enjoys being self sufficient. For instance, while I was typing this post, she woke up and started making breakfast at our beloved, new range But the other kids? It’s truly about taking the time to train them. (And I will add that having appliances that are fool proof makes it nearly a joy. My son knows the “pizza” button on our convection oven option as well as he knows how to load songs on his Ipod, and the fact that the pizza cooks five minutes faster as well as holds all THREE of our pizzas at once is the hugest bonus. :) )

Understandably, the picture below may just appear like slave labor to you, but to my daughter (whose food love language is mashed potatoes like her mother), this is just a small step in understanding what it takes to put her favorite meal on the table. With ten pounds of potatoes to peel and mash, it’s all about team work.

homeschool helpers

My desire is to instill a love for spending time in the kitchen by making it the heart of the home. Yes, with that time comes chores. I don’t think any of us can say that we love all our time in the kitchen. I surely can’t, but I want to give them the tools so that when they fly from our nest, they are equipped in the basics of household management (yes, our sons as well).

It saddens my heart that cooking is a lost art, and I encourage you to embrace those little people in your life and share this gift with them.

Last week, my challenge was to try a little food presentation improvement. I had a few emails from friends that grabbed the nice dishes for the first time in a long time, so I was thrilled to hear that.

This week in the kitchen, why not spend some precious time, side by side with some littler ones. It doesn’t have to be your child. It could even be welcoming the neighbor to make some cookies. I know that time together would be priceless.

SO now for the fessing up time….when did you learn to cook? Or are you still learning?

Was this a gift given to you at an early age or did you do a crash course like I did with great mentors?


Comments

  1. I learned to cook after I was married. After years of eating hot dogs, fettucinni alfredo and frozen pizza I needed to learn how to make new foods!
    A lot of trial and error, but I do okay for myself now, lol!
    Toni

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  2. Um, I still haven’t learned how to cook. My husband does all the cooking. Cooking stresses me out. But I do have visions of grandeur sometimes that may be forced to fruition – my husband may get a new job that requires later dinners. I’ll want to have dinner on the table when he walks in the door, so I’ll have to learn how to cook. I was even thinking this morning that I’ll have to call out to my Tweeps for advice. If you hear me squawk, please help!

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  3. My Mom taught me to bake, and it is something I am good at, but I really learned to cook when met my husband. He just assumed I knew how and I didn’t want to let him know I didn’t! It was all further complicated by the fact that I had just immigrated to England and the measurements, cuts of meat, even the ovens were different! I used that as an excuse when things got burned or didn’t taste quite right :) It was ages before I confessed I had no idea what I was doing – which he thought was really funny! So I am pretty much self taught. It makes me very happy that I’ve gone from not knowing how to cook to actually writing my own recipes – although it has taken me 20 years :)

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  4. Melissa V says:

    My mom was a baker and my dad a cook so I had the best of both worlds growing up. Since my mom didn’t know how to cook until she married my dad he was very adament about my sister and I learning. So I want to say I was about 7 when I was first allowed in the kitchen but it wasn’t until I was 9 that I actually started cooking.

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  5. After marriage – but I love it!

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  6. I’m in the same boat as April. My mom taught me how to bake, which I loved. She also tried to teach me how to cook, and can, and garden, and sew :) Poor mom, I was the only girl and a total tomboy growing up. When we had kids, I had to learn how to cook fast!

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  7. My momma had to get a job when I was in the 10th grade so I learned to cook easy suppers (ground beef soup, hamburgers, stir-fry…etc) but I really learned to cook after I was married and enjoy it immensely. My momma taught me how to make cookies and such and now I share that love with my children.

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  8. I’m just now getting the hang of things… been married 6 years. Just a few weeks ago I felt so grossed out and proud that I was working with whole raw chickens for the first time, not just frozen boneless skinless breasts! My husband and I tease that I bake and he cooks. Not so useful for the waistline or putting dinner on the table!!! I’m learning new things little by little.

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  9. Great post! I learned from my mom, class in school, and after I got married a lot of trial and error. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  10. I started learning to cook when I realized I was going to marry Jeremy and he was a better cook than I! :)

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  11. My mom taught me. She kept a very hospitable home, it was not unusual that we were 20 people for dinner on sunday. But real routine I got first after I married. With baby nr 5 my husband takes somtimes over some meal preperation and he is really good!

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  12. I learned to bake as a teenager… as a child I was in charge of reading the recipe instructions to my mom as she cooked, so I learned what all the skills looked like even if I wasn’t doing them. After I moved out on my own, I learned really quick how to cook things like hamburger helper and macaroni and cheese from a box, and improvised clean out the refrigerator soups. Between reading cookbooks and watching food network, I learned the rest.

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  13. Depends on what you mean by “learn how to cook.” I cooked for myself a bit when I lived at home. When I got married I learned to do simple dishes, mostly combining prepared foods. In the past couple of years I’ve been more interested in cooking from scratch and I feel like I’ll always be learning, there are always new recipes and techniques to try.

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  14. Good question! I learned to cook as a young girl. My mom was always into both teaching and cooking so it worked out well. :)

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  15. I learned the majority of my cooking skills after I was married. I did cook some with my Mom, but not a lot.
    I’m with you Jen, teaching my boys to cook. My middle son is a wonderful cook and would like to own a restaurant one day. My youngest son does well with instruction and my oldest, well…he needs some work :-)
    Thanks for hosting!
    ~Liz

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  16. I learned how to cook after I got married – DH taught me how to make scrambled eggs on our honeymoon! We had some interesting (gross) meals in those early years. =) I now feel very comfortable in the kitchen and enjoy cooking. The food I make is not fancy but it is cheap, healthy and tasty.

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  17. When I was eight years old, my mom gave me my first cookbook and started having me cook one dinner a month. Every year after that I received another cookbook so when I got married, I had a nice little library of cookbooks already started. I still had plenty to learn after I got married, but I had a great start. I have in turn started teaching my sons to cook as soon as they were old enough to see over a pan on the stove (again, about eight years old); nothing fancy, just enough so that they will be able to cook for themselves when they finally leave the nest.

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  18. For me, it has been a little of both. I learned a lot of cooking skills while growing up, but didn’t really get a lot of practice until I was married. Since then, I have intentionally learned new skills and made lots of use of the ones I learned from my mom and grandma growing up. Having learned so much growing up, I feel it is very important to teach my children these skills (even the boys). They’re still pretty young, so we do mostly baking and “safe” cooking items. I’ll integrate more things as age permits, but one of my goals is for them to understand cooking principles and how-to’s by the time they are on their own (or married), especially my daughter.

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  19. I learned to cook and bake before I was a teen, I loved it and would often make dinners because my Mom had a part time job in a plant nursery every spring when I was in high school. I am definitely teaching my boys to help out in the kitchen, they help with things like measuring ingredients, peeling potatoes, etc. as well as cleaning up after. I’m not sure they loved it like I did, but that’s OK. :)

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  20. I learned some things from my dad growing up. He was the one who liked to cook in our family, and still does. My husband has insisted we adopt many of his recipes! But I grew up mostly cooking Italian dishes and things like that. My “country cookin” husband asked me when we would have pintos and cornbread, and I was like, “Huh? You just eat the beans plain? Weird.” But I eventually learned, and now it’s one of my faves!

    BTW, I love the linky with the thumbnails!

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  21. I don’t actually remember never not being able to cook. The family joke is me always being beside someone in the kitchen standing on a stool trying to see what they were doing and “helping” :). I love cooking and baking. A few years ago I was diagnosed with having a Gluten allergy. Therefore I am have learned to cook Gluten free. Being the single mother of two, working two jobs, it has become harder to cook a lot. Baking is a joy for me. It amazes my children that I can whip out a cake without ever looking at the recipe I have baked it so much. One of the ways I am thrifty is that I can take a package of chicken and create at least two meals if not three. When I start a meal I always think of how many times we can eat off of it. I always seem to have at least one extra teen in the house when I do get to cook if not two or three, so the meal expansion doesn’t always work out. The kids love my concoctions as they call them. Here is a quick meal I throw together that is very cost effective and all ages love it.
    A kielbosa link sausage sliced-you can use any type
    A can of whole kernel corn
    A can of diced tomatoes
    1 cup of rice.
    Mix first three ingredients in a large skillet and cook for about 20 minutes, do not drain your vegetables. Make your rice while this is cooking. Once everything is thoroughly cooked in the skillet serve over rice. You can change this up by adding kidney or black beans as well. Sometimes we use Succotash instead of tomatoes. You can use any kind of Keilbosa. Increase the ingredients to the size of your family, this recipe usually feeds at least four. Let me know if you try it and how your family liked it please. Have a wonderful and blessed day!

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  22. My mom taught me everything I know…I was pretty well versed in the kitchen by the time I got married. I always tease my husband that was no learning curve in our early years of marriage…no burnt dished he had to swallow down, ha, ha. :)

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  23. I didn’t learn to cook until I was in college. I do not want this to be the case for my kids, so we’ve been making messes and miracles in the kitchen together since they were just little. :)

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  24. I’m in the same boat as you were before marriage and children. I’m a single working woman who’s just now learning to enjoy cooking — mostly in the form of slow cooker meals. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My mother is an incredible cook and always made healthy meals for us growing up, so I was taught to include the proper veggies/grains/protein portions, at least.

    The Internet has helped a lot with my cooking, actually. There are so many sites out there with user-rated recipes. If I see a recipe with 2000 reviews, mostly with 4-5 stars, I’m inspired me to try it out.

    BTW – great comments, everyone. It’s really interesting to read how we all learned to cook at different ages for different reasons. :)

    – Shayna from FabulousSavings.com

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  25. I learned to cook as I was growing up. My mom taught me, and by the time I was in middle school, I was cooking for the whole family several times a week. And yes, at the time, it felt like I was slave labor! But now, I’m so grateful she gave me those skills (along with other fun things like ironing, sewing a button, cleaning, etc. – yuck!). :)

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  26. I had to learn when I was 10. There was no one to cook for my little sister and me… we were getting tired of suckers and peanut butter for dinner :) Eww.

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  27. I got married at 31, so before that I sustained on a lot of cereal and easy to prepare foods, like baby carrots and dip, grilled cheese sandwiches, egg sandwiches, etc. After I got married I did try to cook more, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do, but I also worked a lot of hours and late nights, so I cooked mostly on weekends. We ate out a lot back then. Then I had my first daughter and stayed at home and that is when my love for cooking really flourished. I cook a lot now and I really enjoy it.

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  28. My mom taught me how to cook while I was growing up, but it was in high school that I found a love for it.

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  29. What a great question – I love seeing all the answers above!

    I learned to cook by watching my mom as I grew up. I always wanted to help, and if I couldn’t I would just stand and watch every night. Now my mom is not a very great cook – it took her a long time to understand the concept of watching food and keeping an eye on things (like, you can’t just throw a steak on a pan and leave it to sit there while you check out the weather report!). We ate a LOT of dry meat growing up. So I would watch her and think about what I might do differently one day, when it was my turn. And that early education has served me well!

    I think it’s just great that you’re teaching your kids about the value of knowing how to put a meal on the table, and that the kitchen is the heart of your home.

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  30. I actually wrote about learning to cook a couple of weeks back.
    http://mollycook.typepad.com/molly_cook/2010/04/find-something-difficult.html

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  31. Cheryl B. says:

    I learned to cook as a teenager. When I was a senior in high school my mother took a teaching job with over an hour commute. She did not get home until around 6:00 p.m. each night. That year (I was the youngest and last 1 at home), my parents would write me a check for $40.00, I would go cash it at our local Safeway and shop for the week, making dinner every night.

    After I married and had my second child at the age of 23, as I prepared to go back to work full-time, I asked DH what “half” of the workload of running a home did he want? He took the cooking and grocery shopping and still does the majority of the cooking almost 30 years and three grown daughters later. But for some strange reason I love reading cooking blogs, and I do cook occasionally. I actually took over for the entire month of February this year as I was having a money food challenge with my sister.

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  32. I definately learned later on in life! Like when I HAD to! I learned some from my mom, which means there are certain things (we are Italian) that I do not need a recipe for and never have. Like homemade sauce and meatballs for instance. But I didn’t regularly make these things until after I was married with children! Like you, when I was single I had no desire. I was perfectly happy with a bowl of cereal!
    More recently I am enjoying my time in the kitchen a little more. We are eating healthier and trying a lot of new things! I recently found a few frozen veggie medleys that I have never seen before at my wholesale club and they smelled FRESH even though they were frozen! So looking forward to trying them out as well :)
    Jen, I also wanted to thank you for posting Graveyard Mall ( the sunglasses) I didn’t buy sunglasses, but I found the matching pendants to the discontinued lights I have been collecting (for over 3 yrs) for the new house for about less than 1/4 of what they originally were!! I wasn’t kidding when I said we shop for EVERYTHING this way! :)
    So thanks again :)
    Kristi

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    Jens Reply:

    Yea, Kristi – so glad you found those deals. My hubby calls me a “blond Italian” since I rarely use a recipe either….and yes, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch was my cereal of choice until I was about 23 (shh…told tell my kids. :))

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  33. homeclynn says:

    I learned when I was in preschool. My mom was in a hospital bed with her back out and she would have me bring the ingredients that started with the letter and the measuring spoons and she would tell me what to add. I ran back and forth from the kitchen to the bedroom until the dish was done. When I went to school the teacher asked us to recite a poem or song from memory, I recited the recipe for banana nut bread. My mom still has that cook book and the page is COVERED in the ingredients. I still love to cook!

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    Cate Reply:

    @homeclynn, That’s so cute!

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  34. I didn’t really become interrested in cooking and baking until I was in my early thirties…I had become friends with some people who were really good cooks and bakers, so that got me motivated to try out different things!

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  35. My grandmother was who inspired me to learn to cook and bake! I tried to soak up everything I could during our visits. The first thing I tried on my own was to make chocolate chip cookies at the age of 14…my brother said they looked like cow patties but tasted good! geez! The rest of my teen years I stuck to rice crispie treats! I have learned through trial and (lots of) error through the years. I am loving cooking and baking with my girlie though! I am so proud of how well she does in the kitchen since at 5 I certainly couldn’t crack an egg without getting shells in the bowl…I don’t think I could crack an egg with shells in the bowl at 25!

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    Jens Reply:

    Ah – Rice Krispy treats hold fond memories for me as well. It was the one “dessert” I mastered and pulled it out during college when I wanted to impress anyhow…lol

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  36. My mom, too, tried to teach me to cook. I do think that I did pick some things up, but not much. I was a kid, so I had other priorities. It did help that when I briefly moved back in, I was married with two kids, so I think that’s where I picked up most of what I got from her. I learned how to make a mean pie crust in home ec, but since I dated a boy in our class for four days, my brain wasn’t on cooking. That leaves pretty much all of the rest of what I do know how to cook being learned after marriage. When my hubby deployed to Afghanistan followed by Iraq, my friends did teach me a thing or two since their men were gone as well and we were practically inseperable. Unfortunately, my cooking leaves much to be desired, as does my desire to cook. I keep praying and know my heart is turning, though, however slowly!

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  37. Oh boy … about 8 years ago? Hubby was always the cook. Then he had his motorcycle accident. Laid up in the hospital for 7 1/2 weeks. Lost a ton of weight. Then I decided I would try to make some of his favorite meals. Started out with chicken marsala. Then gradually moved on. Yeah, I was in my late 30’s before I really learned how to cook. I think mostly, it stems from the fact that I used to be so picky when I was younger but once I started playing around with cooking, that’s when I started TRYING the food and Wow! I liked it! Now we fight over who gets to cook :)

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  38. Catherine says:

    I don’t remember ever not knowing how to cook! My mom put a whisk in my hands as soon as I was able to hold one. We were always helping with putting a meal together – peeling potatoes, chopping onions (when I was young, they didn’t make me cry!), and general prep work at first. When baking, we would help measure, crack eggs, mix, and when we were old enough we learned how to use the oven and general oven safety. My mom is a baker (and follows recipes to a T) and a cook (and just throws stuff together), so I learned the best of both worlds! My live-in boyfriend wasn’t allowed in the kitchen at all when he was growing up so he can’t even make scrambled eggs. We are slowly building him a repertoire of meals he can make when I am getting home late from work or when he has a day off. I think his favorite thing to “cook” is a can of Chef Boyardee! Ugh!

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    Jens Reply:

    Ah – the Chef Boyardee comment made me chuckle, but I LOVE to hear that you can’t remember not knowing how to cook. That is a gift! I hope my daughters will say the same. I need to get on my sons a bit more. :)

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  39. I learned to follow a recipe when I was in high school. But following instructions is not what I call cooking.

    To me, cooking is knowing about technique and feeling confident enough to tweak a recipe or come up with your own creations. I am still learning those things now that I am married and cooking for two. (And wanting to impress my husband and company with my amazing skills!)

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  40. My dad taught me how to cook. My mom did the everyday cooking and he was in charge of the “fun” cooking when she needed a break. He would be the one baking the birthday cakes and the festive meals. He would enlist my help, and it was a wonderful bonding experience. Years later I realized that my “help” probably slowed things for him… but the point was not that he needed my help…
    He had no recipes and would never cook the same thing twice, and I learned how to take risks and mix unusual things with him. After I grow up our relationship deteriorated and when he passed away we were barely speaking to each other… but those are one of my fondest memories of him. Of a time when there was only love between us…

    (sorry for my broken English)

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    Jens Reply:

    Your English is wonderful….thank you so much for sharing those memories (which I know conjure up both happy and sad times for you.) It was inspirational reading about it.

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  41. Well according to my family I have always been in the kitchen. I remember only a few instances where I was actually active in the kitchen. I have a little blurb of memory of siting on the counter next to my Grandma with a big mixing bowl in my hands with cookie dough forming in it. I was about 3 because Ican remember looking up at my mom and knowing she was pregnant with my sister. Another memory is standing on a stool infront of a big gridle when I was 7 and following the instructions of my mom (with a broken arm) on how to make Pork Fried Rice. From then on I think I started begging my Mom and Grandma to let me help or teach me to cook something. Thats how I learned to make Tomato-Rice from my Granddaddy. He got tired of hearing me bug everyone to cook something so he taught me.

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  42. I was around six years old when I learned to poach my own eggs for breakfast, and I had to pull a chair up to the stove and stand up on it to reach the top of the stove. I like this question, so I think I’m going to talk about it more on my blog.=)

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  43. Took my first cooking class in elementary school. But, really started learning how to cook (and bake) when I was 12 years old. I take after my grandmothers and usually don’t measure ingredients for most recipes, unless I am baking. It’s all about flavor!

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  44. Hello Jen, I will admit I am a lurker ! Love your site (found you on H.H) so I am coming out of the wood work for this one! I did not learn to really cook until I had been married about 4 or 5 years! Before that it was frozen cordon blue on a pan in the oven! I considered cooking to be mac and cheese and hamburger helper! I worried about getting any measurements right. I did not know how to substitute anything when I cooked. My husband wanted to go on a diet and eat grilled chicken and salad for lunches at work and I was so scared of chicken that I bought these pre-cooked- flattened -wierd textured- fake grill marked- excuses for chicken breasts in yellow trays in the freezer section. Good grief… I now really wonder what those things were made of but we ate them all the time when anything called for chicken. My grandmother was a great baker and cook but I was never interested. My mother cooked every meal. I used to be the one peeling the potatoes for the Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house for 30 or more people but that was the extent of my learning. I wish I had paid more attention and saw the value of learning from them.

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  45. I learned to cook when I was in 5th grade. More like, I was forced to learn. My parents would both be out one evening a week and us three older siblings would trade off cooking, babysitting (our younger sister was 2), and cleaning the house. I ended up cooking most of the time because I was the only one who was any good at it. I HATED it! I absolutely hated cooking.

    Then, over the next few years, my parents would go out and the last thing my mom said as she walked out the door was “Rachel’s fixing dinner!”. I’m like, I am? OK, then. I was always scared to use up food that mom had planned to use for a meal, because she’d get upset if I did. But if I didn’t, she’d tell me that food is there for the taking and I don’t have to ask before using anything. It was very stressful!

    In college, I didn’t have to worry about cooking (good ol’ dining halls), and I got married my senior year. My husband did most of the cooking that year because I worked evenings and he was home. When the work situations changed, I started cooking more. I still hated it, but did it because my hubby was expecting me to. I finally got to the point where I enjoyed cooking, but it took several years. Now, it comes and goes. There are times when I can’t stand the thought of being in the kitchen. Then I go through periods when you can’t get me out of the kitchen!

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  46. I learned to cook as a child. I was always with my grandmother or another older Italian woman who was somehow related they were ALWAYS cooking and eating. I learned by watching and helping. I am 9 years older than my next sibling and then there are 3 of them really close together. So as more kids came along, my mom expected more help from me. Dinner was my full responsibility by the end of the 8th grade and I strated experimenting with ingredients that my mom would set out for me. Dinner never resembled what she was expecting from what she left for me to cook. My younger brother always wanted to help me and is now the head of the Healthy Dining Program at UNC Greensboro. He will tell people that his sister inspired him to become a chef with a dish I made up in the 8th grade that we called “Mish-Mash”. It consisted of rice, veggies and hot dogs and was something they asked for when I was babysitting. My middle boy (9) loves to cook and he reminds me alot of my brother.

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  47. What a fun topic! My earliest memory of cooking is making pancakes with my dad every Sunday morning. Before I was even tall enough, I remember dragging a chair over to the counter and standing on it to help him. We always put fun things in the pancakes, like bananas and raspberries–even jelly beans on Easter. I baked all through my childhood because my mom made everything from scratch and we had two big gardens. I wouldn’t call myself an amazing cook, but it certainly brings me happiness to be in the kitchen!

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  48. I learned to cook a couple of years ago after I got married. Before I didn’t even know how to make scrambled eggs! I’ve been improving, and aside from a few disasters (mostly setting some tortillas in the microwave on fire) I think I’m doing pretty well! Haha, it was actually my husband who taught me, who learned how to cook when he was young. It’s a good thing he’s patient! :)

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  49. Mom made sure to teach both my brother and I how to cook. (Dad can only make a fried egg sandwich. They live next door, so if Mom’s gone for a meal and hasn’t left anything for him, guess who shows up around lunchtime. And snacktime after school…)

    My maternal grandfather took over all the cooking when he and Grandma retired (she was dean of girls at a local high school). He was a superb cook, which is why my brother was so interested. It’s a good thing, too, since my sister in law is an “eat to live” kind of person. She can churn out the basics, but Rick does all of the entertaining.

    Side note — one thing I learned from my grandpa but have never been able to implement — he had an old stove in a special shed out in the backyard, for cooking in the summer. Summer is blistering hot here in the central valley of CA, but grandpa never hesitated to make a big pot of beans, or boil water for corn or bake a pie, or whatever, since he could do it outside and not heat up the house. I keep trying to think of a way to have an outdoor stove, but I live on a farm, and I shudder to think of the kind of rodent infestation an outdoor stove could produce…

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  50. I think I learned a lot from my Mom when I would watch her bake and cook in the kitchen around the ages of 10 to 13 :-) I married young (first time) at age 18 so I took that knowledge to my own kitchen and learned a few new things along the way. It’s still a learning process, there’s always something I haven’t tried or would like to make. I love being in the kitchen :-)

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  51. Belieeve it or ot, I loved watching cooking shows as a child. I remember bargaining with my brothers over the cooking show on our local PBS station vs. saturday morning cartoons. Seriously. My only problem is that I don’t have enough time to spend expanding my reperatoire…
    *Blessings*

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  52. I really don’t remember learning to cook, but my mother always allowed me to be in the kitchen. Two things I made often as a child: no-bake chocolate cookies and popovers. My family gave me such excellent praise!

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  53. At my house, there were about 300 cookbooks collected in various places – my mom liked to read about, but not do, things. Being a serious chocaholic, I taught myself how to make chocolate chip cookies, brownies, no-bake cookies, etc. My siblings & I did our time peeling potatoes for Sunday dinner (there were 9 kids in my family!), & I had spent many hours watching / helping put meals together.

    BUT, it wasn’t until after I was married that I finally mastered the fine art of naking a pot roast! It took years. Years of asking my dad, yet again, what I had done wrong, and finally getting the magic Magnalite pot that caused it to all come together.

    Now, I can pick up any cookbook & make a recipe my very own, but I’ve been cooking for over 40 years (I started in the womb :) ). I love to cook, and my family & I still sit down to a home-cooked meal every night – we’re a dying breed.

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  54. When I got married, I could only cook 3 things spaghetti, red beans and rice, and spaghetti! I cooked that way for about three years :) My poor dh!

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  55. When I was babysitting at twelve I started cooking some, cooking a whole meal for my family all by myself at sixteen, but really started cooking from scratch when our boys were born with many food allergies and Celiac Disease.

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  56. Definitely after I got married! Although my “cooking” when first married was baking frozen chicken breasts with BBQ sauce in tin foil tents and mixing canned veggies with rice. My mother was a wonderful cook but not a patient teacher. A college roommate my freshman year was actually the person that taught me how to use a washing machine!

    Mary Ellen

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  57. I learned to cook when I was engaged, but mainly after I was married.

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  58. I found my way here from TidyMom’s blog. Thanks for hosting, and nice to meet you! :~D

    Yes, still learning to cook. I started with Betty Crocker for Kids a million years ago. (Majored in HomeEc my first year of college… oh my!)

    e-Mom @ Susannah’s {Kitchen} Aprons
    http://susannahsaprons.blogspot.com

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  59. My mom was all about preparing us to leave home when the time came so we had lessons each summer…One summer was typing, another sewing, and another of course was cooking! So we spent one summer learning the different recipes my mom loved to make…My mom,sister and I aren’t much for fancy recipes but know our way around for sure:)

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  60. Funny my daughter (9) asked me the same question this weekend. I learned to cook when I was a kid, But I really improved after getting married. My husband is an excellent cook and has taught me so much!

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  61. I could make a few things as a kid and single adult. When I got married I freely admit that my husband was a much better cook than I was. Once I bought a box of biscuit mix and while my biscuits were baking, he opened up the cupboards and whipped up gravy from whatever he could find. I was astounded. I thought gravy came from a package just like the biscuits did!

    I watched way too much TV when our older son was a baby, and cooking shows were a favorite. The inspiration didn’t settle in very well until our second son was born. That’s when I feel like I really started to learn how to cook. But I am certainly still learning. There are so many ways to do things, and it’s fun getting ideas from all sorts of people.

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  62. I started learning to cook and could hold my own when I first moved out on my own. I did not fully embrace cooking until after I was married and had my first child. Now my husband and I love to cook and entertain togetehr and my 4 year old daughter is right there in the kitchen learning and doing with us.

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  63. My mom is a fabulous cook. She’s one of those that cooks on the fly- whatever she has on hand, a little of this, a little of that, and everyone loves it. I tried to pin her down several times as a youngster and make her measure ingredients for her favorite recipes. It worked for a few things, but certainly not a majority, much to my dismay. I then got married and, after a very scary year of trying to cook, something happened. I became my mother! Genetics must have kicked in and since then everyone loves what I prepare in the kitchen!!

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  64. Thanks for this post today! Cooking IS a lost art, but I too, am trying to be one of those moms who is passing it down! I started helping my mom when I was around 10 and continued learning the basics all through the years at home. Granted, I am much better now that I have my own family to cook for, but I’m so glad that I had the foundation to build on. All three of my kids, ages 11, 9 and 6 love to help me in the kitchen and they do a great job. The oldest two are even venturing into some “all by myself” catergories and I’m feeling more comfortable about letting them do it with less supervision! Just this morning, my middle daughter made smoothies for breakfast. Although, I was in the kitchen with her, she basically read the recipe and followed the directions all by herself. They get so much more from a food experience when they make it themselves! I love reading cooking magazines, blogs and recipe books and I drive my whole family crazy trying to make the table pretty, using matching dishes and serving pieces rather than the cooking pots!! I want my kids to have memories of meals around the table rather than in the car and I know it is healthy for us too!

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  65. When I got married at 21, I could cook spaghetti and brownies. I LOVE to cook , but I hate cooking for my husband b/c he is so picky. He really takes the joy out of it for me. :( There’s a whole long list of things he won’t eat, including CHEESE, which is in like everything delicious. So cooking at my house is not much fun. I may start to cook things that I can teach my girls to love…if he doesn’t like it, he can put on his big girl panties and try it…or have a turkey sandwich (he won’t eat pb&j). :s

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  66. I’ve been learning to cook this year after figuring out that we need to eat whole foods. It’s been fun and now I can whip things out pretty fast. Last nigh we had Salmon Burgers, brown rice pasta with butter and cheese and green beans. Yummy!
    Jana

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  67. Actually, I learned to cook when I was an exchange student. My host mother was mortifed that I didn’t know who to do basic things in the kitchen, and so she gave me a notebook one day and made me take notes and learn to cook from her. She grew/raised nearly all of her own food (farmer’s wife) and I learned so much from her. It was still a bit of a learning curve to learn to apply what I learned to my own household 8 years later…:-)

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  68. I learned as a child – my mom is wonderful at doing the extra work to involve children in whatever she is doing, now with her grandkids – but really expanded what I was able to do after getting married!

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  69. I learned to cook as a child. My mom loved to cook and made everything from scratch, and I I helped her in the kitchen as young as I can remember. When my brother and I were around 8, every so often my mom would let one of us be in charge of cooking an entire meal. We would plan the meal ahead of time and cook it all by ourselves, and she would only help if we asked her a question or when we needed to put something in the oven. We thought it was a lot of fun. By the time I was 11, I had my own baking business where I sold baked goods to friends and neighbors. I actually made a lot of money for an 11 year old, especially during the holiday times (close to $400 a week during the holidays). It was great experience both in baking and in running a little business. I would calculate the cost of ingredients in each item I sold, and pay my parents back for that. So I kept track of expenses and profit in a simple way, but it was great experience. I really think I love cooking mostly because my mom did and always made it fun. When I have children, I hope to teach them young.

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  70. My mom taught me to cook a few things, but I also learned a lot on my own after I went to college and wanted to impress whomever I was dating at the time. Sad, huh? The way to a man’s heart is his stomach, right? That’s when I really started taking my mom’s recipes (the best lasagna EVER) and what I saw on HGTV and in cookbooks and really trying to learn. When I met my Hubby, he loved cooking too, so he taught me to make a few pretty wonderful things too. He made me chicken fettucine alfredo for our first date. I think the way to my heart was through my stomach. YUM!

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  71. I actually learned to read by learning to cook. I remember reading cookbooks and recipes to my mom while she was cooking in the kitchen and then ‘helping’ her. This instilled a great love of food and experimenting in the kitchen for me. Flash forward 10 years when my mom learned she had a dairy, wheat, egg, gluten, and refined sugar allergy and completely modified the way that she cooked. The options were simple: eat her very limited diet, or learn to cook myself. I chose the later :)

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  72. I grew up cooking. I don’t remember ever being “taught” to cook. My mom taught me how to read a recipe and basic techniques as a part of everyday life. We were allowed in the kitchen to experiment and practice. I remember my brother once brought us a pear drink that he had concocted. His secret ingredient was toothpaste! I remember that one moment so vividly because my parents praised his efforts and never told him their true opinions of it. Although I learned how to cook growing up I didn’t truly learn the art of putting a complete meal together until I was married.

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  73. I learned to begin cooking at a younger age (I wasn’t totally inept in the kitchen when I got married), but I really don’t remember spending a lot of time there when I was younger. Of course I have a terrible memory too (C:

    I did jump in though when I got married and regularly cooked for me and my hubby and my love for cooking continued to grow. I frequently called my mom, pastors wife and other older friends for advice.

    I too am hoping to instill a love for cooking in my daughters and I believe it has begun.

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  74. I learned to cook and run a household after I was married. I did know how to make a few things, but not how to put a meal together. We had spaghetti and hot dogs more than I care to admit. This summer my oldest daughter (who will be 15 in May) will be running our house. We have been talking about this for months and she is excited about it. She will be doing all the meal planning, cooking, house cleaning, laundry and shopping. She has a parttime babysitting job that she will have to factor in as well. I have been teaching her and the first week of summer I will be helping her get organized and after that I will…well, I don’t know what I will be doing. :-) She will have a budget to follow and will have to figure out how to feed 5 of us with that amount of money. I know that there will be a few meals that won’t turn out and that problems will come but she will have to learn from her mistakes. I feel strongly that all my kids know how to do this and each will have their turn.

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  75. I learned to cook simple recipes as a girl but no real cooking til I was older and married I taught my children how to cook while they were living at home and sometimes I feel they can cook better than me

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  76. When I was a teenager, my dad remarried a woman who liked to cook. She did not want to send my sister and I into the big bad world only knowing how to brown ground beef. So, once a week, my sister and I had to pick out a recipe, go to the store and buy the ingredients (on her dime, of course!) then come home and make the entire meal. I know, what a rough childhood I had. At that time, it interferred with my social life, but now, I love to cook, and I am secretly thankful to my stepmom who required so much of us!

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  77. I learned to start baking when I was 9–my mom made me take foods every year for 4-H (which i am grateful for). I am not sure when I learned to cook, my mom always had us helping her in the kitchen!! She is an awesome cook/baker so I feel like I have learned from the best :)

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  78. I have been cooking since I was a teenager. There were 5 kids in my family and everyone pitched in to help. But I can’t say that I really enjoyed cooking until the past year or so. I think that is because I have worked full-time most of my adult life until last year. Being home more often (vs. rushing home to get a meal on the table) just makes it for so much less pressure and cooking is so much more enjoyable now! Love cruising here for new recipes!

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  79. I have been cooking since I was a young child. Being the youngest of 6 children and the only girl my mother thought I needed to learn. Now, I don’t mind cooking, it is the cleaning up part I dread.

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  80. I didn’t really learn until I was married. I did learn a few things when I was on my own, but was never taught as a child. I SO wish I was which is why I love it when my boys want to help in the kitchen!

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  81. My very long answer is here: http://dinnerwithmikeandjen.blogspot.com/2010/04/when-did-you-learn-to-cook.html

    but the shorter version is: I inherited a love for cooking, I kept my mom company in the kitchen, I watched cooking shows with her when I was a kid, she let me start cooking in middle school, I took classes in high school and I wanted to impress my now hubby into asking me to marry him. Oh, and I’m still learning and probably always will be because the fun of it to me is challenging myself.

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  82. I started making homemade pizza every Friday night for my brothers and sisters while my parents went on a date. I was 11 years old and have always enjoyed cooking! Thanks for visiting my blog and hosting your tasty party.

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  83. I don’t remember the exact age, but I’m guessing around 11 or 12. My dad was brought up with many Amish principles, even though his parents had left the Amish church. He was a firm believer in a girl learning how to keep a house and home at an early age. At the time, I hated it, but now I’m so grateful.
    If you ask my husband, he taught me how to cook. Because my family ate very healthy, he was horrified when I didn’t cook eggs with any bacon grease, and barely knew how to fry bacon!
    Truly, I wish I was a better cook. Because I work outside the home, most meals include something processed. I’m not familiar with lots of spices because I rely so much on everything to come with a flavor. I feel I still have a lot to learn.

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  84. Great question! I did a good amount of cooking with my mom growing up. I’d help make homemade pizzas every weekend and started making my own omelets for breakfast staring in about 6th or 7th grade. I’m in college now and cook one big meal every week and eat it for a few days. That way I can still cook bigger recipes without having to waste a bunch. It’s either that, or make a sandwich or pasta every day which isn’t fun for my love of cooking or my tastebuds. I’m definitely still learning, though!

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  85. I didn’t really learn until I was married also. Oh I watched my mom cook and even knew how to do breakfast and a few dinners, but really only learned to love to cook once I was married. I so love it now!!

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  86. I would have to say I learned to cook and bake pretty young. But like everything in life I am still learning! My sister and I used to steal the video camera and film our own cooking show all the time. Those would be some funny you tube videos now LOL! My greatest inspiration in the kitchen would be my dad and my grandmother, both excellent cooks!

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  87. I’m still learning. I have 3 boys and I’m a work in progress. Maybe the boys and I will just have to learn together. :) I am committed to making sure they’re able to contribute when they’re out on their own (especially when they’re married!).

    I truely appreciate your blog because I’ve learned a lot – thanks for your ministry!

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  88. I found your blog through “Stop and Smell the Chocolate” and I think I’m going to love visiting often! I learned to cook at an early age. So did my sisters and brothers. I think it started with stirring chocolate over the double boiler to make Rocky Road for our 1st grade teachers, graduated to brownies from a mix with the promise that we’d get to lick the bowl, and then we kept stepping up until we could cook healthy food!

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  89. I remember doing simple things like boiling hot dogs or making Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup at 6, by 8 I was making the chocolate chip cookies from scratch. I guess cooking just runs in the family. My kids see me cooking and help in little ways all the time, I guess its time to start working on that cooking Merit Badge!

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  90. My mom was a pretty good cook, adventurous at a time when people really weren’t, but I never was interested.

    Then my parents decided to drop me off at my grandfather’s country house to take a three week adult only vacation to europe with friends.

    Grandpa’s idea of cooking was to go to the grocery store and buy a roasted chicken, and a box of cereal. You get the picture . . . not pretty.

    Luckily his sister in law took pity on me and taught me to COOK.

    I learned meatballs and meatloaf among other things and none of it with a cookbook [which taught me to really cook rather than read a recipe – it should look like ‘this,’ if you can’t do this add water, if you see this add such and such . . . etc]

    I came home much changed and have loved to cook every since!

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  91. I have to give my Grandmother credit for teaching me the basics of baking. She was certainly not a professional but the PATIENCE and love she gave me and my brothers in the kitchen … those moments are some of my fondest memories of childhood. And I still remember to crack the egg into a small bowl to make sure it’s a good egg before adding it to the ingredients. :o)

    But I didn’t really learn to cook until after I was married. Prior to that it was all about cereal, pasta, bagels, sandwiches … thus, the first year of our marriage produced some interesting dishes as I attempted to cook real meals. But I’ve gotten better!!!! :o)

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  92. I can’t say for sure, but I do know that I doubt I will ever STOP learning. There are just so many different skills out there – take for instance this past week I tried a dutch baby pancake for the first time.

    I know I grew up in the kitchen with my dad actually being the one to teach me many of the skills I know today (I still call him with all my cooking questions!). I remember being very young (sometime in elementary school) when my mom let me make spaghetti for the first time (literally I made the spaghetti noodles). I don’t remember the sauce or anything, but I remember some thick noodles after they were cooked! Everyone still ate it.

    Cooking was the challenge my mom had for me and my then boyfriend (now husband) back in high school to test our communication skills (we lived 3 hrs apart so communication was KEY in our relationship). We passed with flying colors ๐Ÿ˜‰

    We are in the process of building a new home and I am putting most of my focus into the kitchen since it truly is the heartbeat of the home. Once we have an open floorplan so I can better watch the LOs I plan on spending a LOT more time making home made snacks and meals for my family. My dad built my son a special tower to stand on so he can be there right along with me, watching and learning (his favorite tool is currently the rolling pin).

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  93. I learned to cook at a very young age. I remember burning my chin making scrambled eggs…..so I was pretty short at that point, maybe 6 or 7. I would bake a lot and remember making taffy and caramel on my own in high school. I cook like my father most of the time which is I tend to throw stuff in a pot, it is rarely the same twice and it nearly always turns out a good result.

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  94. Jennifer says:

    Oh, my goodness. I loved reading all these comments. My mother could cook pretty well, but she worked full time, so she didn’t seem to have the time to teach me much in the kitchen. I learned a few things from my grandmother when I would visit her. My husband and I began dating in high school, and I figured out pretty quickly that my future mother-in-law could REALLY cook. I got married in college, and for the first few years of our marriage, we subsisted on spaghetti, tuna macaroni casserole, and spam (all of which I realize now that my mother made a lot because we didn’t have much money growing up.) Well, my husband must have really loved me (so he laughingly tells me!) because he was horrified at the spam and tuna casserole, but said nothing for a while. Then I slowly began to teach myself how to make other things, and finally one day my husband said to me, “Promise me you will NEVER make tuna casserole again.” And I never have.
    So, I am trying to prepare my girls for life by teaching them to be a little more kitchen savvy! I will never be my mother-in-law, and I have even stopped getting my feelings hurt when my younger kids say that she is the best cook in the world! I will just do my best in the kitchen, teach my kids what I know and encourage them to go further, and enjoy eating the fruits of our labor!
    Thanks for a great post!

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  95. I could bake and do basic things by middle school, but never did meals or anything like that until after my college graduation. I decided to volunteer for a year and chose a retreat center and part of my “job” was to do all the cooking! Talk about trial by fire! I remember the first night I needed to cook–I needed to make soup for about 60 people. I was 22 and had NO clue. I ended up buying a billion cans of soup and throwing them all in one pot! But, after that night I called my mom, asked for tips and have been cooking ever since! That job was great training for my “job” as a mom. I learned about grocery shopping, prepping meals for entertaining, the beauty of getting dinner made in the morning, all sorts of great things!

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  96. When I got married I knew how to make banana chiffon cake, Texas rice casserole and Chef-Boy-R-Dee pizza — and my husband wouldn’t eat rice! I basically taught myself to cook by reading cookbooks and some things I just knew by observing (but not helping) my mother during my growing-up years.

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  97. My mother didn’t mind baking with me so when I married I could make bread, cookies of all kinds, cake, brownies etc. BUT she did not have the time to teach me about cooking. Suppertime was a busy time for her with 4 kids and farming. I pretty much learned to cook after I got married.

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  98. I learned to cook little by little. We certainly had free use of our kitchen as kids. When I was about 10, I spent the night with a friend. I suggested that we make breakfast in bed to surprise her parents. It took me a while to convince her that the whole point of breakfast in bed is to NOT get the parents up to help. She didn’t even know how to turn the stove on…. Later that day we made peanut butter cookies- I was a master in that house!
    Some of my kids like to cook. They read new recipes and make shopping lists- some ask me to pick up ramen or Cup Noodles. None of them will ever starve.

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  99. I started learning when I was about 13 or 14 I guess. I could make oatmeal or Cream-of-Wheat before then, but the real cooking (making cornbread, putting together a casserole) started in my early teens. I learned from my mother and my granddaddy. I don’t remember learning much from my Mimmie, because she died when I was 14, but I do remember wishing I could cook like her! : )

    And I SO agree we need to train our boys in the kitchen! My husband is such a blessing to me when he cooks! He and I both have started teaching Kiddo how to cook. He already makes the best scrambled eggs in the house! : )

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  100. I remember my mother and grandmother cooking from scratch in the kitchen every day. I was never very interested in it though. Even as a single mother, I microwaved nearly everything. My son could cook a freezer meal on his own by the time he was 4. It wasn’t until I married my husband that I even thought about cooking on a stove (horror!) and then it was still basically freezer meals and “instant” stuff. Just in the past couple of years have I tried to cook more from scratch and experiment with recipes. It’s been an interesting journey and isn’t over yet. My next “project” is to learn how to freeze and can homegrown veggies.

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  101. Kassandra says:

    Thank you for this topic! My first cooking experiences as a child were holiday cooking experiences… cookies were a big hit when I was tiny. As I grew older, I started helping with Thanksgiving dinners which included a little bit of everything. When my husband and I were married and had our children, I cooked easy, basic meals… spaghetti, pot roast, oven bakes and crock pot meals. My husband is, honest to goodness, satisfied with anything that is placed in front of him. I am so grateful for this, but just between us girls, I think it has allowed me to be lazy when meal planning… whoops! I’m guessing now would be a great time to work on that. :) Our children love to be outdoors, so I am usually cooking dinner when they are outside playing in the afternoons. I will make a concentrated effort to bring them into the kitchen once a week to learn how to cook. Our daughter (8) is fond of helping in the kitchen, and I would love to arm our son (6) with the tools to make life for my future “daughter-in-love” much easier! Again, thanks for chatting about this! Operation Creative Dinner now begins! LOL

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  102. The summer I was 12 I learned to “cook” the easy kid lunches since I was the oldest at home with 10 and 5 year old siblings while our parents worked! Those meals were mac n’cheese, grilled cheese, fish sticks, etc. The first real meal was enchiladas that I made for our family dinner twice a month starting when I was 15. Most of the actual cooking I learned after getting married at 18. I have a funny story about my first experience with a hand opperated can opener…..I had never seen one…NEVER….my parents always had electric. My husband was working late and I was going to make a nice dinner for him on the grill with canned corn as a side, only I had no idea how to open the can without an electric opener….I used a hammer and screwdriver but got a lesson from the hubby when he got home! My kids all know how to work a hand operated can opener! My youngest is 6 and can make scrambled eggs in the microwave by himself!

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  103. She looks like a mini you. I learned a little through my younger years, but gained most knowledge after being married. I am blessed with wonderful mom who is well known for her cooking abilities.

    As a part of homeschooling, we started our Tasty Tuesday as a time for the boys to learn to cook and make meals on their own. My oldest loves it. My youngest, not so much.

    We even added Tasty Thursday to give them each their own day. Looks like yours are doing well in that department too.

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  104. I thought I knew how to cook when I got married a year ago. After a week or so, I realized that I knew how to bake–but not how to cook! We can’t survive on biscuits and cookies and cake (yummy though they be!), so I really had to start adjusting and experimenting. And calling my mom a lot. My next goal is to be comfortable with roasting meats (whole turkeys, chickens, etc.) instead of just throwing stuff into the crock pot. Who wants crock pot turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner!

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  105. I learned to cook side by side with my mom after school every day. She was a teacher so we always had the same schedule. On weekends, I got to experiment with my “special” recipe of the week. Did you know that if you toast coconut under the broiler of a gas oven that it will catch fire? And if in a state of panic you drop the pan of burning coconut on a linoleum floor, you will forever have a rug in your kitchen? :)

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  106. I totally didn’t learn until after I was married. WAYYYYY after I was married. No natural cooking ability here at all. Without my internet invisible friends and recipes, I would be lost. Seriously, lost.

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  107. Jen from Germany says:

    I find that God is always on time and never late. Being a working wife and then mom for most of my married life, dinner was never a priority. When God called me to be at home full time, I found that I was going to have to better manage our money and our food supply. I had always couponed but not been faithful in using what I had. I have been home two years now and I can cook. After one year of getting better, God called us to Germany. While we are not missionaries in the typical sense of the word, we are on a mission. The beauty–the US Army pays my hubby to give spiritual guidance to soldiers. As I have learned to cook and bake, I have been able to share my goodies with those around us. Thanks for your site! I love it!

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  108. I never learned to cook as a child – in fact, was discouraged from it by a mom who wanted to get in and get out of the kitchen in a hurry. She was and is a good cook – but didn’t want to share the kitchen. I finally learned to cook in college when I majored in Home Economics and am still learning from all these blogs! I just today tried to make something new from scratch.
    I wanted to share what my best friend’s mom did – she sat down with all of them (four children) and planned the week’s menu which she then posted on the refrigerator. The first one home from school got to choose the meal and cook it… starting when they were about 5 years old! Needless to say, the competition was fierce and all of them learned to cook. By the time they were teenagers, they were making any and everything which made me want to be just like them! Whenever I visit any of them, they are always in the kitchen stirring up something!

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    Patti Reply:

    @Patti, I meant to mention that the boys in the family were included, too, and are just as good at cooking as the girls. Don’t forget your boys!!

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