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What was the first thing you learned to make?

YAYME Feb 4, 2010 03:40 AM

The first thing I learned to make was hot dogs, I remember distinctly being mad at my mother for making chicken one night when I wanted hot dogs. She was peeved but she told me how to cook them. I boiled them for ten minutes and then ate them. It was really great. then I think I learned to bake and scramble eggs. I used to make scrambled eggs for my parents on weekend mornings, they were nice enough to eat my concoctions!

What about you?

  1. ike04 Feb 4, 2010 04:20 AM

    I think it was Jello or maybe instant pudding. My Mom always included us in the kitchen (Unless she was deep frying, then we had to get out) I also remember learning to make playdough, salt, oil, flour, food colouring.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ike04
      JerryMe Apr 3, 2010 02:24 PM

      Ike - I forgot about the playdough! Also the home made glue - flour and water and I think cream of tartar.

      My mom was a true home cook (lots of kids and not a lot of $$). She made bread and rolls weekly. I remember getting a piece of dough and forming it into a small baking pan.

      She made beans from dried and I remember sorting thru the beans to clean them.

      She made butter and I remember shaking the jar 'till it was made.

      Pies were for holidays or church functions and we'd get a chunk of pie to form into our 'patty pans' (don't know why we called them that but we did)

      Homemade ice cream w/ the hand crank.

      Mom went back to work and eventually 'assigned' dinner to each child. I was in school and working a split shift for 2 jobs. My turn at dinner was to put bread, butter and jelly (home canned from fruit) on the table with knives. I was barely home long enough to eat and change clothes. I was quickly removed from this rotation.

      I probably didn't start cooking from a recipe until after I was married.

    2. ttoommyy Feb 4, 2010 05:05 AM

      Christmas cookies! I must have been at least 3 years old. I'm sure I was more of a hindrance than a help, but 46 or so years later I am still baking them; and my love and passion for baking has only increased. In fact, I used to be able to stay home a day or two from school each December just to help her. Great memories! Pressed spritz cookies were a big thing with us...I still love using that machine.

      1. fmcoxe6188 Feb 4, 2010 05:09 AM

        What a great thread! Brings up old memories! I too was in the kitchen for most of my mothers cooking when I was little so its tough to remember what the first thing I learned was other than just general bits of wisdom- but I know I was involved with Christmas cookies from a very young age- and I had responsibility for sorting cranberries and measuring for cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving when I was little as well-even if I didnt stir the hot pot :-)

        The first recipe I learned by heart though-after Cranberry sauce- Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies haha

        1 Reply
        1. re: fmcoxe6188
          GraceW Jun 4, 2011 07:00 AM

          Yes, I believe Chocolate Chip cookies were the first thing that I learned to make. Although in reality it may have been Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

        2. e
          EdwardAdams Feb 4, 2010 05:22 AM

          From a cookbook, a kid's cookbook, it was "cinnamon toast". Butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on bread, put under the broiler until the sugar melted. A too sweet disgusting mess that I loved as a kid. It included the lesson that you can' t put sugar near a fire and walk away.

          9 Replies
          1. re: EdwardAdams
            sbp Feb 4, 2010 06:41 PM

            Wow, I think that was the first thing I ever made too - and it sounds like the same cookbook.

            The first real meal I learned was spaghetti and meatballs, when I was about 8.

            1. re: EdwardAdams
              MrsJTW Nov 15, 2010 09:12 PM

              My mom showed me how to make cinnamon toast, too, but ours was the cinnamon sugar mixture on buttered wheat toast. Then my mom had me put a slice of peach on top and sprinkle sugar on it. I hated it at the time, but it sounds pretty good to me now.

              1. re: MrsJTW
                ZenSojourner Nov 15, 2010 11:00 PM

                Cinnamon, white sugar, mixed together then sprinkled on top of hot buttered toast until it soaked up all the butter and you could see cracks in the cinnamon sugar coating.

                I must confess I still eat it that way from time to time . . .

                1. re: ZenSojourner
                  buttertart Nov 16, 2010 05:27 AM

                  Yes and try to get a bite before it's all soaked up just for the gritty bite of the raw sugar that you weren't supposed to eat anyway, clandestine sugar-cube palming and eating aside.

                  1. re: buttertart
                    ZenSojourner Nov 16, 2010 05:40 AM

                    That's torn it! Off to make some cinnamon toast . . .

                    1. re: ZenSojourner
                      buttertart Nov 16, 2010 05:50 AM

                      Sisters...sisters...

                      1. re: buttertart
                        ZenSojourner Nov 16, 2010 06:10 AM

                        Two different faces, but in tight places
                        We think and we act as one

                        Mmmmm . . . cinnamony-sugary-buttery goodness! With plenty of milk to wash it down!

                        Of course I have cinnamon sugar leftover, so I'll have to have some more soon.

                        ;D

              2. re: EdwardAdams
                danna Jun 28, 2011 05:29 AM

                did you mash the sugar and cinnamon into the butter and spread it on the bread as a paste before broiling? That's what my Mom taught me and it makes the most divine crunchy crust. Everyone else I know just spread the butter and sprinkled.

                It takes a LOT of butter. Someday, when I'm old and don't care how I look anymore, I'm going to go back to eating that for breakfast ;-)

                1. re: EdwardAdams
                  g
                  gourmaniac Jun 28, 2011 06:17 AM

                  Me too. The book that I took out from the library was called Cooking for Boys (age 7 or so) and my recipe did not involve a broiling step. First real recipe was a blanquette de veau (age 14) and I recall the white sauce turning green from a too early addition of chopped parsley.

                2. JEN10 Feb 4, 2010 05:37 AM

                  I remember watching the eggs scramble and being fasinated. Christmas "ribbon" cookies were a tradition. Watching Grandma makes the dough, roll it out, hand us a piece of rolled out dough, use a rolling cutter to get your strip, pinch to form pockets, form into a rosette, then they were fried. Drizzle honey onto cooled rosettes and sprinkle with powdered sugar. HEAVEN

                  1. bermudagourmetgoddess Feb 4, 2010 07:44 AM

                    Oh My Goodness, I would have to say candied apples with my mom at the young age of 3, I remember clearly because I knocked her backside and hot candy went all over our legs and feet, we were both rushed to the hospital for 2nd and 3rd degree burns and to this day you can still see the scars on both of us, needless to say I have never liked Candied Apples!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess
                      nomadchowwoman Mar 31, 2010 12:16 PM

                      Gosh, BGG, it's admirable that you like to cook at all!

                    2. wekick Feb 4, 2010 11:36 AM

                      I might have made beanie weenies and instant pudding, but the first thing that sticks in my memory,I made by myself at age ten was a red velvet devils-food cake with boiled icing. I looked at it in the cookbook and thought it would be the greatest thing. I dreamed about it. It was a lot of work especially the icing. It was ok but I never made another one.

                      1. j
                        jeanmarieok Feb 4, 2010 11:39 AM

                        Totally on my own, devilled eggs at age 7. Before that, I helped my grandma nearly every Saturday, making homemade bread, pierogis, and a bunch of other Polish treats.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jeanmarieok
                          p
                          poundcake Feb 5, 2010 11:00 AM

                          Devilled eggs for me, too, at 7 or 8. My aunt was staying with us and gave me a lesson. I remember thinking that the shake of paprika as a garnish was very sophisticated. Apple crisp soon followed.

                        2. greygarious Feb 4, 2010 11:44 AM

                          Silver Spaghetti. I was a toddler watching the Christmas tree being decorated. Because Mom always cut up spaghetti for me, I quietly got my blunt scissors and cut the package of icicle tinsel into 3" pieces, trying to be helpful. When she saw the mess and gasped "What are you doing?", I am told that I held up a piece and said "pasketti, Mommy!"

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: greygarious
                            j
                            jvanderh Feb 4, 2010 12:09 PM

                            Ramen, and then scrambled eggs. Not good ones-- overcooked ones.

                          2. Popkin Feb 4, 2010 01:22 PM

                            I think it was oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, grandma's recipe. They never lasted long, so I learned early on how to multiply a recipe.... several times if necessary!

                            Or it might have been whipped cream. We always whipped it to the point of AAAAAlmost butter.

                            Or drop biscuits using baking mix, milk, cheddar, and garlic salt.... I make a more "home-made" version now with flour, baking powder and soda, buttermilk, garlic butter and cheese

                            1. BernalKC Feb 4, 2010 03:08 PM

                              Do Fluffernutters count?

                              Or "brewing" my mom's evening cup of instant coffee? That was part of the "clear the table" chore.

                              1. b
                                brooklynkoshereater Feb 4, 2010 07:15 PM

                                Scrambled eggs.

                                1. Indirect Heat Feb 4, 2010 09:50 PM

                                  Wereneke. Mom wouldn't make it unless we all helped. And it was our favourite. http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2009...

                                  1. k
                                    karykat Feb 5, 2010 10:20 AM

                                    I think it was egg nog from the Betty Crocker book for kids. My Dad and I would share it.

                                    Also cakes from a mix.

                                    1. ChristinaMason Feb 5, 2010 10:29 AM

                                      I had a Fisher Price cookbook for kids, which I loved to read and dream over:
                                      http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Fo...

                                      The first thing I ever cooked on my own was oatmeal in the microwave...in a metal pot. I was about 4 and wanted to bring mom breakfast in bed. Oops. No harm done, fortunately.

                                      The first thing I can remember cooking from a recipe were egg "boats," which were basically deviled eggs with a paper sail stuck in them with a toothpick. Delicious!

                                      1. NellyNel Feb 5, 2010 10:47 AM

                                        Growing up in an Italian American household - absolutely the first thing I learned to cook was the Sunday "gravey".
                                        From a very very early age I was besides my mother...peeling the garlic and squishing the tomatoes up with my hands were my job. If the sauce had meatballs that day - then I would crack the eggs and ad the ingredients to the meat, then squish that up with my hands.
                                        By age 10 or 11, I was making he gravy on my own, as was my best friend in her home.

                                        1. jeniyo Feb 5, 2010 10:57 AM

                                          I think it was noodles, in toasted sesame paste, spoonful of fresh lard, soy sauce and garlic. My grandma fries her own lard... can keeps it in a jar (Chinese butter)... soo good!! haven't had it in years!

                                          I have a little chair in the kitchen, that's where i hang out. Grandma would feed me pieces of braised meat and ask me for my judgment on doneness. She is awesome.

                                          1. buttertart Feb 5, 2010 11:05 AM

                                            I used to bake along with my mother from the time I was about 4 (she would give me a piece of her pie dough to roll out and make a jam pasty, which my great-uncle would gamely eat). The first thing I remember deciding to make was roll-out sugar cookies from a kid's cookbook I loved to read (had thick cardboard and a spiral binding, I think it may have come from Golden Books?) when I was maybe 6. Used too much flour in the rolling out, the cookies were not so hot, and I remember being very disappointed indeed.

                                            1. d
                                              DigitalVelvet Feb 5, 2010 11:08 AM

                                              Definitely eggs. Jumped directly from scrambled to omlettes. Showed an early aptitude, even at that young age. My mom commented that my scrambled eggs came out the way Graham Kerr ("The Galloping Gourmet") said they should... not the way hers did. My first "specialty" was dessert crepes...

                                              1. chefathome Feb 5, 2010 11:32 AM

                                                I "helped" a lot in the kitchen when I was tiny but the first recipe I made on my own from scratch at age 6 was cookies. Then I started making all sorts of cakes and squares and then did lots of savory stuff. Before I knew it I did all the cooking. Mom (as much as I adore her) was and is not a good cook so my passion for cooking almost came necessarily!

                                                1. Will Owen Feb 5, 2010 02:06 PM

                                                  I'm not going to count sandwiches, or even cookies, since anyone who can read can make good cookies from the recipe on the oatmeal box, as long as Mom is there to show you how to really mix stuff properly. But when she taught me how to make bacon and eggs, shortly before I went off on my first Boy Scout Camporee, she taught me how to do it RIGHT - cooking the bacon, removing and draining it, letting the pan cool a bit before adding the eggs (and how to do all THAT), and then how to move the pan off and on the fire to control the temperature, and how to baste the eggs so they didn't have to be turned over. Not only did I make my own eggs successfully, they so impressed everyone that guys from other troops were coming up for the next half-hour or so, asking if I was the kid who could do good eggs... and that was my first experience of cooking for other people!

                                                  1. w
                                                    wineos Feb 5, 2010 02:27 PM

                                                    My sister and I used to make Snickerdoodles from the Betty Crocker Baking Cookbook (title?). The earliest solo food (that i remember) is a grilled cheese sandwich, and I still make them the same way.

                                                    1. Berheenia Feb 5, 2010 02:52 PM

                                                      Frosting. The butter and powdered sugar kind with almond extract and disgusting colors. I would make candies on a plate and serve it at my magic shows.

                                                      1. ennuisans Feb 5, 2010 04:38 PM

                                                        Mine was hot dogs as well, on a fork, roasted over the gas stove burner.

                                                        1. Non Cognomina Feb 5, 2010 11:16 PM

                                                          A mess. And then I cleaned it up. At the end, there were chocolate chip cookies.

                                                          1. g
                                                            givemecarbs Mar 30, 2010 08:46 PM

                                                            My favorite dish growing up was fried tomatoes. I used to pester both my grandmothers and my mom to make them for me each summer. We used to have them for sunday breakfast, yum yum! When the fried tomatoes were all gone I would have a couple of slices of bread with the tomato gravy on them. Fried tomatoes were the only thing I remember eating til the point where I got a tummy ache. One summer sunday I wanted them so bad and my mom didn't feel like making them so she told me to cook them myself if I wanted them that much. So I did, with her supervision of course. When I took my first bite I was in awe. Cooking felt like making magic to me and it still does!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: givemecarbs
                                                              ChristinaMason Apr 3, 2010 03:59 PM

                                                              love it!

                                                              1. re: givemecarbs
                                                                JEN10 Apr 4, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                                I love fried green tomatoes!!! My husband thought I was nuts when I told him what were having. I converted him with his first bite. What GREAT memmories you have to cherish!

                                                              2. s
                                                                Scott D Mar 31, 2010 06:51 AM

                                                                Fried eggs. That would have also been my introduction to the wonders of cast iron cookware. One of the little 6" skillets. Then it was probably the baked "fried" chicken coated in crushed potato chips from the previously mentioned Betty Crocker kids cookbook.

                                                                Later I ventured out on my own with things like a meatloaf type thing stuffed with tater tots that included a little bit of pretty much every spice that was in the kitchen cabinet. Usually when mom wasn't home; my dad was quite the trooper back in those days.

                                                                I've gotten better. :)

                                                                1. chef chicklet Mar 31, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                                  Aside from the tomato aspic we made in Home Ec., the first thing I made on my own that involved a pan a stove, was French Toast. Then came whipped cream, and brownies.

                                                                  1. Aravisea Mar 31, 2010 08:12 AM

                                                                    Another vote for eggs - scrambled first, later on over easy and omelets.

                                                                    I remember the day my dad told me to try cream cheese in an omelet. I never looked back. :)

                                                                    1. j
                                                                      jett1001 Mar 31, 2010 11:58 AM

                                                                      Didn't anyone have an Easy-Bake-Oven? I am old enough to know I had one of the originals, which was actually just a light bulb providing the heat (yes I took it apart after I ran out of cake mixes) ... My 1st Easy-Bake-Oven cake was memorable as it came out with what seemed to be a fried egg at the bottom ... the art of stirring wasn't real clear back then ... went on to greater dishes, but refuse to bake till this day ... I do love all the bakers in my life though ...

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jett1001
                                                                        j
                                                                        julesincoq Mar 31, 2010 12:23 PM

                                                                        Yes!!! My cakes were always very skinny. Apparently when you eat half the batter you don't get as much cake!

                                                                        1. re: julesincoq
                                                                          k
                                                                          karykat Apr 2, 2010 08:18 PM

                                                                          Yes, my mother always wondered what was wrong with my brownies. Why they were so thin. My cakes suffered from the same problem.

                                                                        2. re: jett1001
                                                                          Emme Apr 4, 2010 09:35 AM

                                                                          i did, but i think i only made one or two cakes. i remember one time i made something with a baby sitter and it set off the fire alarm. she freaked out, and i said, "don't worry about it." i proceeded to get a high chair, jump on top, and fan the alarm with a dish towel til it stopped. i don't recall ever eating the cakes i made, the few that came with the toy, and we never ordered more. i didn't have a sweet tooth or much of an appetite at all anyway.

                                                                        3. nomadchowwoman Mar 31, 2010 12:19 PM

                                                                          Does Chef Boyardee pizza (from the box) count? I thought I was quite the cook!
                                                                          Next would be Rice Krispie Treats, for bake sales, and also Forgotten Cookies.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman
                                                                            j
                                                                            julesincoq Mar 31, 2010 12:24 PM

                                                                            Pancakes!!! Every Saturday I'd eat them all day long. I even tried to make one into a pizza by putting tomato paste and cheese on top. I thought I was brilliant!

                                                                          2. a
                                                                            adrienne156 Mar 31, 2010 12:30 PM

                                                                            Yet another scrambled eggs. The summer before I went into the 1st grade, I really, REALLY wanted to cook, but my parents thought I was too young so I would steal eggs from the kitchen and try to "cook" them on the hot pavement outside because I had heard the term "It was so hot, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk". My parents finally figured out what was happening to all of the eggs disappearing and taught me how to do it properly.

                                                                            1. ChefJune Mar 31, 2010 12:38 PM

                                                                              Gravy. I "helped" my mom in the kitchen from the age of 3, when I first cut out holiday cookies. By the time I was 5, she had me wrapped in an apron, standing on my little stool stirring the gravy while she finished the rest of the dinner. Pretty soon, I was assembling the ingredients and making the gravy from scratch, not just stirring it. Probably I was 6? don't really remember the exact timeline. but I remember loving being in charge of the gravy. ;)

                                                                              The first main dish I ever made for the family was Shrimp Wiggle, when I was about 8, but in retrospect, I'm probably most proud of my first Boeuf Bourguignon, which came at 11. That is still just about my favorite thing to make, serve and eat.

                                                                              1. c
                                                                                Cachetes Mar 31, 2010 12:43 PM

                                                                                Christmas cookies, and lots of them, alongside my Mom. On my own? Probably muffins, and I remember an early attempt at soft german pretzels. Carbs, anyone????

                                                                                1. boyzoma Mar 31, 2010 12:51 PM

                                                                                  Tapioca Pudding! My mom taught me how to beat the egg whites and then fold them into the warm pudding (original tapioca - no "instant" stuff for our house). Oh, I thought I had died and gone to heaven - eating it warm. My mom never got upset if I made this when I got home from school.

                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                    boppiecat Mar 31, 2010 01:03 PM

                                                                                    Meatloaf and baked potatoes at eight or nine. From some quaint, little kid cookbook. This was the late fifties. I was tired of my mother's everyday Italian cooking and longed for what all the other kids ate. Good old plain American stuff! I remember it was my parents anniversary and I thought I'd give them a special dinner as a present. Don't think I'd ever tasted meatloaf or even a plain baked potato at that point but I was determined! I have no idea how it all turned out but they were very sweet about it.

                                                                                    1. Crockett67 Mar 31, 2010 05:37 PM

                                                                                      Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. I was 10 or 11. My parents were running late and we had a church potluck later that day. So I just mixed it up and baked it while they were still away. Mom was so proud she bragged to everyone in line. It was like I built Rome.

                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                        Muskrat Mar 31, 2010 05:46 PM

                                                                                        Bless my mother, the first thing I learned to cook from scratch was a chocolate cake. Several techniques involved, lots of ingredients, and I got to lick the bowl. Got me used to (and unafraid of) the kitchen. Must've been no older than 10 or 11.

                                                                                        There was the time I thought green icing would look good, and put a whole lot of food coloring into what would have been a perfectly nice white frosting, but that only happened once!

                                                                                        1. rozz01 Mar 31, 2010 06:05 PM

                                                                                          I think the first thing I made was english muffin cheese pizzas from " The Superfriends Cookbook " that I bought for a quarter at a library tag sale. If I put onions on it, I thought it was gourmet.

                                                                                          1. BobB Apr 2, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                                                            When I was little (6 or 7) my mom found an old cookbook for kids, that my sisters and I came to love - and I do mean old, from around the 1920s or a bit earlier (I'm not THAT old myself!). It was full of illustrations of animated kitchen utensils and appliances showing how to make things - and the appliances were all pre-electric, like a toaster that was actually a kind of bread cage with a handle that you'd hold over the fire. Man, I wish I still had that book, or could find it again!

                                                                                            Anyway, as to the actual cooking - the first thing I remember making from that book was dead simple - cinnamon toast. Make toast, butter it, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mix. I later graduated to eggs of various sorts, then pancakes, and a range of cooked desserts, most (but not all) from box mixes. By the time I was 11 or so I was the official weekend breakfast cook for the house.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: BobB
                                                                                              BobB Apr 2, 2010 12:00 PM

                                                                                              This discussion prompted me to e-mail my sisters about this - and it turns out the book is still around, in my baby (48 year old) sister's possession! It dates from 1912, and is called the Mary Frances Cook Book. Here's a picture of the cover - you can see that toaster on the far right.

                                                                                               
                                                                                              1. re: BobB
                                                                                                nomadchowwoman Apr 2, 2010 02:19 PM

                                                                                                Wow, what a treasure!

                                                                                            2. graffitipassion Apr 2, 2010 01:14 PM

                                                                                              White rice. My dad wouldn't let me help in the kitchen unless I knew how to make cuban style white rice. Then he taught me how to make tomato sauce. After that, I was his sous chef.

                                                                                              1. r
                                                                                                rainey Apr 2, 2010 01:25 PM

                                                                                                I've been doing some kind of cooking for 50 years or so. I always enjoyed it whether it was making my own brekkies or making a cake or cookies with a neighborhood friend or jumping headlong into more sophisticated techniques later when I became chief cook and bottle washer. It was all fun and memorable to me and it all had a lot to do with visiting my elderly relatives in ME who were *fabulous* cooks and never did anything halfway from eschewing running water to drawing ice cold water from a well down the street to growing their own dried beans for baked beans to baking their own bread every other day to pickling their summer produce.

                                                                                                But, as profound as my sense of the importance and satisfaction of cooking from a very early age, I haven't the *foggiest* idea what I did first. Maybe that's because it was such early stuff. I just know by 8 or 9 my neighborhood friend and I were tackling homemade taffy and burnt ourselves so badly handling red hot melted sugar that we lost skin on our palms (can you say "OUCH!"?) and going back for more. ;> Meanwhile, we've been friends for almost 60 years and still connect through our food experiences -- now from separate coasts.

                                                                                                1. a
                                                                                                  armagnac Apr 3, 2010 06:45 AM

                                                                                                  Probably toast - put the bread in the slot, pull down the lever, wait for it to pop up. That's one way a toaster is better than a toaster oven, even a 3-year-old can work it.

                                                                                                  1. bushwickgirl Apr 3, 2010 12:18 PM

                                                                                                    Something in an Easy-Bake oven, when I was five. I don't remember what it was, aside from cake, but it tasted good. Then I graduated to bigger, hotter ovens and never looked back.

                                                                                                    I did make "coffee" for my Mom one morning when I was 8, percolater style, and forgot the water. The coffee pot melted on the stove. After that, I was banned from the kitchen for a few years. It did not stunt my growth, I came back with a vengence, and the "time-out" is still a motivating factor for me to this day.

                                                                                                    1. visciole Apr 3, 2010 12:42 PM

                                                                                                      I LOVE this thread! I can't really remember what the first thing I made myself was, but I, too, have fond memories of sitting on the counter and "helping" my mother to make sugar cookies for Christmas. Still love to bake.

                                                                                                      1. q
                                                                                                        Querencia Apr 3, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                                                                        Scrambled eggs. My mother was reading "Forever Amber" (which in 1943 was very racy) and couldn't put it down so she gasped out instructions between reading passionate passages and told me how to fix my own lunch.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                          buttertart Apr 4, 2010 06:14 AM

                                                                                                          Love this. My mother was big on racy books too - 1960's style Harold Robbins, anyone? I can just imagine this scene.

                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                            nomadchowwoman Apr 6, 2010 06:32 AM

                                                                                                            I guess my mom and some of her friends jumped on the "Forever Amber" bandwagon late--I remember her reading it in the mid-sixties; someone she played cards with ended up naming her daughter Amber a few years later. (Card party food memories--that could be another thread!)

                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman
                                                                                                              buttertart Apr 6, 2010 08:03 AM

                                                                                                              Oh yeah! Card party food memories! Do it!

                                                                                                          2. iluvtennis Apr 4, 2010 06:59 AM

                                                                                                            One of the first things i remember learning to cook for my family was scrambled eggs. When we had breakfast nights, i always got to make the eggs. My mom raved about them every time i made them, and i thought my special touches must have really been making my eggs some kind of delicious! Looking back now, there was obviously nothing special about them, but my mom sure did know how to make me feel good.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: iluvtennis
                                                                                                              mattstolz Nov 15, 2010 05:40 PM

                                                                                                              this was my first thing too! but it was my grandma that raved. every time we visited she insisted i made them haha

                                                                                                            2. Emme Apr 4, 2010 09:40 AM

                                                                                                              my mom didn't really cook at all, and she still doesn't, aside from a few things... brisket, crockpot soups, stuff for her and my stepdad, etc.

                                                                                                              i'm really self-taught, and she doesn't know where i get it from, but anyhoo... i remember making scrambled eggs with her. i hated them, but i never said anything because i liked using the coiled beater.

                                                                                                              on my own, i remember using this Healthy Kids' Cookbook and making Monster Toast (food coloring to make faces on the bread, spread with a little butter, and toast), and Egg Sailboats - basically deviled eggs with a tooth pick and triangle of paper for mast and sail.

                                                                                                              i remember once too when i was a tad bit older, i needed to make something for a class meeting. my mom wanted me to make a boxed brownie with my nanny, but i refused. 'I want to make something real. That's not cooking." and I won that battle. now i'm always asked to bring desserts. for parties, birthdays, events, etc. she'll ask me, then tell me if i don't have time, she'll buy something and it's fine, but she knows i won't go for that.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                dkennedy Nov 15, 2010 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                I don't have any childhood memories of cooking alongside my mom, dad or grandparents. My mom did cook, but it was usually a rotation of the same dishes over and over again. I do recall my Pop pop making M&M cookies and watching him drop them on the cookie sheet. I also remember licking the beaters when my mom would make a cake or mashed potatoes. Some of the memories I have heard recounted above are so beautiful, I hope my children will remember our time in the kitchen as fondly.

                                                                                                                I guess the first thing I ever made on my own was a tomato cheese quiche in my Junior HIgh Home Economics class. I remember this dish because I still have the recipe. In fact, it is still my go to quiche recipe when I want to make a quiche.

                                                                                                              2. Indirect Heat Nov 15, 2010 07:59 PM

                                                                                                                The first think I learned how to cook was wereneke, a traditional Mennonite dish. Mom insisted that we help whenever she made it (it's a pretty labour-intensive dumpling), and we loved to have wereneke, so we were always happy to help.

                                                                                                                http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2009...

                                                                                                                1. MrsJTW Nov 15, 2010 09:08 PM

                                                                                                                  I think that the first thing I made by myself was scrambled eggs when I was 3 when we first got a microwave in the early '80's. We had these neat dishes that were a light brown, maybe made by Corning Ware? There were two tiny ones with clear domed lids and that is what my sister and I used to make our own eggs. And she had to be just a little over a year old. Pre-microwave, I would sit on the counter next to the stove and watch my mom make scrambled eggs in a pot. I liked when they had browned a bit. And I would watch her boil hot dogs. I would "help," but not sure how much of a help I actually was. My mom was disabled though so I did usually help with most things if I could. Other than that, I could make toast and get my own cereal. I also always had to pour milk and juice for my little sister because she was too little to do it without spilling. She dumped an entire glass bottle of Tropicana all over the kitchen floor once while my dad and I were out I remember.

                                                                                                                  1. annietheking Jun 4, 2011 05:19 AM

                                                                                                                    Cake! At first, I'd add maybe 4 tbsp sugar to 12 cupcakes since I had no actual recipe and my mom would stop me from adding any more (it did seem like an awful lot! imagine my surprise that most dozen cupcakes call for 1 cup of sugar), so they turned out a bit tough and dry. I was 8 or 9.

                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                      Surfwench Jun 4, 2011 06:14 AM

                                                                                                                      Does Jiffy-Pop count? Remember shaking that foil pan over the stove for 3-5 minutes? After that eggs, deviled, scrambled, fried. My parents had a special hinged pan to make omelets.

                                                                                                                      1. s
                                                                                                                        S_K Jun 4, 2011 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                        My mom bought pizza dough and had us help her sprinkle on the toppings and showed us how to turn on the oven and put it in. After the first time, she said, "Okay kids, now that you know how, make some for mom tomorrow." That was the first thing we made, but she had us help with peeling vegetables and other prep before too. We always had the task of washing and prepping herbs and vegetables.

                                                                                                                        1. e
                                                                                                                          ellabee Jun 4, 2011 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                          Biscuits. My mother made them often, and when I was six she let me cut them. I can remember the feel of the flimsy little aluminum cutter with a flaking red wooden handle.

                                                                                                                          fter a few years of that, she let me make them completely. The tiring part was cutting in the butter; the handle of the pastry cutter was screwed on to the blade, and well before the desired pebbly stage was reached it would loosen. Shopping for my own pastry cutter in the 1970s, I held out for one with solid construction, though I see the models with screwed-on-handles are still around.

                                                                                                                          I never make biscuits without thinking of my mother -- though it probably helps that I'm making them in the same kitchen in which she taught me.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: ellabee
                                                                                                                            0
                                                                                                                            001mum Jun 27, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                            I have my mum's pastry cutter (she's 93) it has a wooden handle-the green paint has mostly rubbed off,the metal wires are solid and it's "good to go", It's a hand held thing and I love it.
                                                                                                                            She made terrible pastry! lol Her sister (now 92) still is the pie maker in the family.
                                                                                                                            Mum was the cake donut maker (that hot fat scares the breathe from me!)
                                                                                                                            in the donut holes she would hide a piece of date or a cherry

                                                                                                                            What about birthday cakes with a coin wrapped in foil slipped in before baking?
                                                                                                                            what a treat to get 25 cents. I was even happy with a dime (and no one ever swallowed them)

                                                                                                                            Food memories create such a strong emotional reaction.*sometimes good*sometimes not*
                                                                                                                            I'd say worth writing a thesis ...........

                                                                                                                            1. re: 001mum
                                                                                                                              e
                                                                                                                              ellabee Jun 27, 2011 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                              I can see your mum's pastry cutter as if I were there... <g>

                                                                                                                              Envying you those donut holes. Yum.

                                                                                                                              And your many years of pastry-making ahead!

                                                                                                                          2. todao Jun 4, 2011 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                            Corn flake cookies .....

                                                                                                                            1. j
                                                                                                                              jamieeats Jun 4, 2011 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                              i'm sure there were things i learned previously, but the first "meal" that i learned how to make for myself and my boyfriend was cheeseburgers. i used to be so proud of my ability to put the patties on the foreman grill, toast the buns, and then add the cheese at just the right time. luckily i have since made far advancements in my cooking skills!

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: jamieeats
                                                                                                                                0
                                                                                                                                001mum Jun 24, 2011 08:49 PM

                                                                                                                                sunnyside up eggs

                                                                                                                                then baking one egg or a two egg cake for my dad
                                                                                                                                bless him
                                                                                                                                he always ate my cakes with the horrible frosting

                                                                                                                              2. g
                                                                                                                                gilintx Jun 25, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                I was shooed out of the kitchen as a kid. I was not allowed to make so much as a sandwich, for fear I would make a mess. I think the first thing I ever made was rice crispy treats at about the age of 8.

                                                                                                                                1. r
                                                                                                                                  rtms Jun 25, 2011 08:28 PM

                                                                                                                                  I remember baking chocolate brownies because a boy I liked told me that he liked brownies.... Alas, it was not meant to be.

                                                                                                                                  1. srsone Jun 25, 2011 08:34 PM

                                                                                                                                    the first thing i remember heating up was mac and cheese...

                                                                                                                                    the first thing i made from scratch was chocolate chip cookies..had it down to where i could do it from memory

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: srsone
                                                                                                                                      srsone Jun 26, 2011 11:21 AM

                                                                                                                                      i was also a "latchkey divorced parents kid"so pretty soon i was cooking more and more...which i think is where i started liking cooking..
                                                                                                                                      dont remember mom teaching me specifics...do remember helping out before the D tho...

                                                                                                                                    2. MandalayVA Jun 25, 2011 08:54 PM

                                                                                                                                      Scrambled eggs when I was five. I had to stand on a chair in front of the stove to see into the pan.

                                                                                                                                      1. goodhealthgourmet Jun 25, 2011 09:48 PM

                                                                                                                                        there are so many simple preparations i recall assembling or heating at a young age - if it could be done in the toaster oven or a small pot on the stove i was set. Jell-o, chocolate pudding, broiled grapefruit, slice & bake cookies, english muffin pizzas, baked potatoes, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Pop-Tarts, Spaghetti-o's, rice krispy treats, Easy-Bake cakes, cinnamon toast, deviled egg sailboats (@Emme, we must have had the same cookbook!).

                                                                                                                                        i was definitely very young when i first started helping mom make matzo balls and stuffed cabbage, but i'll have to ask her the exact age because i haven't a clue...all the memories are just sort of lumped into "childhood."

                                                                                                                                        and i'm pretty sure i brought home some awful recipes from 6th grade Home Ec class and subjected my poor family to eating them.

                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                          Emme Jun 26, 2011 04:55 PM

                                                                                                                                          lol... ah but did your cookbook have a "recipe" for Monster Toast? ie put food coloring onto toast in monster faces and then toast? "recipe?" ...sure.
                                                                                                                                          ...did your easy bake actually cook? i don't have a recollection of ever actually eating something out of there...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Jun 26, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                            does the title "Kinder Krunchies" ring a bell?

                                                                                                                                            and yes, my Easy Bake Oven did actually bake...but only the packaged mixes that came with it, and you had to be VERY patient :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                              Emme Jun 27, 2011 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                              seriously?! that was yours as well? ...i'm gonna have to ransack my mother's house to see if i can find that...
                                                                                                                                              i later moved on to tattering up other cookbooks that she never used, but that was my first... i think i also had a Better Homes & Gardens Junior cookbook that had a red gingham cover... but i'm not sure if that was the brand/name.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Jun 27, 2011 03:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                i *knew* we must have had the same one :) my other favorite recipe from it was the Peanut Butter Balls.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                  GraceW Jun 27, 2011 03:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Are these the peanut butter balls with the paraffin wax inside? My grandma always made them for Christmas, but she's older now and my grandparents forgot. (Off the record, the 'kids' (20s and 30s) in my family typically raid them at midnight...Nothing to raid!) I guess I will have to make them from now on! So good.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GraceW
                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet Jun 27, 2011 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                    no wax. just PB, powdered milk, honey & raisins...and optional shredded coconut for the exterior, but i hated coconut back then.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraceW
                                                                                                                                                      shecrab Jun 27, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Some have a mashed potato base, or powdered milk

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                      shecrab Jun 27, 2011 05:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I made those for my little ones! PB, honey, powdered milk. I dipped half in melted chocolate chips and called them "Buckeye Balls"

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                        Emme Jun 27, 2011 08:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                        sisters from another mister...

                                                                                                                                                        never made those PB balls. i didn't have much of a sweet tooth as kid, nor did i like coconut. to boot, we would never have had powdered milk in the house.

                                                                                                                                                        i really am going to go look for the book at my mom's house. i can't remember much else. i always looked at the fruit salad "recipe," which was basically combine fruit (and maybe add a little lemon juice and honey? didn't like honey though...). i always wanted to make hard tack, but either we didn't have the ingredients, or i wouldn't have been allowed, or both. and i don't remember if i did or just wanted to make initial crackers. the other things i remember were juice jumble, applesauce, granola (maybe?)... i can't wait to find it :)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Jun 27, 2011 08:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                          we didn't have powdered milk either - i made my mother buy it just for those PB balls :) and i don't know that i actually even liked eating them - save for the occasional chocolate cookie, i was perfectly happy with an apple while everyone else noshed on sweets...i think i just wanted to make them because rolling them between my hands was fun. i was a very tactile kid.

                                                                                                                                                          oh, it was Good Granola...and don't forget Delicious Dip! you have to let me know if you find the book at your mom's house. mine is long gone - i just looked it up and it's still in print!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                            Emme Jun 28, 2011 06:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                            ha, i felt the same about Monster Toast. i didn't like bread all that much. (hated sandwiches, still do, even though i can't eat em anyway). i especially didn't like toasted bread, but i did like me that food coloring. truth be told, i think i only made Monster Toast once on my own, then a couple of times after sleepovers.

                                                                                                                                                            will look this weekend... stay tuned :)

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                      i
                                                                                                                                                      Isolda Jun 27, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I am embarrassed to say that I used to make miniature cake mixes for my daughter's Easy Bake because I didn't want her to eat the horrible chemical mixes. (They are worse than ordinary box mixes.) It took about 15 minutes to bake in those tiny little pans, but I am still impressed that you can bake a cake using a 75 watt bulb.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Jun 27, 2011 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                        embarrassed? you should be PROUD of it! i wish *more* parents were willing to put in a little extra effort to make their kids healthful substitutes for that processed crap - it would make my job much easier ;)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                          Emme Jun 27, 2011 08:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                          would you mind sharing proportions? i'd love to try again if i find a cheap one on eBay...

                                                                                                                                                  2. m
                                                                                                                                                    Matahari22 Jun 27, 2011 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Well, as far as cooking something on my own, it would be eggs when I was 10 or 11. Making a toad in the hole. You cut a round circle out of the bread, and then fry the egg in it. I started cooking with regularity at 12, little things that I had always ate while growing up.. The first dish I ever mastered from a cook book was Beef Stroganoff. From a Good Housekeeping Book. I was 13.

                                                                                                                                                    1. shecrab Jun 27, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                      When I was 7 Katherine Hepburn's favorite brownie recipe was published in Mother's Ladies Home Journal. Every faucet handle and doorknob was coated in chocolate and sugar crunched underfoot and in my sheets until I perfected them.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shecrab
                                                                                                                                                        SIMIHOUND Jun 27, 2011 06:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                        It was fried eggs and omelets. I remember Mom buying me an omelet making device and teaching me how to use it.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shecrab
                                                                                                                                                          mamachef Jun 27, 2011 07:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I adore that recipe!!
                                                                                                                                                          My first foray into what I call "food combining" (because it's not a recipe proper) was just drained tuna (oil-packed something...the mermaid on it wore a yellow crown that I liked, I remember that...) mashed and mixed with mayo for sandwiches.
                                                                                                                                                          My first foray into actual cooking was ridiculous. My mother the Hippie (aka the uncook) said, "groovy," and went off to an art festival dangling her bangles when I told her I wanted to learn to bake bread, so I got busy: mixed up the ingredients indicated and put it in a bowl to rise happily in the center of my folks' awesome old Merritt and O'Keefe oven. Well, I learned two things about breadmaking that day: overproofed dough is RUINED, and Tupperware is not the thing to put bread to rise in. It didn't exactly melt, 'cause it kept it's shape (it was the lettuce-keeper that came with the core..) but the second I touched it it collapsed. Pretty weird. None of it wrecked my interest in cooking though; when mom came home, she said, "groovy" again and asked the housekeeper to a. clean up the mess and b. teach me to make bread.

                                                                                                                                                        2. danna Jun 28, 2011 05:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Cake. Pound cake, chocolate layer cake, coconut cake, german chocolate cake, strawberry cake, angel food cake, you name it. From as early as i could see over the counter. In fact, when I was 7 my Mom remodled her kitchen and made a 2 foot section that was 4 inches lower than regular height. She put the stand mixer on it for me. (actually, if you're short, that's easier anyway we discovered; I built the same lowered section into my child-free kitchen)

                                                                                                                                                          I never had any interest in making real food although Mamma tried to teach me. It was not until I began dating my too-poor-to-eat-out-much husband-to-be , that I went to the library , got cookbooks , and learned to cook a meal.

                                                                                                                                                          1. DoobieWah Jun 28, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Aside from peanut butter sandwiches and the like, (including a recipe for tuna fish salad which I still use today, forty years later), was my mom's meat sauce for spaghetti.

                                                                                                                                                            She was a single working mom and I was the oldest of three kids. When I was about thirteen, we started staying at home after school by ourselves and occasionally I'd make her spaghetti sauce. Ground meat, a can of Rotel tomatoes, onions, garlic and Italian seasonings. Sometimes mushrooms.

                                                                                                                                                            I still make that today as well.

                                                                                                                                                            1. ROCKLES Jun 28, 2011 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Kraft Macaroni and cheese...then I started experimenting with different additives. I believe I was about 6 or 7 yrs old at the time. I used to love to make "dinner' for my mother. Does bring back a lot of memories!!

                                                                                                                                                              1. g
                                                                                                                                                                Grapefloat Jul 5, 2011 09:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Christmas cookies, with my oma. She used to make the best "Vanilla Kipfeln" and a sugar cookies dough. She'd roll out the dough for us and let me and my sisters decorate them with sprinkles and chocolate chips. Then, she'd take them and hide the lot, doling them out sloooowly over the entire holidays. Good thing, too, or we would've probably gorged on them and grown sick of them. This way, we happily munched our way through the month of December.

                                                                                                                                                                The first meal I ever prepared for my mother and father on my own was tuna noodle casserole. I was around 14 or 15, I supppose. I remember feeling really proud, but I also remember the pained look on my father's face. He was used to better, as my mother was a fabulous cook.

                                                                                                                                                                I remember mixing up a lot of Snackin' Cakes when I was younger, but the first real dessert I made from scratch on my own was grasshopper pie. Unfortunately, when the recipe called for essence of rum, and I learned we didn't have any, my oma suggested I substitute real rum...which would've worked if I'd read the recipe all the way through first and not gotten mixed up. Somehow, I ended up putting a lot more rum in than required and ended up with what I called: booze pie. I tasted of nothing but alcohol to me, and to this day, even as an adult, I don't drink. So, maybe it scarred me, who knows. In any case, it gelled just fine, and my oma loved it. Years later, she would fondly recall my booze pie mishap and say she wished I'd made note of my mistake so she could duplicate it.

                                                                                                                                                                I guess following recipes properly is not a strength in my family because my eldest sister once made a Snackin' Cake and accidentally mixed up the quantities of water and vinegar. Needless to say, it was inedible. Yuck!

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