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First cooking attempt - success or failure?

What was your first cooking attempt? And was it deliciously successful or an utter failure?

My first attempt to cook was when I was 5 yrs old. I had recently heard about rice pudding and while familiar with rice in it's usual steamed form, I was immediately enchanted with the idea that you could turn rice into a dessert! Nevermind that I used the wrong type of rice, what I didn't realize was my mother who only knew limited English back then, had re-purposed the sugar canister to hold salt (with the word written in Korean on a piece of tape).

You can imagine the first mouthful I had DID NOT taste good. Being a kid, I simply figured it needed more sugar. So I kept going back to the "sugar" canister and adding more "sugar". After repeatedly adding and tasting 4 times (because this was suppose to be a dessert so BY GOD it must taste good at some point!), I grew increasingly baffled as to why the dessert just kept tasting worse and worse and finally.. reluctantly.... threw the entire batch away.

Never underestimate what a kid will go through in order to eat something sweet.

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  1. I don't remember the first time I cooked anything at all, but I do remember making pie crust from scratch when I was 10 and then making following a few of Julia Child's recipes religiously when I was 11. They were all successes--at least according to my family's and my own evaluation!

    I've done tons of experimenting through the years and very, very rarely could call anything a complete fail. Most often my problems come with presentation--my stuff rarely looks as good as the picture, but usually tastes fine (probably because I taste a lot along the way).

    1. I learned to cook at my grandmother's elbow, so my first effort was probably something I made with her help (or at least supervision!). I honestly don't remember a time when I *didn't* have a spoon in my hand. If she was there, I guarantee that whatever I made was not a failure.

      I'm with Transplant_DK-- I've made a lot of things that weren't very pretty, but they tasted okay...and I've made some things that were clunkers, but they were edible enough that we didn't throw it out -- just ate it and threw the recipe away.

      1. What a great story, SeoulQueen!! (just by the by: your screen name is also the name of some local ladies who provision marvelous Kalbi, etc......my favorite go-to for Korean bbq.)
        First foray was quite.......unsuccessful, and luckily didn't scar me permananently towards the cooking and baking of it all. I decided I would make bread. The dough was, I think, pretty much okay. At least, I did what the recipe told me to do.
        But when I had to let the dough rise, it didn't specify what kind of bowl. And I'm thinking, that pilot light isn't REAL heat, right?
        So. Into the Tupperware old green lettuce keeper it went, minus the core of that wonderful kitchen product. (Does anyone still have their old core piece? Or have they smartly built it in now?) Smartly covered with the cleanest of dishtowels.
        Cut to 45 minutes later, when a quick check revealed that a pilot light DOES generate enough heat not only to make dough rise, but to melt green Tupperware in interestingly bendy ways, all over that very riz dough. It was food as modern art. It didn't seem like it would be edible so I:
        Threw the entire effort away, and cleaned up the kitchen which was a major part of the deal in the first place, and didn't bake bread for a very long time.
        But I never did suchlike again. And now I turn out a pretty mean, at least very edible, loaf every few days.

        1. Chicken adobo (a Filipino braised chicken dish) fed to my-then "boyfriend" when I was 17. Taste was good but it was under done inside. He ate it anyway. :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: letsindulge

            My SO and I have been together five years. I cooked for him about a week into our dating. I had only been on my own about 3 months and was a little hit or miss on certain things. I decided to make chicken scampi. It end up horribly dry and overbooked. He ate it but I have never made it since and he still brings it up as one if the worst things 8've ever made technique wise. At the time I was just happy the chicken was cooked through but now I remember it being very very dry.

          2. I don't remember how old I was, but I'm guessing around 9 or 10, and I decided to cook breakfast in bed for my parents for mother's day, on my own. I decided to make biscuits and gravy, since we had a can of pop-and-bake biscuits in the fridge.

            As far as the gravy went, I figured I didn't need a recipe, since I'd watched my dad make sausage gravy in the past. The concoction probably started out OK, with sausage, flour, and milk, but then I figured that since I had seen my dad glaze ham with orange juice and coke, and since ham glaze was sort of like gravy, adding a can of frozen concentrated OJ and a can of Coke could only make it better. Predictably, it didn't, and the resulting concoction was so thick, lumpy, and off-putting that even the dog refused to eat it, a fact that my sisters never failed to remind me of any time I decided to try to cook something again for the next several years.

            Fast forward a year or so and I got the idea to make beer and cheese soup. The only problem was that I had no access to beer. No problem I thought, as I'd read something somewhere that beer was made from malted barley and hops, which were apparently the buds of some green grassy bitter type of plant. We had oatmeal, which seemed close enough to malted barley to me, and out in the yard there were a variety of grassy bitter smelling plants with buds growing on them, so I picked a few handfulls, threw them into a pot with the oatmeal and a lot of water and set to boiling it to make the beer which I could use to make the soup. The smell released from boiling whatever I had picked in the yard was so foul that I couldn't even stay in the kitchen, and the end result didn't look or smell anything like beer, so I wisely decided to abandon the beer and cheese soup endeavour (and of course when my parents got home from work I had some explaining to do about why there was a pot of burned oatmeal mixed with weeds in the sink).

            3 Replies
            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

              LOL...at least you weren't afraid to try...

              1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                Tute, that's great. I love you making "substitutions" based on product starting-point ingredients!! Cheese soup, loaded with beery-tasting grass!! AAAAAAAAAAhahahahahaha!

                1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                  Oh my gosh, that beer and cheese soup story is a classic! What an adventurous young soul you were!

                2. I made brownies from a mix when I was probably 10 and forgot to turn on the oven. I could not figure out why they weren't baking.

                  My mom was way too control-freakish to let me learn to cook as a kid and perhaps spilling something in her kitchen, although she herself was a good cook--we never ate crap at our house. So I had to teach myself to cook after I moved out of the dorms in college.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: IndyGirl

                    Although I can't remember the first thing I made (8 or 9 yrs of age), I do remember cooking a lot of grilled cheese for the family. And ALWAYS burning the first one..lol. To this day I always set the timer when I put one on. Something always distracts me when I make them.

                    But, on the topic of brownies. My sister didn't dabble in the art until well into her teens and I remember she had asked me if this square block of margarine was 1/2 or 1/4 of a cup. I told her 1/4....OOPS!! She made the brownies with way to much margarine and they came out so greasy and slimy that we wouldn't touch them. Did we throw them out? Nope. Good old Dad ate them. The man would eat anything and wasted nothing. (One time he cooked a batch of choke cherry jam. He burnt the batch and refused to throw it out. Spent the next few months polishing off all the jars. Another time, he burnt the milk to corn chowder. We spit it out, he ate the whole thing..lol. Crazy old man. Hmm, or should I say frugal? >.<)

                  2. I cannot remember any early disasters which surely means 1) my mother was closely supervising or 2) I was following a recipe precisely.

                    I do remember being given the job of cooking dinner for the family a few nights a week when my mom went back to work. I was probably 13 at the time. There was lots of hamburger helper types of meals as I recall, so I definitely wouldn't claim success, but the family ate the meals and no one got sick.