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Do you remember what the first dish you prepared from a recipe was?

A friend's daughter asked me for a foolproof recipe as she's taken an interest in cooking and her Mom doesn't cook. I gave her a few and then she asked me what the first dish I made from a recipe was.

I didn't even have to think about it as it was a defining moment for me (I was 7 years old)...it was a recipe from the back of a Jello box where you stirred in fruit and topped with Cool Whip. Ok, definitely not rocket science but to think I was able to make something my family hadn't eaten before was so exciting for me. Prior to that I'd made bacon and eggs, toast and of course sandwiches. No recipes required!!

What about you? Do you remember the first dish you prepared from a recipe?

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  1. They were called English Toffee bars.. I can't remember anything else about them! But my brother and I made them when our mother was out of town. I know that I was about 8 or 9..

    5 Replies
    1. re: rstuart

      rstaurt, were the English toffee bars covered entirely in chocolate?

      1. re: HillJ

        The top was. It was more of a square/slice.. I think that it was from one of the Susan Mendelson cookbooks, which my mother still has her basement. I started "helping" her bake probably when I was around 4 or so.. mixing and measuring ingredient for Marcia's cookies from Fanny Farmer (I think). And all of the Christmas cookies starting from when I was very little.. I was allowed to place the sliced maraschino cherries on the shortbread!

        1. re: rstuart

          What a nice memory, rs. Christmas cooking baking was a big deal in my home but I don't have any memory of doing anything in the kitchen until I hit elementary school. You got an early start!!

          1. re: HillJ

            I always loved baking, as does my mother. I am sure that I got in the way, but my mother was very patient with me!

            1. re: rstuart

              Me too. I love how it makes the whole house smell good.

    2. My Dad was the weekend breakfast guy. Somewhere around my 7th year he started to let me help. I'd break two dozen eggs, whip in milk, s&p and a touch of brandy. Those 24 eggs made 2 batches of super plain but very aromatic omelettes to feed all six of us. I still own the step stool I stood on to break those eggs. We ate this meal nearly every Sunday as a family along with roasted potatoes & onions and sliced fruit (usually oranges and bananas). Then we'd all get in the wagon and head out to the bridal factory to check on the next week of orders.

      First dish: Pop's omelette.

      1. Shortbread cookies with my grandmother back when I was six or seven.

        1. French toast. I was in 3rd or 4th grade.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kelli2006

            mine was in the breakfasts realm too I think, and this thread reminded me to post the recipe to the pancake thread:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/638792

            I think the recipe is otherwise lost to the seas of time. I'm not sure how old I was when I started making that, but I was pretty young. And I just made them today for my 17month old daughter!

            The other recipe that was maybe my first was one that I brought home from kindergarten around thanksgiving "Grandmother's Cranberry Bread". I still make it every thanksgiving and it's always a hit. Very orange-y

          2. Probably brownies. A stick of butter, a couple squares of baking chocolate, sugar, flour, two eggs... one pot and into a pan to bake.

            1. That would have been 7th grade Home Ec, either plain muffins or tuna noodle casserole. I don't remember which one came first. Prior to that, about all I was entrusted with at home was eggs, toast, jello, and Whip 'n Chill, and heating up baked beans, with a frankfurter sliced into them, or canned ravioli.

              4 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                7th grade home ec! I wonder if they even have that any more? We made French toast the first class..

                1. re: rstuart

                  Our first recipe in Home Ec was what came to be called snickerdoodles. It's also the first time I remember being knocked out by the fragrances of vanilla extract and cinnamon...home ec! 4th grade and home ec was demonstrated by our teacher in the back of the classroom every Wed (we didn't bring lunch) not a separate classroom.

                2. re: greygarious

                  As best I recall, Home Ec (8th grade) was the first time I cooked from a written recipe. I had cooked before, but under my mother's instruction, not from a written recipe. I believe that our first cooking class in Home Ec involved making biscuits and muffins.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    7th grade home ec and it was potato soup. I remember it so well, because we were supposed to peel potatoes for another dish and left way too much potato in the garbage bowl for Miss Hagar's sake. She called my class back when we were in study period and showed us how to make soup from all the waste on our peels. (It would seem that she skipped the lesson on peeling and assumed we all knew how). : ) It was a good lesson in "waste not, want not" according to her. She was actually very sweet in her scolding though....
                    Loved that class and her!

                    www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                  2. Around 8 or 9 years old. It was the Chef Boyardee pizza that came in a box. You had to make the dough from the packet they gave you, add the sauce and your own cheese.

                    1. Oatmeal cookies from the recipe on the side of the Quaker Oatmeal box. I was about 10, and we were having a family gathering, and I asked my grandmother for her recipe. No secret, she said, it's right there... so the next morning I got up early and mixed them up. (I had just learned to use the oven.)

                      1. This was my first cookbook http://www.amazon.com/My-First-Cookbo.... I think the pancakes were the first recipe I tried. My parents still have it in a drawer in the kitchen.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          This was mine -- the original, not the reporduction!

                          http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Crockers-...

                          My first recipe, though, was making a pie with my grandma - I'm pretty sure she never wrote down the recipe. She helped me make it and I wrote it down as we went.

                          1. re: DebinIndiana

                            That was mine too! And the first recipe I ever followed was for the Zoo Cake which I made for a surprise birthday cake for my dad when I was seven. Lemon cake made according to the instructions on the Betty Crocker box, chocolate frosting from the Betty Crocker mix, animal crackers right out of the box. My parents were shocked that I was able to follow the instructions - but they didn't realize how obsessed I had become with all those cakes (Drum Cake! Clown Cupcakes!) in the Boys and Girls' cookbook. I'd been reading that Zoo Cake recipe over and over for months at that point!

                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                              Also worth noting that this supremely corporate American cookbook was aimed equally toward girls AND boys - and published in 1957, six years before The Feminine Mystique. How Americans do tend to underestimate their own sophistication.

                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                I remember the Zoo Cake -- I can picture it even now. I made a Drum Cake for my brother, too. Do you remember a salad made with canned pears and cottage cheese that looked like a rabbit -- I thought that was great!

                                I wonder if that cookbook is up in my mom's attic?

                                1. re: DebinIndiana

                                  we made that rabbit salad in home economics, middle school.

                                  photo credit: http://thimbleanna.com/blog/?p=461

                                  ~~~~~
                                  my mom always loved to make a pear salad with a pear half cup up, filled with cottage cheese and shredded cheddar cheese on top, served all atop a leaf of iceberg lettuce. very old fashioned, and often seen on cafeteria lines. ;-) (at least in the south).

                                   
                                2. re: ratgirlagogo

                                  The clown cupcakes were adorable too -- I channeled them for one of my kids' birthday parties years later.

                            2. 1) open can of Campbell's tomato soup
                              2) combine in pan with 1 can milk, heat
                              3) pour 1 tsp. mixture over sautéed foie gras and roasted pork belly
                              4) I just made up #3, but 1&2 were real at about age 9.

                              1. I baked since I was a kid, but for an actual savory meal, this is one of the first I made from scratch, from a recipe.... in my mid 20s LOL! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

                                Before that it was stuff like Hamburger Helper or frozen foods or eating out. In high school I would make stuff like cheese enchiladas, but that didn't require a recipe since I used canned sauce.

                                1. Since forever i was helping mom in the kitchen- measuring stuff or helping mix. I distinctly remember reading to her the toll house cookie recipe, we made those once a month or so.

                                  I'm fairly certain the first "recipe" i made i was five or six. Guacamole! We always made it with just a glob of salsa, juice of a lime and some salt all mashed together with a fork. I grew up in california so avocados were always in the house.

                                  1. Lemon meringue pie when I was 11. I made it for my dad. I used a hand held egg beater for my meringue.

                                    1. I am sure there were previous ones, but the first recipe I remember was a green chile, hamburger and egg casserole/fritatta thing that my grandmother made. Amazingly - grandma was born in 1913, and had a Masters degree in Home Economics. She was a good cook, but of the hygenic several can American Veveeta variety. However, she made this dish once when I was visiting in the summer in the 70s, and I loved it, and asked for the recipe. She mailed it to my mother, and I made it probably twice a month beginning in 7th grade (I helped cook dinner pretty often, Mom worked and didn't get home til 7). I still make it, and still have Grandma's handwritten recipe. though now I use hot hatch green chiles and not the very mild ones that were called for.

                                      1. Chicken Cacciatore. Seventeen Magazine used to have a "Now You're Cooking" column; it came from there. I was probably 10 or 11.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: small h

                                          The first complete dinner that I cooked for my family was from "Seventeen Now You're Cooking". It was London Broil and tomatoes topped with breadcrumbs. I made many meals from this column when I was a young teen.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            When I was young I had zero interest in cooking. Probably because my mother had me help her make my birthday cake when I was about 4 or 5. (of all things, harrumph) As I was stirring the batter all of a sudden the bowl slipped off the counter onto the floor. Kitchen banishment ensued.

                                            But I do remember making yeasted dinner rolls for a dinner party she was having. That must have been when I was 10 or 11. The recipe came from Seventeen Magazine. Mum was a bit perturbed with me because I had commandeered the downstairs Summer kitchen so she had to use the kitchen upstairs which meant everything had to be carried down. The rolls were unaccountably and quite surprisingly extremely successful, much to mother's and my chagrin.

                                          2. A chocolate cake with fudge frosting from my mother's Fannie Farmer cookbook. I was a junior Girl Scout, so probably around 9 years old. One of the requirements for earning a cooking badge was to make a cake from a mix, but overachiever that I was even at that age, I wanted to do it all from scratch.

                                            1. Rich Sugar Cookies at age 10. Still a favorite in our family.

                                              1. Learned most kitchen/cookiing skills from my grandmother and Dad... neither much of a "recipe" person. Learned that veggie/beef, split pea, and navy bean soups were pretty much DUMP recipes. Had some basics like carrot/onion/celery & meat/bones, but after that any thing goes.

                                                1. I think mine was either a vanilla pound cake or a sugar cookie that I modified right off the bat and added almond extract too. (Never left a recipe alone since)

                                                  I watched my mom bake for bakeries but then my grandma taught me to bake and used to enter the country fair every fall and won money and trophies. A extra motivator. I still use her sifter and have that recipe book.

                                                  1. Kool aid. I don't know how old I was but I remember barely being able to hoist the full jug. I felt like I was lifing a car. Jello soon followed as soon as I was allowed to use a kettle. I must have been about 4.

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: jammy

                                                      Did you have one of those Kool-aid pitchers with the character face on the front?

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        I never had the iconic pitcher, but I did manage to score cups for my kids from a promo they had years ago.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          EXACTLY the first thing that came to mind when I read this as well HillJ...I dreamt of owning that pitcher!!!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            Right! Those pitchers were genius! jammy, I remember those cups too.

                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                              And smashing right through a brick wall with it.

                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                              Oh, my gosh! I just had a flashback to the pitcher we had for this and managed to find a photo of it:

                                                              http://www.tk409.com/images/pitcher.jpg

                                                              1. re: jammy

                                                                Oh my, we had one of those pitchers too but it was green!

                                                                  1. re: suzigirl

                                                                    I am very jealous.. we never had Kool-Aid at home (or Tang, which I also coveted as a child) on the grounds that it was waste of money, since water is free.

                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                      How about Strawberry Quik or Carnation Instant Breakfast?

                                                                      They were made with milk :)

                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                        You know, I totally loved those as a kid. I'd have Instant Breakfast as the drink along with my full breakfast. Fun times.

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          Hope.. neither of those either. I think that we did get chocolate Quik though on occasion? Milk and water were the acceptable options.. and OJ, I think.

                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                            My Mother couldn't get us to drink milk and I'll be honest with you water as a beverage either came out of the garden hose in the summer or to rinse my teeth after brushing. Water bottles, water refill holders and water as THE beverage is a concept that I didn't embrace until probably 10 years ago as a result of exercising.

                                                                            Back to Mom...she wanted her kids to drink milk. None of us liked it as a beverage. So cold cereal, hot cereal, Quik, Carnation, etc. were a staple in the pantry. We had Tang, Kool-Aid and fruit juice too but milk had to be doctored up in some fashion.

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              We drank enormous amount of milk (fortunately for my mother). Don't drink it now (now it's water/coffee/tea), so I hope that my bones were built up then!

                                                                1. re: jammy

                                                                  I'd forgotten Kool aid. I was making it in the summer practically every day. Even then I was suspicious of all that sugar (2 C, I think) the back of the packets called for. I am sure I shorted the sugar, something I've continued to do all my life.

                                                                  I was in the 5th grade, maybe?

                                                                2. I was making egg salad, boiling and frying eggs before I every used a recipe. My first recipe was either jello, or cookies. Probably cookies.

                                                                  1. Toad in a hole from the Brand Name Cookbook in 1982. I was 11. It was a pancake batter poured over sausage links fried in a cast iron pan and arranged in a wagon wheel spoke and covered in batter and baked. Little bits of sausage poked through the batter. Served with powdered sugar, butter and syrup. I was so proud.

                                                                    1. i was a self-starting baker - can't remember the first thing i BAKED... but i really remember the first thing i cooked:

                                                                      my mother was so angry with me one day (she never got angry with me...) for some reason she thought that, at the age of 13, i was well beyond the age where i could contribute toward cooking. pretty sure she was just tired of it... anyway, she demanded that i make a complete dinner one night. i was allowed to choose from ANY of her more than 500 (yes, really) cookbooks. I chose something i thought i could handle - it was chicken thighs wrapped in bacon and baked. not difficult, but, by the time we were done my mother was exhausted... she never asked me to cook dinner again.

                                                                      also, after i grew up, she always seemed to be willing to eat my cakes.. but she never seemed too anxious to join us for an actual dinner...hmmmmm....suspicious??

                                                                      1. Cheeseballs from the Scholastic Book Club's PEANUTS BROWN BAG COOKBOOK, which featured Charles Schulz characters. This probably would have been third grade or fourth grade? I still remember the cheese balls fondly. It was basically butter, a little flour, and shredded cheese, baked. It was like magic. So simple, and they'd turn out poofy and flaky and chewy cheey. To this day, I am kind of a cruddy baker, but somehow these always worked out well!

                                                                        1. Biscuits from the Joy of Cooking (1953 version). I was eight or so, had watched my mother do it dozens of times, and had helped roll and cut out the biscuits before. But that was my first time measuring out all the ingredients, cutting in the butter, combining the liquid and dry, and completely rolling and cutting myself.

                                                                          It was many decades before I made them again, oddly.

                                                                          1. I am 43 years old and have never cooked anything from a recipe. Do I look them up for ideas, yes, but follow to the "T" never. I will preview the general concept of the ingredients and method, then improvise from there.

                                                                            1. from a recipe? i think the first few things i vividly remember from recipes were monster toast (with food coloring to make faces on the bread -- though i didn't actually care for toast… just liked to make the faces), egg sailboats (deviled eggs just with mayo and salt and a little paprika to finish, then topped with a paper triangle sail taped to a toothpick), and cornflake chicken.

                                                                              non recipe? i remember making scrambled eggs with my mother from the time i was under 5. again, didn't like them, but liked that it was something i could do with her...

                                                                              1. In the 1950s & 60s the supermarkets often featured sets of items like dinnerware that were sold serially, with one piece of the set featured each week. My mother had bought a set of cookbooks this way. Each week the store featured a different paperbound section of the cookbooks that fit into a special size 3 ring binder. I was 11 or 12 and until then most of my cooking experience was from using pre-packaged mixes like for cakes.

                                                                                I spotted a recipe that sounded good so my mother said she would buy the ingredients if I wanted to try making it. It called for Camp's frozen veal steaks which were oval shaped, ground veal patties with a big pat of butter on top, They came in pairs and were packaged in cellophane wrap. The other ingredients were sliced onions and bell peppers, Campbell's mushroom soup, white wine and a few flavorings and spices. It was an easy recipe and, except for my dad, the rest of us liked it. My dad liked his food plain without any sauces or special preparations. I made the same dish frequently after that.

                                                                                1. I think it was something like French Toast when I was 8 or 9. My grandparents gave me a kid's cookbook and I tried many recipes from that book. I even tried making a souffle, but it fell. I have yet to have attempted another souffle.

                                                                                  1. Pancakes! It was a recipe from a book I took out from our elementary school library - the title was something like "Kids Can Cook". I used to make it every Saturday. I still remember a few times my poor family would find flour lumps in their pancakes.

                                                                                    1. Duck a la orange & baked Alaska for my dads birthday when I was ten.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                        Precocious for 10! As a camp counselor I had 10 year olds, half of whom couldn't make a baloney sandwich.

                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                          ;-) Well, Mom helped, but I've been cooking seriously basically ever since.

                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                            You have earned the CH merit badge, when it exists..:)

                                                                                      2. No way could I remember the first recipe I cooked from. I can't remember what I had for dinner last night

                                                                                        1. Betty Crocker (cookbook) Chocolate chip cookies! I was like 7.

                                                                                          Unsupervised, lemon poppy seed cake when I was 10 because I was frustrated that my Mom would get home too late to make the pound cake she planed for a potluck. So I took matters into my own hands. When she came home and it was already cooling, she was the proudest Mom at the church lunch.

                                                                                          1. I'm pretty sure my first "recipe" involved an E-Z Bake Oven.

                                                                                            After that I remember plenty of cookie recipes (Toll House and oatmeal from the boxes/bags) and a Welsh Rabbit in Jr. High Home Economics.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                              I suppose E-Z Bake Ovens disappear as the incandescent bulbs are gradually banned?
                                                                                              Edit: Google says they are updated to be lightbulb -free!

                                                                                            2. A cheese soufflé. I believe it was an old Household Searchlight Cookbook. It was delicious; wish I still had the recipe. I remember making ham steak to go with it, but cannot recall what else

                                                                                              This was the first recipe I prepared all on my on with no one to ask advice about. My Mom had gone to California to help my sick Grandfather. I had cooked on my own before, but Mom was always there if I needed help. While she was gone, I really spread my wings.

                                                                                              1. Shoo Fly Pie from a small cookbook/pamphlet we bought after a family trip to the Amish part of Pennysylvania. I was about 11. At about 6, I made things in my Easy Bake Oven using the little mixes that came with the oven, but since they were mixes, I'm not sure that would count as using a recipe!

                                                                                                1. Not counting cookies – which aren't a "dish" anyway – I was 18, living with my family and counting down to my USAF induction date. Mom had found a recipe for stuffed pork chops she wanted to try, but it would take too long to make between her coming home from work and suppertime, so she asked me if I'd try it. She'd bought all the ingredients before realizing how much time it would take, so all I had to do was follow directions, though several steps were things I'd never done, like cutting pockets in the chops. I not only managed to make a good stuffing and do the assembly, it was a very good dish (we all thought) and I got plenty of compliments.

                                                                                                  On the other hand, I just got photos of the roasted chicken and vegetables my 5-year-old granddaughter cooked the other day from a recipe in the cookbook I gave her on our last visit. And hers didn't use any canned soup!

                                                                                                  1. I know I had to have made something before this, but I specifically remember entering my fourth grade pie contest. It was a no-bake cheesecake in a pre-made graham cracker crust.i think the recipe was on the plastic lid of the crust and included cherry pie filling as the topping layer. I got out of the car with the pie and tripped, dropping the It. Somehow that plastic lid stayed on and I was able to salvage it. I won that damn pie contest, and my mom tells me to this day, she's not sure if the pie was that great or they just felt sorry for me lol.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                                      Doubt they felt sorry for you. My ex aunt in law made the no bake recipe from the graham crust lid all the time per family request. Oh so good.

                                                                                                    2. To replicate at home what we made in summer camp, when I was 6 or 7 years old, I mixed Cool Whip with equal amounts of vanilla ice cream and also mixed in some M&Ms. Then I placed the mixture in an oreo pie crust (store bought of course) and placed the whole thing in the freezer.

                                                                                                      Now twenty years later I feel like making this haha!

                                                                                                      1. The first recipe that I made on my own was Pancakes from the Joy of Cooking. I would come home from school and my Mom was still at work. I would get out all the ingredients and make a mess in the kitchen. My Mom tried to buy pancake mix once but my brothers hated it. So...we always made pancakes "from scratch."

                                                                                                        I guess this is where my love of breakfast came from...because I ate pancakes almost daily after school. Now...the only thing I ever want is breakfast!

                                                                                                        1. It was no doubt a cake, made from my grandmother's cookbook. Turned out well, too IIRC.

                                                                                                          1. Probably cookies, but I honestly don't remember a time when I wasn't helping the in kitchen and don't remember when helping turned into became making stuff on my own.

                                                                                                            1. Like a lot of you, I did some cooking at home: scrambled eggs, French toast, stuff like that.

                                                                                                              But the first thing that I remember making from a recipe was meringue surprise cookies in home ec. My first deviation to my first recipe was adding green food coloring to the meringue. I thought they were brilliant, but they must have looked horrendous.

                                                                                                              1. Pork chops with braised red cabbage by Wolfgang puck...In my early 20s....it had veal stock and other ingredients I didn't have so as a college student, I had to spend a small fortune. To this date , the best pork chops I've made.

                                                                                                                1. Franklin's Jam Tarts from the Peanuts Cookbook. Something went wrong -- maybe had the wrong kind of jam, because it ran all over and nearly set the oven on fire. My mom spent days trying to get it clean.

                                                                                                                  To this day, "Franklin's Jam Tarts" is code in my family for a culinary disaster.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: barefootgirl

                                                                                                                    I totally remember the Peanuts Cookbook. We used to make Lucy's Lemon Squares. It was one of my favorites as a kid.

                                                                                                                  2. Millionaire Pie (of Furr's cafeteria fame), in about 1976? My best friend and I were about 9, I think. A REALLY sweet concoction that involved lots of powdered sugar, canned pineapple, and Cool Whip. I think we got the recipe from her grandmother.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: arashall

                                                                                                                      Furr's cafeteria! My grandfather used to take my brother and I there when we visited Boulder. Of course, all that I would ever eat was the mac and cheese... and pudding?

                                                                                                                    2. I remember a "from scratch" white cake that I made for my mother for her birthday. It was flat and terrible. I was probably in 4th grade.

                                                                                                                      1. from a recipe, and by myself (not helping mom)? in high school (or was it middle school?) years… it was mini date bread loves. great with cream cheese! mmmm

                                                                                                                        then it was hand pies

                                                                                                                        then for a date, it was greek spinach rice
                                                                                                                        (always have loved spinach anything)

                                                                                                                        1. While I'd been in the kitchen with my mother for years, standing on my turtle (booster step), stirring things and stealing tastes of cake batter, the first few things I rememeber "making" myself were bircher muesli and one of those dried pasta and sauce packets - I think I'd seen an ad on the TV as we had never had that in the house - that I was obsessed with trying.

                                                                                                                          The muesli was edible, the pasta and sauce was disgusting. I was 7, so we're talking 1989.

                                                                                                                          The first really fancy cooking I did was when I was 10 and discovered pesto and bow tie pasta.

                                                                                                                          1. I can remember very clearly. I was 10 years old and made Chicken Kiev from a Better Homes & Garden cookbook. I had just gotten a pile of their cookbooks in the mail as a request to my uncle who worked for them. I had started playing around with cooking a year earlier, but my moms horrible cooking finally got to me the fall of 5th grade. That's when she became a new age born again christian. Her cooking went from bad to atrocious when she started using "natural" foods. I spent hours reading the cookbooks and deciding what to make. They came out perfect, spurting tons of butter when cut into. I became a cooking madman after that.

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                              That was wildly ambitious. I still get intimidated by kiev. I do love it and admire your fearlessness. Did you know how hard it was to make going in or did you just decide it sounded worth trying?
                                                                                                                              I totally understand you having a poor cook, or better yet an uninterested cook as a mother. I tease here and in real life that I learned to cook out of self defense. My mom was awful. I will see your "natural" and raise you "often out of date".
                                                                                                                              What year BHG was that recipe or can you paraphrase here?

                                                                                                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                It was from their cookbooks, not the magazine. My uncle was the art director for the magazine and all their books. So once I let him know, I got shipped every one of their cookbooks, several dozen. Which book, I don't know. All cookbooks I got longer than three years ago are in storage, so I don't have access.

                                                                                                                                It was a very well written recipe with lots of drawings, so I wasn't worried. (But then again, I never worry or have ever been intimidated about how a dish will come out.) They were very explicit about cutting chilled butter, freezing it, slicing scallions on a bias for looks, using fresh herbs, carefully pounding out the chicken, getting the flour coating done well, then the bread crumbs, and then chilling before deep frying.

                                                                                                                                BHG magazine tested every single recipe in their kitchens before publishing. I spent quite a bit of time during my summer vacations helping out (and getting in the way) in their test kitchen.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                  I will do some googling and see what I come up with.
                                                                                                                                  Being in a test kitchen would be a blast.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                    I was giggling at your description of your mother becoming worse in her culinary endeavors with the addition of *natural* foods. I have a good friend who is a strict vegan and raised her 7 children under her iron fisted food program. Now grown and gone her adult children eat what they want. My friend continues to subsist on almost 100% raw vegan foods.

                                                                                                                              2. The first dish I prepared from a recipe was martini shrimp. It had some sort of pureed tomato sauce (chilled) with vodka. I think it was before I was married and let me tell you, it was a MAJOR accomplishment on my part to put together meal. Sadly, the recipe got lost in a move.

                                                                                                                                1. Yes. And I have the written recipe, in my 8 year old printing, for 'spageti sauce'. Not unusual: ground beef, canned tomatoes and sauce, chopped onion (canned but drained mushrooms)... but my note off to the side is to drain beef after browning, cook the onion and mushrooms in _olive_ oil
                                                                                                                                  add tomato and chopped basil and dried oregano and then add to meat. And add red wine and simmer.

                                                                                                                                  It was 1958 and I was 8 years old. I think I'll frame that little note paper.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                        Me, too. Used it as an illustration in the family cookbook I created a few years ago.

                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                      2. Egyptian Palace Bread. It was from this kid's cookbook that I had. Basically, you soak bread in a ton of honey and bake it. It was awful! Sooooooo sweet. My mom still remembers it, too. I'm sure I made other, more successful, recipes from that book, but this is the one I remember. I'm not sure how old I was. Maybe seven or eight.

                                                                                                                                          1. My first recipe was from a Chef Boy-R-Dee box of pizza mix. It was just OK, with inferior sauce and cheese, so I knew even as a teenager, that I could do better.

                                                                                                                                            I came home from college one weekend, and had a wonderful paperback, French Country Cooking, by Elizabeth David.
                                                                                                                                            I prepared a sole souffle recipe, and it was good, everyone liked it.
                                                                                                                                            So that was really the beginning of a foodie hobby.

                                                                                                                                            1. No problem. At 6 years old, I was making pancakes off of a 3X5 card using both baking powder and soda. That was starting in 1960.

                                                                                                                                              And I did all the gathering, measuring, cooking, and serving.

                                                                                                                                              The fun part was blowing out the pilot light before anybody got downstairs Saturday morning and then lighting the burner with the long fancy matches from the fireplace.

                                                                                                                                              I am sure Mom and Dad never caught on.

                                                                                                                                              1. My mother used her Sunbeam electric skillet for everything and when I finally found its little recipe pamphlet I tried my hand at Chicken Cacciatore (I was probably around 10). I'm quite sure I wouldn't have tasted such a dish if I hadn't made it myself as I was a pretty picky eater at that age.