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When you were starting out in the kitchen what did you make?

What were some of the dishes you made when you were first learning to cook? Or how about right before you "properly" learned to cook? Any particular things you were super proud of, or any epic failures?

I remember I made a lot of classic American food like meatloaf, shepherd's pie, lasagna, casserole and chili (even though I'm Chinese). In retrospect they were quite complicated for a beginner, especially considering a lot of them also required multiple steps, sides, etc.

How about you?

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  1. flank steak marinated in Kraft Italian salad dressing

    quiche Lorraine

    stuffed mushrooms

    sauteed mushrooms

    meat sauce for (usually) angel hair

    coquilles St. Jacques

    chili

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jay F

      I did the flank steak too; in the early seventies, but I used FRENCH dressing.....the orange one from Kraft.

      But sometimes things from Family Circle or Woman's day, 'cause that's what my mom had. I remember a tuna casserole with a mashed potato and mayo topping! By high school,I did some Galloping Gourmet.

      My crowning glory was a strawberry sorbet and some sort of cake roll with an apricot jam and cream filling.

    2. I'm in my late 70s, and the only food that I can think of is chili. My mother never made it, so I had to learn how to do. It has become an obsession as you probably surmised from my user name. I grow potent chiles is a small garden, and freeze the pods to be used all year long.

      Chili is not only for Super Bowl Sunday or cool weather. It is a year round meal. When my wife of almost 55 years goes out with the 'girls' for lunch, and comes home not wanting to cook dinner, chili is taken out of the freezer, defrosted and heated in the microwave for dinner.

      1. I started cooking at around age 4. The first thing I really remember "making" was a mini apple pie, using scraps of my moms pie dough and leftover over apples.

        After that it was the usual things kids first learn to cook-scrambled and fried eggs, pancakes, french toast, grilled cheese, brownies, cookies, etc.

        By age 6-8 I was routinely making my own breakfasts and lunches as well as cooking dinner for the family. By that time there wasn't many everyday/basic meals I didn't know how to cook. When left to my own devices I would experiment with more elaborate dishes from my parents extensive cookbook library.

        1. I taught myself to cook early in my first marriage in the early 1970s, using the Good Housekeeping cookbook.

          London broil, rice pilaf, & mushrooms
          Chicken paprikash from the back of the Franco-American chicken gravy can.
          Beef stroganoff; the meat was rarely up to the dish - mealy and/or tough, and the sauce, gloppy.
          Breast of veal stuffed with rice peas & mushrooms - breast of veal was inexpensive then.
          Baked ziti - we ate a lot of this, and I frequently had a casserole of it in the freezer.
          Spaghetti & meat sauce
          Pork chops with a bread, apple & raisin dressing around them, baked.
          Of course, that was the high-end of the menu; hamburgers, hotdogs, canned beans, boxed macaroni and cheese were in regular rotation (we were on a tight budget). And yes, we ate Rice-A-Roni.

          My most memorable and spectacular failure has been chronicled elsewhere on this site: Shrimp Casserole Harpin. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9749...

          1. Dry..... overcooked aka well done pork chops :(

            London broil (or other top sirloin) with an asian marinade

            chicken basted with bbq sauce in the oven

            spaghetti with meat sauce