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Your First Time

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    Your First Time

    What is the first REAL cooking you have done? The first time you cooked solo, generally, when you were on your own? I did a lot of cook's assistant to my mother & grandmothers and, when I was in my teens, my mom worked 2nd shift at the hospital so I did most of the cooking. back then, my parents bought nearly everything in a can. it wasn't very appetizing but you ate what you were given! My mom wasn't really much of a cook and still isn't.

    For myself, I purchased my first house when I was 22. When I say purchase, I mean it was kind of given to me. it belonged to a dear friend and business partner of my dad's. Rick was my dad's friend. his brother had owned and lived in the house. the brother was a severe alcoholic. that eventually led him to a heart attack and death. because of his Grief, Rick could barely stand to talk about the house, much less put much work into it or keep it. When he heard I was looking for an apartment, he and his wife offered me the house.

    A non-qualifying assumable loan (try finding one of THOSE, these days) with PITI payments that were about half the rent on studio apartments I had toured.

    So, yep, I bought it. In that kitchen, I make the standby, spaghetti sauce from scratch, the way my mom did. from there on, it was a learning curve. I had to teach myself everything and I was willing to try anything! I made 100 pounds of meatballs (rolling each and every one by hand, mind you) for a publicity party for the Science Fiction Convention I staff. From there, I was studying to pass my Nuc classes so cooking was a catch as catch can thing, but still I tried to learn. My next adventure in cooking was a pan of Baklava. THAT was divine!!!! I was hooked. there was a local Greek Restaurant that sold Baklava and I had always loved it. this was my first real, there it is on a plate realization that I could cook nearly anything I decided to try.

    After that, I was off to the races. A small health food store on the next block was a target. One year, I decided to make fruitcake. my ex-husband's mother would never touch good fruitcakes. being a good Baptist, she would not consider a fruitcake that had been soaked in rum!! I also had a room mate who was on an all natural, earth girl thing. so, we put our heads together and we MADE fruitcake using fresh or dried fruit, but not the candied fruit normally used, these days. over the next four years, I make up about 50 little 6 inch round gelatin mold pans of fruitcake and sold them to the health food store. I developed rather a following!

    Later, of course, came the exile to Atlanta and that was the end of the fruitcake business. but the beginning of learning to make yummy food from inexpensive ingredients. and I have never looked back. I still use less expensive where it will suit, but I do try to find the best product for the job. and I still save money.

    So, how did you guys start in the kitchen? (or deck)

    #2
    I would do burgers and chicken on my dad's 1980s gas grill, which I helped him assemble when I was small and he still owns and uses to this very day. But my very first meal my first night in my new apartment was spaghetti. I had three food items in my fridge/cupboards my first night as a bachelor- spaghetti, pepsi, and oreos. What more did a 19 yr old need?

    I don't remember the first thing I cooked for real that wasn't in a jar. But I did boil the noodles myself, ha ha.

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      #3
      Between 2 and 3 years old. Standing in a kitchen chair next to my Mother at the stove and counter. Cooking full meals by the time I was 6.

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      • Karon Adams
        Karon Adams commented
        Editing a comment
        I have memories from the time I was about 4-5 on the Farm in Texas. My grandmother and I would get up and go to the barn, first thing. Momma, our one milk cow (our cattle was beef cattle) would be waiting there. We kept her in milk for our uses. and, while I tell people I milked a cow as a child. technically, I did, but I will admit Granny did most of it. She used to get SUCH a kick out of squirting the cats that always followed. I suppose she enjoyed watching me giggle at it more than enjoying watching the cats. We would get a couple of gallons a day. I assume she milked in the evening, as well. But, we took it back to the house and she would sit me in a chair with the butter churn while she started cooking.

        She made this INCREDIBLE buttermilk candy that I have been trying to duplicate most of my adult life. By the time I was old enough to ask for it, she had not made it in years and had forgotten it. I am still fiddling with it from time to time.

        She made these Peach Fried Pies from the peach trees on the farm, that were absolutely DIVINE! with the butter done, next job was gathering eggs, then picking the chicken we were going to have for dinner. When I was that young, we didn't have a hatchet or axe for the house. my grandfather had the only one we owned with him working. she taught me how to wring a chickens neck. apparently, it was all in the wrist.

        Once we moved to Chattanooga, I wasn't included so much in the cooking. I was in school by then, my mom and grandmother both worked and dinner became more convenience foods. lots of canned chili, boxed macaroni, canned soups and sandwiches. My mother and grandmother were both meat wrappers with my Uncle Don their butcher. His son and widow still operate Don't Meats.

      #4
      i remember it well... i was hungry. mom was busy doing other things and had no time to cook something up for a starving kid, so i made a peanut butter sammich and a glass of milk. (I then move up to PB and Banana... still a go to for me).
      Random other little things along the way, like helping dad with the POS charcoal grill from Monkey Wards doing up a mess of chicken for Memorial day and pouring his beer on the flare ups. Rubbery, partially cooked and heavily torched. Its a wonder i'm still alive. Then came the various and assorted things like No-bake cheesecakes, custom made chocolate milk... i was a regular "Julia" child. it wasn't till after the college years that i picked up an 18" weber (still have it) and started my experimental phase with the std gateway grillage material... burgers, corn on the cob, steak. My, how times have changed!!

      Comment


        #5
        It's hard to remember. My mom was sickly, and I used to get up and make breakfast for myself and sometimes for my younger sisters. I definitely made omelets before I learned to drive. I can't say they were good, but I made them.

        I was a bachelor for many years afterwards, and learned the guy foods: burgers, chili, spaghetti sauce, etc. I got a reputation for knowing what I was doing, before I actually knew what I was doing. I made a lot of stuff by following The Joy of Cooking. If a recipe was too complicated, I turned the page! I started buying cookbooks at yard and garage sales, and learned how to make 1960s style pot luck casseroles.

        tl/dr: I dunno, long ago. Back in the 1960s and 1970s.

        Comment


        • Karon Adams
          Karon Adams commented
          Editing a comment
          I love it. those old cookbooks are MARVELOUS (when you know which ones to skip or alter for safety purposes) I don't know how many people have Kindles but Amazon has a HUGE collection of old cookbooks which are free downloads. if you don't own a kindle, you can download the kindle app for your desktop or tablet and then download all those great cookbooks. They make fascinating reading, not to mention some great old recipes.

        • Mosca
          Mosca commented
          Editing a comment
          Karon, I had one from the 1920s that had things like killing and butchering a chicken in it! And I had an old Prudence Penny cookbook that had some good information. One of the problems though was that ingredients change over time, and tastes change, and eating needs to be updated for the times. I still use the latest edition of Joy though. That I will always have.

        #6
        When I was in High School and college I did what a lot of kids that age do. I started hanging out with friends who were a little older than I. they were both probably in their early to mid 20's and I met them at Science Fiction Conventions. They bought a [email protected] old house here in town and there was a regular gaggle of us who would all be at their house after school or work. At that age, Mom & Dad are NOT the people with whom you want to hang. But, someone a little older, yeah, that makes you feel grown up. Bob & Belinda and their baby son, Otto (after Bob's grandfather). Bob had a crummier than crummy little grill. I think we kids made more money at our fast food jobs than he did. but we had FUN (Mostly) We would pool our meager cash and buy a family pack of cheap Chicken thighs and a couple of cases of the least expensive beer available. I don't drink. did then, still don't much.

        We would all hang out on their back porch & steps and yard, just sitting, and smoking (yeah, I was a bad, bad girl) and burning chicken for dinner. It was fun, for the most part. unfortunately, I ended up dating the wrong guy and it went VERY bad. after that, I had to go into hiding for a while and dared not go back to that house. but, I remember those days with fondness. Right of passage, learning my way in the world, along with my closest friends. And, yes, Bob would keep his beer handy to knock down flare ups. They ended up moving back to St Louis and we all lost touch (most of them, I still have contact with a few of them)

        In that case, it was about saving money while feeding the crowd. there were probably about 6-10 people there on any given evening. the only hard and fast rule was, when you crack the first beer, you turn in your keys. Guess who was always the runner for more beer & cigarettes?

        Comment


          #7
          I don't recall when I lost my cooking virginity.

          Comment


            #8
            Originally posted by Karon Adams View Post
            When I was in High School and college I did what a lot of kids that age do. I started hanging out with friends who were a little older than I. they were both probably in their early to mid 20's and I met them at Science Fiction Conventions. They bought a [email protected] old house here in town and there was a regular gaggle of us who would all be at their house after school or work. At that age, Mom & Dad are NOT the people with whom you want to hang. But, someone a little older, yeah, that makes you feel grown up. Bob & Belinda and their baby son, Otto (after Bob's grandfather). Bob had a crummier than crummy little grill. I think we kids made more money at our fast food jobs than he did. but we had FUN (Mostly) We would pool our meager cash and buy a family pack of cheap Chicken thighs and a couple of cases of the least expensive beer available. I don't drink. did then, still don't much.

            We would all hang out on their back porch & steps and yard, just sitting, and smoking (yeah, I was a bad, bad girl) and burning chicken for dinner. It was fun, for the most part. unfortunately, I ended up dating the wrong guy and it went VERY bad. after that, I had to go into hiding for a while and dared not go back to that house. but, I remember those days with fondness. Right of passage, learning my way in the world, along with my closest friends. And, yes, Bob would keep his beer handy to knock down flare ups. They ended up moving back to St Louis and we all lost touch (most of them, I still have contact with a few of them)

            In that case, it was about saving money while feeding the crowd. there were probably about 6-10 people there on any given evening. the only hard and fast rule was, when you crack the first beer, you turn in your keys. Guess who was always the runner for more beer & cigarettes?


            ah yes... hanging out with freinds in college. I still remember the time a very brilliant friend of mine decided that, since he didn't have any lighter fluid left (ignorant of the chimney concept), he would use white gas. worst. burgers. ever.

            Comment


              #9
              When I was married to the second wife (the one I had kids with) she did most all of the cooking and I did the dishes and clean-up. When she left me, my son was already over 18 and my ex and I shared custody of our daughter (who was about 16). At that time I was selling appliances, including major kitchen appliances and small ones as well. My daughter didn't want to eat my cooking and I thought really learning how to cook would help with that and my job. (I always had a talent for creating recipes, just couldn't execute them, unless they were beer recipes, even then I enjoyed making the recipe more than the beer.) So I enrolled in cooking classes. Got very good at it.

              I'll never forget the first night I was going to cook for my daughter in the new house. She likes Thai food, so I decided to make her a Thai Basil Chicken dish. When she asked where we were going for dinner, and I said I was making Thai Basil Chicken dinner at home, she said "Noooo!" "Why not?" I said. "It will be terrible and we'll starve," she replied. I said, "We're not on safari, so if it's bad, we'll go out." She agreed to try it. She had thirds! Now she prefers my cooking to her mom's!

              Now (third and final wife) I do all the cooking and the cleaning too.

              Comment


                #10
                Hmmm... My first real attempt to learn cook was when I was 35. There was a really, really good Steak House in Portand, Oregon called Opus Too. It wasnt very large, there were maybe 15 tables, a few booths and a long solid mahogany countertop with barstools. The cook line was right behind that countertop. I made it a point to sit at the counter so I could watch them cook. It's the only Steakhouse I've ever been to that didn't have baked potato's on the menu. They offered you Fettuccine Alfredo, with or without pesto instead. I remember my first order there I thought this is so strange. However after that first dinner I thought this guy is brilliant, that was a great combination! I got to know the owner eventually and asked him why? He said look around the cook line, he said there's no oven in my kitchen. All he had for cooking was a large charcoal grill and a gas stove top. They also offered fresh caught fish. Anyway... I also got to know the Chef's that prepared everyone's food and they taught me to cook the entire menu over about a years time, including how to make a Bernaise sauce. It was a free culinary school for me. The Owner of that restaurant was an old Waterbed store guy. When the Waterbed business tanked years ago he needed something to do. He approached me about buying his restaurant from him because he wanted to move to Palm Springs and retire. At that time I owned a Furniture manufacturing business with 1 other partner. I approached him about having our company buy this guy out. He and I were gung ho on doing this deal and then... He said why don't you come up to Seattle and we'll run this by Gail, his wife - the Big Boss. Jeff and I had the deal cut with the restaurant owner where we could buy him out for $500,000. It seemed reasonable to us. The resturant was near where the Portland Trailblazers played their games and almost every NBA team that were in town dined there after their games. Anyway we ran it past the Big Boss and she laughed at us and said you guys are crazy! What the hell do you two know about the restaurant business? I said Gail its fully staffed and has been for 5 years. All we have to do is keep the right people on board and were good to go... More laughter. So... We didn't buy the restaurant.

                One year later a famous resturantur from Seattle came down to Portland and started buying up a bunch of restaurant's in Portland. He bought Opus Too for $3,000,000 dollars. The Big Boss didn't laugh much about that lost opportunity.
                Last edited by Breadhead; March 6, 2015, 08:08 PM.

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                  #11
                  My dad cooked on his 22.5" Weber a lot. I learned from him. His specialty was a 3" sirloin that he cooked direct heat for 17 minutes a side. I wish he knew about the reverse sear technique; he would have loved it big time. We were a rare to medium rare eating family. He did cook turkey indirect on the Weber and it was excellent.

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                    #12
                    My parents had a breakfast / lunch place when I was a kid. The Summer I turned 13 my father "hired" me for $3.00 / hour. He brought me in with him at 5:00 and I ran the griddle until about 2:00. I was "the shortest short order cook."

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