Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Best Cook in Your Family


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,453 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 30 December 2013 - 02:12 PM

Your mother?  Your father, perhaps?  Grandma or grandpa?  You?

 

Tell the truth.  And why.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#2 Tri2Cook

Tri2Cook
  • participating member
  • 3,683 posts
  • Location:Ontario, Canada

Posted 30 December 2013 - 03:36 PM

Best at feeding the family by making something from very little? Best at making consistently good meals on a daily basis? Best at laying out a gourmet spread? Best because they get in there and do it when someone else in the house, who may be a better cook, doesn't? I mean, I could cook circles around anyone in my family in a restaurant kitchen and in the home kitchen too from a technical standpoint but I don't feel like that means I'm "better". If you'd asked me this same question 15 years ago, I probably would have answered it with a simple "me". But I've learned a lot about cooking since then and I better appreciate things about the cooking others did all along that I kinda took for granted and never really thought about in terms of whether or not they were good cooks.

Apologies for the non-answer. :biggrin:


  • teapot and bokreta like this
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#3 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,685 posts

Posted 30 December 2013 - 03:45 PM

Me.But by default...no competition really. Parents/aunts cooked 1950s overdone meat and limp veg well into the 80s. Lots of canned/frozen food. They liked it fine, I never did. I grew up in a loving family with yucky food.


  • judiu, annabelle and MikeHartnett like this

#4 Porthos

Porthos
  • participating member
  • 1,124 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:37 PM

In our home I do believe I am the better cook but just barely. However, my wife bakes circles around me.

 

Me.But by default...no competition really. Parents/aunts cooked 1950s overdone meat and limp veg well into the 80s. Lots of canned/frozen food. They liked it fine, I never did. I grew up in a loving family with yucky food.

My mother, a bride during the depression, did things to vegetables that I considered a crime. I am supremely confident that broccoli is not supposed to be gray. Her baking skills is where she shined. What I would give to sit down and have a helping of her peach cobbler using the peaches she had canned off of our tree...


  • judiu, annabelle, Shelby and 1 other like this

Porthos Potwatcher
The Unrelenting Carnivore
"If every pork chop was perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs." (source unknown)
Customer to clerk in a clothing store, "Do you have these in a size for people who actually eat?"


#5 annachan

annachan
  • participating member
  • 1,134 posts
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:52 PM

My grandmother (father side) for sure. She was a great cook who could adapt to anything. She's the one who taught me how to wrap wontons and some basic dishes when I was little. I also went food shopping with her most of the time, so I know how to pick my veges and such.

Other than my grandmother, I'm the best cook in the family. No one else really cares about cooking. Even though my mother's family was in the restaurant business, they were more in the management side of things than the cooking side. Because I grew up with my grandmother and was very close to her, I picked up her love of cooking.
  • Franci and annabelle like this

#6 JeanneCake

JeanneCake
  • participating member
  • 1,324 posts
  • Location:greater boston area

Posted 30 December 2013 - 07:47 PM

My father's mother was a suberb cook; she taught my mother and then me.  Dinner was every Sunday at her house and there were a dozen of us around the table.  There's a picture somewhere in the family albums of me in a high chair rolling meatballs in her kitchen.  She didn't bake frequently, though; when she did it was biscotti (my Nonno's favorite) and S cookies and like everything else - done in mass quantities so it would last for a month.  Ravioli were every few weeks, hundreds and hundreds of them that would take the entire day in my parent's kitchen (It was just a little bigger than hers) and more than once I was found asleep in the hallway where I had snuck out of bed so I could watch my parents and grandparents at work. 


  • judiu, annabelle and Shelby like this

#7 SylviaLovegren

SylviaLovegren
  • participating member
  • 1,056 posts
  • Location:Toronto, ON

Posted 30 December 2013 - 09:01 PM

Me, for overall. But... My mom made the best pies and biscuits in the world, as well as wild berry jams, crab apple jelly and roast pork with gravy.  And clam chowder. And fried chicken with gravy.  Her mother was an ace cake baker and waffle maker.   My other grandmother canned like the wind, made exotic jell-o molds that are still legendary -- if weird -- and introduced me to homemade raspberry shrub and Nanaimo bars.  Both my parents shared a love of freshly picked/harvested/caught food and introduced us to some pretty exotic stuff for their time and place. 

 

I really don't think my mom's wild blackberry or huckleberry pies have ever been -- nor will ever be -- equaled.  Perfect pastry with perfect fillings.  And who would have the wherewithal to find and pick all those tiny wild berries (the blackberries surrounded by vicious thorns) to fill a pie, except my father who knew what my mom could do with them?  Sigh. 


  • judiu, annabelle and Shelby like this

#8 pbear

pbear
  • participating member
  • 317 posts
  • Location:San Francisco

Posted 30 December 2013 - 09:28 PM

Me, by a long shot, but I think it's mostly a generational thing.  My parents and grandparents came of age in a time when food tastes were much simpler.  If one had aspirations, the big thing was baking (i.e., sweets).  At which my mother was, in fact, very good.  (Still is, but doesn't do it much any more.)


  • MikeHartnett likes this

#9 Jaymes

Jaymes
  • participating member
  • 7,339 posts
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 30 December 2013 - 10:15 PM

My grandmother Sugar, on my father's side, was a legendary southern cook.  She was a Harvey Girl back in the old days, and she married a conductor on the K&T railroad.  When he died, she was left a young widow with three little kids to support, and she opened a "home cooking" style restaurant.  She met her second husband when he was out with his hunting buddies and bagged a raccoon that he brought into her restaurant.  He asked her, "Can you cook this?" and she said, "I can cook any damn thing you can drag in here."

 

That comprised their brief courtship. And they were married for thirty years.

 

My father is the second-best cook in our family.  He learnt to cook in Sugar's restaurant and later in her home kitchen.

 

My mother couldn't cook at all.  And didn't really need to.  Not only was my dad a superb cook, his job took him throughout the world.  So he was always whipping up some new tasty something, often with ingredients that he had brought back from foreign lands.

 

As for this current generation, I am the best cook.  Hands down.

 

Nobody else is even in the running. 

 

At least that's what I'm often told.

 

And I've been given no reason whatsoever to doubt it.


  • judiu, annabelle, gfweb and 4 others like this

#10 Porthos

Porthos
  • participating member
  • 1,124 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 30 December 2013 - 10:56 PM

When I first responded to this thread I was thinking of those still with us.  My mother-in-law was an incredible cook. From everyday family meals to knock-your-socks-off Thanksgiving feasts for sometimes 30+ people to organizing and leading the meal for 130-150 people at her sorority wine-tasting fund-raisers she was superb. And she was a wonderful human being. I miss her terribly.


  • judiu and annabelle like this

Porthos Potwatcher
The Unrelenting Carnivore
"If every pork chop was perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs." (source unknown)
Customer to clerk in a clothing store, "Do you have these in a size for people who actually eat?"


#11 Jaymes

Jaymes
  • participating member
  • 7,339 posts
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 30 December 2013 - 11:03 PM

When I first responded to this thread I was thinking of those still with us.  My mother-in-law was an incredible cook. From everyday family meals to knock-your-socks-off Thanksgiving feasts for sometimes 30+ people to organizing and leading the meal for 130-150 people at her sorority wine-tasting fund-raisers she was superb. And she was a wonderful human being. I miss her terribly.

 
Well, my daddy's still alive and still cooking (at 92), so I had to mention him.  And then I wanted to 'splain where he got it.
 
My grandmother may be a few years' gone, but her spirit is still sure here.
 
I can't mention the "best cooks in the family" without saying that it all started with her.

Edited by Jaymes, 06 January 2014 - 10:42 PM.

  • judiu, annabelle, gfweb and 1 other like this

#12 Porthos

Porthos
  • participating member
  • 1,124 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:02 AM

While at Disneyland today my DW made a point of picking up a peach cobbler dessert in response to my remembering my mom's peach cobbler up-thread. It was good, and I appreciated it, but it could never replace mom's.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Unrelenting Carnivore
"If every pork chop was perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs." (source unknown)
Customer to clerk in a clothing store, "Do you have these in a size for people who actually eat?"


#13 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,453 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 02 January 2014 - 05:52 AM

It took me a few days to think about it, and t here's still no doubt that I'm the "best cook" in the family, in this generation and in plenty of generations past. 

 

There might be a dish or two (my maternal grandmother's latkes and chicken fricassee I happen to remember being pretty good), but overall we're not even talking in the same ballpark.  My mom probably could've been a decent cook, but much of her life was spent with various ailments (back injury, etc.) so she didn't spend a hell of a lot of time in the kitchen.  And my father once told me (perhaps some 20 years ago) that my brisket was the best he'd ever had, so...


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#14 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,072 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:22 PM

The best cook in my family was my grandmother "Mama" Salha Bobo She was an amazing women and cook I like to think I got some of my love of food and cooking from her. I tried to link her wiki page but it didn't link correctly on this site

Edited by scubadoo97, 02 January 2014 - 01:30 PM.

  • annabelle likes this

#15 Katie Meadow

Katie Meadow
  • participating member
  • 1,294 posts
  • Location:Bay Area / East Bay

Posted 02 January 2014 - 02:23 PM

Me, for most stuff that isn't baked goods. My husband makes fantastic bread. My SIL's (husband's side) pies and cakes are supreme. My parents were very limited: my dad made great chopped chicken liver and lox scramble, but nothing else. My mother was pretty hopeless, although she did teach me to spread bone marrow on rye bread. I have no idea where she got the bone marrow, but she must have cooked something. She did make a variety of things no one could even eat but I do give her credit for some likes and dislikes that made a lasting impression: Manhattan clam chowder and HoJo's peppermint ice cream for dessert. My grandmother is remembered (by me only) for her gribenes; if she had any other cooking skills they died with her when I was young. I taught myself to cook during a very strange period during my twenties when I spent a fair amount of time alone.


  • judiu likes this

#16 annabelle

annabelle
  • participating member
  • 1,956 posts
  • Location:Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, Oklahoma

Posted 02 January 2014 - 03:42 PM

Oh, I am.  No question about it.  My mother even says so.



#17 SylviaLovegren

SylviaLovegren
  • participating member
  • 1,056 posts
  • Location:Toronto, ON

Posted 02 January 2014 - 03:51 PM

The best cook in my family was my grandmother "Mama" Salha Bobo She was an amazing women and cook I like to think I got some of my love of food and cooking from her. I tried to link her wiki page but it didn't link correctly on this site


Wow, that's fantastic! I want to look for her cookbook. Thanks for sharing.
  • judiu likes this

#18 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,072 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 02 January 2014 - 05:19 PM

The best cook in my family was my grandmother "Mama" Salha Bobo She was an amazing women and cook I like to think I got some of my love of food and cooking from her. I tried to link her wiki page but it didn't link correctly on this site

Wow, that's fantastic! I want to look for her cookbook. Thanks for sharing.


The cookbook was made for and distributed to the family.
We got a few extra for our kids and future grandchildren

#19 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,453 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 03 January 2014 - 06:05 AM

The best cook in my family was my grandmother "Mama" Salha Bobo She was an amazing women and cook I like to think I got some of my love of food and cooking from her. I tried to link her wiki page but it didn't link correctly on this site

 

 

This one?  "Mama" Salha Bobo.


  • gfweb likes this
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#20 SylviaLovegren

SylviaLovegren
  • participating member
  • 1,056 posts
  • Location:Toronto, ON

Posted 03 January 2014 - 07:35 AM

The best cook in my family was my grandmother "Mama" Salha Bobo She was an amazing women and cook I like to think I got some of my love of food and cooking from her. I tried to link her wiki page but it didn't link correctly on this site

Wow, that's fantastic! I want to look for her cookbook. Thanks for sharing.


The cookbook was made for and distributed to the family.
We got a few extra for our kids and future grandchildren


Dang! No chance of a limited reprint? :)

#21 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,072 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for the assist Mitch.

Sorry Sylvia. The last reprint was awhile back to accommodate the growing family. Not sure if another one is planned

#22 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,453 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 03 January 2014 - 10:22 AM

C'mon - if Ottolenghi can do it...


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#23 Toliver

Toliver
  • participating member
  • 4,606 posts
  • Location:Bakersfield, California

Posted 03 January 2014 - 10:24 AM

 

 

 

The best cook in my family was my grandmother "Mama" Salha Bobo She was an amazing women and cook I like to think I got some of my love of food and cooking from her. I tried to link her wiki page but it didn't link correctly on this site

Wow, that's fantastic! I want to look for her cookbook. Thanks for sharing.

 


The cookbook was made for and distributed to the family.
We got a few extra for our kids and future grandchildren

 


Dang! No chance of a limited reprint? :)

 

 

Thanks for the assist Mitch.

Sorry Sylvia. The last reprint was awhile back to accommodate the growing family. Not sure if another one is planned

I found some of her recipes listed in this "web archival snapshot":  http://archive.is/dIQT3


Edited by Toliver, 03 January 2014 - 10:25 AM.

  • scubadoo97, judiu, annabelle and 2 others like this

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#24 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,072 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 03 January 2014 - 12:51 PM

Great find Toliver. Thanks!

She died 12 yrs ago  on New Year Eve.  She would be happy to know people were interested in her recipes


  • judiu likes this

#25 janeer

janeer
  • participating member
  • 1,225 posts

Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:01 PM

Me, because my grandmother is no longer alive

#26 chompa

chompa
  • participating member
  • 6 posts

Posted 14 January 2014 - 04:41 AM

My mother is really a great cook, we, the family members like her cooking much. Our relatives also do the same.  This is a nice topic done by you, and this kind of topics are done by only great people like you. The post is really very useful to the members of this forum anyway. I hope in near future you will continue such kind of postings. Now to www.craftsvilla.com for a while.



#27 Meredith380

Meredith380
  • legacy participant
  • 207 posts
  • Location:Hoboken, NJ

Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:33 AM

My Italian mom and my aunt, both amazing cooks. My husbands who seems to amazingly put together a phenomenal meal sans recipe. Definitely not me., I'm the one everyone calls to find out the best place to eat and makes reservations for them.

Edited by Meredith380, 14 January 2014 - 05:34 AM.


#28 Lindacakes

Lindacakes
  • participating member
  • 897 posts
  • Location:Brooklyn, New York

Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:35 AM

I suppose I am.

 

But I am in agreement with the early poster who saw the question from a variety of angles.

 

My parents bonded over food, food was an important part of their relationship, and their various food projects loom large in my memories and influence my own relationship with food.  My father bottled root beer.  We picked blueberries at an organic farm (a symphony of praying mantis watching) and my mother made pie.  The two of them canning tomatoes from the garden.  My father and I making popcorn balls (which ended after my finger was badly burned with syrup).  Cherry pie made with cherries from a tree in our backyard.  Rose petal jam made with roses from our backyard.  

 

My mother was an excellent cook and baker, and I learned a lot from her, particularly one key talent.  I learned very early what tastes good.  Every time I eat something from a much-touted bakery I get on my knees and thank god my mother was such a good baker and I know what good baking tastes like.  Because not many people do.  People line up to eat things I take a bite from and throw in the garbage.  I am convinced this is because they never had the opportunity to eat something that tasted good.  Without her, I am nothing.

 

I took a pie-making class with Carole Walter, and I told her I wanted to make a pie as good as my mother's.  Carole took me under her wing and made me a comparable pie maker.  But I keep trying new crusts, I don't have A Crust.  My mother had A Crust.  I can't replicate it.  

 

My grandmother's cooking was not superb but she had a way with food that was amazing.  She made her own pasta and noodles, rolling the dough out with a broom handle my father cut to be the width of her kitchen table.  The soups that included bones from several animals.  Never used a recipe.  Her kitchen had a particular smell I'll never forget, such a floury, meaty, earthy smell.

 

My brothers, shockingly, married bad cooks.  I don't know how they managed, knowing full well how good it could be.


  • scubadoo97, judiu and janeer like this
I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

#29 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,685 posts

Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:49 AM

My brothers, shockingly, married bad cooks.  I don't know how they managed, knowing full well how good it could be.


Different priorities at the time, I'd imagine.
  • judiu, annabelle and Plantes Vertes like this

#30 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,072 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 23 January 2014 - 07:52 PM

That's beautiful Lindacakes.