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weinoo

What did You Learn (To Cook) From Your Parents?

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I think I learned how to make scrambled eggs. And matzoh brei. At a young age. My mom also baked some when I was a kid; I'm sure I remember Duncan Hines. Because I remember licking the bowl of the old Sunbeam.

But there were never actually any real learning how to cook sessions, or passed down recipe memories.

What did or didn't you learn?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I learned to incinerate meat and limpify vegetables.

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Oh, that's easy.

Filipino food.

Every time I try to make pakbet or chicken adobo, it never tastes the same.

I think Mom does something special that I can't quite duplicate.

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My mother hated to cook and you could taste the resentment in it.

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Another offspring of terrible cooks here. However they made sure I could have a martini mixed and

chilling in the refrigerator for them. Four to one with an olive please. Gently stirred of course,

musn't bruise that damn gin. Too bad they didn't have a Girl Scout badge in bar tending.

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I learned to cook for a fairly large family with not a lot of money from my step-mom. I think it taught me a lot about being experimental and extracting maximum flavor from minimal or lower quality ingredients. At some point you start looking for new ways to make that pot of beans taste different than last time. :biggrin:

I learned a lot of the basics of pastry and baking from my mom. It's what she did for a living. I was also inspired to start thinking outside the recipe from her... to use recipes as idea springboards to create something different.

I learned that you cannot properly cook on the grill without a beer in hand from my dad. :raz:


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Cranberry salad. Cornbread dressing. BLT's. Biscuits (unfortunately, not gravy, at which I am still horrible). Southern standards. I never branched out until I was an adult.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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My mom taught me to cut up a chicken. I learned most everything else on my own - out of self-preservation - in most cases. However, being able to cut up a chicken quickly is something I'll always thank her for.


Stop Family Violence

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My family has given me a true appreciation for good food. Their multi-cultural background and insistence that I try everything has stuck, making me a very adventurous eater, as well as an experimental cook. I'm really grateful for that.

My mother is a wonderful cook, though I wish I had more explicit lessons. I suppose that resource is still available, if I really want them! My dad's mother was an excellent cook, and I have some of her recipes. My maternal grandmother is also a great cook, but now tells me she never liked cooking, which I find disheartening. I'm still happy to have benefited from her efforts.


Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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I learned a lot from my father--knife skills, roasts, grilling, breading and frying, sauteeing, soups, pizza, lasagna, fish, braised dishes, turkey on the rotisserie for Thanksgiving. He didn't bake much, but enough for me to figure things out from books and family recipes. His mother was a good cook--mainly Jewish-American specialties like braised brisket, stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage, and dispensing with the wrapper to make something she just called "BBQ Meatballs," hearty soups, matzo balls, kreplach, chopped liver, "Passover rolls" (essentially baked matzo balls), and fried chicken with cornflake crumbs. She also made great chocolate cupcakes with white marshmallow frosting. I learned some things directly from my grandmother, but my father could make most of those dishes as well. She just did it using an ancient butcher's knife with rubber bands around the handle, and had a fondness for the pressure cooker. She told a story about peeling spaghetti off the ceiling once, but why she was making spaghetti in the pressure cooker I'll never know.

My mother didn't cook so much, and her mother cooked of necessity, but was more of a baker. I have my maternal grandmother's recipe box and it has a recipe for hamburgers that starts something like, "melt 1/4 c. Crisco in a heavy skillet." She also had a recipe for a honey cake that calls for "three whiskey glasses." There was one that specified, "a glass of oil," which in the context must have referred to the 4-ounce juice glasses with the avocado Wedgewood pattern they had. But she could do a fine apple cake and great mandelbrot.


Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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I think more than learning how to cook from my mother, I learned how to taste. My mother was a perfectionist, and when she got married, she wanted to make perfect food. It was ordinary Ohio food, but it was perfect food. I went shopping with her on Friday night at the Pick-N-Pay, and better, on Saturday morning to the Polish butcher and the farmer out in the country for fresh eggs. I learned how to shop, how to select, and then how to let the flavor shine without ruining it. My mother's pies were better than any I've tasted since, except my own. It took me a long time of working hard to get as good as her, and Carole Walter helped me -- I took a class with her and told her what I was trying to do, and bless her heart, she got me there.

My parents loved food and food was entertainment for them. Not dining out, no one in Ohio in the sixties dined out. Making food together for fun. With no self-consciousness about it. Root beer, canned tomatoes, pickles, popcorn balls, rose jam, picking blueberries . . . My fondest memories of home are all about food.

My mother handed me some of the greatest pleasures of my life, and one of them is baking. She wanted to encourage me to bake early and she bought me Jiffy cake mixes. I cut my teeth on Jiffy cake mixes, learned to measure and mix and know when it's done. After that, she gave me Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, which is still available as a facsimilie edition. She has the original, I have the facsimilie. That's how I learned to follow a recipe on my own, create a mise en place, judge texture.

My mother doesn't cook anymore, hasn't for years, which is a great pity. Her food set standards for me.

I still think her grilled cheese is the best one I've eaten, ever. Bar the one that has gourmet cheese in it.

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I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I don't recall learning much from my mother. Mom's not a bad cook--she can when she wants to. Coming home from work, she usually didn't want to. Growing up I remember a lot of pan-fried meats and boiled vegetables. The best cook in my family was my Sicilian grandfather. Not a wide range--mainly sort of typical working-class Italian-American food, but he wanted it to be good. So I consider myself largely self-taught. I'm quite certain that I am now the best cook in the family.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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As with most, eggs were my first creation (scrambled by necessity, rather than design); but the first dish that my Ukrainian mother actually taught me was borsch and simple meat stew. I can still remember how she was giving me step-by-step instructions from a room next to our kitchen. I was being very carefuly, not wanting to destroy that magical feeling - thinking - something incredible will come out of it... funny how I can't actually remember the resulting dish. The process was truly more important.


The Gastronomical Me

Russo-Soviet food, voluptuous stories, fat and offal – from a Russian snuggled in the Big Old Smoke.

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If grandparents count, I learned how to bake--everything, but especially great pies and yeast coffeecakes--from my grandmother. Also: lots of authentic Pennsylvania Dutch food, like potato filling, stuffed porkchops, wonderful goulache, soups, and stews, great potato salad and cole slaw, pickles,etc. We ate very well. My mother was a very good cook, not great like my grandmother, but was more modern. One thing I learned from her was that it was relatively easy to satisfy different preferences; we had a large family, and there was always, for example, red sauce with or without meat; spaghetti for some and shells or ziti for others; hard butter and soft butter, dark toast and light toast, etc. And to set a nice table. My father taught me how to make a great NY-style deli sandwich and the inimitable onion sandwich,an over-easy egg, and great perked coffee. And to be confident: one year when my mother had a broken arm at Thanksgiving, he cooked the whole meal himself, saying what's the big deal, how hard can it be. To this day I can hear him saying, "A turkey ain't nothin' but a bird" while we all sat around laughing and drinking wine and watched him perform, cracking jokes the whole time. He brought the entire dinner off without a hitch.

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From my mom it was baking though not so much "this is how you do it". Rather I was the kitchen helper and did lots of observing. The way she did things became like a muscle memory for me. When she passed away and my dad wanted me to bake all the traditional goodies for the wake I was able to step right up and turn them out. (Of course they had a bit of extra salt from my tears) I also observed and retained many organizational methods from assisting at her many dinner parties. The latter has served me well over the years. People say "I don't know how you do it", but to me it all seems natural. Thanks mom!

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My mother was a hopeless cook. My dad made a few things really well: lox omelette, chopped chicken liver (always with chopped egg and cognac!), and summer salad of cukes, radishes and cottage cheese with lots of salt and pepper. When I make any of these, which isn't very often, I pretty much make them exactly as he did. I also make scrambled eggs the way he did, in browned butter, cooked fast.

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to never cook fried liver,(because I dont want to sit at the table until I finish it)

on topic, My Tyrolean grandmother, gave me a great appreciation of real food, I still remember things she made, and try to make stuff as she would have (and that was 60 years ago...)and making wine with my grandfather..

Bud

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I learned to incinerate meat and limpify vegetables.

My mother hated to cook and you could taste the resentment in it.

I think they taught me how NOT to cook.... :wacko:

I didn't realize my siblings were here. Sup guys!

My sainted mother grew up in rural Texas and stopped cooking as soon as she discovered she could hire people to do it for her. I do have a couple of recipes from my dad's Mexican/Alsatian Jewish family; unfortunately he never writes anything down or even measures so getting a recipe from him means following him with a notebook as he demolishes the kitchen, and then editing the notes into a coherent recipe. It'd dirty, dangerous work (a cleaver blade once literally flew off its handle and whacked me in the face) but I possess the only extant written recipe for my great-aunt's notorious chipotle sauce, among others.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Of the many things that both my Mother and Father taught me how to cook-

-Bacon. Yes, Mother taught me how to fry bacon. And one of my fondest food memories is that little tin can of bacon

grease she kept on the counter. Owing in part to the German butcher where Mother bought her bacon, (thick, meaty and smoky), her bacon was always crisp yet never dried out.

-Deviled Eggs and Hot Crab Dip. My Father taught me how to make deviled eggs using a recipe handed down from his Mother. He said he used to "dress-up" the eggs by adding some cayenne pepper or tabasco. And he always made a delicious hot crab dip during the Holidays using the first of the season Dungeness Crab we got off the Oregon Coast. He mixed it with cream cheese, mayonnaise, sliced almonds, green onions and lots of Worcestershire sauce. I was good hot, but even better when we ate it cold the next day on saltine crackers.

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From my parents, nothing. From my grandparents, their cook and my great grandmother, various aunts and great aunts, everything.

I grew up at a time when there was no argument about what was consumed. If it was on my plate, I ate it and thus learned an appreciation of foods that had I been born a decade later, would never have tasted.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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To sit down at dinner, every day, *at the table*, with family. Even today, a bazillion years later, as a single, I still set the table with a placemat, napkin, full flatware service, wine glass and water glass. Dinner was important, and our day stopped for it, and we all came together for it. I can no more imagine eating my dinner standing over the kitchen sink than I could flying to the moon.

To put yourself into what you cook, because giving your food to people you care for, even if it's just to yourself, is the best expression of YOU that there is.

To accommodate varied tastes and palates, and not force your preferences on them. I can remember plenty of times my mom making my dad a steak, or a pot roast, or something "meat and potatoes", while we'd have tacos and lasagna and stir frys. Daddy didn't get that type of food, so Mom would make something he'd like, and then we'd go off on our tangents.

To have fun in the kitchen.

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--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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