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Childhood clues that you'd become a foodie...


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I thought of this just now while eating a nectarine. It was the first really sweet juicy one this year....and I thought, 'hm, when I was a kid, i'd have good peaches and nectarines back in april." How did I remember this? because I used to LOG MY FIRST PEACH OF THE YEAR in my diaries. dork.

Other clues: When my parents would leave for an evening out (I guess when I was a preteen, old enough to be home alone...), the last thing they said when they left the house was "don't turn on the stove." Ha. I went wacky with Fannie Farmer back then. I specifically remember my best friend calling to chat, but I couldn't because I was in the middle of making Chicken Kiev. What a feeling of accomplishment when I cut into the chicken and the butter ran out.

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Watching my Grandmother intently, trying to find clues to how she made everything taste so delicious. Then going to bed that night, running what I'd seen in my head and piecing things together as I went to sleep.

Finding notes in blocky, grade school hand on how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Still using that same recipe today, with a few further modifications :wink:

Making Buche de Noel for a Social Studies project at twelve years old with no help from anyone, save the cookbook. No pictures, never had it before, but managed to roll the sponge cake, fill and frost it *and* transport it to school the next day unharmed. And it was delicious :smile:

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I stood on a 25 lb. lard can---a big old silvery one which had been thoroughly washed and dried, then made the repository of a big bag of flour, a sifter and a white-speckled blue "biscuit pan." I can remember stirring things on the counter and on the stove when I was maybe five, plus patting out biscuits, frosting cakes, putting meringue on pies, cutting out long strips of piecrust and taking so long to intricately weave the lattice that the dough began to go gooey in my hot little hands.

Then, at about 10, I sneaked out after Sunday School, ran home while everyone else stayed for Church, and had a nice Sunday dinner awaiting them when they got home. It was a small town, and they didn't worry about me walking home alone, so guess they didn't miss me til they walked in and smelled dinner cooking.

And why I chose to fry salmon patties (out of a tall pink can, with great and painstaking removal of all that yukky gray skin and those pesky little soft bones) is a mystery past my solving. It took FOREVER, smelled up the house, and I got a good lecture after everyone had eaten up all the goodies.

And my Mom complained that I liked to "mix flavors" too much. Her way of saying don't put a layer of strawberry preserves in a parfait glass of vanilla pudding---that was just getting too uppity with the cooking, to her notion. But she ate hers, anyway. And asked me to make it for the Missionary Society meeting several weeks later.

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On the fifth day of first grade, I went into the hospital to have my appendix removed. I wasn't scared, just angry because my mother wouldn't let me eat peach cobbler in spite of that ole stomach ache.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I used to eat dirt... which proves my love for truffles :raz:

I wasn't that young, I was 12 or 13. There was a couple of restaurants that we visited frequently. One of them was an italian trattoria that serves, as an appetizer, some wine-and-garlic steamed mussels. I loved them. Also, for my mother's birthday we would go to the Oro Verde hotel, and I would always ask for the house-smoked salmon with caviar. I didn't even know what it was back them, I just liked the flavor. I can think of thousands of little stories like this one, but I guess I realized my path as a cook and my gourmand lifestyle only when I was older

Follow me @chefcgarcia

Fábula, my restaurant in Santiago, Chile

My Blog, en Español

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When I was still crawling, I used to filch the pickled onions out of the jars of mixed. Does that count? Oh, and I tried to eat a frog that made the mistake of taking a shortcut across my blanket.

The first thing I can recall cooking for myself was a trout that I'd just caught in a brook near the house. I breaded and panfried it. I didn't know to use milk and flour as well, just went right to the crumbs, so that part didn't work so well, but it tasted damned good. By the time I was eight I could skin a rabbit with a jacknife (but I didn't cook the rabbit stew, that was Dad's job). In grade six, on of my homework assignments was to make a classic French dish from one of the recipes in our textbook. I made a caramel mousse and a salade Nicoise. I can still remember watching the caramel melt, and thinking how bizarre and wonderful it was.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I was about 6 years old when I first got the idea that I liked to cook. I remember vividly, attempting to make vegetable beef soup. From scratch. I filled a pot with water, added some ketchup, some salt and pepper, sliced some carrots, onion, celery, tossed that in the pot, added some left over pieces of roast beef and a handful of dried beans. So far, so good!? Unfortunately, at the time I didn't know the difference between cabbage and LETTUCE! I tore up some lettuce and put it in the soup, too! Of course, since I made it, I ate it!

I also remember, about the same age, trying to make cookies. I mixed up some batter (I think I had help with the ingredients), but instead of baking them in the oven, I thought, it's so hot outside I bet I could bake these on the hood of the car! Let;s just say it wasnt such a great idea!

At 7 I used to sit in the kitchen and watch my grandmother fix all kinds of meals and desserts. Wish I would have taken notes.

Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

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at my request, my elementary school birthday parties included things like taffy pulls... my favorite "holidays" were things like "first strawberries of the year: strawberry shortcake for dinner" and "first cherries: we'd buy a case and eat til we couldn't eat another" and my favorite part of Disneyland was the barrel of 10 cent dill pickles as big as my seven year old fist... and i picked my bedroom because i could lie in bed and pick apricots out my window--good lord, was i ever spoiled by that!

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Couple of random memories....

I read pretty much everything that came into the house, from Sears catalogs to MIT's Technology Review. My mother subscribed to Redbook Magazine (a now defunct women's magazine). I used to spend a lot of time reading not only the recipes, but the descriptions of meals eaten in the fiction or travel articles, and dream about what these exotic dishes tasted like. One of my fondest wishes was to try the much mentioned Chicken Tarragon (which, when I finally did get to try it, turned out to be remarkably unlike what I'd imagined, but I digress).

I remember my Grandmother making small eclairs for some church social or another, and I remember her complaining about how difficult they were. I watched closely, and kept thinking that nothing she was doing was that difficult or tricky, it was just time consuming. This is an important lesson that has served me well throughout my life - knowing the difference between difficult and time consuming. When I was given my first cookbook many years later, the first thing I made out of it were the cream puffs, and proved my theory - they weren't that difficult, and they were delicious.

The pivotal moment was Christmas the year I was in 6th grade. For our family's Christmas present, my aunt took us all out to eat at Windows on the World. I know that the view was supposed to be the attraction for "us kids", but it is the meal that stuck in my mind. It was the first time I'd ever had filet mignon, and it was the first time I'd ever had au gratin potatoes that weren't from a Betty Crocker box. I took to fine dining like a duck to water.

It was that meal that confirmed that there was something more out there, something better, a whole world of experiences that my parents were avoiding for some reason or another. It was a moment lived in the future I'd only read about, but hoped for and envisioned.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I remember scraping all the brown bits and the crunchy slightly burnt garlic from the bottom of the pan whenever my parents made garlic pepper spareribs. I'd add a bit of the oil and eat the brown bits and fried garlic with rice. One day, my mother found me doing this and she said, "You really know how to eat, don't you?" I was about 6 or 7 at the time. Needless to say, as an adult I have slightly elevated blood cholesterol. :biggrin:

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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So many memories. My dad's mother was an excellent cook and let me "help" in the kitchen from a very early age. I still use her recipe for gingerbread and hot water sponge cake because they are the best.

Mom didn't have the patience to let me help so I did my " cooking" when she was out of the house. She referred to it as "Barbara's messes."

Even at that age I loved to read and always wanted to duplicate the dishes that were being served in the stories that I read.

The two things I still want to know when reading historical books, what they are eating and wearing.

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When I was six I made a quick small fortune at a family Christmas shindig. All the kids wanted to sample the grown-up nibbles, and we told if "you take it, you must finish it." After a while, a lot of kids were trying desperately to get rid of foie gras and other things I can't describe. I ate it all, with gusto, for a quater a pop.

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I remember my Grandmother making small eclairs for some church social or another, and I remember her complaining about how difficult they were. I watched closely, and kept thinking that nothing she was doing was that difficult or tricky, it was just time consuming. This is an important lesson that has served me well throughout my life - knowing the difference between difficult and time consuming. 

Marcia.

That's EXACTLY IT!!! That moment of "click" when your mind settles around the facts of things, the instant of grasping a method, a process, a CONCEPT that will stand with you all your cooking life.

Perhaps the rush/stress of today is not the only reason for the proliferation of mixes and quickmeals and boxed dinners---think of all the could-be cooks who are still awaiting their moment of realization.

"Too much trouble" excuses everything from deli pickups to dump-it-in-a-bowl awfuls to a can of this + a can of that, into the oven = dinner. I, too, had that dawning of clarity when listening to a neighbor bewail the annual ambrosia preparations--she could not trust the recipe to anyone else, and it was just too, too much trouble. She cut up some oranges, (I peeled them), opened a can of crushed pineapple, and sprinkled on half a bag of shredded coconut. A monkey could have done it, if you could have kept him from eating it all.

Anyway, thank goodness for our own early grasp of what it's all about--that magical moment when your Dad lets go of the bike, and you fly off down the street on your own, soaring away into the lovely unknown.

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When I was 8, I asked for a food dehydrator. I could recite the Ronco food dehydrator informercial. My parents knew that they had something "special" on their hands.

Oh, and the creation of the baloney melt. A slice of baloney, in a saute pan, with a slice of white processed generic brand American cheese, cooked until the baloney was browned underneath and the cheese was melted on top. Ben Franklin should be jealous of my extreme Americanism. I mean, baloney and American cheese? How patriotic.

Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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I made a caramel mousse and a salade Nicoise. I can still remember watching the caramel melt, and thinking how bizarre and wonderful it was.

oh yes. I remember making gingerbread (also from that same Fannie Farmer cookbook) and staring at the finished product and feeling a sense of awe that that beautiful, fragrant, delicious thing came from the ingredients I mixed together.

Another memory is of me and an uncle, digging in the dregs of a huge pot of white clam sauce, fishing out the bits of garlic and clams left behind.

I dig the stories from people who grew up in the southern/rural areas. So exotic and different from my suburban NYC upbringing; although I did have an Italian-American/ArthurAvenue-Shopping daddy who turned me onto some unusual items. Cow's heart and lamb's head come to mind. And my grandfather used to buy some nasty cheese with live worms or maggots in it. bleh. And to this day the only thing I've been unable to consume (other than that cheese) is tripe.

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I'd eat the tips off asparagus spears and leave the rest.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I'd join my Dad in eating bits of raw hamburger sprinkled with salt. That really grossed my Mom out which only added to my gleeful enjoyment. Given the choice of what to order at a fancyish restaurant I ordered a half dozen oysters on the half-shell. No child's menu with chicken nuggets for this six year old, no siree. And when my Dad's pan-fried trout arrived with the head still on I was absolutely fascinated and asked him if he was going to eat the head too. He didn't. But I stared at that fish head for the entire meal.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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The two ice creams I loved the most as a very small child: Spumoni and licorice.

The FD Report Card Dinners beginning at age 5 (Grade 1). I don't recall ever asking my Mum if we could go to Kentucky Fried Chicken instead :hmmm:

The fact that, almost without fail (lobster and asparagus being the notable exeptions), the thing that I liked the best was always (unbeknownst to me) the thing that was most expensive.

My E-Z-Bake Oven?

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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My parents were in the restaurant business and didn't have time to bake me a birthday cake (and I didn't want a Carvel ice cream cake). So I asked my garandmother to show me how to make a coconut cake with buttercream icing. I started baking my own birthday cake at a young age.

Even as a young kid when we went out to dinner to fancy restaurants I would order sweetbreads, oysters, snails etc. things most kids wouldn't touch.

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Early childhood memory: Getting up at sunrise at my grandmother's farm, hitting the strawberry patches, filling up a little bowl... Putting strawberries on slices of french bread, squashing them with a fork, showering them with sugar... Oh man...

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My grandma taught me how to make shortbread at a very early age. I think I was 4 or 5 and by the time I was 7, my shortbread was just as good as hers. I also started cooking at about 5, not only cooking but taking something simple, like scrambled eggs, and pairing it with different herbs and spices to figure out what worked well and what didn't. My family should have known then. By the time I was a teenager I was cooking my own meals and developing my own recipes. In fact, I vaquely remember ever cooking from a recipe as kid.

The only sad part, after my grandma passed away, I couldn't even look at shortbread, let alone make it, so now, 12 years later, I've forgotten alot of her technique and my shortbread never turns out. I think it's time to start practising again.

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When I was 8, I asked for a food dehydrator.  I could recite the Ronco food dehydrator informercial.  My parents knew that they had something "special" on their hands. 

Oh, and the creation of the baloney melt.  A slice of baloney, in a saute pan, with a slice of white processed generic brand American cheese, cooked until the baloney was browned underneath and the cheese was melted on top.  Ben Franklin should be jealous of my extreme Americanism.  I mean, baloney and American cheese?  How patriotic.

But it had to be Boars Head Baloney. You can imagine my joy a couple of years ago when Boars Head came to Calif.

:laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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