Describe your cooking skills as a young person. How did you learn to cook?
Thanks to the journal jar for this bubbling subject.
Seems to me I've blogged about this before already. I'll have to get back to you on that.
I learned to cook mostly from my mother, who included me and allowed me to help her while she was cooking. I would chop the vegetables, measure out spices, stir the sauces... just do the stuff that you have to do to cook, but just not be responsible for it all. It's empowering to pitch in and help and end up earning some credit for a meal because you helped. It's another thing to be the one in charge of the cooking.
A quick search of the blog provided this previous visit to the journal jar-- check it out here. It reminds me of another aspect of cooking that I learned, but this time from my dad. He taught me the art of BBQ. And what an art that is.
But the real "formative" training in cooking was received in the 3rd grade, when our babysitter Sally Singleton came to the classroom and took a group of kids to the school cafeteria to cook a recipe. Each week she took a group of kids and taught them a recipe, and then we eventually all made cookbooks for our mothers for Mother's Day with all of the recipes. I bet my mom still has that recipe book somewhere, all covered in grease splatters from my repeated renditions of Waikiki Meatballs and Stir-Fry Vegetables.
I think I really learned to cook when I went away to college and started living on my own. That's when I had to get creative and learn to cook with what I had. Some of the stuff I did was delicious, other stuff not so good. But I experimented and started to put meals together and balance tastes with textures. And I started pairing things with wines, too. All this made for more interesting dishes. I once made dinner for my parents when I was home from college. My friend Pete had helped me pick out some wine to cook with and serve with the meal. The meal kind of amounted to a chicken stir-fry with vegetables-- snowpeas, to be sure-- but it fit the bill. It was a success, and my mom remarked, and I remember, that I had "become quite the cook." She may be a bit biased.