When did you learn to cook?

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Darkginger

When did you learn to cook?

I was reading another cooking forum earlier, and there's a college-aged person on there asking for simple recipes - like 'how do you make an omelette?' and 'can you microwave a potato?'. I'm more than a little shocked that someone old enough to go to college (over 18) has so little cooking knowledge (and can't even manage to Google for information, either!). So - thought I'd ask you lot - how old were you when you learned to cook?

I think I was about 12 when I cooked my first Sunday roast, and younger than that for simple things like scrambled egg on toast (being in the Brownies, and then the Guides, helped - learned at camp!). We had a few cookery lessons at school, from age 11, but the only thing I remember making is rock cakes!

If you're a parent, have you taught/are you teaching your children to cook? Do they still learn at school? How can someone get to 18 without knowing how to make an omelette?

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minky

Where did you learn to cook

At school - but this does not happen now unfortunately. Cooking became design technology and home economics etc was out of the curriculum
My mother was an appalling cook (but a lovely person) and school was a tremendous start. Since then I have learnt from books and soon found out the reliable sources. Good Housekeeping and then Delia are completely reliable I find but I love Jamie, Nigella - I'll stop there!
My grandmother was an excellent cook and didn't use recipes and I might have inherited her skill but I find I need recipes for anything beyond the basic.

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sam from worthing

when did you learn to cook?

when - about 22 years ago - when i left home - and the first thing i made i was guided by my OH he taught me how to make a shepherds pie, spag bol and a roast chicken dinner, all on a 2 ring electric baby belling counter top cooker.

who - other than my OH - delias complete cookery course.

I did know how to bake (from my nan - but the baking gene did sort of bypass me).

I could look after myself (and baby brother at the time) though, if mum & dad went away.

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Gerry

Learning to cook

In the 1950s I bought Philip Harben and Elizabeth David books. I knew from eating in schoolfriends' houses that food must be nicer than it was cooked at home. Beef, for example - always the staple for Sunday roast then as it was the cheapest - was grey and falling apart.

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sandra

When did you learn to cook ?

As soon as you could kneel on a stool you "helped" !

Talking way back of course but then everyone cooked - no option. I was lucky in that all my extended family were great cooks and not just the women I may add.

I do get rather fed up with the prevailing idea that schools should have responsibility for every life skill. Teaching your kids to cook is as basic as brushing teeth, tying shoelaces, telling the time et al.

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Gerry

learn to cook

"I do get rather fed up with the prevailing idea that schools should have responsibility for every life skill. Teaching your kids to cook is as basic as brushing teeth, tying shoelaces, telling the time et al."

Completely agree, Sandra. Taught my two to make bread and basic meals. Apart from those other life skills.

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Essex Girl

Learning to Cook

I agree with Sandra too. The first "cooking" I can remember was my mother getting me to cream the butter and sugar for a chocolate cake and whisk the batter mixture for Yorkshire puddings.

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Liz from Cumbria

Learning to cook

Home first, "helping" in the kitchen, then at school, loved my "domestic science" double lessons. Our "domestic science" classes were pure cookery - sewing was a separate class and I didn't much like that. I think I expanded my repertoire considerably though after leaving home and beoming a new wife. I also think that I learned much more by living in another country. The very first cookbook I bought myself was Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Discovering Delia was a revalation, no pretensions, just straightforward doable and reliable recipes which also (VERY important) taste good too. My son is a fabulous cook (who also learned by "helping") and can even teach his mother a few tricks here and there.

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Queen of Puds

When did you learn to cook

Ditto - I learned with my Mum & Grandma. Did Home Economics at school where we had basic recipes drummed in to us and were taught the way to balance sweet, sour, salty & bitter, then taught myself more extensively over time, but learned indian food from a free 16 wk course run at my kids' school in the evenings (which was fab!)

When my kids were small, I hated being out of doors, so they both learned to play with pastry & how to make cakes etc & ultimately cook decent food from being quite small. My daughter is now 18 & can rustle up almost any kind of meal & makes celebration cakes with me for fun & my 15 yr old son does a mean french toast, but can manage a roast dinner too if he has to.

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Linzechris

When did you learn to cook?

I learned to cook by watching and helping my mum and dad and grandparents. I also did Food and Nutrition at school and when I was about 12 or so I remember at a parents evening my teacher saying what a good little cook I was which made me so proud and gave me confidence.
However, in Dark Gingers post that started this thread I noticed that she mentioned a young person writing on a forum because they couldn't cook which means they could not ask their mum or relative. That's quite sad and explains why they can't cook.When my daughter was at Uni although she could already cook, she would ring home to ask advice when she was cooking something a bit different or something she wasn't sure about.
Also lots of mums work full time and use ready meals or just give their children food that is just put in the oven and there is no cooking involved so they never see anything made from scratch.
It is a shame but that is why it should be taught at school because although ideally children should be taught at home, some never will be and won't get the chance to try cooking unless they do it at school.

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Dottie May

When did you learn to cook?

Around about 1954 when I was 23! WW2 was on when I was in my teens and so was rationing so Mum couldn't spare the ingredients for me to practice on. Cookery classes neither were held in my School, probably for the same reason. I married in 1952 and spent the next 2 years in Tripoli with my husband who was in the RAF. I had been given a cookery book, which I still have, giving lots of basic recipes but I never cooked one meal in our flat in Tripoli as the kitchen left alot to be desired. As we had great Italian Restaurants we ate out every evening. During the day OH had his Lunch at the RAF Base and as I was working at the BOAC office (now British Airways)I could get something for my Lunch there. It was when we returned to the UK that I started to cook and found if you followed recipes you couldn't go far wrong. Although like someone on another thread mentioned, I cooked a chicken once with the liver etc. in the plastic bag! Apart from cooking I had never made a bed or washed or ironed anything before I married - Mum did it all. To this day I don't enjoy ironing!

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Esther R

When did you learn to cook?

I agree with Lizenchris although children should be taught to cook at home some never will. My father was a very difficult man and there was no way my sister and I would have been allowed to cook at home although my mother would have been happy to teach us. I learnt to cook at secondary school in domestic science classes and I have been so grateful for so many years. I learnt choux pastry, flaky pastry, hot water crust and all sorts of scones and cakes as well as cooking dinners. I found something I was good at and I really enjoyed the classes. Since then I have expanded my repetoire with cookery books and recipes from magazines and now the internet.

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Pan-tastic

When did you learn to cook?

My dad died when I was very small - about 2 years old - so my granny used to come every week Wednesday to Saturday to help my mum as she had to back to work. I had a brother who was five at the same time so Gran's help was invaluable. She was a really good 'plain' cook especially with baking so we used to cook with her every week. When we got older, in our teens, and more able to fend for ourselves, my mum would often say to me something like 'there's some mince in the fridge, can you turn it into something for dinner?' It was a great way to learn and she was usually quite good at picking up some of my slightly random ingredient requests. It was the seventies so some quite odd recipes flying round - one of my 'specialities' was sweet meatballs (currants in them as well as mince) in a sweet and sour sauce based on a tin of oxtail soup! It sounds so peculiar now but at the time I think it was rather good!

Anyway, as I have said before on this forum, I have a five year old and I get him to help me as much as possible. It is a great source of joy to us both, he really enjoys it, as i think most small children do when they think they are really helping.

 
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