Aug 29, 2009

Question: How or why did you learn to cook?

For those of you interested in cooking or baking, where did your interest come from? For me, the biggest influence has undoubtedly been my mother. Mom is a terrific cook! Many of my favorite recipes are ones that I got from her—dill bread, floating island, pot roast and vegetables, Parmesan chicken, peach pie, chicken salad with fruit, Parkerhouse rolls, tomato soup, and so on and so on. Mom not only makes food that tastes delicious, she also makes dishes that are beautiful. Growing up, we’d have a green salad with violet petals tossed in, floating island with caramelized sugar strands, chocolate almond pie with delicate chocolate leaves. I don’t have the same flair for aesthetics or even the interest in spending time on such things since I usually just cook for myself, but I do appreciate the efforts of others. Mom’s passion for food has certainly carried over to me.

Also, as mentioned in a previous post, I’ve always been interested in watching the creative process that is involved in cooking. I don’t think that I’m very creative myself as a cook, but I love to watch others cook, whether it is family members, friends, or the professional chefs on television.

Of course, I also love to eat food. One of the reasons I decided to learn to bake was that my mom didn’t bake cookies as often as I wanted to eat them, so I learned to make chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, gingersnap, and other cookies on my own. And then my interests spread from there.

And finally, there was an element of entrepreneurship that motivated my early attempts at cooking. With one of my friends in our Provo neighborhood, we set up a lemonade stand on the street in front of my house. But it wasn’t just lemonade. At different times, we sold homemade cookies, brownies, and suckers; frozen bananas; imitation pixie sticks (paper straws filled with dry Jello); etc. We certainly didn’t get rich from our efforts, but we did pretty well, and we had a lot of fun making things to sell.

So do any of you have stories to tell about how or why you learned to cook? Or maybe even why you don’t like to cook. Feel free to share your thoughts.