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Cooking background/training

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
Maybe this thread already exists, but I didn't come up with it when I searched.

From reading the posts, it's pretty easy to tell that we a have wide range of cooking expertise in this forum. I was curious about what training or experience folks have had and maybe others would like to know too.

I have zero formal training, not even a one-shot class at a kitchen supply store. What I know about cooking comes from what I learned growing up, reading cookbooks, plain old experience and place on the web like this one (but none as good as this one).
post #2 of 71
Same story here, nothing formal.

My mom did some catering while I was growing up so I got to see a lot of stuff outside the normal home cooking. Otherwise, I do a ton of reading and experimenting...............oh and asking questions.

But I would say I rely on the reading the most.
post #3 of 71
I saw, I ate, I tried to replicate - life is good!
post #4 of 71

No formal training here...

... but I did spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express. PDT_Armataz_01_23.gif

Butt seriously, I learned how to cook out of self defense and survival. My first wife was an AWFUL cook, so someone had to do it. I learned through cook books, asking my Mom and Grandma questions, and just plain ol' trial and error. Once Al Gore invented the internet, then that became my main source of education.

Hey, if it weren't for him, we wouldn't be here right now... rolleyes.giftongue.gif
post #5 of 71
I am impressed with the number of men here on the forum that can cook.

I personally know 2 guys that will grill or cook on a smoker....but they do not know how to cook anything in their kitchen.
Hats off to you guys, I'm impressed.
post #6 of 71
Learned growing up from mom, she has also been the manager of a cafeteria for like 25 years so she's good with volume cooking. My brother-in-law is a caterer and we help him every so often, the second time I ever helped him I was in charge of a golf outing dinner. Had 2 groups of 4 coming off at a time. Had the line set up and ready to go but then I was cooking steaks for them. Instead of pre-cooking I was doing cook to order. I had one girl working for me who had never helped before. Everything worked out great except for the lack of hair on my hands and arms when I was done! Hubby and I do group cooking for the VFW quite often and we do a mean tailgate for 50 people every year on our Notre Dame trek. Teaching our son how to cook also, which is by far the most enjoyable! (well, other than the eating)
post #7 of 71
Basically the same as Hawg Heaven. Survival ... Still ... a "student" of the "school of hard knocks". (But I did eat what I cooked) confused.gif

....I'll never be the Next Iron Chef ...
post #8 of 71
I burnt my first batch of fishsticks and macaroni fresh out of high school and have never looked back. Although I still burn the occassional batch of fishsticks.

My wife claims to be allergic to cooking, so I do pretty much all of it. She makes a killer alfredo, so she can have that. But otherwise, it comes from me.
post #9 of 71
No real formal training. I just started cooking when I was a young lad. Never followed a recipe, I just use them as guidelines. And of course some help from my mom when growing up.
post #10 of 71
I started making Chef Boy-r-d (sp) pizza's from a box when I was about 11. I got married when I was 19 and had the same issues as Hawg. Thanks to the food channel and Internet its now a hobby.
post #11 of 71
Oops, yeah... I forgot to mention the Food Channel... great stuff on there!
post #12 of 71
Back when I was in the USMC, got a place out in town. This was when I was first introduced to kraft mac & cheese and hamburger helper! Never had the stuff growing up. My one friend and I cooked 3 or 4 turkeys the one year for everyone who wasn't able to head home for Thanksgiving. This was definitely a jump into the frying pan. Neither of us had ever done anything like this. We started on Wednesday and finished with the last turkey on Thursday morning. We had all kind of sides going, no way to keep them warm, beer had to be iced down in the tub because of space. We had 30 +/- hungry Marines we fed and they all loved it. Afterwards they played football out front and we moved the TV outside so everyone could watch football. It was a great day, the food..eh, metsa metsa...it was still probably one of my best Thanksgivings.
post #13 of 71
Nothing formal as far as training here either. But having the science bent, I was kind of the origional Alton. Facinated me when Mom or Grandma...and GRANPA...both sides - cooked. Why? How much? Why not higher temps? This oil, that grease. I come from the Old Countries...not literally, but my food background does.

I have seen <and made> moonshine <grappa>, pig ears and feet, sparrows in spaghetti sauce, all sorts of wild game, milked a cow or two, helped butcher a pig, made ice cream, and many other things most folk would never have even considered as "making a meal". But its all related. Formal training? naw... maybe one day when I can afford to learn alot of cool things that really don't matter in my situation right now.
post #14 of 71
For me, it was somewhat early in life. I got in big trouble messin' with my little Chemistry Set, so that was taken away from me. But, I just could never get past the urge to mix up batches of stuff and was looking for an outlet. Since I couldn't make my little chemical concoctions, I moved on to the kitchen. Family had seen me in action before and so at first they were kinda worried about eating anything I produced. When they finally decided I hadn't blown anybody up or poison anybody, they relaxed and started to enjoy it. That was all the encouragement I needed. Have been hooked on cooking, grilling and smoking ever since.

post #15 of 71
Now it all makes sense huh? Mama must be proud! PDT_Armataz_01_22.gif
post #16 of 71
When I was a kid, my Grandma (on my Mom's side), was an awesome cook. She always produced a down home, mouth wipin' meal. There was always a container of lard and a container of bacon grease sitting on the stove, along with an iron skillet with bacon grease in it from last night's supper to be used for tonite's supper. Incredible.

Now, my Grandma (on my Dad's side), could burn water. She was from Scotland, boiled or burned (her rendition of pan frying) everything. I hated going there for dinner. But, one good thing came out of her cooking... we never had any doubt as to what to get her for Christmas... new cookware. She totally ruined a complete set of cookware every year. eek.gif But, she did know how to bake! Amazing.

So, as I said earlier, I HAD to learn how to cook. But, aside from the need, it became a passion with me, somewhat obsessive to some degree. When I got my first Weber kettle grill many years ago, I was hooked on grillin' and cookin' outside.

The rest is history in the making... PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #17 of 71
If ya'll haven't guessed I have lived in the country all my life. I was raised by my grandparents, my grandfather had an old country store were the school bus would pick me up and drop me off. I learned alot about smoking BBQ and meat selection while working there. When there was nothing to do at the store I was hunting or fishing and always ate what I shot or caught. I would cook at the store on a barrel grill/smoker that my grandfather cooked his BBQ on, and at home with my grandmother. Training ahhh no. But good ole country cookin? Hell Yeah!!!
post #18 of 71
Great thread!

Initially, my mother got divorced when I was 11 and enjoyed the "single" part of being a single-parent more that the "parent" part. My younger sister and I got tired of eating TV dinners and canned soups so I branched out into making the Chef Boyardee meal kits. The pizza kit really grabbed me; I enjoyed making, rising, and shapping the dough. I soon learned to add different meats, cheeses, and spices to the sauces.

After I got out of the Army, I went to work at a TV station in Tucson. We carried the Galloping Gourmet show with Graham Kerr. At the end of the show, they would always have his new cookbook for sale. The employees got the left over books when the promotion was over. Later, I bought a copy of the Better Homes and Garden loose-leaf cookbook and worked my way through it. Also, my girlfriend had a Joy of Cooking cookbook and, when we broke up, I bought one for myself.

When I got married twentsome-odd years ago, my wife was already a very good cook and introduced me to wokking and Chineese dishes. She also had a ton of Julia Child, Frugal Guormet, James Beard, etc, books. We also started making and drying meals for backpacking and sailing trips.

Ten years ago she got a copy of the CIA's New Professional Chef manual and recipe book free with a book club suscription. I learned a lot of professional techneiques from it.

The smoking and grilling comes from my mother's second husband. He was a rancher in Oklahoma and we had tons beef and pork and grilled often.

The funny thing is, I don't eat all that much. In fact, to this day, it drives my in-laws crazy that I never have seconds or eat dessert. After 24 years, they are still surprised that I say "no" when asked, and they ask every single time. (Well, "they" did. My MIL died three weeks ago.)

Now, I've come here to learn the Magic!

post #19 of 71
grew up in grammy's(she was married to a commercial fisherman)galley-he was from florida- she was an alaska sourdough(native). so i grew up watching & helping & definitely eating. soon as i was old enough to go on the boats i watched more. it became my job(as rigman-they cook too,part of the job) to cook the crew's meals as part of my job, worked @ then ran a few restaurants,started my own catering biz, & went back to cooking for a living in the offshore oilfield. now i'm getting back in to catering.part of the fun when i was charter fishing customers was to cook for them too to teach them how to cook their catch when they got home. free drinks,a deck party, & awesome tips that way- not to mention guaranteed repeat customers. but no real "formal" training.
oh yeah.... always kenw who justin wilson was & every man in our family cooks or can cook. plus, dad's side had a ranch in west texas so i guess i got the best of both worlds.
post #20 of 71
Never had any formal training either. My wife of 35 years is a great cook, so I've learned alot from her. All the men in my family can cook, my dad did a great job in the kitchen and my grandfather was a professional chef...meaning he worked as head cook at a fish camp here in South Carolina for years. I worked with him during summers cooking, breading, and doing just about anything in the kitchen. I have always had somekind of grill....in fact just tossed my small weber of about 32 years because I had a larger one and a gas grill......my wife made me do it! This year went to a bbq cook school put on by two outstanding cooks. One of them won the best cook here in South Carolina last year. I'm hoping when I retire to do some comps. And of course cook for the church every week for about 100 people.
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