The first things I learned how to make were cake mix chocolate chip cookies and homemade sugar cookies. The sugar cookies were hard for a little girl, so I just helped Mama with those, but by the age of 9, I was making the chocolate chip ones by myself.
As for more “advanced” cooking, I didn’t do much of that until I was in high school. Then when I was in college (and living at home, which I did until I was married), my mom taught school full-time. She gave me one night a week to cook supper for the family so she could have a night off. I got a little more adventurous, but I would still follow a recipe to the letter. The one exception was learning to make quesadillas, which I heard on an El Chico radio advertisement. I totally went off on my own after I got the basics down. 🙂
After I got married, my husband taught me a few things. We have different cooking styles – basically, he doesn’t measure things. And everything he makes tastes great! (His specialty is chili.) His influence taught me to be more reliant on taste and less so on details.
I love to cook and try new things. At one point, I was a Pampered Chef consultant. That was great because I got paid to cook for people – and show how to use some great kitchen tools along the way. After I stocked my kitchen with lots of great products, I started running out of steam as a consultant. I left that behind and have now moved on to more experimenting in the kitchen.
Probably one of the best books I ever read was How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson. The basic premise is that you need to learn basic techniques, then you can make all sorts of gourmet-type foods that you make up as you go along. I copied down the basic recipes the author shared – but some things I learned that way have become second nature to me now. I don’t need the book – or the cards!
And now, thanks to Pinterest, I’ve found a treasure trove of recipes that I can’t wait to try. Of course most of them get some tweaking along the way, whether it’s as I cook it the first time or we discuss what changes need to be made while we’re eating it (which happens a lot!).
One day I’d like to take some cooking classes at the local Le Cordon Bleu. I had once thought about making the jump and going to culinary school, but I’ve since changed my mind. I’ve read a few books about people’s experiences with that, and let’s just say there are some things I really think I don’t want to know…
I’d like to say only the tried-and-true recipes make it onto my recipe blog, but there are a few things I don’t make much. They were good enough to include, so maybe I need to go back and make them again!
As you read through these recipes, you’ll notice there are certain things I use. A lot. One of them is Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. It’s great with everything. I always have a big can of it in my spice cabinet – and I keep a small container of it in my purse. It’s that good. You can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can’t take the Louisiana out of the girl. 🙂
I hope you find a few things you’d like to try! And when you get around to trying them, please leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think – and what changes you might have made. Bon Appetit!