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I was wondering how various people have learned to cook, or don't cook. I want to pass on a message of hope to the non-cooks out there, that you can do it!<br><br><br><br>
I learned a lot of recipies and techniques from my mother growing up, but it was all very middle America stuff like meat balls, Mac n Cheese, etc. (But the bread and dessert stuff was very helpful, especially pie crust!)<br><br><br><br>
Turning veg forced me to try new recipies, which taught me the lesson, that you often have to give a recipie several tries to get it right.<br><br><br><br>
Then I had a boyfriend who loved to cook. He taught me the wonders of using Indian spices and other weird stuff my mom never had, as well as the greatness of cast iron. He also insisted that I did not cut onions the right way and needed sharper knives. (he was right.)<br><br><br><br>
But my overall message is, practice, practice, practice! (and courage to modify a recipie you don't like.)
 

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I would like to think of myself as a pretty good cook.<br><br><br><br>
I learned pretty much on my own and because of my love for it. Believe it or not, Seventeen Magazine influenced me greatly. They would always have a section on cooking with menus and recipes and I would cut all of them out and try making different menus for my family (and boyfriends). I still have all the torn out magazine pages in a file. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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I think PoesÃ*a is a great cook!!!<br><br>
And getting better as a baker, we had some yummy Banana muffins last night.<br><br><br><br>
I think I am a decent cook, though not the best cook in the house.<br><br>
My mother taught me to cook, but I think now I have surpassed her as a cook. She made very Americanized meals and used tons of pre-packaged stuff (I still do)<br><br>
Growing up we had only cast iron pots until I was like 7 or 8 and I remember them being not as good as the wonders of Teflon. Last year my Aunt bought PoesÃ*a a set of cast-iron frying pans for Christmas and we use them a lot. Our next pots will not be non-stick, I think as you progress as a cook you go away from non-stick.<br><br><br><br>
Also if anyone does not have a wok I highly recommend getting one and using it.
 

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i just take whatever i have in the kitchen, and figure out how to make something out of it. it usually ends up being a rice dish, or pasta or something equally simple.<br><br><br><br>
but the real success story is my brother. growing up i was always the one helping my mom in the kitchen and asking tons of questions about what she was making, and my bro was not interested in the least.<br><br>
he works at a summer camp (in the summer obviously) for kids, as kitchen staff. he's done it for several years and always ends up at a different campsite with a different position every year. started out as kitchen prep (peeling potatoes and little jobs like that) and one year without warning they made him head cook. my mom and i laughed so hard cause all he knew how to make at home was kraft dinner and grilled cheese. now he's a great cook. funnier thing is the next year they made him a baker. a baker? now my mom and i really laughed at that one. but according to my mom he now makes an amazing cheesecake from scratch and bakes cookies and pies just for the hell of it. he actually likes to bake and does it all the time now.<br><br><br><br>
wierd. now i gotta train him to bake vegan goodies <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/lick.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lick:">
 

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I certainly didn't learn from my mother. Mom believed that if it didn't come from a can or wasn't boiled to a fine state of mush that it wasn't fit to eat. She controlled the kitchen and didn't like my sister and I making anything ourselves. When I left home to start college, I hardly even knew how to boil pasta. I remember calling my mother and <i>asking</i> her how long it would take to boil it.<br><br><br><br>
I moved in with my boyfriend who ate straight out of boxes and started to experiment a little, but not much. He was very anal about what he would or wouldn't eat. When I finally moved out on my own, I picked up a copy of "Recipes for a Small Planet" as well as a health food cookbook put out by the NY Times (it contained mostly veg recipes) and decided to go veg and learn to feed myself properly.<br><br><br><br>
I think that studying really good cookbooks can be the key to learning if you haven't had the chance to learn from someone else. I started simple and built up a great collection and eventually came to know what could or couldn't work with something else and then became free to experiment without fear.<br><br><br><br>
My spouse thinks I'm a good cook and he'll tell anyone within earshot, to my great embarassment. The one vegetarian we know well comes over for dinner at least a few times a month and I get to try out new things on him, as well.<br><br><br><br>
My next obstacle will be baking. I used to bake my own bread, rolls, muffins, etc. years ago but stopped and lost the hang of it. I'd like to get back into it since the organic vegan bread at the HFS costs $3-4 a loaf.
 

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When I moved in with my husband, I was 19 and could make just a few things...I had never made a cake from scratch and he taught me how to make gravy. I started trying new recipes and once in a while they turned out to be delicious and a new dish was added to my collection (He is not picky and that helped my confidence.)<br><br>
Now I cook my own bread all the time and make lots of different foods. I just ordered my first Korean cookbook a couple of days ago...I don't think that I have ever even eaten Korean, but I am sure I will like it. My advice for new cooks is to simply try a new recipe now and then and before you know it, you will be a pro.<br><br>
Cookbooks I love: The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, Tofu Cookery and The Everyday Vegan.
 

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Sometimes I really do think I went vegan, as an excuse to teach myself how to cook. My mother never taught me much at all, the only thing I remember her letting me help with was from a box, or just turning pancakes or grilled cheese sandwiches. What really scares me now, is that all those years I trusted her and she was probably doing the meat broth/sausage grease gravy thing until I noticed. Ick.<br><br>
Anyway, when I was still lacto-ova shopping was convenient enough that I was lazy about what I ate, and rarely tried cooking much myself. And since I was so kitchen illiterate, every time she saw me trying to do a recipe she'd laugh and tell everybody how I needed instructions for *every* thing. When I went vegan, I was determined to overcome that and just teach myself anyhow.<br><br>
I think it's made it relatively easier on me though, since I've never cooked meat and such so I'm not trying to re-learn how to do something a different way in a "Vegetarian Cooking, As a Second Language" type deal. Even if I still haven't quite gotten the instinctive feel for cooking yet, I really love doing it now and I'm not too scared to try something I'll probably mess up, and then try it again until it's decent. I think having my big three ring binder and folders full of recipes is a lot better than all of those boxes in the uninformed unhealthy days was.
 

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i learned a lot from my mama - i grew up in a semi-veg household (economics, not politics) and she taught me all about the wonders of beans. most of the food i cooked after i moved out was her recipes, all delicious.<br><br><br><br>
then as we went closer and closer to being vegan i started branching out in ways i'd never imagined before....and now i am Kreeli, Super Vegan, and Creator of <a href="http://www.veganmania.com" target="_blank">www.veganmania.com</a> (and soon to be author of the cookzine BigFATVegan!)
 

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I watched and helped other people that cooked, starting when I was about 10 or so, including both my my fodder and my mudder. When I ate at friend's houses, I sometimes helped their parents cook -- one parent of one friend I had when I was about 18, demanded that me and my friend work, if we were going to hang out and watch television there after school, and eat there -- that included washing salad greens, peeling potaters, putting dishes in the dishwasher, "playing" with my friend's baby sister and keeping her out from underfoot, helping with shopping, etcetera. I learned a lot from her. She was a very good cook. I liked her style. I observed that dif people had dif styles. I tried to develop my own style, my own voice.<br><br><br><br>
When I was about 22 I spent 2 months at the Suncrest the Educreational institute of the American Vegan Society and learned a lot from Freya Dinshah. But always it comes back to me developing my own style. But Freya's influenced me more than anyone elses. She was selling vegan cookbooks in 1964 or so -- way before stepaniak, and giving food demonstrations at suncrest, and also bringing along a slide presentation (this was from 1964 through the 70's etc) consisting of zillions of slides (those photographs on transparent medium that u shine light thru and project the picture on a reflective screen like a movie screen, only there is no motion -- juste as well when you are talking about looking at food!) showing tremendous "vegan variety" as she called it.<br><br><br><br>
But everything comes back to developing my own style. I aim for simplicity: don't use ingredients "supersistiously" always ask does this really need that ingredient or am i putting it in because the recipe said to? So I'll try making it w/o the ingr and see what happens.<br><br><br><br>
I also consider for nutrition, alimentation, and digestion, of what I prepare, not just the tastes of what I prepare. Digestion includes -- is there a good balance between fiber on one hand, and playdough (breas, pasta, rice) on the other hand? I try to stick, generally, to a form-follows-function approach.<br><br><br><br>
Also I prefer to use the term "food preparation" and "cuisine" rather than the term "cooking" as I like to emphasise uncooked foods.<br><br><br><br>
Much like kittay, I didn't have to unlearn too much animal-preparation, because I started becoming vegan at about 20 years old, which was when I started to depend on myself for nearly all my meals, rather than depending on others. My friend whose mother I helped a lot -- one time me and my friend invited another couple over to my friend's house for a meal, and used my friend's mother's kitchen, with her permission, and this was the first and last time I killed an animal (a lobster) as opposed to bought an animal that was pre-killed for me. I like to do things from scratch, and a realized i didn't like killing animals, so that if I wanted to do things from scratch, and <b>enjoy</b> it, i would have to find things to eat that weren't animals that required slaughtering.<br><br><br><br>
My view is that enjoying a meal isn't confined to just enjoying chewing it. If you want to truly enjoy a meal, you have to enjoy it from beginning to end: cleaning up afterward; digesting it for hours later (so you want to choose food for how they digest, as well as for how they taste); and you want to enjoy what you have to do to get the ingredients you need to prepare a meal, you'll want to enjoy gathering them, buying them, and and the whole of agri-cultivating them. If the people who work on the farm are underpaid -- then how can I truly enjoy eating what they have produced? If animals were raised, played with, and then betrayed, and killed -- how can I enjoy eating the ingredient that resulted from that? It affects the enjoyment. And food is about totally enjoying the whole production, from beginning to end -- not just enjoying the chewing part.
 

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If anyone wants to some air-popped popcorn, with my special seasoning, i'll mail you a handful. Just send me an address or box number. I don't think it needs refrigeration or anything.<br><br><br><br>
I tend to make up my own recipes. They just dawn on me on when I'm busy doing something else -- hey wouldn't that and that and that prepared like that be an interesting thing to try -- like the way songs dawn on songwriters, or something. I find cookbooks recipes to be often have awful awful recipes, and I've noticed that people who write the books -- their recipes come out dif when they make them than when I make them, even tho i follow the diretions exactly. I suspect they don't always measure vcorrectly, or describe procedures correctly. So lots of thngs i eat are altered recipes, or my own inventions.<br><br><br><br>
My seasoned popcorn is my own invention. One day I thought to myself -- what should I put on my popcorn, it is too bland and dry to eat plain air-popped popcorn - and then the idea for what to put on it just, ummm, popped, into my head.
 

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I could cook before I went vegan but wasn't a good cook and didn;t enjoy cooking the way I do now. Going vegan forced me to learn how to cook. I cuit out and saved recipies from Vegatarian Times (my mother got a subscription when I went vegan). Kreeli was also a hudge influence, helping me find ways to subsitute for animal products.<br><br><br><br>
BTW Kreeli, I'll subscribe to your zine when you have it up and running, Extra postage or not.
 

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same here! (i'll show you mine if you show me yours <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">)
 

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doesn't that belong in another thread? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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I am horrible at cooking !! I can't even flip pancakes!! lol But I am taking a cooking class this semester at school and it helps alot because you get to cook different recipes and its practice for me hehe.
 

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The quality of cooking for me depends on how much time I take for it.<br><br>
Sometimes is "just hot food"<br><br>
Sometimes better than I can get in a restaurant.<br><br><br><br>
Researchers say <b>If you want to get a chef get a vegan</b><br><br><br><br>
see: <a href="http://www.imaner.net/panel/results6.htm" target="_blank">http://www.imaner.net/panel/results6.htm</a>
 

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I don't remember how i learned how to cook. the ability has just always been there. I really like science and to me cooking is just like doing a lab experiement. You just follow the procedure. I remember when i was ten my parents had me making dinner a few nights a week. I am 15 now, and I think I am just as good as a cook as my parents, if not better. I experiement a lot, and sometimes will just get out all of our vegan cookbooks and just look through them, reading them and marking things i want to try.
 

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I was one of those late bloomers. I was the sort that didn't even know how to hardboil an egg, or something simple like that (but I did know how to make spaghetti) I lived on stirfry sauces meat and rice for ages... then I got some cookbooks and learned how to cook... one of the most frustrating things about going veg for me was my cooking quality seemed to go down... I was such a good cook before, and made the best curry ever, and then it was like I had to learn a whole new way of cooking... and Im still getting used to it. But it will get better the more I try...
 

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I absolutely love to cook!<br><br><br><br>
I've always been a big reader. I'll read everything and anything including cookbooks. I've taught myself to cook through books and by watching cooking shows that are heavy on technique.<br><br><br><br>
I love to cook elaborate meals, even if it's just for me and my hubby. I don't understand those who say that don't have time to cook, seeing as you can cook a great meal from scratch in the same amount of time it takes to heat up microwave dinners for your family. Besides cooking from scratch is a hell of a lot healthier, and just as inexpensive.<br><br><br><br>
Anyone who is just starting out should invest in a good cookbook that is more about technique than recipes (pictures are a must). Once you figure out 'how to cook', the 'what to cook' is only limited by your imagination.<br><br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/carrot.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":vebo:">
 

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I can cook really well. I have always been interested in it, for a large part becuaes of the science. all the chemical reactions and what does what to affect this and that. very interesting. I cook all my meals becuase, well No one else will <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">.
 

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I think (and I'm told) that I'm a good cook. I probably learned quite a bit from observing my mother as I was growing up, but I didn't actually start cooking or baking until I was in graduate school. (My mother couldn't stand to have me do anything in the kitchen, because I was so messy. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"> I'm still a messy cook, although I prefer to think of myself as an "enthusiastic" cook. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"> ) I started out with a few simple recipes. (I have a theory that if you can read, you can learn to do anything.) I didn't stick with recipes for long though--I tend to like more intense flavors than the cookbooks I was using at the time produced, and it was a simple step to go from adding more of the seasonings the recipes called for, to just trying things from scratch. I love to read cookbooks, and I have a lot of them, but I don't remember the last time when I tried a recipe and didn't alter it. Most of the time now, I don't even start with a recipe, and generally, the things that I just "throw together" work out best.
 
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