Thursday, July 16, 2009

The First Thing You Cooked

Discussion over at the Guardian about the first thing you cooked as a child. I'm not sure my very first attempt in the kitchen counts as "cooking", exactly.

My friend Dina, whose mother had the front of the hair dyed snow white and the back jet black (hey, in 1970, that was really cool) convinced me that her very cool multi-coloured haired mother wouldn't mind if we "whipped something up" in the kitchen. I seem to recall it was a punch involving Kool-Aid, peanut butter and Ju-Ju Bees (hard jelly candies). This had to be about grade two-we were eight years old, at most.

A few years passed and I made a proper attempt at a loaf cake. By this time I was ten, and we lived in a home with a lovely double oven that rarely saw much use. I dug out an ancient bread pan and prepared my batter, pouring it ever-so-carefully into the pan. It looked lovely coming out out of the oven-it might have actually smelled good. We cut into it and discovered large blobs of unmelted margarine still dotting the interior of the cake. To this day, I have no idea how or why that happened. My mother was a great one for bringing home food that was so engineered to be "healthful" that it was no longer food at all-so it is possible this was simply one of those abominations that didn't work well in baking.

As an adult, I remember baking a potato dish that involved some potatoes, onions, a cup of butter and condensed potato soup when I was first married. I didn't cook much because we lived in a neighbourhood in Boston that had all sorts of quality take away, some with delivery. To this day, our little dog will start barking like crazy at a knocking sound because he thinks someone is bringing "Crispy aromatic fish", and scallion pancakes. It was only after we moved out here to the farm that I learned to cook, because I had to.

So what was the first thing you remember cooking?


Raymond said...

I had the Betty Crocker Boys & Girls Cookbook, so it was probably cookies or something. But I do remember making Chicken a la King! Mmm! Loved it. Also, I saw a recipe somewhere for "Pizza Soup," which I made frequently: cook a can of tomato soup; while cooking, add chunks of swiss cheese (it'll get gooey but won't melt) + add some oregano.

Page D. said...

I can't remember the first thing I actually cooked. I do remember burning a hole in the linoleum floor with a flaming revere ware pot while attempting to pop popcorn. My mom got a new floor out of the deal. Now 35 years later.... it's time for another floor accident.......
I do remember making cinnamon rolls once or twice.

Goody said...

@ Raymond

Holy moley! We have a couple editions of the Betty Crocker Boys and Girl's Cookbook. Mine as a child had the yellow spiral binding. I completely forgot about those-I'll have to make some of the more exotic treats or pancakes shaped like circus animals.I used to sit and fantasize about the desserts in that book that I knew would never be made in our diabetic, sweet-monitored household. Gah, all that artificial sweetener-probably what gave me the whole range of autoimmune disorders. Well, that and all the crap she used to spray around the house to hide the fact no one had changed the litterbox in a while. Have you ever eaten artificailly sweetened grapefruit flavoured hard candy? I have! I always thought it tasted like a cross between chemicals and limes. And they stuck to your teeth-hard and plastic-y. Only five calories though, and no sugar. Too many would make you poop...yeah...I don't know why I share these trips down memory lane either.

Sometimes, when I was really desperate I'd eat the flavoured lip balm. I had a gigantic sized one-like the size of an industrial marker that tasted like Dr. Pepper. Do you remember those? I'll bet Page does.I mean, what else were you going to get in the Christmas stocking besides the little bottle of Tabu or Jean Nate? OK, yeah, I'm stopping now.

I don't think I could manage Pizza Soup...without puking.

@ Page D.

That's awesome-and your mum didn't beat you with the burning pan or anything? I remember a similar incident when my sister tried making peanut brittle that ended with our mother in a rage tossing pans and plaster statues about (she was a sculptor). To this day we still have a bandage on the foot (forty years later) of the poor guy she slammed at the wall after the peanut brittle.

I'll bet the Revere Ware cleaned up though. The new stuff is garbage, but those old pots were real quality for the money.

Did you get a hot air popper along with the new floor ;)

Page D. said...

I don't remember my mom being mad at all, she was happy to get a new floor. My dad propped the front and back doors open with the door mats to let air circulate and clear out the burned smell. He didn't get mad either......
My mother-in-law always polished her revere ware bottoms with copper-glo. 30 years ago I thought that was ridiculous (my mom's were NEVER polished). Today.... most of my pan bottoms are polished... I clean them once a month or so... they look brand new and I think it's funny how this "rubbed" off on me. My mom's set with heavy patina still cook just as good, but look a little worse for wear.
I do have a hot air popper... but think the pop in pan tastes better... too messy though.... and nothing a little melted butter won't cure.

Goody said...

Suddenly, I want Jiffy Pop. I wonder if they still make it?