August Monthly Mouthful

Sure,  everyone has to cook some time.  But for foodies, cooking isn’t just a necessity, it’s a hobby. But where did this love of cooking come from? Where did it all start? We at Chew on That have always wondered just how our fellow foodies’ adventures  got started. So this month we asked food bloggers from around the world: “What is the first meal you ever cooked? Was it memorable? Share any recipes you used!”

From hockey puck pancakes to dish soap in muffins, read on to see how these foodies began their cooking adventures!

Becke from Columbus Foodie:

I loved to experiment with cooking as a kid, which led to some unmitigated disasters. Like the cake that I didn’t use any leavening agent in, which turned out to be dense little pancakes. Or the pineapple meatloaf (yes, it was as bad as it sounds!). But the first meal I ever cooked by myself that people would eat? A killer lasagna with sauce that simmered all day, three different kinds of meat, and tons of cheese. Not only did people want seconds, they also wanted the recipe!

Note to Becke: You must share it with us! :)

Melissa from Alosha’s Kitchen:

My first was chicken tortilla soup, which I wrote about last October when telling “my story” about how I came to start cooking at age 31.

Lisa from A Dinner Party:

Lunch for my mom: a hamburger bun slathered with honey butter and topped with copious amounts of rainbow sprinkles. A four-year-old’s culinary triumph. (Needless to say, she didn’t eat it.)

Hannah from Honey and Jam:

The first meal I ever cooked was disastrous. I was 12 I believe and created my own pasta dish. Bow tie pasta, corn, some grilled chicken. I can’t even remember what sauce I used but it was disgusting. The pasta was undercooked, the chickenover cooked. But it was a ton of fun and I’ve really grown since then!

Amber from Eat Your Veggies:

Wow, the first meal I ever cooked….it took me awhile to remember, and boy did it bring back memories!

It wasn’t a meal per se, but rather a dessert. From a Betty Crocker mix. I was 6 years old, and anxious to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner. My grandma Boz, who was probably sick of me being underfoot all day, told me I could make the lemon poppy seed muffins. She gave me a big bowl, the muffin mix and a measuring cup with water the amount of water the package called for. She brought me a chair to stand on, so I could reach the counter, and instructed me to mix everything together in the bowl, and then she went about mashing the potatoes.

Well, mixing everything took all of about 2 minutes, and I wanted to do more. I was standing next to the sink and happened to glance at the dish soap…Lemon…! (What 6 year old pays attention to the small print…in this case scented being the small print). I thought that it would be a perfect addition to the muffins! I picked up the bottle and squeezed about a tablespoon of the lemony dish soap into the bowl and mixed it in good. It was a little bubbly, and probably smelled a little extra lemony, but other than that you couldn’t really tell, and my grandma was certainly too busy to notice. She let me fill the muffin tins, and I watched the oven the whole 15 minutes they had to bake.

Everyone raved about those muffins, until I told them the secret ingredient. I wasn’t allowed to make the muffins for years after that.

Nicole from For The Love of Food:

I think it was Sloppy Joes from a children’s cookbook my mother got me when I was in second grade. I had always helped her around the kitchen, but that was the first full meal that I was in charge of. I had to read instructions, measure, chop, and stir. I found it a bit difficult to multi-task, but my mom helped me pull it all together.

I don’t seem to have the exact recipe on me, I do it free-hand now. But, you basically mix together browned ground beef, some diced onion, salt, garlic powder, pepper, ketchup, and mustard. Then I just put it on some burger buns and enjoy.

So, was it memorable? Yes. I can remember any good-tasting meal I’ve ever had dating back to the chocolate cake at my dad’s birthday dinner when I was 3. And, as a lover of food and cooking, I definitely remember my first cooking experience.

Ruth from Once Upon A Feast:

I can’t seem to recall a time I DIDN’T spend in the kitchen, but my best memory was making cookies for my dad when I was 5 or 6. My mother was an awesome baker and even when I was little I got to play with her scraps. I lovingly played with the dough until it was gray and tough (it looked wonderful to me), cut them into shapes and baked them along side my mother’s delicate golden ones. I still can feel the pride I felt as I gave it to my daddy. Looking back, I’m not sure how he even bit into one, but he put on a great show. I guess that’s what daddies do best.

But the first real meal I remember making was a dinner party for my friends when I was 16 or 17. Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread and …I don’t remember what I served for dessert. It’s still frequently requested.

Karen from Rambling Spoon:

The first thing I ever cooked was a chocolate cake using my Holly Hobbie Oven —remember those? It was a deep thrill for me to open the box, mix the batter and sniff the warm scent of chocolate in something I had created. I didn’t have to share that oven with anyone else. It was all mine, and it suited me just fine as a little kid. I remember that oven vividly, though I don’t at all recall the first grown-up meal I ever made. (Now, of course, I wonder what precisely went into those Holly Hobbie cakes.)

Ali from Chat and Chew:

The first meal I ever made was an English muffin pizza. I started making the treat when I was 5 years old. It was my first independent cooking experience and I loved it. My creation began with minimal pizza sauce being spooned perfectly on top of the soft dough. A big handful of shredded mozzarella would be piled on next. Then there was the decorating of the pizza. Bright green specs of dried oregano and basil colored my mini Picasso. In the final stage, I would toast the muffin until the edges were crisp and browned. This is one of my fondest childhood memories and I still make them every time I stay with my grandmother.

Old School English Muffin Pizzas
1 English muffin
A handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons of tomato/pizza sauce
Your favorite pizza toppings
Slice the English muffin in half, spoon the sauce on the muffins and top with the mozzarella cheese on each half of the English muffin.
Add your favorite pizza toppings. Place the completed pizza on an aluminum foil-lined pan in your toaster oven. Bake until the cheese is a golden brown color and the edges are crisp.

Annie from Annie’s Eats:

The first meal I ever cooked was one that my father had made for me throughout high school. It was (and still is) one of my favorite meals. The entree was a simple pasta dish consisting of warm spaghetti mixed with shredded mozzarella cheese and a diced tomato-garlic-olive oil mixture…sort of a caprese pasta, minus the basil (though that would be a great addition). We had a simple salad and garlic bread on the side. I made this for my then-boyfriend, now-husband’s birthday dinner with his family. It is very memorable for me because it seemed to take an eternity to seed and dice all the tomatoes. Now this meal takes me no time at all, but I was horrible with a knife when I was starting out. Thankfully it did taste good and was a hit all around!

Winnie from Healthy Green Lifestyle:

Honestly I think the first meal I cooked was when I was 14 and it was tacos. I believe I followed the directions on the taco seasonings package- no really much of a recipe. I would make it for myself and my brother while my parents were at work. We had little bowls for shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cheese, and made our own. I still make an updated version of this every now and then with MSG-free seasoning, grass-fed beef, homemade guacamole, etc. so I guess it was memorable!

Gilli from So So Simple Food:

Actually the first thing I cooked was Pikelets. They are like the small flapjacks of New Zealand. We serve them with jam and cream like scones. The first ones I made was probably at about 9 years old. They were so hard, you could have used them for Frisbees.
My mother and father bravely ate at least one each; I was very proud.

But as a newly-wed 19 year old (in the mid 60′s), my first dinner party included the following:

Tuna Seafood Cocktail
Schnitzel with Coleslaw and Chips
Slice of lemon on the side
(Can’t remember the dessert.)

This menu was given to anyone that came to dinner in those first few months. I have branched out since!!!

The Tuna Cocktail was the Piece de Resistance It was a can of tuna, mixed with minced onion, canned pineapple (chopped), mixed with a bought seafood dressing (one of those pink mayonnaise sauces). I added a drop of Tabasco for that extra punch. All served in an ice cream sundae dish on top of shredded Iceberg lettuce. People were very impressed.

Actually I might do a nostalgic dinner one of these days. I’ll blog it. I’ll invite my bridal party to see if they remember.

Jessie from Cakespy:

I remember quite vividly the first thing I ever baked: birthday cake. Vanilla cake with pink frosting. OK, it was with help from mom, but definitely the first thing I remember actually taking part in making. And oh, how that sweet memory has influenced my life ever since!

Andrea from Bella Eats:

The first meal that I actually remember cooking was a pot roast for my husband (then boyfriend) Brian. He is very close to his grandmother, and his favorite meal in the world was her famous pot roast. I really wanted to impress him and prepare this favorite dish, so decided to surprise him one day when he was going to be busy working on a furniture project outside of our apartment.

I managed to get the recipe from Nana, bought all of the ingredients and got started as soon as Brian went outside to build. The veggie chopping was no problem, but then I got to the “brown all sides of the roast” part. You must understand that until this night I had never touched raw meat before. I was eating a mostly vegetarian diet and had been known to cry over food on occasion, in public. I unwrapped the beef, heated the pan on the stovetop and got out the tongs to transfer the roast to the pan. And then began to cry. The feel of the roast between the tongs felt like, well, a big hunk of flesh. It was way too much for me to handle.

Embarrassed, but with no other option, I went outside to ask Brian to help me. I think the tears streaming down my face startled him, and he may have found my peculiar diversion to raw meat a little strange, but he immediately dropped everything and came inside to brown the roast. Once the meat was in the roast pan I was able to handle everything else, and we enjoyed a delicious and memorable meal together that we still laugh about to this day.

I’ve gotten much better about handling meat since marrying my carnivore husband, and this recipe for pork roast stuffed with figs is one of our new favorites.

As always, thanks to everyone who participated! If you were not contacted for this month’s Monthly Mouthful and would like to be included in future Monthly Mouthfuls, please e-mail us at chewonthatblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post your own first cooking experience in the comments section below!

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  • Angela

    When I was a teenager , thought I wanted to be a vegetarian. I went online and found a recipe for mac and cheese. Yogurt, raisings, cashews, and very little cheese. It was awful, and my mom still won’t let me forget it 10+ years later.

  • Gourmandise

    My first experience cooking on my own was as a new bride. “I now can have cherry pie and not have to share it with a crowd” was my initial thought. So, out comes the Cuisinart and up comes the phone on the counter to call Mom and ask how to do this. With copious notes I begin and succeed-or so I thought until I tasted it! The scratch crust was tough! Not worth swallowing! What to do? Certainly not throwing away all those expensive tart cherries! Called Mom again and received new advice as to not “work” the crust too much. So after preparing a new crust, scraping out the cherries of the old crust and rebaking it was great. And ever since then I am gentle on my crust!

  • http://google Ronette

    My first dinner was meatballs and spaghetti from the wonderful, red and white checkered, Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It was a GREAT hit and my family, 40 years later, still thinks those meatballs are better than any restaurant!

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