Well, I guess it all started when I was six years old. My dad woke me up at 6 am and told me that I was going to learn how to make breakfast. A typical breakfast for my family was corned beef hash and eggs. I was in charge of the eggs. He taught me how to crack it without getting pieces of shell in the bowl and how to fry them all sorts of ways. Each member of my family had a different preference. My dad liked them sunny side up, my mom ate them over-medium, and my sister and I liked our eggs scrambled with some cheese. I cooked them all. I hated waking up so early but I enjoyed the cooking. I look at 6 year olds today and think that my dad was crazy for putting me in front of the stove, but I never once burned the kitchen/house down so I guess things turned out okay.
When I was 8 I got to start cooking the corned beef hash. I remember peeling the potatoes (on lazy days I would just scrub them really hard so they were clean so I wouldn’t have to peel them), then shredding them, then opening the can of corned beef and microwaving it with just a drop of water to soften it up, then I mixed it all together with some seasoning salt and pepper, and at last it was ready for the pan. Now my dad was all cool and could flip the corned beef “pancake” in the air to turn it over. I however was not that coordinated so I had to cut it up into quarters and flip each part with the spatula. As I got older I tried to flip it in the air like my dad. Sometimes it was a great success, other times it was a disaster. Just a few weeks ago I made two large pans and one flipped smoothly, the other… I’m embarrassed to say half ended up on the floor… unfortunately the disaster pan was the larger one.
But that’s just me. What can I say? I’m just a messy girl. I love to cook but hate to do dishes. Every time I do the dishes I always end up with a soaking wet t-shirt and water all over the counter and floor. Even when I cook I make a mess. If I’m frying bacon, you can pretty much bet that oil splatters all over the stove. If I’m baking flour ends up all over the counter.
Speaking of baking, some of my fondest memories of my grandmother were when we baked together. She was a wonderful baker. Her apple pie and lemon bars were delicious. She made the lemon bars from lemons grown in her backyard. She would help me bake all sorts of cookies, mostly sugar cookies and snicker doodles. We made them into all shapes and sizes and decorate them with colorful sprinkles. One time I made a cookie lollipop the size of my head!
My grandfather was an amazing cook. He would wake up around 5 am and be in the kitchen from morning till early evening cooking dinner. He made a lot of different Chinese dishes, my favorite being “pai gwut” (spare ribs) and potatoes. I wish I could have learned how to cook Chinese dishes, but alas I only know how to cook non-Asian foods and even then I’ve had my fair share of fiascos.
My sister and I used to cook my parents dinner for their anniversary a few years in a row. The first year we made spaghetti and potato salad. It was my first time cooking potato salad and I learned a very valuable lesson: potatoes need to be cooked before they can be chopped and made into a potato salad. My parents’ comment, “Very Crunchy… How long did you boil the potatoes for?” My reply, “Boil?!” I think I was about 10 years old when this happened. Needless to say, my cooking skills have far improved and I try to cook dinner for the family once every few weeks. There are still things I need to work on, like my timing… (if I start cooking dinner at 4pm we usually don’t eat until 8 or 9), but my dishes have turned out quite tasty and that’s all that really matters. I’ll post up my successful family meals and my not-so-successful meals. I hope you enjoy!