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Share Your Memories of Cooking with Mom

By , SparkPeople Blogger
CONTEST CLOSED! The winners are:

We'll be shipping the books via Amazon today!

For years my mother was a police officer and then a police dispatcher. She worked swing shift, doubles, whatever she had to do to provide for her kids.

The Thanksgiving when I was 16, she was scheduled to work until 6 a.m. She planned to come home, sleep for a few hours and start dinner. She had recently separated from her husband and was working extra shifts to make a good life for my sisters, brother and me. My mom came home that morning and told us to make sure she was awake by 10 a.m. so she could start the turkey. There were bags under her eyes, and it was clear that she was exhausted.

My 14-year-old sister and I decided we weren't going to wake her. We enlisted our little brother and sister, then 4 and 6, and the four of us made the entire meal. We'd been helping her for so many years that, though the dishes didn't have mom's magic touch, we knew exactly what to do.

My mom awoke with a start a few hours later. She bounded into the kitchen, apologizing for oversleeping. Then she looked around and saw that we had started--and nearly finished--cooking without her. She cried, we cried, and that was the best Thanksgiving we ever had, just the five of us.

Some of my earliest memories are of being in the kitchen with my mother. Making that and every Thanksgiving dinner together, sorting through dog-eared family recipes, baking dozens of cookies each Christmas, cooking was how we bonded. My mom taught me how to separate eggs, why you should never slam the oven door when baking a soufflé, and how to make the flakiest pie crust you'll ever taste.

As a child, cooking seemed commonplace, never difficult or time-consuming. My mom brought us into the kitchen, let us help her make dinner, and assigned us tasks to occupy us and ease her workload. Before I could reach the counter, I loved grating carrots, stirring cookie dough, and shaking salad dressing.

By the time I was a preteen, Mom was working full time and putting herself through the police academy. I helped with dinner more often, even if that meant grilled cheese and tomato soup.

It wasn't until high school and later college that I realized what a gift she had given me. I had friends in college who didn't know how to boil water for pasta. Do you add the pasta first? How much water? How long does it cook?

When I moved into my first apartment, I started hosting dinner parties, first just lasagna and simple comfort foods, but later roast chicken and risotto with butternut squash, quite a fancy meal for a college student on a budget.  

Today, I make a living writing about food (and healthy living). Teaching me to cook was the best gift my mother could give me, just as her mother gave her.

This week, I want you to share your stories about cooking with your own mom. And, as way to say thanks to moms everywhere, we're giving away six copies of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight."

Enter to win a copy for the favorite mother in your life (you can even enter your mom's name and address if you'd like). We'll choose a winner next Wednesday, May 9, and we'll send via Amazon (with two-day shipping) that day so you (or your mom) will get it in time for Mother's Day.

(Speaking of Mother's Day, we have a FREE e-book that give you a sneak peek into "The SparkPeople Cookbook": To download or preview "Light and Easy Mother's Day Brunch Recipes from SparkPeople" for FREE, click here and scroll down to choose the file type you prefer.)

To enter to win "The SparkPeople Cookbook," click here! Be sure to read the rules. This contest will end exactly one week from today! Winners will be notified via email by dailySpark editor Stepfanie Romine.
Of course, if you don't want to wait to see if you've won, you can order a copy for Mom today. We think it makes the perfect Mother's Day present!

What is your favorite memory of cooking with your mom? Share it in the comments below.
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Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't wait to receive my cookbook - I was totally surprised and excited when I received your e-mail. Whoohoo for SparkPeople!

I remember cooking with my mom, but unfortunately most of it wan't healthy. I wish she was here today to see that I've reached my weight loss goals and have been maintaining for several years. It's always a struggle and I have to work at it. But I've learned so much about being healthy and it's worth it. Thanks for your support and good ideas! Report
I remember the Thanksgiving when my mom had just had hip replacement surgery and rehab and my father was being treated for Brackett's lymphoma. They got home the Friday before Thanksgiving and they were worried that we wouldn't have Thanksgiving. Between the three of us - my mother working at the kitchen table cutting up everything, me cooking and bringing things to be inspected and my father on a high stool at the sink washing dishes, etc. , we cooked a great meal, enjoyed it together and were extremely proud of our accomplishment. Report
Unfortunately, I don't remember much of my mother's cooking when she was with my dad - other than pumpkin pie. I learned to make the little treats from crust with sugar and cinnamon from that time period.

I remember more of her cooking when she was married to her third husband. By then much of her meals were boxed - Rice-a-roni and the like - and then specific healthy foods to make up for the processed stuff such as liver (*gag*) and whole rows of vitamins and supplements.

My stepmother around the same time was queen of boiling things to death and beyond, with most of her cooking expertise very southern in style (chicken a la king, okra, grits, hominy) but without any fried / crispy flair. She also went into replacing anything dairy with soy, chocolate with carob, sugar with fructose, and also the kitchen cabinet full of vitamins and supplements.

Most of what I learned about cooking came from a cooking class in 8th grade and a home economics class in my sophomore year, or self-taught since. Report
I was the oldest of 7 children so I became the little mother. My mom didn't get out much but when she could get out I took over for her.
She taught me to cook and when garden time came all the rest went outside to work in the garden. I stayed in to cook supper and answer the phone to take orders for dad.
Of course there was hundreds of jars of veggies, pickles, catchup and other things in the cupboard.

I learned to cook just like my mom, good old mid west cooking with a pinch of that and a dab of that,and no one could tell the difference but I always preferred mom's cooking. My mom is gone at the age of 99 1/2 but I remain with good memories of our simple little kitchen with no microwave or fancy cooking things but everyone was happy around the dining room table. Report
My mom was an awesome cook! I learned a lot watching her and helping her. It was very sad when she starting getting dementia; I would call her and ask her, tell me how you fry chicken OR how did you make your green beans, and her response would be, "I'm not sure, sorry." She now has full blown dementia but I'm glad I watched her and kept her recipes. I now use them but things like FRIED chicken, I adapt to baking. Her homemade meals were phenomenal with all the extra things on the side, pickles, relish, pickled beets, etc (all homemade!) Report
My mother was a fantastic cook. My husband and I still miss dishes that she prepared like her vegetable salad, beef and noodles, and chicken and dumplings. Although have her recipes mine is never quite as good. Report
When I was growing up, my Mom worked full-time, so I always got home before her. We lived in a tenement upstairs fro my Aunt and Uncle, who had no children. When I got home, I would spend the afternoon with my aunt, and I have lots of memories of her cooking and baking. She always loved to try new and sometimes fancy recipes. She was actually the person who taught me to cook and let me help, even when I was just a toddler.
She passed away in 2005 at the age of 96, but I will always cherish the memories of cooking with her, from everyday meals to wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Report
My mom can cook, but my father was the primary cook in my family when I was growing up. How that came about is a treasured story in my family.

In the 50s, it was always assumed that the wife of the family would do the cooking. Though both my parents also worked outside the home, my mom would arrive home first and start to make dinner. When my father, who had learned to cook from childhood and loved it, came home, he would want to add a few herbs here, change the menu a bit there. . . but it was hard for him to get near the stove because the kitchen was so small. He would make my mother a martini and would set it down on the table, far from the stove. When my mother would go to pick up her martini, my father would scoot in front of the stove and happily change everything my mother had been cooking. After this went on for a while, my mother finally said, "If you want to do the cooking, be my guest!" and the rest, as they say, was history. To this day, my father makes my mother a martini before heading to the kitchen to prepare dinner -- just in case. Report
I learned more from watching than from actually doing with her, but my favorite memory is Christmas morning and the foods that we ate as tradition. I was away one Christmas and called home while they were eating and I listed off everything they were going to have. My brother was amazed that I remembered it all, but it was indelibly imprinted on my mind. Comfort food usually is. ;) While she is gone, her memory of fun times in the kitchen live on. Hopefully my children have more memories of cooking with me...though I'm not very patient as a teacher. lol Report
My mom cooked some great meals for my family ,i remember she did some canning of vegetables. Report
My favorite memories of cooking with my mom was Thanksgivings. I was the one who got to cube the bread, dice the celery, onions...... and then - moosh it altogether! I loved the feel of the warm food oozing through my fingers, the smell of the bread, warmed broth, herbs + spices, watching the egg break apart and everything come together the more I smooshed. What a sensory experience!!! I also loved making the Waldorf Salad with the crunchy apples, celery, and toasted walnut pieces..... mmmmm. My mouth is watering :) To this day, thanksgiving dinner is not the same without homemade stuffing and Waldorf Salad - make the way my mom taught me. Report
When I was a kid, we had to make the wallet stretch a lot. My Mom did this in the kitchen by pickling, canning, freezing, and baking as much as she could all year long. She canned green beans, peaches, pears, cherries, and applesauce. She froze corn, raspberry and apricot jam, and pounds and pounds of strawberries. She made pickles - dill and sweet. She also bought whole wheat flour in bulk and made her own bread. All with produce she was able to get on the cheap from local farms around the area we lived in, or even our friends' personal orchards or garden patches. I remember not really appreciating how amazing it was that I was eating delicious homemade food (with NO preservatives!) all year 'round, even though our budget was super-tight. As a Mom now, I look at how resourceful she was, and I can only hope I'm half as good at it as she was. Report
I didn't cook much with my mother, but she gave me one of the most treasured gifts I ever received--kids cooking lessons when I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was sponsored by an electric cooperative at an elementary school. We had so much fun, and I've had a love affair with the kitchen (except for cleaning it) ever since. My son has taken after me--he has a passion for cooking, especially for his friends. It's wonderful to compare notes with him on cooking, baking, chefs, appliances and gadgets. Report
I didn't cook much with mom. The one thing I do remember is on Sundays in the winter time (we lived in N.Y.), my mom and dad would make challah (bread) and they would let my brother and me help. It always warmed up the house and made it smell so yummy. Now, I'm the baker in my house and my mom always wonders where I came from! (she was not the big baker or cook!). I just love to bake, especially with (and for) my kids!! Report
I learned much of what I know about cooking from observing Mom in the kitchen and later by helping her when a rare skin condition on her hands interfered with her cooking. Mom always mixed her meatloaf by hand, she never even considered using a fork or other utensil when her skin condition developed, she just called on me to do the mixing. That was how I learned to make a delicious meatloaf.

Mom is now 89 and my sisters and I, although being good cooks, can't quite compare to Mom when it comes to making potato salad or fried chicken.

Thanks for this opportunity to reflect on some very precious moments. Report
My mom is a great cook, but she thinks she is just ok. She is now 85, and I still get goodies from her now and then - especially things I don't cook because my family won't eat them. She married a 100% German man, so many of her recipes were the good ol' fashioned heavy German meals - always meat & potatoes, always big! After I left home, I fell in love with every style of food, and I have experimented with all kinds of cooking, and I've passed that on to my adult son. We laugh when it's one of our turns to cook, and we say, 'well, I'm going to try something new', and the rest of the family groans... Most of the time it's good, and everyone enjoys it. We make it fun, and that gets everyone to at least try it. I just bought some Tofu because I love it, but I don't know how I'm going to get the family to try it. My mom loves to try my new recipes, too... Can't say my German dad is as gung-ho, but if mom gives him the look, he tries it... Can't complain that an 88-year old man is still trying new things! My mom taught me to can garden vegetables when I was young, and I enjoyed helping. Her pickles are the BEST, and she has to make 60 - 70 quarts a year to satisfy all of us kids/grandkids... It's dawning on me that at age 85, she may not be able to can that much, so I better learn. We've started summer canning sessions at my house so I can continue making all these homemade goodies when she can't make them anymore.... My neighbor and I baked all of the time when we were young, and my favorite memory is when I dropped a donut cutter into her mom's canister of flour & yelled Mt. St. Helen's is erupting just as her mom walked in the door - there was more time cleaning up than baking that day! Report
My mother was a wonderful cook and from the time we were little we were in the kitchen helping her. When I was 9 she had cancer and was given 6 months to live. She was in the hospital and very sick at Easter time. My sister and I decided to boil eggs and decorate them and bring an Easter basket to Mom in the hospital. We were so proud of our hard work and how lovely the eggs turned out. Mom was so excited that we had made them for her. We encouraged her to try one of the eggs. Sick as she was, she cracked open an egg and it started to run - we didn't boil them long enough! We were crushed but she praised us and said she liked her eggs soft and made us feel so special for taking time to do this for her. The cancer disappeared (truly a miracle) and she was able to come home and show us how long it takes to boil an egg and more about baking and cooking. My sisters and I are all great cooks thanks to Mom's caring ways and taking time to show us. She died of cancer much later, but I treasure the memories of cooking with my mom. Report
My Mom is great! My 2 sisters and I learned 3 different styles of cooking from her. She was always ready to help us make a new recipe or a new technique, even if she did not yet know it herself. Many times there would be a big pot of homemade spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove (and a line of neighbor kids ready to try it, again). She could whip up a meal from any country we wanted! For our birthday dinner she would make anything we wanted, and it was always awesome. I think that, because she was so versatile in her cooking is why each of us learned a different style of cooking. My favorite is baking. She taught me to be adventurous and not to fear making the recipe my way. She still helps me with questions and hints, even if I have to call her in Arizona!
I love you Mom! Report
I learned how to cook at a young age from my Mom. I would watch her prepare meals for my father and sister and brother. I come from an Italian background and the preparation would take a long time years ago. Over time my Mom cut down on the old traditional Italian meals. She started to prepare meals that took 35 minutes or less to prepare. She would have me help her in the preparation of the meals. We followed recipes from cook books at times and also from scratch. It was great joy to see the accomplishment of a healthy meal . I am so thanful to my Mom for all she shared with me. Report
My mother is now 90. She has lived with my husband and I almost 10 years now. The memory that I want to remember isn't from my childhood. Although we started Christmas baking back then, I just was never into the making, only the eating. Mom loved baking and would supply the town with her platefuls of creative bakery. As she hit 85, she just couldn't stand that long. So, I decided to help. I don't like baking, only cooking. But you know what? It was fun, and messy, and a memory I want to cherish forever. meant so much to her to still be able to bake and give away her treasures. I hope she is able to be in the kitchen in early December this year, by which time she will be 91. If not, I will picture her there, as I make her wonderful recipes and supply the town with them. Report
I actually learned a lot of what I know about cooking from my grandmother, who passed away 4 years ago at the young age of 96. She moved in with our family when I was 10, after my grandfather passed away. My mother had just opened a store so Grandma was home with us kids after we got home from school. She prepared dinner a few nights a week when Mom had the store open late. As I got a little older I would help with food prep and then later some of the cooking. I'd start looking for new recipes and with Grandma's help I'd get dinner all made and ready for when Mom and Dad got home from work. I miss Grandma and think of her whenever I get ready to make a new recipe, wondering if she'd like it. Report
I loved helping my mom in the kitchen, I was the only kid of 3 that really enjoyed it, she been gone 4 years but I still have all the memories of the good times in and out of the kitchen. Report
My mom let me cook at an early age. She and my dad would eat whatever my brother and I decided to make. (sometimes the concoctions were really terrible but still they ate what they could) When I got into my teens, I started to learn Italian cooking from my future mother-in-law and future grandmother-in-law. My own maternal grandmother died when I was thirteen and never got to cook with her. Today,I have 4 girls and 1 boy all grown. My son was the only one who wanted to learn how to cook. Each of my children and grandchildren have a cookbook which I made that has recipes from both sides of our families. Report
Mom passed from lung cancer in '96 at the age of 56. She was a horrible cook - and she knew it. My paternal grandmother had given her cooking lessons shortly after she married my Dad, because Daddy begged her to after a dinner of "who-knows-what-meat and bright green mashed potatoes".

It used to irritate me no end when Daddy would tell us to eat our meals because "your Mother spent hours cooking it". When I started cooking as a preteen I couldn't figure out why it took her "hours" to cook as it was so easy! Eventually I figured it out. She sucked at it and hated it. LOL My sister inherited her inability to cook. So once it was just Mom, Su & me - I became the cook. I'd literally run them out of the kitchen because they looked so lost and out of place in there.

Years later when Mom came to visit us (I was married with 2 boys), I was making buttered (margarine) toast in the broiler as she'd always done for us. Dab the margarine on all over the face of it, then place it in the broiler to toast, leaving yummy buttery spots.

As I was dabbing on the margarine Mom got a funny look on her face and asked why I was doing that with the margarine. I said, "I don't know, it's just the way you always did it and I'd never thought of doing it any other way." She burst out laughing and said that the reason she dabbed it on was because she used butter - they didn't have soft margarine back then - and it was the only way to get the butter on the bread without tearing up the bread! We both had a great laugh over it....but to this day I still make my buttered toast that same way.

And every time I do, I think of Mom and smile.

Love you Mom, and miss you so much! Report
My mother had us "helping" in the kitchen ever since we were old enough to hold utensils. She makes almost everything from scratch and it usually tastes wonderful! We do a lot of our own canning as well. Its a great way to have those special summer fruits and vegetables in the winter months and much cheaper. I like it best when mom makes recipes that her mother passed down to her from Belgium. of 10 kids she is one of the last two who still make these special family recipes and it is special to me. Report
Growing up, I watched my mother cook all the time. She had two ovens and a huge microwave that could cook anything including a chicken. I always asked her to teach me, but sadly, she was too obsessed with me making a mess than bonding over teaching me to cook. I did watch her closely and I guess I took many of those things with me. I went to college, but only having access to a microwave, ramen noodles and take out were my only options at the time. Then after moving out of the dorm rooms and getting an apartment, I started to experiment. I read cookbooks and just tried different things. This is when I fell in love with cooking. I hardly ever ate out, I cooked for myself. One year my mother was supposed to come down to Florida for Thanksgiving weekend to visit and eat, and then she canceled out on me the last minute. This was the last time I talked to her for a very long time. I cooked a whole duck and ended up sharing it with a 63 year old gay man that I worked with at a gas station. I did graduate and then moved again. Over the years I did cook and learn new things, but never really perfected the art the way I wanted to. Now in the last 5 years, I have really tried new things, came up with my own recipes, started writing them down, take recipes that I print and tweak them to be my own. I love cooking and I even got published in a magazine for one of my recipes. My daughter sees my love of cooking and now she is asking me to teach her. She is 9, and my other two are 4 and 2. They all help me in the kitchen. this is our bonding time. We turn on the radio, we dance, and we cook. They always want to help and this makes me feel good. I love the fact that I'm handing down my love of cooking ot my children. HOpefully they will carry this on to their children. With my love of cooking, I can teach my children the love of cooking. Some day, my dream would be to open a restaurant. Report
Cooking with my mom was old fashioned. She made everything from scratch. No boxes or cans, we didn't even own a microwave. I learned to cook everything from scratch with the best of them. So when I got married I was in for a big eye opener. We didn't have a stove in our new place, so we purchased a microwave, figured it would save time with just the two of us. With both of us working, we didn't have much time for cooking from scratch. I was unfamiliar with no prep foods, and needless to say my first meal was not eatable.
The instant potatoes my husband poured in a cup, and said that was his first tator drink. Then he put the can biscuits in a bag and put them in front of our door to hold it open. I was young and old fashioned, I didn't know you couldn't cook canned biscuits in a microwave. My husband said at least they were useful, I had made door-stop biscuits. I won't even describe what the meat, or was it leather, tasted like.
After my mom and dad heard of our problem, after they stopped laughing, they went and purchased us a stove. My husband gained 20 lbs after that. I still didn't know how to cook healthy.
My mom taught me all the ways to cook southern, except from a microwave. I still can't cook from a microwave. I use mine to reheat and to make popcorn, and yes I even burned that the first time.
My mom's in heaven now, still whispering cooking tips in my ear. Report
Lucky to have grown up in an everything-from-scratch home; even after getting a degree in culinary arts, I still marvel at how we manage to put from-scratch meals on the table 6-7 nights per week...without a cookbook! Report
Making cookies at Christmas with my mom is one of my favorite memories. It is a tradition I now do with my own boys... they are 19 and 16! Report
My grandmother was my cooking idol. She raised 12 kids & could entertain on a moments notice. She always made me feel welcome w/her healthy home cooking. She is my inspiration on being a great hostess. I just wish I could've learned more from her before she passed away. Report
When my husband and I met 21 years ago, I couldn't boil an egg much less cook a meal. We relied on frozen entrees, t.v dinners and take out. My mom and I didn't have a great relationship, so I was never in the kitchen with her, nor did she want me there. In 1998 we moved next door to my mother and father -in-law. Literally next door. Every day my mother-in-law would wait til I got off work, call me over to help her prepare dinner. It wasn't me sitting there and watching her, I had to get my hands dirty just like her. I learned how to make mashed potatoes, fried chicken, brown and navy beans, salmon cakes, etc. You name it she could fix it. By her taking me under her wing, I learned so much. And my family has benefited from it. We lost her in 2008, but to this day, I still make the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner, I make her fried chicken, mashed potatoes and so on. I am so thankful for the special bond and relationship I had with her. And I am so thankful she passed on her cooking talent to me, because I LOVE to cook. And if she wouldn't have, I'd hate to see what all my family would be eating today!!! Report
My mom was a wonderful example for me. She even cut, reassembled and decorated cakes. I took it even further and made wedding cakes. I loved harvest season when we would do the canning and freezing, too. After I got married, I learned from my mother-in-law, too. Report
We were blessed with a stay-at-home Mom who taught us to cook, clean, and sew. The first Girl Scout badge I earned was the Cook badge; I was 9 and Mom was my mentor. When my sister and I were in high school, Mom had to go back east to take care of my grandfather for the summer. Many of Mom's friends and neighbors invited my Dad, sister and I for dinner on the weekends. About a week before Mom got back we had a dinner party for the people that had been so kind to us during the summer. We made a roast beef, baked potatoes, green beans, green salad, and a cake for dessert. Many of the women were surprised that we were able to attempt such an elaborate meal, but hey we had been cooking at Mom's side for about 10 years by that time.
By the way I sewed both my sister's and my junior high graduation dresses and my high school graduation dress. Mom taught us well ! Report
There are so many kitchen memories it is hard to chose just one ... the last ten or so years of her life I would cook Thanksgiving day dinner because she had to work. in the last days of her life it became our pleasure to fix her the soup that she could eat. But i have to say of all things that stick out are the numerous nights of steak, chicken and green beans ... that was her diet for me until she would get fed up and just go back to making one meal lol .... she had good intentions and not a lot knowledge on how to really help me lose weight ... Mom I miss you and love you ... thank you for the wonderful years ... Report
My biggest memory of being in the kitchen with my mom is also on Thanksgiving. My sisters and I would all work together to make a huge fruit salad. Now my family does it in our home. Both my kids help me cook (and my husband is a FAB cook!) My son at college now often offers to cook for people - they buy the food and he goes over and prepares the meal (and then gets to help eat it!) I have great memories of my son and I baking cookies together. He loved to help me in the kitchen. And when I was working, the kids had their days where it was their turn to fix dinner. It's so great to work together as a family in the kitchen. Report
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 4 years old, and died when I was 10. She spent time trying to teach me how to cook while going through radiation treatments and suffering through the pain. One thing I clearly recall is her teaching me to knead bread dough, I look back to that now and know how much pain that must have caused her. I think she knows that she succeed because I turned out to be a great cook as I still bake bread weekly. Report
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! I love to share cooking with my daughter. One of my favorite things is waking up early in the morning on the weekend with my daughter and cooking breakfast. She loves it too. We are forming memories, enjoying cooking healthy (mostly Spark) recipes and forming healthy habits all at the same time! Report
My favourite cooking memory with Mom was when she was making the Christmas cakes. She always added rum and everyone had to stir in a wish. She taught my sister, brother and me to cook. I have taught my four sons to cook and they have taught their children. Thank you MOM. Report
Mom was an excellent cook and way ahead of her time nutritionally. Growing up in the Depression (the 1st one!) she was very frugal, but we never lacked for food. She always studied the food ads on Tuesday to do her weekly shopping on Wednesday. She planned delicious, healthy meals 3x a day, 7 days a week. I grew up eating no processed foods at all and a taste for vegetables, salads, and fresh fruits. We never had soda or Kool-Ade, but always had milk, water and fruit juice available. Mom always cooked from scratch and it was years before I even knew you could buy macaroni and cheese in a box. She taught me to cook like she did and my daughter learned from her too. In current lingo, we're all "foodies". I am forever grateful that I had such a wonderful role model and teacher. Report
I don't have one favorite memory of cooking with my mom, but I remember that we used to bake a lot. Now I do have a favorite memory of cooking with my grandmother. Every year on Thanksgiving I would get up really early with my grandmother and join her in the kitchen. I would sit there in front of numerous loaves of bread and my job was to break them into little pieces for her stuffing. Gosh, I miss her. Report
The cook that I am today I attribute to my mother, for I too grew up in a generation where cooking was done every day. I don't recall going out very often to eat and all goodies we had were always homemade.
My favorite memories of cooking was always making the birthday cakes for her and my stepfather, as well as Father's Day and Mother's Day. I still enjoy cooking today and even try to get my boys involved, so much so that I bought them an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas this past year. I loved to help mom with the special projects when I was a child, and now I am passing that on to my children as well, although I make all of our cooking a "special project". I am proud to say that my almost 5 year old can make macaroni and cheese all by himself, and not in the microwave! My boys love to help me so much that one day last month they decided they wanted to make dinner and made quesadillas. I love being a mom and being able to pass along the love of cooking and breaking the gender stereotype with my children. Report
My Mother cooked every meal, I do not remember hardly ever going out to eat. The kitchen was her domain, and she really didn't like to have help in the kitchen, which was a huge shock to me when I got my own place. I barely knew how to make toast. I remember decorating cakes, and doing special things. I know that she cooked a lot with "instinct" adding a dash of this, or a little of "that" but it wasn't until their 50th wedding anniversary that I put together a cookbook of her recipes and had family share their recipes and memories. The cookbook has gotten a lot of raves from my nieces and nephews, who were too little to observe Grandma in the kitchen. My Mother is a phenomenal cook. Report
My parents got divorced when I was 9. Until then my mother was a regular Beverly Cleaver, dinner on the table at 5 every night. She would have me "help" her sometimes but she didn't really take the time to teach me how to cook...until she had to work full-time and needed me to start supper.

I was a latch-key kid with a younger brother and sister and I had to call my mom at the office every day when we got home from school to check in. That's when she'd tell me how to start supper for us -- I learned how to make meatloaf, lemon chicken, chicken divan, etc. over the phone. She also would leave me recipes and write, "Call me if you have questions" and I'd call her ANYWAY just to get her input. We always joke that I learned how to cook over the phone. To this day I automatically cook for 4 people - even if it's just me and my fiancee. I also make a mean angel food cake from scratch, thanks to my Mom's tips. Report
My mother was a terrible cook when I was growing up...unless it came to cookies, cakes, and deep fried mushrooms (I know...what a combo!).
She encouraged me early on to help her in the kitchen preparing dinner and put me responsibly by 8th grade for one meal a week. She always made sure that every meal had a meat, a starch, a veggie, a bread and a dessert of some sort. We always ate together as a family To this day I still go by that with my own family meals. I encourage my now 8th grader to prepare a meal every week and my younger ones are always eager to help out in the kitchen. We always eat dinner at the kitchen table, together. Report
Wow... favorite memory? There are so many of cooking with my mom and my grandmother. But the ones that came to mind immediately were related to the fact that my mom actually helped start the first school hot lunch program for an elementary school in the community where we attended church. It was cooked and served at the church, across the street from the school and the students would be escorted by volunteers across the street in groups. The school served primarily low income families and this was before "food stamps" were thought of. I remember hearing stories about what they got to eat at home and was horrified. We were not wealthy by a long shot, but we did have real food. Anyway, sometimes mom would excuse us from school so that we could go and help cook at the lunch program. It was quite a learning experience. Not only were we cooking huge amounts of food and serving it to children, but we got to experience things like the look on a child's face who had never seen a whole dill pickle or tasted pineapple upside down cake! I remember how upset mom was to learn that the government funding allowed ketchup to be considered a vegetable! I also remember how lovingly she created the menus and cooked the food (with the help of volunteers from several churches in the area) and how she often donated back the whopping $25 a week she was paid to provide extra treats for the kids at the school. What an awesome role model she was! Report
I don't have memories of cooking with my mom because she didn't cook. My grandmother who was living with us did all the cooking and she didn't allow the kids in the kitchen.
Now, that I am a mother I want to create memories with my daughter and am trying to do so in the kitchen. To date my favorite memory with my daughter is this past Thanksgiving. My daughter and I spent the day cooking some of my grandmother's favorite recipes and creating some of our own. We don't cook often, but when we do it is a special time for us both. Report
My mom is the one that taught me how to cook when growing up. She was a working mother, so we started dinner while waiting for her to get home. I never realized just how much I cook until going to work and actually talking about it. People are amazed at how much I cook and I can't understand why they don't - lol

One thing I always loved was making cookies with my mom. That was the best Report
My mom is a great cook but she never had a lot of time to cook. She does make an awesome apple pie including crust from scratch. I remember helping to peel the apples then getting to nibble on a few cinnamon sugar covered apple leftovers. Also playing with the leftover pie crust cutting out cookie shapes. Report
One of my most fond memories of cooking with my Mom is the Almond Cookies we make every Christmas. My daughter now makes them with me. Six generations of women have now made this same cookie receipe. When we made them each Christmas growing up, Mom made the day very special and reminded us about how important family is and she made us feel so very important while we were helping her in the kitchen. We were included in making dinner from a very young age and being in the kitchen with Mom was totally natural for all of us. When we go home now, everyone spends time in the kitchen with Mom. I think because of that special time with my Mom, my kitchen is also the gathering place and every year when I make the Almond Cookies I think of my Mom, Grandma and Great Grandmas and how special their kitchens were too. Report
Honestly, I don't have many memories of cooking with my mom. My dad is the one that taught me how to cook because my mom is not a very good cook. I started helping my dad in the kitchen when I was about 3 years old. I always wanted to be in the middle of everything. At age 6 I could make omelets by myself, my parents helped with cutting anything if needed. At 10 I could make a roast and all the fixings. By the time I was a 12 I could make an entire thanksgiving dinner by myself. I love to cook and I honestly think that it was from learning how at such a young age. My children are going to learn how at a young age also and I look forward to getting them into the kitchen with me in about a year or so since they want to help already at one and two. Report
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