What's the very first recipe you learned to make?

I'm hunting recipes for the next Genius cookbook (for beginners) and I need your help! I'll be asking a series of questions here on the Hotline as I develop the book, and I'd be very grateful for the community's wisdom, as always.

This week, I'm especially looking for the very first recipe(s) that you learned to cook when you were first starting out—for me, it was Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies (often, with frequent failures) and one memorable football-shaped meatloaf, from a Klutz cookbook, I think. If you remember the cookbook/magazine/other source, that helps.

Here's a bit more on the book: https://food52.com/blog...

Thank you all,

Kristen Miglore


Adele October 6, 2019
Ann S. October 3, 2019
Pork chops & rice casserole. I was in college and had to call my dad to find out how to make it. It calls for canned cream of soup. Now-a-days, if my family requests this, I make my own soup for the recipe.
Louise G. October 2, 2019
The very first recipe I ever made was Candlestick Salad from the Betty Crocker for Children Cookbook. I withdrew the book from our little one room library at my Catholic elementary schpol when I was a little girl. I was thrilled that there was such a thing as a cookbook for someone my age!
Carol H. September 11, 2019
blueberry pie from wild blueberries I picked.
Sherri H. September 11, 2019
Please please explain that timing is not exact. Too many cooks, especially beginners, read a recipe as though it is perfect and must be followed exactly.
EX: when roasting a chicken, the size & shape of the chicken must be taken into consideration. A long, skinny 2# chicken will cook faster than a short, fat 2# chicken. Cooks need to learn to trust themselves and the sooner they develop this skill, the better. By all means, give them the tools but teach them to rely on their own common sense & experiences.
Also, use your senses when cooking. When the onions smell "onion-y" in the pan, they are talking to you. Pay attention. Do not put the pan on the heat and go curl your hair -- pay attention to your food. Cooks learn by doing and when tasks are undertaken with half a mind, nothing is learned and mediocre food is the result.

I like to use the professional format of listing INGREDIENTS followed by METHOD for cooking instructions. Full disclosure: I am a retired teaching chef.

Explaining regions instead of country names will help neophytes understand the concepts of terroir and climate. EX: grouping Mediterranean countries makes more sense than calling something "French" or "Italian" or Turkish".
Speaking of countries - large land masses have very different geographical areas - think China, Russia or the USA. Hot, humid southern US places - NOLA - will have different food products (and food traditions) than the NE or NW of the same country. The north of France, Normandy & Brittany, are more similar in climate to Portland OR or Seattle WA while the area in Provence is close to Southern California so using the label of "French" food is misleading.
NB: I just realized that I've posted this in the wrong place. Apologies.
Del M. September 11, 2019
The very first thing I learned to cook was a fried egg sandwich in high school. I still cook them, and I think I make the best!
Maria N. September 5, 2019
The Joy of Cooking taught me basics ( I still refer to it for the muesli recipe and meat temperatures.
In my 20s, I subscribed to Bon Appetit, but the first and best cookbook I bought was the Silver Palate Cookbook. I still love and make the chicken Marbella!
Maria N. September 5, 2019
My dad taught me to make fried eggs and amazing, crispy home fries in a cast iron skillet!
CPMI September 4, 2019
Spaghetti and meatballs. A family favorite recipe handed down from my Great-Grandma to my Grandpa to my Mom and then to me. I was about 6 and was already helping my Mom and Nana cook.
jane F. September 4, 2019
Scratch chocolate pudding in Middle school cooking class! It was amazing!
Geoffrey W. September 4, 2019
My big sister, Elizabeth, taught me to make brownies when i was a little boy. If anything could set you up for success in life better than that, i don't know what it is.
MusicaBean September 4, 2019
As a young child between the ages of 8 and 10, the first recipes I remember the most are Christmas cookies, especially gingerbread men. I had so much fun mixing, rolling out and using cookie cutters to make them and decorating them with red hot dots and raisins.
Of course, my mother's gentle guidance was always there to direct me. I've always thought ginger was an acquired taste, as many people don't really care for it (including my hubby). I'm thankful my mother introduced me to ginger at a young age. I especially love gingery gingerbread anytime of the year.
jenjamshap September 4, 2019
Buttermilk Pancakes!
Ida S. September 4, 2019
Baking when I was 5. My mother got me a paperback beginners cook book. Can’t remember the name but I can remember the picture - looked like Dick and Jane... now you know my age...
Susan September 4, 2019
Scrambled eggs
AppleAnnie September 4, 2019
I learned to make the daily family salad when I was in second or third grade, (the job of setting the table included making the sale) and I posted it once on Food52, https://food52.com/recipes/4172-amy-s-simple-salad-vinaigrette After that I learned to make French toast, a family breakfast staple.
zuzu447 August 21, 2019
Cucumber salad. Interestingly, my mother made the salad for my father and I(who both loved cucumbers) but never in her entire life tasted a cucumber. She said she knew she would not like it, and it is the only food I can remember her never being willing to eat. And yet, she continued to make it for us, until I learned how to make it and freed her from even having to suffer that. To this day I am always tweeting the recipe to get the best flavor profile I can.
sandy August 13, 2019
There were a few things: my dad would stay home from church on Sunday mornings and bake bread; it was the recipe from King Arthur flour bag. I hated church and would beg to stay home and help him.
Another was my Grandma K's Wacky Cake-as kids we must have made it thousands of times! The best Pineapple Fritters came from 7th grade Home Economics class and lastly Swiss Steak that was made in the pressure cooker you put directly on the stove top burner.
Kristen M. August 13, 2019
Thank you, everyone, for sharing—I'm really loving reading all of your stories. And I already tried out Big Bird's Banana Bread—who knew banana bread doesn't need eggs *or* an egg substitute?! (Thank you, Brinda!)
Anna F. August 11, 2019
From a food network cookbook in 8th grade-- filet mignon with melted gorgonzola on top and a balsamic reduction. It's so mid-2000s! But probably still delicious-- I should make it again...
luvcookbooks August 11, 2019
Fudge from the back of a sugar box in 4th grade. It was the kind that you cooked to a soft ball, then beat and poured into a pan. Domino’s sugar? It was a Saturday afternoon thing, while my parents napped.
Stacie N. August 10, 2019
Our family's hand-me-down cold tuna macaroni salad. I don't know the origin of the recipe, but we've been making it the same way for at least 40 years. 2 boxes of mac & cheese, 2 cans of tuna, a bag of frozen peas (canned peas won't work) and a chopped onion. Cook the noodles, cool them under running water, throw in the cheese powder and everything else (no butter or milk) and goob it all together with a big blob of mayonnaise. You'll be amazed how different the bowl you eat as soon as it's done, and the one you have after it's been refrigerated overnight, taste!
Sally C. August 9, 2019
Growing up in a nursing home, I was never allowed to cook or even hang out in the kitchen (although, Nyda always let me raid the cookie jar!). Until one day the cook quit while in the middle of preparing lunch for 40 residents. (My smart mouth might have had *something* to do with it...I was 18.) Mother looked straight at me and said "Get in there and finish serving right now!" Talk about scared. I'd never made a single thing in my life. I remember we were going to serve chicken and noodles and so I thought, easy! Right? I boiled the egg noodles, shredded the chicken, stirred them together and served that mess. It tasted like the glue you used for grade school art projects...ugh! (I've since discovered bullion, thankfully.) I went around and personally apologized to every resident and took their plates of glue back to the kitchen. I then made scrambled eggs and ham to replace that awful lunch and delivered it to each one with more apologies. It was a humbling experience and I found a new respect for the job our cooks did each day. Mother let me stay on as a cook for the next two years and I learned so much from Nyda and Julia that has stayed with me always. I can't really remember the first "recipe" I used (I don't count the back of the Toll House chocolate chip bag), but it was probably from some Betty Crocker or such cookbook we had. So, I guess to answer your question, my first "recipe" was scrambled eggs and ham for 45 people.
Kate B. August 8, 2019
For a baking contest in 5th grade I made, with my mom's oversight, a chocolate sheet cake with chocolate icing. The cake that won was Mike Brown's elaborate butterfly cake made from a round and a rectangle yellow cake, cut and reassembled into the shape of a butterfly and ablaze with colored sugar. His mom totally made it, not Mike. I perfected cheese omlettes in college and made mostaccioli from a boyfriend's immigrant Sicilian grandmother's recipe for decades. Classic Southern Italian red sauce with what I think now is an inedible amount of sugar added.
Emma L. August 8, 2019
Love reading this thread! When I was growing up, I made Toll House chocolate chip cookies with my mom all the time. She let me measure and pack the brown sugar (this always, inevitably, led to me eating brown sugar by the handful). And she taught me that when the measuring spoon of vanilla starts to overflow, that's the right amount. The first cookbook I remember following was "Messipies," an all-microwave cookbook published in '96: https://www.amazon.com/Messipes-Microwave-Cookbook-Deliciously-Masterpieces/dp/0679874267. It's written for kids, so I was able to take the lead on recipes, which helped build my confidence in the kitchen.
Moira R. August 8, 2019
Stuffed roast chicken
Sharon August 7, 2019
Cinnamon toast and French toast. Both were my Mothers recipes and I made them after school as a snack. Yum! You brought back some great memories.
Beth G. August 7, 2019
I learned to make scrambled or fried eggs when I was 6 or 7. The interesting thing is that I hate eggs and always have. I used to make them for my older brother.
The first recipe I cooked from was gingerbread (the cake loaf kind). My mom had a 4-H cookbook from her childhood (c 1940s) and I used the recipe in it. I wish I had that recipe now.
Peabody August 7, 2019
In my 7th grade Home Ec class we were given a recipe for apple crisp. I have been making and sharing that recipe since 1963. Simple but delicious warm with vanilla ice cream.
pat August 7, 2019
Egg nog from my new Junior Betty Crocker cook book I got for Christmas around 1958! It was such a hit and I was so very proud of myself.
minipanda August 7, 2019
Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies when I was 10. In college, I learned to make teriyaki chicken and a few homestyle Japanese dishes from a friend.
Tracy T. August 7, 2019
I made French Toast! Very easy! The milk and eggs with vanilla.orange zest is good too add! Cut upthe bread And make French toast!
Jamie August 7, 2019
Cinnamon sugar quesadillas or toast! For the quesadilla option, take a flour tortilla (no exceptions) and spread it with butter - then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar, fold and griddle in a pan. For the toast, take a slice of white bread (probably Wonder Bread or Butternut), spread butter, sprinkle with CS, and then toast in the oven. Perfection!
ustabahippie August 7, 2019
My very first recipe was baked custard. I still make it the same way 70 years later.
Rhonda35 August 7, 2019
Baking: TollHouse chocolate chip cookies, Magic Cookie Bars and, of course, Judy Hesser's Chocolate Dump-It cake.
Savory Foods: Hamburger gravy (as well as dried beef gravy and tomato gravy) served over toast or mashed potatoes, Fried egg sandwiches (our father's specialty), and Macaroni salad.
First "Fancy" Recipe: When I was in college, there was a popular restaurant and gourmet convenience market called Frog/Commissary. Too poor to eat there, I bought their slim paperback cookbook and attempted to up my college food game by cooking from it. The very first recipe I tried, Chicken Breasts with Brandied Mustard Cream Sauce, became my go-to "fancy" recipe for many years. It is so delicious! I renamed it "Marriage Proposal Chicken" because, three times, I was proposed to shortly after serving it to whichever young man I was dating at the time! (The proposals stopped when I accepted the third offer of marriage, lol.)
Anna August 7, 2019
My mother worked and went back to graduate school when I was 11. Dinner preparation fell to me. We had many very bad dinners, but the one I learned to master early was pot roast. Good, old fashioned pot roast made with a mirepoix in the bottom of the cast iron pot it was cooked in. It's a confidence booster for sure once you learn how to make it.
Kate M. August 7, 2019
cookinginvictoria August 7, 2019
One of the first recipes that I remember making as a kid were pancakes from Mrs. Petrock, my kindergarten teacher. I will see if my mom still has that recipe!

Growing up, I made many recipes from this cookbook: https://www.amazon.com/Betty-Crockers-Boys-Girls-Cookbook/dp/B0006BMXO4/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=K0HDJ7438983T59GFQ01 I remember cooking for my family and making the bunny salad (page 57), the peanut butter and jelly cookies (p. 88), the brownie slowpokes (page 910, and the drop biscuit butterball coffee cake (p. 27). I still have this cookbook, spattered and torn pages, and all. It is pretty dated, but still has some creative ideas for making cooking approachable and fun!

This is the first cookbook, now sadly out of print, that made me really interested in cooking as an adolescent. I loved the author's exploration of global cuisines, which in the 1970s, seemed very exotic indeed! https://www.amazon.com/Singing-kitchen-cook-book/dp/0913270237/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=singing+in+the+kitchen&qid=1565203607&s=books&sr=1-5
luvcookbooks August 11, 2019
I had a version of Betty Crocker for kids. Made the banana candle salad and chocolate dipped marshmallows.
Polzin August 7, 2019
My grandma’s molasses crinkle cookies were my first recipe made with her. Still love them today.
Irene August 7, 2019
Moose Spaghetti when I was 10 :-)
Carolyn August 8, 2019
What is moose spaghetti???
BerryBaby August 7, 2019
I was four years old and I made a cake...of course my mother was helping. After that every holiday I made the relish tray. First full meal I made I was 10. My parents anniversary...smoked ham butt, potato salad, relishes and Angel good cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. My parents loved it...I even set the table for two, flowers and all! BB💐
Carolyn August 7, 2019
Not absolutely sure, but I'd bet it was chocolate chip cookies--the recipe on the back of Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chips. De rigueur for pajama parties!
Nichole August 7, 2019
I was raised in the kitchen! Whether it was with my mother or my beloved Babi, we were always cooking and baking. I recall playing with scraps of dough, adding my own special mixture of butter, cinnamon and sugar to create something special. I cherish the memories of helping my Babi make apple strudel, grating the apples and butter over the dough stretched thin across the entire kitchen table! But the first recipe I learned to make with just my mother's guidance was her famous Blackberry Cobbler. It was a feast for the palate and the eyes! I loved watching the soft dough elevate from the bottom of the dish and envelop the juicy blackberries resting on top. It is still requested every summer.
amazinc August 7, 2019
When I was in 3rd grade(10 years old) my mom decided it was time for me to learn to cook. My assignment was to cook one meal per week for our family of 5. She taught me how to make fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and how to open a can of green beans! I chose to buy donuts for dessert ($.05 each) so that I could stay within my $3.00 budget. I've cooked since then and still love it and still love fried chicken!
Megan G. August 7, 2019
The first recipe I learned to make were my grandmother's holiday sugar cookie recipe. Every Christmas since I can remember, my mom, grandmother, and I make tins upon tins of these rainbow sprinkle decorated sugar cookies together and we're still doing it to this day! It's a little tradition we have that I will forever cherish.
june S. August 7, 2019
I grew up in the Netherlands and french fries, or patat as we call it there, is a big thing. I would make them double fried every wednesday, because we had only 1/2 a day of school, starting around 8 years of age. Big pan of oil and all. What was my mama thinking? I did the peeling, cutting and both first and second fry.
Ritaw August 7, 2019
No Bake chocolate cookies; we were visiting family in Pennsylvania when I was 10 years old, and I loved those cookies and asked for the recipe. Over the years as I became a mother I found a "healthy" version that included wheat germ along with the oatmeal and substituted cocoa with carob. I've since lost that "healthy" recipe . . . wonder if you might have this??
Promisme August 7, 2019
bunten August 7, 2019
Corn muffins! Then changing out the cornmeal for whole wheat flour or rye flour. Next, filling them with jam before baking. I was about ten years old, but my love of baking persists.
stefanie August 7, 2019
From my dad, stir-fried eggs & tomatoes. From my mom, marshmallow pizza from some cookbook for kids. I still make eggs & tomatoes all the time but have never revisited that marshmallow pizza recipe, though I remember liking it a lot as a kid.
debbie M. August 7, 2019
This is not the first recipe I ever learned to cook, but the first recipe that I ever created that was successful. I was still a novice cook at that point, so it's is a tiny bit challenging, but ultimately easy to make.

Pink Sauce

So, The Kid came home a few days ago, finished with six months of summer internship and first-time completely independent living. Petey and I filled the fridge with childhood favorites like Clementines and RC Cola, and counted the hours.
I made a big pot of childhood’s favorite guilty pleasure; pink sauce.
Despite being the child of an Italian girl from Jersey, I have never liked red sauce (called Sunday gravy by my mom and her sisters). Consequently, I never made it. If Petey or The Kid wanted spaghetti and meatballs, they had to leave home, and get their fix on the streets.
Because I wanted to make some kind of spaghetti for the family, but mainly because I’m always looking for something thick and yummy to ladle onto carbs, I came up with this coral-colored, indulgent concoction.
I invented this recipe before I could really cook, and The Kid has loved it for years. This sauce is not for the faint of heart. It should be no more than an occasional treat if you want to fit into your jeans or look your doctor in the eye. Fat is flavor, and can be the culinary equivilant of false eyelashes and push-up bra for the novice cook.
A big pot of this bubbling velvet starts the day before the finished dish. I make a batch of meatballs. My walnut-sized offerings are made with a mixture of ground veal and pork. Before the meat even comes out of the fridge, I make a panade. A panade is a bread ripped into tiny pieces and soaked until saturated.
My soak is egg, cream, shredded Parm, finely chopped garlic, chiffonade of basil, a splash of both olive oil and marsala wine, and salt and pepper. When the bread and the soak are one, I break the ground meat into small pieces and lightly mix, almost fold the mixture together. If you go nuts and mix your meatballs too much, they will be rubbery and dry.
I can’t fry a spherical meatball to save my life. So, I bake them, on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, at 350 for twelve minutes, and a few minutes minutes under the broiler, flipped once. This gives them some color that translates to flavor in the finished product.
To get them uniform in size, I use a smallish cookie/portion scoop. I roll them into balls, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and a little bit of freshly ground nutmeg. About eighteen or so go in the sauce, and any extra go in the freezer for future use.
The sauce itself is pretty simple. I brown 10-12 Italian sausages that I’ve cut into one inch slices. I remove them from the pot and carmelize about 1 1/2 pounds of sliced mushrooms, a small onion chopped, and five or six chopped cloves of garlic. Then I add back the sausage and a can of tomato paste. When the paste has cooked to a deep burgundy, I deglaze with a cup of marsala. When the wine is almost gone, I dump in a quart of chicken stock and 2 cups of cream. Into it I put a couple of tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, 1/2 cup shredded Parm, a tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of chopped basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
When it comes to a boil I thicken it slightly with a peanut butter colored roux and add the meatballs. It then slowly cooks for hours on the stove top.
When we’re ready to eat, I toss in another handful of chopped basil for fresh flavor.
I serve it on spaghetti, bake it into ziti, and use it on a ton of other things. The Kid is convinced it would be tasty on an old tennis shoe. Tonight we’re having leftover sauce on rice, my personal favorite.
Thanks for your time.

karen August 7, 2019
Macaroni and cheese from Home Economics in 7th grade.
LGD August 7, 2019
Meatloaf from the Fun to Cook Book by the Carnation Company. I was probably 7 or 8. I think every recipe in the book included Carnation evaporated milk as an ingredient.
Fragon August 7, 2019
Caesar Salad from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook, the Bible of our kitchen. After that, Veal Marsala from the same source.
JenCooks August 7, 2019
Very first “recipe,” taught to me by a neighbor’s babysitter: Growing up in California, artichokes were a frequent (and welcome) vegetable. My family only served it steamed, with melted butter and lemon juice. So when the sitter showed me how to mix lemon juice with mayonnaise, adding the lemon juice slowly and stirring madly to make a smooth sauce, I felt like a very accomplished 7-year old. The more lemon juice you add, the thinner and tarter it gets. Keep it on the thicker side for artichokes, thin it out to use on steamed broccoli. Flexible, tasty, and makes a beginner feel proud to make something that other people enjoy. Genius.
BJR August 7, 2019
The very first item I baked was a spice cake with penuche frosting from recipes in the "All New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook", 10th ed., 33rd printing. At the time, I thought it a success but I have no idea if I would still like it today.
Jane P. August 7, 2019
I grew up cooking with my Sicilian grandma. So, french toast, eggs mastered every way, omelettes, authentic Sicilian style zucchini, from scratch sauce and traditional Sicilian eggplant parmesan (eggplant is NOT breaded), and phenomenal meatballs ( I have trouble eating any other meatball-but takes half a day to make).
Lazyretirementgirl August 7, 2019
Meatball recipe, please?🙏🏻 Per piacere?
Lazyretirementgirl August 7, 2019
Coffee cake from Jiffy mixes ( 10 cents at the commissary) at age six. My mother was an unbelievably bad cook, so my sisters and I started cooking in self defense at a very young age. Many of my early creative efforts were memorably revolting- cake with purple icing made from kool- aid 🤮, and refrigerator cookies with margarine and oatmeal. Learn by doing, I always say!
Kelly A. August 7, 2019
I had an Easy Bake Oven!! I think there were "packets" you mixed with water? So. Much. Fun!! It was the hook. I also recall shortbread Christmas cookies we called "snowballs" that my Mom let us roll with our HANDS! I can provide the recipe if needed.
luvcookbooks August 11, 2019
Had one, too! The worst taste and texture but I loved them!
MariEileen August 7, 2019
Fudge. Growing up, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" was one of my favorite books. In the back of it was a recipe for fudge. I really REALLY wanted to make it and so, one day, Mom let me. As I recall, it was pretty good....of course, I was a kid and anything sweet was pretty good. I kept that book for many years and was heartbroken when it, along with many other treasured books, were lost in a basement flood. However, I have never forgotten that first accomplishment in the kitchen!
Megan A. August 7, 2019
Pancakes. But think they were from a box mix, so I'm not sure if that counts!
sms August 7, 2019
Peanut brittle in 7th Grade Home Ec (in a time when that was still taught in public schools.) The bubbling explosion that occurred when baking soda was added to molten sugar, butter, and water delighted and amazed me and made me a cooking enthusiast for the rest of my life.
Merry August 7, 2019
Scrambled eggs... The first day of married life post-honeymoon when my husband asked for scrambled eggs (obviously I didn't learn to cook growing up). Thank heavens for the Joy of Cooking which was well used in those early days.
Maggy August 7, 2019
Blueberry muffins from a 1950 Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book (page 63) when I was about eight.
Megan A. August 7, 2019
My mom made everything from that Betty Crocker Cookbook! I think she still has it.
luvcookbooks August 11, 2019
I own a copy. Love it so much and it reminds me of my mom as a 50s and 60s housewife.
Winness August 7, 2019
Boston cream pie. I spent my first 13 years in Brooklyn, the home of Ebinger's Bakery, a small chain that had a huge following. It was famous for Boston cream pie, blackout cake, and a mocha cake with sliced almonds pressed into the sides. When my family moved to Long Island, there wasn't an Ebinger's nearby, so I recreated that first love. Sixty years later, I still crave those wonderful treats.
deb D. August 7, 2019
roasted whole
lemon chicken
Potomac G. August 7, 2019
Spaghetti Carbonara: My brother had just completed a professional chef course at (now defunct) L'Acadmie de Cuisine and he shared it with me. It's my go-to comfort food.
Natalie M. August 7, 2019
Lasagna for my family when I was in high school. The hardest part was the pasta, since it was 1982, which I assume was before the no cook lasagna noodles. I think I went through two boxes to get enough proper shaped noodles. And it was AMAZING. Only thing is I never found that exact recipe again. My family asked for me to make it, but I could never quite recreate it. Only thing I do remember is I put fresh basil in it. And I still do.
Allison B. August 7, 2019
Fudge was the first thing I could make entirely on my own - the recipe was from a Betty Crocker kids cookbook and was just chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt. I learned how to make it for a how-to project in elementary school and made it regularly for family events after that.
Marcy D. August 7, 2019
Mom didn't like to cook much so she had me on breakfast duty for my sister and I when I was about six. Toad in the Hole was my go-to. I would use a cookie cutter to cut the hole out of the bread, put a huge dollup of butter in pan, crack that egg in the middle and WAY overcook it.

I still love it - my grown up version is to saute some shallots and kale, toast the bread with the hole cut out, crack the egg in the middle and pan fry until egg is cooked. Then spoon the kale mix over top, grate some parm on top, and sprinkle with red chili flakes and salt. Erin Alderson over at Naturally Ella has a similar recipe. https://naturallyella.com/kale-egg-in-a-hole/
Merry August 7, 2019
Hamburger stew, spaghetti and meatloaf. My mother was going to give birth to my 4th sibling and I was going to be cooking for the family while she was in the hospital. I hand wrote my instructions in a small spiral bound notebook that I still have. I was 13 at the time and still love to cook.
pat August 7, 2019
My Gram taught me to make fudge when I was 8. I was terrified of her but she taught me to always stir in the same direction.. and the fudge was basic but so good.
jccondruk August 7, 2019
My heritage is Russian and Ukrainian so I had 2 babushka's (grandmother's) and a Mom who were all amazing cooks. I remember always being fascinated at my Baba's houses when they were making bread, pastry and pirogi/pelmeni and I could not help but get my hands in there to help. Nothing better than the shine in Baba's eye when you helped make pelmeni and they didn't fall apart in the boiling water! My 4 siblings and I are all very food-centric and have each become great cooks in our own rights due to them. That being said, I believe the very first dish I made solo without someone hovering was Fudge with my best friend Alice. It became "our thing". Thanks Food52 for asking!
Linda August 7, 2019
Julia Child's French bread in Mastering..., vol. 1.
Everyone should make this!! Easy and delicious, and the compliments will never cease. I make it still, more than 50 years later.
KYKitchenKid August 7, 2019
My mom’s spaghetti sauce! It’s still a favorite and at her funeral, many talked about how she shared it and ruined them for any other kind. The first time I made it, I was about 10 and wrote out the recipe on lined school paper complete with a drawing of a steaming plate of “sketti.” We never had just a tomato sauce - we always used ground beef with the “trinity” (celery, onion, green bell pepper) along with other ingredients. As I’ve grown as a home cook, I discovered the fancy name - bolognese! But it will always be “Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce” to me.
rob August 6, 2019
Spaghetti Bolognese from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian cookbook. I had seen and helped my parents make it a thousand times when I was a kid. Our parents thought that a little kitchen slavery was good for kids.
Megan August 6, 2019
I had a klutz cookbook called Kids Cooking: A Very Messy Manual that was my prized possession at age 5/6. I cooked many things out of there, but especially the chocolate chip cookies. There was also a sandwich with a half a bagel, cheddar cheese and an apple slice that I just thought was so creative and wonderful! Lol! I can remember so many others from that book.. Other than that, the one-bowl brownies on the baker's chocolate box and my mothers improvised chocolate sauce for ice cream were early recipes for me.
Stephanie B. August 6, 2019
My mom always put us to work chopping veggies, doing dishes, mixing, taste testing, etc. I learned cooking techniques, but she didn't really have recipes, and it wasn't until I was teenaged that I got interested in finding stuff to cook myself once in a while. I got a book just called "Thai" from a clearance shelf at Borders Books, and I'm pretty sure it's not the most authentic one out there. To be honest most of the stuff was beyond my abilities and the ingredients not easy to come by at the time in a rural area. But I was able to make a basic, lightly sweetened coconut rice with fresh mango or melon as the book suggested. I wasn't sure what course it was meant to be, but I made it for breakfast and still do - now I top it with cashews and a dash of cardamom if pairing with cantaloupe. It's a very refreshing breakfast!

That book has moved with me every place I've lived, and authentic or not it has some yummy recipes.
HalfPint August 6, 2019
Molasses Crinkles at my friend’s house. We were 7. Best cookies I ever tasted. Leftovers lasted 5 minutes after I got home. My whole family loved them.
Sarah H. August 6, 2019
Brownies — not from a box or mix, melt the chocolate and butter, mix in sugar, eggs, flour, and salt. I was curious about cooking at an early age and also we only sometimes had dessert after dinner so I realized that if I cooked something (or tried to) we always ate it (or tried to). Thus making dessert was a surefire way to ensure we’d have dessert.
Happygoin August 6, 2019
Pancakes. My father taught me to make them when I was about 8. It happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, so I added some green food coloring. Makes me sort of sick to think about now, but it was the first thing I made all by myself.
Bevi August 6, 2019
Mac and Cheese from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook.
plevee August 6, 2019
Lemon curd for my mother. She showed me how to make it then claimed mine was better than hers. It was; I used twice as much butter even though the butter ration was minuscule in post WW2 UK.
creamtea August 6, 2019
My sisters and I used to make breakfast-in-bed for our mother on Mother's Day or her birthday. Probably muffins or coffee cake. I think we baked more than cooked when we were little. We also made butter cookies: either the crescents or the balls, rolled in powdered sugar. I think they were called either Mexican Tea Cakes or Greek crescents or something. My mother had the Betty Crocker Cookbook, the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, and a great Sunset book full of many recipes. She still has them. Later on, I remember also pulling taffy with friends, baking cookies after school, and cooking a full dinner for a friend when we were in our early teens: beet borscht and potato pierogi.
Liz D. August 6, 2019
Baking, I don't remember specifically, it seems we always made cookies, probably Toll House. Cooking, as far as a formal recipe, I remember making spaghetti out of the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook, I think I was 8 or 9. You cooked the pasta in the sauce, and I didn't read the part about putting the lid on the pot...it was very chewy...or maybe it was the Bunny Salad out of that same book.
QueenSashy August 6, 2019
This recipe. I was four and half years old and my grandmothers initiated me into the Sisterhood of Cookies https://food52.com/blog/15000-an-heirloom-cookie-essential-on-the-serbian-holiday-table a
Gammy August 6, 2019
I think it was Eggnog from the Better Homes and Gardens Children's Cookbook circa 1960. If I remember, it had a raw egg, milk, ice cubes, ice cream and vanilla. Topped it with a dash of nutmeg. I sometime wonder why we never got sick from those raw eggs.
Brinda A. August 6, 2019
Mine was Big Bird's Banana Recipe from Volume 14 of the Sesame Street Library! It's egg-free and can easily be made gluten-free. Here's a scan of the recipe and instructions: http://jessbeecreates.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/big-birds-banana-bread-recipe-2-768x511.jpg

My mom and I would make it together on Sundays, often swapping out the whole-wheat flour for AP because that's what we had on hand. Since there aren't any eggs to crack for the batter, I could mix it up while she watched, she'd help me put it in the oven, and I'd lick the bowl while we'd wait for it to bake. I still make it to this day!
Recommended by Food52