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Tell VT: What's the first dish you cooked as a kid?

Tell VT: What's the first dish you cooked as a kid?

kids cooking

We want to know: What’s the first thing you ever cooked as a kid? Share your answer below and see what others have to say. Our favorite responses will be published in the next issue of Vegetarian Times.


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Peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwiches using whole wheat pita bread "pockets"!

I remember topping and tailing beans for my dad, but if you mean the first thing I made on my own... Probably toast! A good skill if not wildly exciting! My seven year old son has just started cooking fir the family, with some help. His first offering was pasta and (vegan, from scratch) pesto. He positively glowed as we all ate it!

Hamburger balls. Just fried balls of ground beef. GROSS!

I had a "Kids Cook-book" I had gotten from school, I think the first recipe I tried was for Deviled Eggs...was so proud they turned out!!!

The two things I recall making with my mother in great detail are cookies and homemade noodles. Every holiday my mother would have my brother and I help her make quadruple batches of cookies which she would package up prettily and give to everyone we knew...the mailman, teachers, pastors, etc. Whenever my brother and I had snow days she would set up the noodle machine in the kitchen and we'd make 2 tables of noodles throughout the day. Of course, she ended up losing some of these cookies and noodles to sneaky little kid hands!

Beyond PBJs and pimento cheese sandwiches, the first thing I cooked (under supervision, of course), was pancakes. To this day I cannot make them round and it's been forty years. Ah well...

The first thing I ever remember helping with were "Kris Kringle" cookies at Christmas. Decorating them was so fun even if they didn't taste very good!

My grandmother let me have carte blanche in her kitchen. She was an amazing woman! I used to mix all sorts of ingredients ( without recipes) and bake away..... sometimes my recipes were good, sometimes not so good, but I always had fun & I remember her sitting at her table watching me with admiration. She has been gone 20 years and I still miss her terribly. Her allowing me to be creative was something that has stayed with me my whole life & I have allowed my children to be creative in the kitchen as well. I look forward to sitting at my kitchen table and watch my grandchildren create someday :)

From what I can remember, the first I ever cooked was for my Mom on mother's day. It was 2 slices of wheat toast with fresh strawberries on top and a fresh cup of coffee served in her bed!

One of my neighbor's parents were away and was in the care of a strict sitter. One afternoon, the sitter was out and I suggested to my friend to bake a cake. We gathered the ingredients, but the sitter walked in in the middle of it. She was furious. We had broken some eggs for the cake, and she told my friend that she would have to eat them. It was a mess. The cake wsa never made, but looking back it was rather funny. I was 10 and my friend was 11.

My mom sat me down and told me to make patties with the meat she had. A half hour later when she came back I had two done, but they had eyes and a face. When she asked me what I had made I told her, little Pattys! Now im proud to say the only patties I make are the vegi kind. I learned the other kind really do have faces!

Hmmm! No one's ever asked me this question. Even I never asked myself. And now that I think back and think hard, I guess it was Indian Tea (Chai) that I must have learned to make the first thing in the kitchen :)

french toast

The first thing I ever cooked was a Devil's Food cake with my Granny. I know this because after my grandmother died, my mother asked me if there was anything if hers that I wanted. "Her cookbooks," I said. It took a year for me to begin looking through them. My Grandmother was the kind of cook who would tape recipes she found in the paper into her cookbooks, write new recipes in empty spaces on the pages, or simply make notes on what she liked (or didn't like) in the margins. That is when I found this note on the recipe for the Devil's Food cake. "Alicia Spain made her first cake, 1981. She used self-rising flour instead of cake flour, but it tasted good anyway." There were many of these notes to me throughout the books. "Alicia, sift dry ingredients together first." "Alicia, you can add raisins to this if you want." All those days cooking with her, asking for recipes when I moved away, she knew, though we never talked about it, that these cookbooks would end up with me. So everytime I make one of these recipes, I have Granny's voice coaching me along.

Hmm...ever made was zucchini bread but cooked was pizza (on those boboli pizza crusts).

Grilled cheese

I watched Julia Child make a cheese souffle. I was 8 years old at the time (1969)--I made a perfect cheese souffle without any help from my Mom who had recently retired as the assistant food editor for the Chicago Tribune.

When I was 16, a friend's grandmother asked if I wanted to learn how make a homemade pie. I agreed and she let me get my hands into all the wondrous, sticky dough, explaining every detail from the flaky crust to the perfect cooking time. She's no longer with us, but I've never forgotten her and credit her for being my first inspiration for cooking and baking.

I so messed up oatmeal! I'm culinary trained at Le Cordon Bleu Dallas now and I laugh at ditching it in the back yard when I was 9!

Jesse Tigner-Hayden-McCrary, Jr here- first time subscriber and I can't seem to find the TELLVT question- that appeared in the June issue of VT- What's the best thing your mom taught you about cooking? I took umbrage at the question because it was NOT inclusive. It should have included one's Dad, as it did in my case. There was a time when cooking, cleaning, and shopping, et cetera, were considered "women's" work- and as far as I can tell, that is no longer the case. Drop my any supermarket and you will see what I mean as far as shopping is concerned. I recently met two very successful, married (m/f) lawyers, working in DC. I will give you one guess as to who does the cooking. My father instructed my mother NOT to cook for him. They were both born in the south and he cooked what he knew- fried chicken, dumplings, collard greens, biscuits, et cetera. My mother and Dad both worked, so I probably should have cut her some slack with her seemingly "lack" of cooking skills at least when it came to vegetables which she cooked to utter destruction which resulted in my growing up hating vegetables because they were cooked improperly. But it was my Father's joy of cooking that rubbed off on me. Every Sunday growing up he was the sole cook for Sunday breakfast. It was truly a feast- scrambled eggs, bacon and real pork sausage he had shipped packed in dry ice from back home in the south where he grew up (rural Georgia). Add to all of that was melted cheddar cheese (don't remember if Velvetta was up and running in 1945-46 after WW-II)- but the piece de resistance was his homemade rolls which he began making on Saturday evening- in an old, metal baking "bowl" which seemed to be 1,000 years old- in went the flour, baking powder and cake yeast soaked in warm water, perhaps a pinch of salt- but there was no recipe book- the recipe was in his head and in his fingers- absolute magic to me growing up in the early 40s. The dough would rise and he would punch it down and it would rise again- and at 2-3sm on Sunday morning he would get up, get out his round baking pans-pinch off just the right amount of dough, dab it with a bit of vegetable oil, shape it with his hands and put it into the pan.He usually made 6-8 pans which rose again and once risen they would go into the oven while he was preparing the rest of our Sunday breakfast feast. I am convinced that the redolent aroma of his freshly baked from scratch rolls every Sunday spread through our neighborhood in NYC and soon he was being asked by those same neighbors to cook an extra pan for them...which he was only too happy to do. Late in his life after my parents divorced, he retained the house in which we grew up in the 50s- and still made rolls mostly for himself and he would always bake an extra pan for me to take back home after my visit with him. Once as I was leaving, he asked me to do him a favor the next time I came to visit. He said that a new edition of The Joy of Cooking has just been published and would I bring him a copy. I was stunned and at a lost for words and once i found my voice said of course I would be happy to get him a copy. Even I was not aware that a new edition had been published. I, by that time, had a well used older edition, plus at least 6-8 other cook books. So it was my Dad and not my mom who gave me the joy and appreciation of cooking and made me more aware of how increasingly important one's health becomes as one gets older. So I would ask that you be more inclusive in matters of cooking and resist to my mind, the old-fashioned and outdated way of seeing cooking as gender specific. Thanks - Jesse Tigner-Hayden-McCrary, Jr PS: Please send me a copy of this comment to my email address? - as parts of this will be in the chapter about my Dad, in my autobiography which so many good friends have encouraged me to write. Peace

This may sound awful, but I used to experiment in the kitchen when I was young. My specialty was "milk chocolate". I would mix parts of sweetener, cocoa and milk. Then I'd add things like a pinch of cayenne pepper, chili powder, or peppermint oil. My mother's kitchen was stocked! I sometimes used sugar, or honey. It was interesting. But many times, it made for great hot chocolate mixed with more milk, or ice cream topping!

I cook alot as a kid for my family but the first meal I ever made was a homemade lasagna from scratch... I also make stuffed red peppers what I always did was added rice to the stuffed peppers to add taste

Plain Tortillas. There wasn't much to it.

I think the first thing I learned to cook was either my mom's and grandma's polichinka, jelley or cottage cheese filled crepes, or her rivel soup, a basic egg dumpling sauted with onions, add water for soup, and finish with sour cream. Yumm! Can't remember which was first...they were the traditional friday meatless dinner of her childhood as a second generation German Hungarian and I love them both! (although I never do them together :) )

Mickey mouse pancakes-with chocolate chips, of course.

duchess soup. your question just reminded me of it. i was about 8 and had taken a children's cookbook out from the library. my mother i think was thrilled because she was from russia (this was in the 50's) and had not really learned to read much english yet. i had forgotten all about that first cooking adventure. i vaguely remember it interesting me because somehow it reminded me of alice in wonderland book and disney movie. i remember not being too impressed with the result, but it was ok and we all had some for dinner, with much acclaim from my parents. it taught me that i could learn cooking on my own, which i continued to do. one of my favorite pastimes til today, especially now retired and can cook everyday, having the time now. i am so looking forward to cooking with my granddaughter Katarina who is turning 7 this week. in fact i had just decided yesterday to buy her her first children's cookbook. also, i bet this will be a great way to encourage her to try new foods, to get away from pizza and mac and cheese and ice cream all the time! so thanks for reminding me of a great memory! p.s. soups are still my specialty!

My mom is Sicilian American & my Dad irish American & I believe we made Spaghetti Sauce (my family calls it gravy -- we had alot of vegetarian foods (pastas, beans, lots of fresh vegetables) we also made an Irish stew (sorry but that was not vegetarian !!

Tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs and whatever fillings I had around the house and baked! The first dish I learned in home ec class :)

Not being a vegetarian, of course it included meat. It was fried fish, coleslaw and hush puppies.

French Toast from a junior Betty Crocker cookbook. I don't remember much about the recipe but I definitely remember my Grandma helping me and how good she made me feel when she praised it while she ate it. Nowadays I make a much richer, more custardy French toast and it is my sons' favorite and one of the first recipes they helped to cook, too.

The "Special": Spread butter on a flour tortilla. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Fold twice into quarters, looks like a handy pie slice. Microwave for 10 seconds. Melty, gooey, sweet yumminess. Second dish (if you can call it that): English muffin pizzas in the toaster oven (pizza sauce, shredded mozz & anything else optional). Yes, we did own a real oven- I just wasn't allowed to go near it.

My great-grandmother taught me to make the Ukrainian version of pirogis (Polish dumplings): roll out the flour/water dough with a rolling pin, cut out a circle of dough with a cup, fill the circle with a scoop of mashed potatoes/onion/black pepper mix, fold the circle over into a half-moon shape, pinch the edges together and boil the dumplings in water. They could be eaten immediately after being cooked or after refrigerating or freezing. We would put a little butter and onions into a frying pan, cook until the onions were transparent, add the dumplings and fry until brown on both sides. Add a dollop of sour cream and serve. Yes, I know--full of starch and cholesterol. But I'm almost 64 and still drool when I remember how tasty they were!

I grew up in Texas so I was influenced by the Tex-Mex foods that we often had when we ate out. So the first thing I remember making myself was nachos. My mom would let me use anything I wanted from the fridge so I often experimented with different toppings. I remember making some with shredded Swiss cheese and dill pickles, kind of deli, Tex-Mex fusion.

When I was 11 I cooked a dish I called "macotomatodeonion" was tomato soup, pasta and onions with some pepper and garlic powder. Honestly to this day (I am 60) every now and then I make it for's just a comfort food for me:)

My first dish was vegetable soup. I remember standing on a chair next to the kitchen counter while my grandmother supervised my chopping. We cooked together all the time when I was growing up. I hope to relive these wonderful memories with my own children and grandchildren someday!

Mac n' cheese! Still one of my very favorite foods. :)

Croutons!! I would make them all the time. Them I moved onto bread pudding. My step-mom was amazingly supportive and endured lots of bread pudding and croutons during my first cooking days. Because of her I have a love for cooking.

My first thing I ever made as an elementary school kid was CHERRY-0 CREAM CHEESE PIE! And the funny thing is, I just made a V-T version of it yesterday! It had a homemade graham cracker crust with a cream cheese filling mixed with sugar and vanilla. The V-T version used plain yogurt and I added the zest of a meyer lemon from our tree and used honey instead of sugar. My first pie used canned cherries as the crowning glory. Yesterday I used fresh organic blueberries and raspberries and added boysenberries from our garden. Funny how attractions don't really change, they just get refined and polised.

I was always asked to make the salad when I was a kid. The more creative I got the more my mom wanted me to do the salads. I was dying to get to the stove though. My first baking session was a family recipe, my great grandmother's orange drop cookies. A not so sweet delicious cake style cookie with lots of orange peel and fresh juice in them. Still a favorite of mine to make when doing a tea.

We ate a lot of bread. I guess the first thing I 'cooked' was grilled bread. Bread with butter on both sides. We would dunk the rolled grilled bread into hot chocolate made from nestles quik and water because we usually didn't have milk. I remember that tasting so good!

The first meal I ever prepared, at about age 12, was a disaster of epic proportions. Looking back, I hyped it too much. I even wrote a menu and folded the napkins into flowers. My "lemon spaghettini," consisted of salty, mushy pasta and a sauce so lemony that my family's lips puckered as they ate. ("It was hard to chew, let alone swallow" my sister told me years later.) The dessert, bananas en flambee, was even worse. The pan caught on fire! Panicking, I put it down on the table, where it seared an angry round burn mark that remains to this day. I didn't cook for quite a while after that, but now I realize how amazing my family is to willingly have eaten bitter, soggy pasta and charred bananas just to spare my feelings!

Salad. My Mom hated to make salad so I got the job.

Pinch-me cake! It's a Christmas tradition, and I seriously only make it for Christmas Eve and Day...I refuse to make it any other time of it superstition, but hey it's also reeeeally fattening!! Yum!

The first thing I ever made on my own, as a kid, was a birthday cake for my mom. I was 9 or 10 years old and made the cake while my dad went to pick up my mother from work. After mixing all the ingredients, I opened an icing package and mixed it into the cake batter. After the cake was done baking, I took it out of the oven and to my disappointment, the icing wasn't on it. Since the cake was hot, I assumed if I cooled it down the icing would 'pop out' of it. Needless to say, this was not the case. After my parents returned home, I presented my mom with her birthday cake. She cut generous pieces, placed them on her good dishes and handed each of us one. To this day I remember how dry and spongy the cake was but my parents didn't complain and never mentioned how horrible it was. Luckily, I have gone on to become a terrific cook, experimenting often with my own creations or trying out recipes from books and online sources.


I was always fascinated by cookbooks. Going beyond baking various cookies with my mom, I decided one day to cook a complete dinner for my family. From a Better homes and Gardens cookbook, I selected sauerbraten, making the pot roast, the red cabbage, and the noodles. It became one of my father's favorite meals. I was about 10. I became a vegetarian six years later and then developed a way to make the "meat" portion with seitan.

Mashed Potatoes such a big thing I was only 6 got to run the mixer also.

Deviled eggs!

I was around 10 at the time. Cheese Souffle: I loved the elegant 'hat' of the souffle and the fact that it used cheese and eggs - no meat! AND I liked separating eggs. LOTS of eggs. Plus, minus the eggwhites, the cheese roux was a GREAT veggie sauce for my least favorite veggie, Brussel Sprouts. Tofu Maple Syrup Yogurt: Being a child of the 70's I really wanted to try vegetarian foods. My mom let me try out this recipe I found in a magazine in her traditional yogurt maker. It came out pretty good.

Bacon and eggs.