It goes without saying that everyone graduates from childhood having missed learning a certain skill or several, that is vital for a successful adulthood. Some have parents that never teach them about budgeting or how to balance a checkbook. Some know nothing about basic home repairs. Others can't sew a button. That's me (raises hand). I graduated into adulthood without many basic domestic skills.
I grew up an only child in a single parent household. We weren't rich, but we were well off enough to afford several luxuries. We had a house cleaner, we ate out most nights and clothes went to the dry cleaners. Probably most shocking of all, is that I didn't know how to pump my own gas until years after I started driving, because my mom told me to always go full service. When the full service stations started disappearing in the late 90's, we both had to learn to do it ourselves and guess what, it was a piece of cake.
My mom worked for a bank and as such, she passed on a lot of financial advice. She also spent a great deal of time focused on education, specifically things like geography, that she did not feel were being taught enough in school. She spent zero time teaching me basic domestic skills.
I did laundry for the first time when I went away to college. I learned to use a dishwasher when I moved into my first apartment. I ironed for the first time in my late twenties, when a friend helped me sew a costume. My friend walked me step-by-step as I made a Edwardian dress (first and last thing I sewed), she helped me with the difficult parts and it held up during an costume ball! i felt victorious and learned that sewing is not my thing.
One really, really basic thing that my mom never taught me, was cooking skills. Except for making the holiday turkey, my mom rarely cooked. Our kitchen might as well have been used to store extra towels for all of the use it got. I never did anything beyond heating up stuff in the microwave.
Mom was a very picky eater. She often had a sundae from Baskin Robbins and called it dinner. I am the polar opposite. I love vegetables, tofu and anything even remotely healthy. My mom is meat and potatoes, where I love international cuisine. Growing up, we ate out a majority of the week, so that my mom could have dessert and I could get a balanced meal, all without us having to mess up our kitchen.
I used to go to my grandparents house for several weeks out of the year during school holidays. My paternal grandmother was not known to be a great cook, but I always loved her cooking. They would always ask if I wanted to go out to eat, but I was sick to death of eating out. I wanted home cooked meals! On my first day with them, they would take me to the grocery store and let me help plan the menu for for my stay. I loved this.
One of the trips, I came home with frozen containers of my grandmother's spaghetti sauce, which I really liked, so grandma made extra. I told my mom and she tossed it out. She was offended that I liked grandma's sauce over her own. My "mom's sauce" was original Ragu with hamburger beef thrown in. That's it. I didn't get it at the time, but there was a lot of animosity between my grandparents and mom and it had nothing to do with sauce.
My mom did make one thing that was all her own, her potato salad. People loved it. I loved it. She often had requests to make it for friends to take to their own gatherings. The secret was fine chopping and Miracle Whip. Even ardent haters of Miracle Whip liked the salad. Since my mom has passed, my aunt has made the salad several times. She tries, but it just isn't quite the same and I can't put my finger on what's missing. I wish that I had helped my mom make the salad and knew how to do it myself.
My aunt is an awesome cook. She makes my single favorite homemade meal, her tacos. Nothing is better than my aunt's tacos. It's all in the shells. I've assisted her enough times to know how to do it. I'm not letting anymore family recipes disappear. She also does an awesome pot roast and the best tuna casserole.
When I moved into my first apartment, I discovered that I really enjoy cooking and I'm even pretty good at it. I am organized in the kitchen. I read the recipe several times and don't get too crazy with adding my own touches until I've done it successfully a few times. I tend to favor things that can be baked or thrown in a slow cooker, but I am branching out.
One of my favorite sites is
i've used allrecipes for years. It's a great site, filled with reviews and tips for all of the recipes and a virtual recipe box to bookmark favorites. The last two weeks, I've been trying out new dinners culled from the site and have had a lot of success.
I made this delicious pork chop recipe last night.
It's not easy to teach an old dog, new tricks, but I am trying to learn this new skill as a thirty-something. There will be some fumbled dinners, where we end up ordering pizza. Dan will probably encourage the fumbles, as he likes pizza!