Serious Eats: Talk
How old were you when you first started cooking?
Obviously, you don't start off making meals, but how old were you when you started helping, and how old were you when you were capable of preparing a meal?
To be honest, I can't recall what age I started, because I started really young, and I don't have a lot of date markers in my mind for each year. I can pretty much sort out what happened before my ninth birthday from what happened after, and what happened in grade school years as opposed to high school.
I'm darned sure I was doing a bit of cooking before my ninth birthday ... it was before that when I sliced my thumb while peeling apples for an apple pie, and I was doing a lot of helping with other peeling, cutting, stirring tasks. I peeled and sliced and diced a lot of carrots and onions and potatoes, that's for sure.
I was supervised at the stove at a very young age -- I can recall needing to stand on a kitchen chair to be able to melt butter in a tiny pot we used for that task.
For some reason, the oven wasn't deemed as dangerous as the stove, and I baked a whole lot of cakes, mostly from boxed mixes, but also some oddball recipes. Cookies too. Mom didn't like baking much, so I was on my own for a lot of that.
I also remember the first full meal that I made was for a girl scout badge, and I was disappointed that it wasn't more complicated. So I was probably under 12 at the time.