FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What’s the First Dish You Made on Your Own?

Oh my pillows, it’s Friday. And that means it’s time for the Friday Open Thread, an undercover project I instituted at this website to slowly collect information on someone I have a crush on who’s very into sharing details about their life via the comments. IS IT YOU?

This week marks the second week of the greatest television show in recent history, Master Chef Junior. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend you get on board and pick your faves right now. This show brings us a bevy of tiny culinary geniuses that make me worry I might not be making grilled cheese correctly. If anyone here was a baby chef, please let it be known. And everyone else, what was the first dish you remember making for yourself and/or others?

I’d be interested in talking to my siblings about this but I feel like the dish that signified you were a Big Person and allowed to use the stove on your own and generally considered capable of not burning down the house was eggs. One Sunday you’d wake up, young and starving, and ask, “What’s for breakfast?” and hear, “Make yourself some eggs!” and that’s how you knew you’d arrived. So let’s hear it. What’s the first meal you were allowed to make yourself? How old were you? Did you ever set your kitchen on fire? And also catch us up on your lives, your loves, your pets! Liz C. let me hang out with her new pup, Bandit, and he just wanted to live his life in peace I think.

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Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 328 articles for us.


  1. I didn’t make it on my own but I was 6 and my brother was 13 and we were home alone and he was making mac and cheese AND DOING IT WRONG.
    Kids, my parents could afford the kind with the goop packet, it’s fool proof.
    But my idiot brother thought you boiled the noodles until the water was gone and he wouldn’t believe me cause I was 6 and couldn’t read the box, and he was for some reason not reading the box either.
    I was pretty much in hysterics when my mom got home in time to save dinner. I’m sure it was very funny, but it’s also the reason I did so well in school that year. So I could read the box and never risk my mac and cheese again.

    • That’s about the ages my brother and I were when we decided to be helpful and run the dishwasher one night while mom was out. I was the older one, he was the one insisting that the liquid detergent was the wrong kind for the machine. Suds all over our kitchen floor, which was carpeted (amazing short orange and brown carpet with a faux tile design.)

        • Ha! They didn’t carpet it. Our house had all kinds of terrible 70s decor. Our counters were orange, cabinets dark wood, and then that carpet. We had carpet in the bathroom too. Shag carpeting elsewhere. My bedroom had bright red carpet and weird pale yellow and fabric-patterned flowers wallpaper. My parents didn’t feel they had the money to redo anything. But they did before we put the house on the market.

  2. My mom let me make the cake batter once. Well, “stir” is more accurate. I was 4, maybe 5 ? I threw a fit and my socks landed in the batter.

    (this is all something I was TOLD, mind you… I don’t have *proof* this ever actually happened).

    First diner I ever cooked was probably spaghetti bolognese, which was the staple dish in my house that you would learn to cook when mom and dad were late from work.

    Totally unrelated, but I just binge-watched the Fosters and I’m having all the feels.

    • Also I forgot about my life : I found a lesbian/feminist group (thank you okcupid) so I’m gonna get to meet tooons of them (where are they all hiding ?)

  3. …I mean, I tried to melt chocolate in the microwave and it really did catch fire a little bit. I lied and said I burned waffles in the toaster.

  4. So I had an easy bake oven when I was probably like 7 and one of the first things I tried to make was a cake. But of course it was taking forevvverrr to cook, so I decided to speed up the process my microwaving it. Metal pan and all! Luckily, nothing exploded, but my parents were quite surprised when I yelled “I microwaved the cake. It turned out great!” downstairs to them.

    Lesson: Never let an impatient child who does not understand microwaves bake a cake

    • I also tried to bake a cake in an Easy Bake Oven when I was little. Thankfully I didn’t try to microwave it, but it didn’t come out quite right. It didn’t have a very cake-y consistency so I just renamed it fudge because I didn’t know what fudge was.

    • I think “don’t put metal in the microwave” is a rule that isn’t brought up until the first time you put metal in the microwave.

    • I had an easy bake oven! I thought they would come up. I got bored quickly because the brownies etc I made with my mom in the real oven were a lot better. Did seem somewhat magical that what seemed like a box with a light bulb could actually bake anything.

    • Oh my goodness, this post reminded of an early cooking experience of mine that I’d forgotten about.

      When I was about 7 I decided I was going to have a tin of alphabet pasta. On this occasion, to save time and mess I put the opened tin and walked off.

      Next thing I know, there’s an almighty bang. I ran over to the chair I was using to reach the microwave to try to rectify the situation. My mother emerged from wherever she’d been, dragged me off the chair and yelled for ages about me having broken our new microwave with my ‘deliberate recklessness’.

      Thankfully, I think the fuse switches needed to be flipped back on and the microwave was saved.

  5. I mostly remember the first time I failed to make a dish on my own, which was when I was about 12, I think, with instant mashed potatoes. My mother really tried but still could not entirely hide her horror that I could not figure out instant mashed potatoes, which I think is a three-step process from start to finish.

    • Are you the oldest child? I feel like barely masked parental horror is something younger kids don’t experience as much.

      • i am the oldest, yes. i had never thought about that! it would make a lot of sense, though.

        someday i’ll get my mom to write a listicle called “10 Times I Could Barely Mask My Horror as a Parent.”

    • Instant mashed potatoes aren’t easy, I think this is fair. It is the hardest of the easiest instant things, I think. There’s whipping involved!

  6. My mom made me waffles this morning, then this afternoon she forced me to get a flu shot. I feel tricked.

    I think the first thing I ever made by myself was spaghetti, and it’s still a major staple of my diet.

  7. I made spaghetti in a pot that was too shallow and didn’t break the spaghetti in half first… so it caught on fire somehow. YUM. I saw it quickly and threw the whole thing in the sing, so everything was fine.

  8. Pretty sure you’re an evil genius Brittani. What Straddler can resist commenting on the open thread?

    I spent a long time terrified of cooking before I first attempted to cook, but I wound up getting an internship at what was then called World News with Charles Gibson but is now… World News Tonight with David Muir. (I had to look that up).

    That internship did a couple of things for me. The first was convince me that I, in no way shape or form, ever wanted to work in news, and second – made me cook for the first time in my life.

    I shared a “town house” with 5 boys that I’d been assigned to live with on the Columbia campus. This was not an optimal kitchen to learn to cook in. As a result, I wound up making spaghetti pretty much every single night. I can no longer eat spaghetti.

  9. I can’t remember what the first meal I made was, I have been cooking sense the young age of 10. I learned quickly to cook and have dinner waiting on the table for when my parents got home for two reasons; one they both worked until later so if I wanted to eat at a decent time then I had to make dinner and two we had a rule in our house hold, who ever made dinner did not have to clean the dishes.

    Now that I have moved out on my own I don’t cook as much because as much as I love cooking I hate cooking for one.

  10. The first time my parents let my brother and I cook without direct supervision was when we were 3 (me) and 6 (him), but we couldn’t read well enough to tell the difference between the salt and the sugar (they were in matching jars)- so we put in 2 1/2 cups of salt and a teaspoon of sugar in a batch of oatmeal cookies.

  11. The first thing that I ever remember making for myself was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was probably 4 or 5. Does that count?

    Things have been okay with me. I have a date tonight with someone I’ve been dating that started out and casually, but now at least seems to be more serious. ^_^

  12. I went to cooking camp when I was 11 (yes, it exists), and I’ve always been a really good cook. If I weren’t in theatre, I’d most likely go to culinary school and become a professional chef/get on Food Network/start a culinary empire/rule the world. I love cooking, but I rarely do it, as I hate cooking for one. I did make a 3 cheese veggie & sweet potato frittata this morning, though. It’s a random fact that people don’t know about me. I love talking about cooking almost as much as I love cooking.

    On a not-very-related note (but oddly kind of related), I found out on Wednesday that a play I wrote is going to be premiering Off-Broadway in January. The protagonist is a very good cook, and food is one of the central plot lines (the other is sexual identity! woohoo!). If you’ll be in NYC on January 15th, let me know- I’d love to see some straddlers there! (It’s one night only.)

    • Congratulations!!

      How can we support your culinary empire/ world ruling plans?? I for one am on board with that world, and am looking forward to a future filled with astonishing meals followed by amazing theatre.

      • You’re too sweet! I’m going to launch an Indiegogo campaign in the next week or two to raise funds for the play (and world domination). So, if you feel like supporting fiscally, there will be a way. :)

        • Huzzah!! If I donate will you post the video link I seem to remember you promising? I’d love to see what you’re creating!

          • Totally! I’ll post on the unofficial acamp Facebook group when it’s launched. (Are you on that? If not, I’ll message it to you.) Thanks for the support! :)

  13. the first thing I learned to make was a banana with peanut butter and graham cracker crumbles, which I learned about on mr rogers. though the first thing I learned to make that involved turning on the stove was pancakes, because we used to make pancakes every saturday, and I made a LOT of raisin pancakes, because a)I love putting shit in pancakes, it never gets old and b)my parents were hippies, raisins were the sugariest thing I could get into without asking first.

    I really only learned to ACTUALLY cook when I was an 22 after a really crummy breakup, when I was too depressed to leave my house, but too pissed off to just eat frosting. My rationale being, my ex was a jerk who didn’t take good care of me, so I am going to take good care of me, fuck you very much. Mostly, it worked, and I am a reasonably good cook with a much nicer girlfriend.

    • I think that there may be a whole topic on its own: Hippy parents and what their healthy eating rules and regulations.

      My parents weren’t hippies, but they were pretty healthy. My best friends Mum was a hippy and a great baker and I have fond memories of being at my friend’s house and my friends Mum having her bread baking and the beautiful yeasty smell going through the kitchen and house, and if I was lucky, I would get some freshly baked bread with butter and jam for lunch. My friends Mum was kind of prohibitive with sugar and got the kids eating healthy and eating fruit, instead of junk food, and my friend’s were happy mainly. I had a challenge with it… ;)

      • granola overdose. I couldn’t buy/eat it for years after being on my own. now, how healthy it was… it did, however, keep the growing child fed for more than an hour on a shoestring. usually.

    • Yes, she was robbed and also was clearly the star. I think they wanted someone older to win because now Alex is going all over the world representing the show and possibly someone that young wouldn’t have been as available to do that?

      • Sarah was my favourite to the extent that, last Christmas as a gift, my wife designed and had printed a t-shirt that reads, “This is SO not gummy bears!” on the front, and “Whip like a man!” on the back. I big heart that shirt and daren’t wear it in my chef job for fear of wrecking it. It’s a weekend thang.

  14. I went veggie when I was nine and my mum brought home a pile of vegetarian cookbooks home from the library. I decided on a tofu stir fry which I successfully made once and basically never touched the stove again until I moved out. Now I make vegan baked goods and tofu stir fry almost exclusively.
    I’ve never burned the kitchen down but I forgot my housemate was heating up soup when we were running errands only to open the front door to a plume of smoke and a screaming alarm, I still don’t know how we left that house standing sometimes.

  15. I think a boiled egg is probably the first thing I cooked on my own. But I vividly remember my Father teaching me to cook lasagne including making the pasta from scratch and profiteroles from scratch. I also remember my mother exploding some tupperware whilst trying to make jam in the microwave and setting fire to steak under the grill, never met a woman who can paint a wall or hang wallpaper like she can though. So those traditional heteronormative gender roles…are…?
    Further off topic, I had to mark an essay printed in comic sans today, which put the tin lid on my hideous week at the day job. I am now heading for alcohol. Which is so unlike me. Cheers.
    Excited for MK8 DLC, sad that I can’t play it ’til Sunday when I am finally done with work. Anyone with a wii u fancy a tourney?

    • Comic sans? On an essay? Was this a mistake? Did you grade them down? Have we been transported to some alternate universe where this is okay?

      • I did tell her to never do it again,and that comic sans is only ever to be used by 8 year olds writing poems about unicorns. Didn’t have the heart to downgrade as she had done badly anyway. Stern note instructing her for 12pt Arial double spaced. I’m trying to be a nice teacher until a touch closer to deadlines.

  16. We used the stove so it counts as cooking I guess. When I was in 4th grade I would warm up tortillas in a pan, melt butter on them, roll them up and then eat them while watching Double Dare on Nickelodeon.

  17. It was plain spaghetti for me. And though I didn’t set the kitchen on fire then, I definitely set it on fire semi-regularly now due to misreading cooking times or accidentally turning on the burner under the plastic electric kettle I keep (kept) on the stove and walking away for a minute.

  18. I think it was polka dot macaroni (mac and cheese with little hot dogs sliced on top). Or it was a baked good of some sort.

    I could be wrong though.

  19. The first meal I made was bologna cups. It was a recipe from some kids cookbook, and I loved it. Microwave bologna until it curls up. Then put the bologna in a greased muffin tin. Crack an egg in each bologna cup. Put in the oven until cooked. Paprika on top is optional. Delicious.

    • I did that. But just the bologna with cheese in it. If I still ate bologna I’d try it with the egg!

      • I’d like to report that tofurky slices do not curl in the microwave the way I recall bologna slices did.

        • I appreciate that this comment was made approximately 20 minutes after your last comment – which leads me to believe this was a real-time experiment. A+ dedication!

        • Philly, you are cracking me up. Thanks for the report. I feel that eating any meat-tofu product involves some imagination. Be the bologna ;)

    • i was so into what our first dishes were that I forgot to ask how everyone’s week has been!! Mine has been pretty busy, I started real swimming lessons. I can’t swim. Well float. lol. This Sunday I’m going on a hike with some LA straddlers to Switzer falls!! =) I’m very excited.

      Oh yeah and a few days ago we did TWO 5k runs in one day!! LOL we are so out of our minds!!

      So this is Nadia and me. She finished her 5k (3.1miles) in 20 minutes!! :O :O

      This was during our electric run. Do you see the glow in the dark deer? I am solidifying my relationship with KlubDeer. KLUBDDER5ever. Also I had a LED mohawk. That was cool.

      I just wanted to be on the bed, mom.

      Also my wife and our cat talk about me. The cat is telling her that noisy person (me) is on the phone screen again. HAHA.

  20. …Pasta and marinara sauce for my parents. It turned out pretty well, I actually got out of cleaning the dishes that night. First thing I baked on my own were chocolate chip cookies.

  21. Brownies, from my mother’s ancient Betty Feezor cookbook (still my favorite cookbook, which shows exactly how on top of cooking trends I am).

  22. I learned baking first from my Mum who I’d hang out with fascinated as she made something in a bowl which I would get to initially clean out with a spatula and my tongue! I was so interested in how she put food together in a bowl which would then go into an oven get baked and smell great and be ready to eat. I suffer from instant gratification and cooking is still the way to my heart and soul.

    My Mum as a parent volunteered to teach some of my schoolmates and friends how to do basic baking and cooking at school in one of our recreation time slots and I remember with a lot of pride as we got to cook in the staffroom, Mum and her group and I, a friend said to me,
    “Your Mum is so kind. I wish she was my Mum” or something similar and I realised in that instant that I was doing pretty well, and that my friend may not have had the same support or love going on that I took for granted. And we were about 10 years old or so. I always remember that.

    I think we were baking something chocolate slicey or choc chip biscuits. I realised in that moment that I was lucky to have the Mum and Dad I had and that not everyone was as lucky or happy with their folks. Sobering.

  23. Pretty sure mine was eggs, too. Since then, I’ve watched enough cooking shows to appreciate how hard it is to do eggs right, also does anyone else want to talk about their perfect way to make [insert style here] eggs? Because I love eggs and I’m always looking for ways to improve. Except on omelets. I’m an omelet master.

    I think the next thing I made was wontons, the folding-of (to this day my mom refuses to let me help make the filling for her wontons, which is probably a good idea)

    also, a photo from my week: a good friend of mine was part of an art-thing, and he set up a CV Dazzle face-painting countersurveillance booth, and it was rad! My face got painted! No machines could detect it!

    • I love fried eggs, but fail always at flipping them. Guaranteed mess. So I half fry half steam them?

      Heat the frying pan (smaller pan is better).
      Spray the pan lightly.

      Crack eggs, salt and pepper them, let them cook for a second.

      Pour a LITTLE water in the pan. (Not directly on top of the eggs.)

      Immediately put a (clear) lid on it.

      The water will turn into steam, which will cook the top of the egg to yolky perfection!

      (If the steam dissipates before the egg is perfect, just add a little more water.)

      Turns out perfectly, and no need to show off my lack of manual dexterity by trying to flip eggs.

      • Yes! That’s what I do too. Or sometimes instead of/in addition to water I include a bit of salsa or slice of tomato, something that will release steam.

  24. dad would bring home the blue cardboard box of snowstar vanilla ice cream and a can of hershey’s syrup. the box would be opened up on the counter and the block of ice cream cut in 3 pieces so that dad got half and my sister and i got a quarter each in big cereal bowls, with chocolate syrup.

    we started by carving shapes out of the blocks of ice cream, like make an easy chair out of it. then we would stir it up to imitate chocolate soft serve. i was really confused the first time i had ice cream at a friend’s house and it was a single scoop served in a dainty cup. ‘where’s the rest?’

    mom made us whole wheat bread from scratch and veggies from the garden and health food so it was a good balance.

    • I love this. We had a similar balance on that there was very little sugar in our house, lots of veggies, etc. But the regular treat at my grandparents’ was coke floats made with vanilla ice cream from the big red (5 quart?) bucket and coke from a glass bottle.

  25. I want to say the first meal I made on my own was either a steak or chicken dish, and I was in high school, but I am not 100% sure. I think I put a little too much garlic salt and it was too salty.

    While my week hasn’t felt long, it has been a bit rough monetary wise. I found out today that my mother suv, which I plan to take when my parents get a new car, needs almost 2k worth of service, unless I do my parts shopping at a junk yard. Ugh, my parents are paying for it, but I did have to put my money I had saved for bras towards getting the car diagnosed.

    I am trying dattch app and finding it a bit rough as a pre-op genderqueer trans*, plus their filters are limited so I get a lot users who haven’t logged on in like months, which sucks, because you see a cute girl who has a lot of similar likes and bam didn’t log in for 2 months. :-(

    On a plus side I got a new mechanical mod vape that I am loving, it’s soo small and fun, sadly the store didn’t have the rainbow chrome model, so I got the copper model.

  26. The first thing I remember making by myself was when I made my mum a cake as a surprise using an old cookbook of hers which used the term ‘fat’ instead of butter. I found out ‘fat’ in a recipe could mean butter/ lard/ margarine/ oil…so I made a cake using ONLY OLIVE OIL as the ‘fat’…

    All the icing in the world could not make that cake edible but we still laugh about it!

    • When I was around 8 my friend and I decided to make a cake without using a recipe for my mom’s birthday. We knew the basic ingredients. My mom thought it was lovely. I think it was edible but not overly tasty…

  27. I feel like the first meal I was allowed to make by myself was probably cereal or mac & cheese, haha. But then I was slowly allowed to do more in the kitchen when my Food Network phase began in 7th grade (what?). I remember making some type of burger creation with my dad after he bought me one of Rachael Ray’s cookbooks, too. (I should have realized I was queer when she was on…)
    Anyway, I’d like to say that made me become a fantastic chef, but the opposite is true. But I’m excited to slowly cook more and more once I move into my new place in my college town next week! Right now I’m finishing my last week at the TV station I grew up watching, so after 2 1/2 years working there and many more watching it, it’s really gonna suck to leave. :/ But yay new opportunities!

  28. The summer that I was 12 and my brother was 8, my mom went back to work full-time, leaving me to babysit and also be in charge of lunch. The only thing I knew how to cook at the time was quesadillas. So every day of the summer, me and my brother would eat giant cheese quesadillas for lunch. He’s almost 18 now and I’m pretty sure he can still only cook quesadillas.

    I’m glad to see that a lot of other people’s stories involve some form of melted cheese. I feel like melting cheese is very easy to do, but also very delicious. And it makes you feel like you’ve actually cooked something instead of just making a sandwich or pouring milk on a bowl of cereal or something.

    I definitely want my weekend to involved melted cheese because it is SO COLD here and all I want to do is eat cheese and carbs while huddled under a blanket and never leaving the house. Gonna have to go back and re-read that open thread about how to cope with the winter in a healthy way, because it is NOT supposed to be 30 degrees in Tennessee in November, and I’m not happy about it.

  29. Mac n cheese. I started the timer for the noodles to cook waaaaaay before the water started boiling. Like pretty much I just put water in the pan, turned on the stove, put the noodles in and thought that would do it. 7 minutes later, my brother and I were eating extra hard mac n cheese. yummmmm

  30. I think the first meal I was ever allowed to make without adult supervision was scrambled eggs in the microwave when I was about 6, but I could be wrong.

    The number of things I’ve set on fire in the kitchen is a bit alarming. I mean, I don’t know why anyone thinks it’s a good idea for me to be left alone while cooking. I set the microwave on fire when I was 10 because I thought it was a good idea to heat up a cheeseburger in a tin foil wrapper. The scorch marks never came out. I was tasked with making hard boiled eggs for a family vacation at the age of 12. They ended up stuck on the ceiling. I set fire to a cinnamon roll and a hot pocket my junior year of college, but that was because my roommate’s microwave was actually the devil. Last year I accidentally broiled a cake while hanging out with my sister. It came out of the oven half cooked, but looking like it had already been frosted. We also didn’t realize something was wrong until the entire kitchen was filled with smoke.

    I’m not entirely sure that I know how to adult…and I’m 26.

    • But how did they get on the ceiling?!

      My freshman year of college, my roommate started a fire in the microwave and just started screaming, didn’t try to put it out and I really don’t know what would have happened if I wasn’t there.

        • To be honest, I can actually cook quite well, but apparently my skills also come with a high risk of fire. So the food will either be really good or burnt beyond recognition.

      • Once when I was a kid and vacuuming I heard weird sounds and looked at the plug and there was a small fire around the outlet! I turned the vacuum off, ripped the plug out and then ran out of the room screaming “fire”… to this day i’m nervous when I vacuum and keep a close watch on the outlet.

      • They ended up on the ceiling because it turns out that eggs will get very warm/burn/explode after all the water boils away and you don’t turn the burner off. It also turns out that exploding eggs sound exactly like the gunfire from Goldeneye for the N64. Which is what I was playing as they were exploding.

  31. Well, when I was about 8, I tried to make melted cheese in my grandmother’s microwave in a plastic dish that was NOT microwave safe. I think I put it in for about 5 minutes? ……that microwave was probably never the same.

    In “my life” news, I had my hair cut professionally for the first time in years. (I totally forgot that they wash your hair and how weirdly awesome it is to have someone else wash your hair.) Feeling totally snazzy in my fresh alternative lifestyle haircut perfection. (And just in time for my second date this weekend with a super cute girl. :D )

      • Wellllll, she’s in the Coast Guard, so we are getting in a date on the weekend before she’s out on the big boat for a whole week!

        So far no huge plan, but we will be going to see a movie for sure. (Possibly Ouija, despite the bad reviews, because we’ve already seen Interstellar, and we both appreciate bad horror movies anyway. ;) )

  32. Hiiiii guyyyyys!

    I actually have had cooking on the brain lately–last night I threw a little dinner party so a few of my friends could meet Holly! It was wonderful and everyone liked each other and we drank cider and played a couple rounds of cards against humanity. I am so so so so pleased!! YAY
    Dinner was:
    -a small cheese plate consisting of Saint-André and English cheddar with caramelized onions
    -ginger carrot soup (from trader joe’s out of the box, ’cause I’m lazy)
    -spinach and feta salad with a rice wine vinaigrette
    -Baked samosa things, #7 on this week’s recipe list!
    Inside my batch was butternut squash, a little bit of gold potato, sautéed onions, mushrooms, and cauliflower, and some wilted spinach, all spiced with salt/pepper/sweet curry/ginger/paprika. HOT DAMN they were actually fantastic!

    I made more this morning and put various leftovers in a bunch of them. Highly recommend this lazy-person variant.

    Since I was a kid (starting when I was like 9ish?), my friend Ivy and I have been cooking together. It’ll happen once every couple of years now that we’re older, but it is still always so so much fun. When we were younger we’d use Martha Stuart’s Hors D’oeuvres Handbook, which is a cookbook I still love! We were not, of course, old enough to get our own ingredients, so we’d just substitute whatever was around the kitchen. I remember diligently coating the sides of a sandwich in shredded carrot, because we didn’t have any sesame seeds? Also for some reason we were always allowed to use all the sharp knives. Anyway, it was awesome. My favorite recipe that we ever made up was this pretty easy and kinda horrifying and absolutely delicious:

    -fresh strawberries, cut up into slices
    -half and half
    -a lot of vanilla extract
    put everything into a big mixing bowl, stir, eat with fancy spoons until you feel ill/finish the bowl

    Good times.

    Life has been pretty good lately! Work’s been good, and I’ve gotten to hang out with many friends lately. I still need a car, but I’m working on it, and my parent’s have been away since wednesday and Holly’s been here since then and it is so so lovely and sort of lazily domestic.

    Musa decided she wanted to sleep with us this morning.

    Holly even brought her bird, Jim (aka Jimmy Buffett 2, aka James William Buffett II)–he’s hanging out on the porch right now.

    Here’s a picture of a picture (thus the weird longness of our faces) of the two of us at roller skating/Totally 80’s Bar night that the OC Straddler group put on! IT was fun even though I had to be super late and missed rollerskating:

    Also this week, I got pictures back from this workshop I went to for wedding/event stuff. It was incredible, and the pictures are awesome! Here’s me posing with a wild bouquet I made:

    this picture’s funny because this face is usually reserved for flirting and I’m not sure why I made it during this photo shoot???

    less sex face, more happy smile

    And to finish everything off, here’s some pretty flowers from the past couple weeks!

    Crazy succulent, meet Pic-Tap-Go filters!

    Not sure what these are, but they look like angry bottle brushes and I like them

    I think they imported this peony from eden/heaven/my dreams??

    love you guyyys <3 <3 <3

      • This is how I feel basically every time I look at a flower. Clearly I am doing the right thing with my life.

        • Are you a floral designer? I like all of your pics! My love is Intermountain water-efficient plants but I’m growing algae currently. One of my friends might know what your “angry bottle brush” plant is…I’ll ask (now I’m curious). :D

          • I’m a wedding/event designer, and I do florals!
            What is an intermountain water-efficient plant? How is the algae-growing going? I am also growing algae but that’s because I’m lazy.

            Please do ask!

    • Musa decided she wanted to sleep with us this morning.

      Holly even brought her bird, Jim (aka Jimmy Buffett 2, aka James William Buffett II)–he’s hanging out on the porch right now.

      • Um I’m avian expert but is that a parrot? A parrot that a wonderful human you co-habitate with named Holly has named Jimmy Buffet?

        If so you must keep this Holly person as close as possible because she is a winner.
        Margaritas and dinner, Holly is a winner.

        (Speaking of there’s a tourist trap in the Quarter I feel no shame in going to because it is Margaritaville and there are no words just colors and song titles on your chair)

        • As a friend of Holly, yes she is a total winner, & big Buffet fan. Also, I think it’s the lovebird type of parrot to be exact.

          • She is Parrot-Head with parrot named Jimmy Buffet.

            The world is lovely place right now, next time I have a sad I will remember Holly’s existence and smile like an idiot.

            You and Jane know the best kind of people.

            *floats away like a dandelion seed on a hopeful warm spring breeze*

    • Well this is all awesome. Roller bar situation sounds cool, even without rolling.
      I think the bottle brush thing is called a Teasel. I remember my Grandma having a bunch of dried ones in a big super 70s brown vase, the whole situation was super dusty but I loved petting the weird spikey brush bits. So weird. Plants are cool.

      • According to google image search, Teasels look similar, but are not the same. I think mine’s some sort of tropical? It’s definitely protea-adjacent in stem/leaf/head structure.

        • Yep, not a teasel. Jane sounds like she’s narrowing it down though. Anyhoo, I’ll post some pics soon and continue the flower throw-down ;)

    • this picture’s funny because this face is usually reserved for flirting and I’m not sure why I made it during this photo shoot???

      Because, Open Friday Thread.

      JAAANNNEEE I have to apologise because I just assumed you were a florist with an incredible talent and now I find out you’re a wedding designer and all I can think is hot damn I need to find a girl, stat and then I need to propose and am I ready to be married? All my friends are married and mostly onto their second child by now and I’m the one left standing over here –> but if I start planning a wedding then that would most definitely involve you somehow and oh my gosh i’m so glad you’ve got a partner that totally adores you and ahhhh stahp with all the gorgeousness


      • Eeeeee, Ellariaaa!
        Please do find a girl and get married and hire me, because I want to do every queer wedding ever yes please thank you <3

  33. I think the first meal I ever made on a stove by myself was probably egg in a hole, from a recipe in a children’s cookbook. I think it must have been fairly successful because I still make them from time to time.

    Oh man guys, I am super relieved this week. My contract just got extended so I will continue to be employed for a little while. I’m also exhausted. I have had an intense and stressful few months. I have had several super short term contracts and I’m constantly trying to prove my worth so they’ll keep me around for longer. I also had my very first ever date with a girl, followed by my second ever date with a girl. I’m coming out in my mid twenties, which is nerve wracking. Tomorrow I hope to come out to one of the few of my close friends that doesn’t know I’m gay. I feel like I need like a week to hide out at home, watching tv and processing.

    • Good luck to you, from another girl in her twenties who just went on her first date with a girl ever, and who will shortly be going on her second date with a girl. Nervewracking, right? But also so, so fantastic. :)

      • I NEED THE DEETS ON THESE DATES. Are we talking classic dinner and a movie? Are we going niche? Are we doing in home dates? Are we bowling? Are we mini golfing? What. is. up.

        • The first was coffee at a local coffee shop and the second was dinner at a cool restaurant that seems to maybe be located in what used to be a basement apartment. They had really good food though, which is important.

    • Sounds like you need a celebratory egg in the hole (my family calls them toad in the hole)–quality comfort food! :)

  34. Oh, I forgot to mention we had the Roller skating party and 80s bar night in Orange county. Sadly I had an accident on floor and laded on my noise and camera. My noise is now fine, as is my camera(haven’t seen an issue yet), but the lens on the camera broke. It fair priced so I am not too mad. Also sadly, the people who went to the roller skating didn’t go to the 80s party at the bar. I was the only person there in costume, an orange jump suite no less! I had a blast at both events. I had another lens with me so I have images from both venues, and would share, but I’d rather ask first.

  35. My mom was chronically ill throughout my youth, so my siblings and I learned how to cook early. I remember at the age of ten or so being very proud of myself for “inventing” potato soup. Basically, I’d make instant mashed potatoes and throw in cut up, precooked sausage, peas, and corn. I was absolutely convinced I was the first person on earth who had ever thought of such a thing, and showed it off to everyone.

    On a different note, I was thinking I should try and meet actual gay/bi women in real life (as opposed to creeping on tumblr/autostraddle/the gay women’s channel) this weekend. My game plan is to go to a queer bar in SF. Wish me luck!

  36. I will share my franglais recipe which is one of the first things I made…line a bowl with ladyfingers dipped in juice (I know, so gay) of defrosted berries. Mix Greek yogurt and fresh custard, and layer berries, yogurt/custard mix and more juicy ladyfingers twice. Put a heavy plate on and leave in the fridge overnight – turn out onto a plate. Scarf, scarf, scarf. This is basically a super easy and tasty version of a Charlotte (a French dessert).
    My family are French, and all my time with them was always either preparing food, eating food or cleaning up after food. My wife didn’t believe me until she came to my grandmother’s home and we had a 5-hour dinner.

  37. The first and best thing I ever cooked: toast, definitely toast.

    Okay, now I’m going to whine about my problems. So, the lgbt+ center on my college campus is hosting a party tonight, and I don’t have anyone to go with. The queer community here is small and kind of cliquey, and I’ve never been particularly good getting in with groups like that (plus I’m a freshman haha). Since none of my (all straight) friends will go with me, I’d have to show up alone. Also I’m under 21, and I can’t get alcohol, so if I did decide to go to the party I would have to do so sober. Showing up at a party sober and alone sounds kind of like my worst nightmare so… I mean, I wish I could go, but I don’t know. Ugh, what do I dooooooo?

    • Go, because you might like it anyway, which would be awesome, but if you don’t like it, you can always leave and take yourself out for bowling or late night coffee?

    • Go, but give yourself permission to leave early if you’re not enjoying yourself. Whether the night ends with you meeting tons of amazing new people or going home to marathon your favorite show on netflix, it will be OK. I struggle with social anxiety, and realizing that either type of night can be a sucess has been really helpful to me. Good luck! Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a great time! :)

  38. Uh, I don’t know what the first thing I cooked was, but I have to think it was mac and cheese, like everyone else here. That sounds rights.

    I do know that the first time I made a pizza, in 9th grade “life skills” (what they called home economics at my high school) class, I put 8 TABLESPOONS of pepper into the dough instead of 1/8 of a Tbls. Whoops. It was very spicy and peppery. I did not get an A.

    In other life news, one of my beloved fur babies is really sick and I’m worried about her. One of our guinea pig pair, Persephone, has a horrible UTI–worse than she’s ever had–or it might be something more serious. Test results are pending. We are snuggled on the couch and I have to feed her food slurry 3x a day because she isn’t eating. She’s an old lady, 5 1/2 years which is old for a piggle, but I’m going to be super sad if she doesn’t get better. :/

  39. I began cooking and baking at a really young age, I don’t remember my first dish. By 7 I was baking cookies, cakes,pies, and meals by myself. I’ve always really enjoyed it. I’ve been making pizza forever. I started by just helping my mom but after a few years of that then I was on her level of pizza making.
    I’m struggling with understanding what flirting is. I don’t know if someone is flirting me and I’ve been possibly flirting with them as well. I don’t know what is going on but I love talking to her.

  40. Pretty sure the first thing I ever made was grilled cheese. There were a couple years of my childhood when that was all I would eat for lunch and my mom figured out pretty quickly that I could be left to feed it to myself. Or my dad would make it for me, but he always burned them, so I finally just quit asking him to do it.

  41. I’m pretty sure the first thing I made was soup out of a can when I was pretty young, it ended with my little sister insisting I was doing wrong and running to get my dad. The only time I almost set anything on fire was when a friend and I decided to start drinking while we were still making cookies, we ended up forgetting about the last batch in the oven and finding them still in the oven in the morning and the oven still on.

    Also for work this week apparently everyone quit all in one week so I’ve been working on training the new girl so I wont have to work all day long. I may have traumatized or scared her tonight listening to podcasts her boyfriend showed up right as we were closing and stayed there until we left so that was fun.

  42. Well I was 6 or 7 and my great-grandmother taught me how to make lecsó, which is like… well, you saute some onions with garlic, add salt, marjoram and paprika, then throw in a pile of chopped tomatoes and peppers of various kinds and let it up with water, and cook it down. Really simple. You can do it all veg way or how I do it is start off with finely chopped bacon and then saute the onions and garlic in the bacon fat. Often I get creative with it by adding different things to it, but it’s super versatile and you can serve it with just about anything, though for me it’s mostly either on its own with crusty bread or with schnitzel and parsleyed potatoes. Over the next few years she was still alive she taught me a lot of other traditional Hungarian foods, and though my repertoire has grown considerably since, the dishes I learned from her are still my favourite comfort foods, because they make me think of her and she was the best part of my childhood and thinking of her makes me happy. So.

  43. I honestly don’t remember. My first job was at a bakery/restaurant as a busser/waiter/line cook/prep cook multitasker. I cooked a lot as a kid and teen, and I think I wore myself out of cooking, because now I only make my own food if it is very easy (mostly in the crockpot).

    As a kid, cooking was a creative experience for me… to put it nicely. I made the weirdest concoctions and would serve them to my family, who was usually nice enough to have a few bites.

    One of my early memories of making something from an actual recipe was making “dirt” with my mom: chocolate pudding, crushed oreos, gummy worms. I always was an outdoors kid.

  44. Kraft mac n cheese. But I was also boiling some frozen green beans at the same time and the bag from the beans got on to the electric burner and melted and there was smoke and the smoke detector and then because I was dealing with that (freaking out) while the macaroni sat in its colander and the butter milk and yellow orange powder languished in the pot, nothing melted or blended together right and it was all lumpy. I’d cooked tons with my mom before, so while this was my first solo, i felt super-embarassed. I’ve never been good at multi-tasking.

    • Oh, and updates. I’ve been so damn stressed out it’s awful.I’ve always struggled hard with anxiety and it’s just getting at me bad. Work stress. I feel unwell, and so tired of it.

      More positively- I had a great first date last weekend after a long dry spell and we’re having date 2 tomorrow. Oh and i’m scheming with some other women in the area to get some feminist organizing going. We have an action planned for Nov 20th and we have a Facebook page, feminist action brigade.

  45. Before you can make a meal you gotta learn the parts and the equipment.
    I resisted learning or helping with anything cooking for too long of a time out of fear I would be forced to make dinner because my dad was sick of doing it and fear of the equipment.

    When I was 10 or so I tried to make popcorn. It seemed simple enough I’d watched my mother do it since I had to climb the counter to see anything. To say that I burned it isn’t enough because I assume people that may read this are ordinary people with quiet families. Some of you are, but those us who aren’t understand how terrifying burning popcorn would be to a child.

    Nothing that I feared occurred that time but still I wasn’t going to take any chances and didn’t until I was 19. The year I started to reclaim myself from the haze of….stuff.
    In my fall semester I took jewelry fabrication for the first time and used a soldering torch. Fear of the equipment for cooking began to diminish. Saw a recipe in the Times Picayune for madeleines and decided to make them. I succeeded and my fear of the understanding the parts began to diminish.

    So I began to ask my folks how my childhood staples were made and other stuff too. Both of my parents worked so the childhood staples were based around quickness with good flavor. How to make things canned red beans, canned red sauce good. Truths like frozen veggies like peas and corn are great and canned vegetables never will be.

    The first meal I made them unaided was either red beans, rice and sausage or spaghetti and meat sauce, not one hundred percent exactly which one it is.

    The very first meal I made for myself without any help at all cause I couldn’t even call for help was chicken in red sauce with pasta. The part I am most proud of was the fact I made the sauce from a can of diced tomatoes.

    I had no red sauce in the pantry and wouldn’t be able to get to the store but fuck it I was going to red sauce for dinner.

    Red sauce is made from tomatoes, I had no ground meat but I had chicken. I knew from doing meat sauce I would need to brown the chicken and understood from my mother’s stories that good rich sauce is cooked down for a long time.

    So first I browned the chicken with the appropriate spices and set them aside in the fridge. Then I put the majority of the tomatoes into a food processor, and began the process of cooking them down.

    Knowing I wouldn’t have the time for a rich sauce I remembered orzo is recommended for light sauces and happened to have some on hand at the time. After putting the chicken in the sauce to finish cooking I started to boil the water.

    Glaring at the slow ass stove it hit me that I was one step away from sitting down to a meal I had made from scratch and how far I had come from the sad, scared 18 year old who tried to hang herself only to fail cause her butt loved her back.

    This got all deep and shit for something that was probably intended to be lighthearted anecdotes but food is a deep thing to me and where I’m from. It is a thing of joy, independence and connection to cultures whose language I am the first generation to have no command of and others who haven’t even a living relative who could speak them either.

    Como c’est va, straddlers?

  46. Ice cream soup. Bowl of ice cream + 30 seconds in a microwave = soup. My cooking prowess peaked with that breakthrough

    • I know someone like you who microwaves her ice cream. She also picks the chocolate chips out of chocolate chip cookies. Blasphemy… :p

        • I would not object to that word. Those poor cookies…
          I also thankfully grew out of microwaving ice cream, and have moved on to microwaving chocolate. Progress!

          • They were very sad cookies. I offered to eat her chocolate chips. Those chocolate chips just didn’t deserve to be thrown away!
            Microwaved chocolate can be good or bad, depending on what it’s being used in, IMO. Microwaved fudgey brownies – yes please! Microwaved chocolate bars – never tried it, but sounds extremely messy…

    • Have you ever put custard on ice cream…it eventually becomes soup but prior to that it’s probably the greatest lazy dessert of all time.

  47. I’m pretty sure the first thing I cooked on my own was either mac and cheese or chili with a thick layer of cheese on top that you’d dip into with tortilla chips. But! At the present moment I’m baking a sweet potato pie. MADE WITH PURPLE SWEET POTATOES. It looks UNREAL, guys.


    • I actually learned that purple sweet potatoes existed a few weeks ago on an autostraddle thread. I think my first comment on here was about purple sweet potatoes. I still have yet to try them. Thanks for the reminder!

      That pie looks amazing. Like psychedelic pumpkin pie!

      • They are SO GOOD. I’m completely smitten with them! They have a slightly smokey flavor in my mind, and a somehow less stringy than your average garnet sweet potato. And it’s really thrilling to eat something THAT PURPLE. Go get some!

  48. Hmmm….Home economics in middle school – I made chocolate chip cookies. I have progressed to more complex stuff, such as the pot of vegetarian chili that will be made tomorrow while I study for my accounting test. (BLECH.) Anyone know anything about intercompany bond transactions or variable interest entities? Yeah, me neither. :P

    Also, I’m debating getting in touch with the LGBTQIA office on campus. I’m a part-time student, I’m ten years older than the average student, and I finish my Masters degree in July, so there is that. On the other hand, it would be nice to be out to some people (besides all y’all). I can’t be out at work, and my divorce isn’t final yet. Does anyone have any opinions?

  49. My mom is a really good cook, but i was never very interested in learning when i was growing up. I know I was commissioned into helping in the kitchen and cooking for my brothers sometimes. But I mainly remember trying to bake – I would make lots of mostly-inedible experiments with flour, flavors, and food coloring. But – I did win a blue ribbon at the fair one year for fudge! Three friends and I also had our own version of a Babysitters Club – we decided to do a bakesale for our little group at Christmas one year. It was too successful and we were baking for days – didn’t want to see a cookie again for a long time.

    Luckily, after I moved out of the house I became a lot more interested in cooking – now it’s my go-to meditation/relaxation method, and one of my favorite ways to connect with people. My experiments are now almost always pretty tasty!

    Lifewise – it’s one month until I see my favorite person! We have a perfect week together coming up then. Working on keeping my head in a space of loving it for what it is and loving her for who she is and letting it be what it is perfectly.

    Sidenote – B, please keep pressing for details – I need these vicarious dates!

    • “Working on keeping my head in a space of loving it for what it is and loving her for who she is and letting it be what it is perfectly.”

      This. Still working on teaching myself how to do this.

  50. I had a serious smoothie-making phase at age 9 (and so did my girlfriend, it turns out!). We definitely did a lot of mac and cheese, but my older sister always ran the show.

  51. Ohohoh and I just wanted to add, single lovelies here you must all be wondering are YOU the fortunate one? The one whom Brittani is spying, espying, creating masterful masterplans around?
    Because if you aren’t thinking this, go right back up to the photo, yes, that photo of Britanni and pup, and REEXAMINE your priorities! Yes, now!!
    Good grief…don’t make me tell you twice.

    Next I want details on THAT date…you know, when it happens.

  52. The first time I remember baking is when I helped my mom make rice krispiesss god I love those
    I remember eating all the leftover batter mix off the spoon and my mom joking that I had cleaned the spoon so well we didn’t have to wash it

    I also remember trying to hardboil a pot of eggs to eat during lunch in highschool. I ended up taking them off the heat too early so they were medium boiled or whatever and proceeded to THROW THE WHOLE POT OF EGGS AWAY

  53. All this talk of cooking and baking reminds me of this adorable comic I encountered a while back called ‘Balderdash! Or The Baker’s Apprentice.

    It has a recipe at the end of chapters 1 and 2 as a bonus comic and the creator of the comic plans to have section dedicated to recipes.

    Chapter one is spiced pumpkin nut cake and chapter two is gooey butter cake.
    Enjoy :3

  54. Also!!!

    My wonderful wife and I voted for the first time in Canada this morning! So exciting!!! It was fantastic because it was in the primarily Native school opposite our home, and all the election officials were super friendly, and everyone was Native, or African-Canadian, or Asian-Canadian and/or queer, and advance voting was up 98 percent (!!), all of which makes me hopeful for this city I live in. Now hoping lots of diverse awesome candidates get elected!


  55. So the first thing I remember ever making for myself and my family was something called “Cinderella Cake”, which was (I think) a sort of vanilla sponge cake with powdered sugar on top, and was in my first ever cookbook. I remember being QUITE proud of that cake, making something from scratch!

    Here is a pic of my lovely new haircut (still wet!) that my amazing mother cut for me even though she was super stressed out about it haha. I am super happy with it yayyy!!!

    And finally, this is me as Dean Winchester from Supernatural, which I forgot to post earlier just after Halloween, whoops! With Sam the “Moose” of course! I also had a jacket but it was super hot in the house from our wood stove ughhhh.

    Okay that’s enough of me. Just wanted to share those things though, because they made being at home much more bearable. :)

  56. Whoops…sorry…rushing before works starts…let’s try again for the voting photo of my lovely wife (and me)

  57. Not my earliest cooking, but at about 10 I went through a very “inventive” phase. This included ‘smoking’ bacon on the flame to crisp up the edges, burning a pan where I was toasting tomato sauce toast (don’t) and all sorts of other bizarre things I could get away with involving tongs.

  58. Sort of along the lines of cooking… I am at the grocery store and slightly drunk. And, I have to say, people in general are just pretty beautiful.

    • People are pretty great, aren’t they?

      This week I challenged myself to speak to/compliment the people serving me, instead of my standard manners-and-a-smile. It was pretty awesome.

      If we can land a rover on a comet, we can do better for one another.

  59. Probably muffins for a snack. My mom had a microwave-safe muffin tin and it was decided that I could microwave on my own. I think I was 7 or 8.

  60. My very first cooking adventure would have been mud pies. In the process of gathering materials I would hunt for Slater beatles and invite them to a dinner party.

    All the cooking skills I have now are from years of making family dinners, completing home economics classes and convincing myself that I wanted to one day be a chef.

    I never did become a chef, but food is just so important to me. I love baking and preserving. It’s now my tradition to go “scrumping” along the highways each year, harvesting the wild fruit trees and producing a wide range of wares.

    I’m also incredibly lucky as I work with students in alternate education and a large proportion of time is spent developing life skills. We cook together, break bread together and share our lives; everyday is a joy.

  61. I’m late to the party. Been keeping busy!

    Well, first things first.


    Once I read what you said about eggs, I realized that was mine as well. There was this one kid on the block who wouldn’t complement me to save his life, but he would tell you that I could make a great omelet!

    We used to have to prep dinner while my mom was at school and my dad was at work, so I became pretty handy in the kitchen at a young age. Millennials, amiright?

    What I immediately thought of, though say when I was nineteen or so. I was invited to a potluck and I made some pumpkin scones which turned out to be a big hit. That was my first experience with a recipe that I selected and made for my first grown up potluck. I need to make those just for me.

    Now that it is thanksgiving time, I’ve been getting my savory sweet potato casserole on! People love it. Sub in veggie bacon to be inclusive of my vegetarian friends, and WIN!

    In life? Ups and downs. But I went to an awesome holiday party/potluck last night where no one seemed bothered by me being trans, and that was really cool. We played a spin on the game “Mafia,” called “Werewolf.” It was really fun.

    Today, despite being tired, the gals and I went for pedicures and lunch. It was great.

    Those are hot towels on my legs, just in case you’re wondering.

    I forgot how awesome it is to have my toenails painted. I take off my socks and it’s nice to see. I’d let them slide since sandal season left us.

    Purple toenails, FTW!

  62. When I was about four, I remember thinking something along the lines of “yeah, I’m gonna be a bamf and make myself a snack without waiting for Mama to do it for me!”
    Except I’d made myself a snack before. I didn’t really know what you could and couldn’t eat. But I knew that we had this super cool silicone tube that I’d used the other day to help her peel garlic, and I knew where the garlic was kept.
    So the first dish I ever made myself was just raw, peeled garlic. 1/10. Would not recommend.

  63. Y’all, it is way past Friday, and this has nothing to do with anything, but I just discovered what a TOTAL BABE the blue-haired girl from Pussy Riot actually is AND that Julian Assange just asked her and this other Pussy Riot babe to be in his whistleblower foundation, and I think we should talk about this.

    Also I feel so happy every time I use an HTML tag, like to paste in the (swoon-worthy) image above, and it works. Total satisfaction. Anyone else?

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