Thanks to dad for these great lessons.

By Kimberly Holland
June 04, 2021
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Fair or not, moms get most of the kitchen credit. But dads are often just as involved with cooking, shopping, and planning meals for the family. And like moms and grandmothers, dads have a great deal to teach their children about life, food, and everything in between. The kitchen, it turns out, is also a great place for these lessons to be shared.

We asked Allrecipes Allstars, our community of super cooks and super fans, to tell us what their fathers taught them in the kitchen. Here, they're reminiscing about dear ol' dad and passing along the things their fathers taught them to you. Keep reading.

Determination Is as Valuable as Skill

Written by Donna M., Donnam

My father wasn't a great cook, but he managed to open up a bread bakery. He ended up learning and teaching himself the art of bread baking without having previous knowledge of it. Ultimately, what it proved was that having the desire and determination to do something can lead to great outcomes whether it be cooking or business related. His example was a great lesson in life of going after a dream and accomplishing it.

Embrace Creativity in the Kitchen

Written by Frances S., xombiemistress

My dad has always had a passion for cooking; he whizzes around the kitchen at top creative efficiency, and he has two big takeaways: 1) don't be afraid to experiment and modify and 2) you really can't have too much spice. He's burned a few pans in his day — one memorable event led to a pan and its contents being thrown out — but he has also created A LOT of our favorite recipes, ranging from a fancy egg soufflé to his spicy chicken Alfredo, which I always request for my birthday. I'm not even a pasta fan, but dad's love of experimenting and trying new flavors together has led me to eat any and everything that he cooks.

African Father and son enjoying during bake cookies at home together.
Credit: eggeeggjiew/Getty Images

Love Is in the Details

Written by Pamel T., spyce

I wasn't blessed with a lot of time with my dad, as he passed away when I was 12 years old. He didn't spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen either, but when he did, he could turn out some tasty dishes, and he could cook a mean steak.

We had a stove that had a built-in cast iron griddle in the center. In his first lesson on teaching us how to use it, he instructed us to always let the griddle get hot. He said, "You'll know it's hot because a drop of water will skedaddle across it!" He would then coat the griddle with a light coat of Crisco before adding the steaks. I can still smell those to this day.

For steaks, his seasonings of choice were salt and pepper. If desired, a dollop of seasoned butter, I think made of parsley, garlic, and paprika, was available to top individual servings of the sizzling hot steak.

My dad also cooked the best burgers on that griddle. He would grind the beef, add a variety of secret seasonings, and portion the meat into balls. These would then be put on the hot griddle and smashed into delicious burgers that had this perfect almost smooth crust on both sides. Onions and mushrooms were grilled alongside the burgers. The buns were added to the griddle when the burgers were about done, and lightly toasted. Cheese was added as desired. When assembled, those burgers were awesome!

My dad left with me a love of gardening. While it was hard work preparing the garden every year, enjoying the harvest at the end of the season made it all worth it. We had a large backyard that was separated by a walkway. One side of the yard was the garden which was divided into plots that held different types of vegetables. We even had an arbor for grapes. Once the grapes were harvested, my dad made wine, red and white. He stored it in our basement.

That wine was so good. I know this because my sisters and I snuck down into his wine room and sampled it! We didn't drink a lot of it and didn't think he would notice. We actually thought we were being clever by hiding the jug we sampled in the back. We were wrong, on both accounts. He knew right away. So, our wine caper ended before it got started good. Forty years later, my sisters and I still chuckle over this memory. We didn't get a lot of time with our dad, but he left us with many life lessons and pleasant memories.

Adapt, Improve, and Overcome

Written by Sarah S., thedailygourmet

My dad is no stranger to the kitchen, and being my dad is a retired Marine, it's extremely rare to find anything he can't do. One important thing I learned in cooking or baking, which is equally suited to any life task, was a Marine Corps motto of "adapt, improvise, and overcome" — if we didn't have a particular ingredient, we substituted.

For instance, pecan pie (one of dad's favorite desserts), most people grab corn syrup, but through dad I've learned ingredients such as a tiny bit of molasses, brown sugar, or maple syrup mixed with sweetened condensed milk, or Lyle's golden syrup can also be fabulous replacements for regular corn syrup!

Even more fascinating is when dad taught me common kitchen ingredients can pull double duty for other household tasks, like using ketchup to shine brass, cleaning a dishwasher with powdered fruit juice mix (it has to have citric acid in it), and using a can of Coca-Cola to remove corrosion on battery terminals.

I love watching my dad in the kitchen; he is a go-getter, cooking and cleaning as he goes, and he's taught me not only can men cook and bake, but he's shattered any thought of the kitchen being a woman's domain.

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