Tiffany Langston, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau
My father is a pastry chef, so I got my love of baking from him. The three main things he taught me:
1. Margarine is not a substitute for butter.
2. Always use good chocolate.
3. Once your project is in the oven, it's OK to lick the spoon.
Michael Dragutsky, Cornerstone Cellars
My father taught me never to leave any food on my plate. That's why I was a chubby kid.
Melissa Petersen, Edible Memphis
My dad taught me everything about how I first started to look at and appreciate food. It was Dad who made us breakfast and our sack lunches every day. Dad taught me: How to cook scrambled eggs (which was the first thing I cooked by myself). How to experiment and laugh off the mistake. Homemade pie crust is the ONLY way to go. French fries go with everything. Don't mess with a porterhouse when all you really like is the filet. Mincemeat pie is awful -- even if Grandma made it. Drink because you enjoy the taste, not to get drunk. Grown-ups don't put sugar in their tea or coffee. Dad's Saturday morning pancakes are the best way to start a weekend. A nice note written on the paper napkin in your lunch sack can make a day special. And "try it ... it'll put hair on your chest."
Susan Schadt, ArtsMemphis
My father taught me how to cook largemouth bass fillets. He had a propane tank in the garage and a big black kettle filled to the brim with cooking oil (Wesson, I'm sure). He would delicately dip each fillet into a beer batter (basically flour, beer and some spices) and cook them to perfection -- pure nectar. He served them with hush puppies, cooked in the same kettle, and coleslaw. A fish fry at our house was a coveted invitation. The best part of all our fishing trips. Wow, what memories!
Ben Smith, Tsunami
Both of my parents worked full time when my siblings and I were growing up. When my mom was working the late shift as a nurse at the hospital, the task of cooking breakfast fell on my dad. Breakfasts were never anything over the top or extravagant, but they were always hot. My dad did not believe in sending us off to school with a bowl of cereal. (Cereal was a rare treat in our house, anyway.) What I gleaned from those days was the importance of a hot meal to start the day. Now I make an effort to send my kids off each day with a hot, healthy meal. The problem is, my kids are more content with a bowl of cereal any day of the week.
Kathy Katz, Cooper Street 20/20
Dad made French toast, but my favorite memory is the lox box being delivered every Sunday morning (this was in Memphis but don't remember the deli's name). It consisted of lox with cream cheese, bagels, capers and red onion. At an early age, I could not wait for the front doorbell to ring on Sunday morning. We would scream, "The lox box is here!!!" So the moral of the story is I was open to trying and liking all types of food at a very young age. Thanks, Dad.