I’d like to talk about cooking skills that I learned when I was in high school.
I’m proud to say that I’m actually a self-taught cook.
Here’s the story.
When I was in high school, one day, my parents were out at work leaving me at home, but the thing is, they forgot to give me any money for lunch or dinner, and back then, there were no applications for me to order takeout, you know. So when I almost starved to death, I had no choice but to try to cook for myself.
Luckily, my mom has plenty of recipe books. I just followed the steps in the book hoping that I could make myself something edible. I found some leftover rice in the kitchen, so I decided to make some fried rice. I chopped some cucumbers, some beef, beat an egg up, turned on the stove, put some oil in the pan, and just threw all the ingredients in it and started to mix them all together. After about 10 minutes, my arms started to get sore, so I thought, yeah, maybe it was done.
And you know what? Surprisingly, it tasted great! I mean, the texture was awesome, it was even better than the ones I ordered in a restaurant. I was like, wow, I’m talented, I must be a born cook.
So, you see, that was how I learned how to cook. Later, I started to challenge myself to cook something more complicated, like Mapo Tofu or Gongbao chicken, things like that.
如果聊到unusual meal, 则可以直接说这顿自己给自己做的第一顿饭：
The unusual meal I had was the one I cooked for myself in high school. And that was the first time ever I cooked anything.
self-taught=having learned something by reading books, etc, rather than by somebody teaching you例如：
a self-taught artist
the thing is=(informal) used to introduce an important fact, reason or explanation例如：
I'm sorry my assignment isn't finished. The thing is, I've had a lot of other work this week.
have no choice but to do something=it’s the only thing you could do例如：
I had no choice but to sign the contract.
He had no choice but to leave.
We had our backs to the wall with no choice but to sell.
recipe book=a book that has a set of instructions that tells you how to cook something and the ingredients (=items of food) you need for it
edible=fit or suitable to be eaten; not poisonous例如：
The food at the hotel was barely edible.
edible fungi/ snails/ flowers
leftover=food that has not been eaten at the end of a meal
beat=to mix something with short quick movements with a fork, etc.例如：
Beat the eggs up to a frothy consistency.
Beat the flour and milk together.
You know something / what?=(informal) used to introduce an interesting or surprising opinion, piece of news, etc.例如：
You know something? I've never really enjoyed Christmas.
born=[only before noun] having a natural ability or skill for a particular activity or job例如：
a born athlete/ writer/ leader
a born loser (=a person who always loses or is unsuccessful)
I’d like to talk about cooking skills.
I learned that skill about 3 years ago when my cousin came back from her university in the UK. She told me, the only thing she could have in the cafeteria is traditional Britain food, like the classical fish and chips. I became a little bit concerned ‘cause someday, I’ll go there as well. I’m not saying the food offered there are horrible, it’s just that as an Asian, I couldn’t get used to it. I mean, in China, we tend to eat rice and Chinese dishes, you know, but in the place she stayed, all the Chinese restaurants didn’t open until noon, so maybe I have no choice but to cook for myself.
That’s when I started to learn how to cook, however, it’s easier said than done.
I bought a recipe book, I followed every step but what I made tasted horrible. It’s either too salty or tasteless. And once, I even burned the egg. The worst part is, I nearly hurt myself when I was cooking, you know, the hot oil and everything.
Later, my classmate recommended an APP to me called How to be a Master in the Kitchen, well, the name is actually shorter in Chinese, anyway, it’s an app that teaches you the basic steps to cook a meal, even if you don’t know the first thing about cooking. It tells you exactly how to control the temperature of the oil, in which order should we put each ingredient in the pan, how much salt we should add, things like that. I was really careful in each step, and I even wrapped my hand with a towel in order to avoid being burned by the oil.
I’m a not a natural for this, but at last I managed to get the hang of it gradually.
cafeteria=a restaurant where you choose and pay for your meal at a counter and carry it to a table. Cafeterias are often found in factories, colleges, hospitals, etc.例如：
Consumer groups were urging school cafeterias to serve healthier food.
fish and chips=a dish of fish that has been fried in batter served with chips/ fries, and usually bought in the place where it has been cooked and eaten at home, etc, especially in Britain例如：
Three portions of fish and chips, please.
a fish and chip shop
be easier said than done=(saying) to be much more difficult to do than to talk about例如：
‘Why don't you get yourself a job?’ ‘That's easier said than done.’
burn=if food burns, or if you burn it, it is spoiled because it gets too hot例如：
I can smell something burning in the kitchen.
Sorry-I burnt the toast.
not know the first thing about somebody / something=to know nothing at all about somebody/ something例如：
I'm afraid I don't know the first thing about cars.
natural=a person who is very good at something without having to learn how to do it, or who is perfectly suited for a particular job例如：
She took to flying like a natural.
He's a natural for the role.
get the hang of something=(informal) to learn how to do or to use something; to understand something例如：
It's not difficult once you get the hang of it.
I can't seem to get the hang of this game.
I never got the hang of negative numbers.