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8 Unforgettable Lessons We Learned in Home Ec Class

Remember your first home ec class? While you might not remember all the recipes, I bet you learned a thing or two (or eight!) from your home economics teacher. These are lessons I value as a cook and an educator myself!

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Study your recipes ahead of time

Ever get halfway through a recipe and realize you’re missing an ingredient or a pan? In home ec, my teacher taught me to always read the recipe start-to-finish before starting—sometimes encouraging the class to highlight parts or take notes. This isn’t the easiest lesson to learn, though! Just last week I accidentally made banana bread without the vanilla extract—whoops!

Try these trusty recipes we learned in home ec.

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Egg timer with open carton of eggsThomas Holt/Shutterstock

Patience is a virtue

Remember waiting around for your recipes to be finished. Sure, you were mostly anxious to see how they turned out to get your grade, but you also learned to be patient. This is a skill we need in the kitchen, especially if you tackle any of these all-day bakes.

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Family Cooking Kitchen Food TogetherShutterstock /

Save time with a team

It was so easy to cook meals because there was more than one of us doing it! Get your family involved and you’ll more efficiently and quickly make a meal you all love.

Get everyone involved with these easy family Sunday suppers.

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Woman baking at homeShutterstock / Nina Buday

Think on your feet

With your grade at stake in home ec, you might have become great at problem-solving. No lemon zest for those lemon bars? You might have relied on these substitutions. Want to use honey instead of sugar? You might have figured out the right way to swap these sweeteners out. I’m sure those experiences have helped you master quick thinking and hone your culinary intuition—an invaluable lesson.

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The focus being on a pleasant elderly lady taking an egg from an egg carton and smiling at the camera while making dough for a pieShutterstock / Dmytro Zinkevych

Always have eggs on hand

In some home ec classes, mastering the fried (or scrambled or over-easy) egg is a must. In my home economics class, I can’t remember a single recipe that didn’t use them. Now I always make sure I have eggs and other pantry staples on hand so I can have a good start on any new recipe.

Check out our secrets for a well-stocked pantry.

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Black kid helping mom baking cookies in the

Live and learn

Home economics classes often expose you to all sorts of dishes. After spending all of fifth hour whipping up everything from scrambled eggs to chocolate cake to spaghetti sauce, you start to learn what your strengths are. I learned in class (and I’m still learning) what recipes I can make flawlessly and which I just don’t have the skills or patience to master. I like to stick to my strengths, let the rest go and focus on my favorites.

Here are dozens of recipes teens can learn by heart.

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Modern Masculinity, young father with his little daughter on hand cleaning kitchenLeszek Glasner/Shutterstock

Class isn’t over until the kitchen is clean

In my home ec class, we couldn’t leave until we cleaned up our space. Try to apply the same rule in your kitchen! As soon as dinner is done or your cookies are baked, tidy up right away. Hey, this is another great way to get the family involved—share the chores and try cleaning up just a minute at a time.

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Attractive young woman and her little cute daughter are eating cakes and cookies on kitchen and drinking milk4 PM production/Shutterstock

Enjoy a job well done

After mastering every dish the teacher threw your way, you might have gotten an A. While you don’t get grades anymore—even when you make the perfect chocolate cake—you should still get enjoy for a job well done. Be sure to reward yourself when you’ve tackled a difficult recipe or mastered a new cooking skill.

Julia K. Porter
Dr. Julia Porter began her career as a high school English teacher in Brooklyn, NY and has taught college courses since 2008. Her personal interests include reading, writing, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter and a rambunctious Australian Shepherd.