9 months after my brain tumor surgery (and 6 months after I was released from critical condition) I was living on my own, in my own house, and I don't recommend it to anyone. I was college poor -- read: mortgage payments -- with expensive tastes (read: you're living again!!! Let's try fucking everything!!!) so I either had to learn to cook, or I had to get really creative with ramen... sometimes I did both. A few months into the disaster, a good friend of mine gave me a very used copy of "Kitchen Confidential." Then I learned about Chef Paul Bocuse. My redneck roots influenced my journalism major so I dug into French cuisine to find the extremes, then immediately applied those techniques to the BBQ traditions I grew up with. Rotisserie squirrel with rosemary and bourbon-soaked cherries was a fun one I don't recommend, but asparagus with garlic-infused butter, fresh lemon zest and bacon bits made my mouth water at 19 (I still make it weekly over a decade later). Though Bocuse has since died, and my friend recently killed himself with alcohol and pills, it's still a nice trick to make a quick hollandaise with the duck eggs from the yard. Or do brisket, with a clarified butter, tarragon, sage, thyme and white wine reduction. I was 19 trying to figure out how to make myself a basic dinner, and curiosity (and two dead people) taught me how to cook. And I eventually learned how, in a roundabout way. Focus: What skills or abilities did you learn in unconventional ways? And how? Alt. Focus: What do you want to learn how to do? Maybe TiB can help.