Monday, December 04, 2006

I like to cook. And I like to think I am a pretty good cook. For the most part, I like everything I make. And I am pretty skillful with recipes. I can adapt and create and what have you. I know what things taste like (unlike people I know who will bite into asparagus and say, “Wow, this is good broccoli! …seriously) and how flavors and clash or complement one another. And most importantly for me, I know what flavors I like. I know what to avoid to make something taste good to me. So technically that is all that matters, right? I can cook well for me.

But I do a lot of cooking for other people and sometimes I wonder. Are they just saying nice things to appease me? This weekend I made my first ever German Chocolate Cake as a gift for some friends. I had tasted all the components and they were fine but I was unsure how they would all be together. The friends seemed very excited about the cake and I tried to be honest yet gracious by saying that I had never made one before and let’s not get all excited until we taste it, people.

Personally, I thought it was kind of nasty. Everything was made just fine but apparently, I am not a German Chocolate Cake kind of girl. Same thing with lemon cake, which I also made this weekend. I guess it was ok. But when you make something that you have no real interest in, how do you know? I can tell it was moist enough and flavorful, but it’s not really a flavor I care for, so it doesn’t really taste GOOD to me. But everyone else seems to like it.

I sometimes worry that I am not a very good cook at all and people just take pity on me for trying so hard. It’s probably a foolish worry but it’s there all the same. I’ve never seen anyone spit out any of my food and I haven’t found any in the bushes around the apartment yet either (not that I look…really…). I guess I am just terribly paranoid. But then watching all those celebrity chefs can do that to you. When Martha tells me that green peppers are great, I’d better believe her…right? And when Alton tells me that I am a terrible person for preferring dried black pepper to fresh ground, then I’d better reconsider my stand. But I don’t. I know what I like and while I am not afraid to experiment, I am afraid that other people won’t agree.


Anonymous said...

Well, I really don't think I can say much about your cooking until I get a sample. Of carrot cake. Or a chocolate cupcake.
Seriously - of course the fact that you even BOTHERED to make something for someone always makes it taste better - but I think if people tell you they really like it and are happy to receive it, then I really think you are safe! But I need a sample to be sure.
[I also think that cooking is an art form - for example if you are good at putting things together on paper - shapes, colors, spaces - then you can apply that to cooking and flavors. I don't possess that ability - you are lucky - keep cooking and baking!]

Chris said...

Sometimes I look for affirmation from other cooks before experimenting, but I'm usually fairly creative. This weekend I wanted to make some biscuits (something I've done before, but I'm not very good at). Unfortunately, my buttermilk had gone bad (yes, it does go bad), but I had some plain yogurt which I thought would work. I googled some recipes and found at least two that said 1 cup milk, buttermilk, or yogurt so I used it. They weren't perfect, but they were the best biscuits I've ever made.

I do most of the cooking at the house. My wife is a good cook, but she sees it more as a chore, but I love it (except for cleaning up). I need to post some recipes to my blog (I've posted everything else).

We don't do sweets very often, but I do love German chocolate cake (but I let my MIL make it around the holidays). I have a thing for coconut.

Jodi said...

Cake with coconut. I'm sure it was nasty. Because of the coconut, not you of course. ; )