So you're all excited because you were experimenting with random ingredients and made something that came out really good. It's new, it's original, it's exciting! Except when you call up a friend that you're sure will just love this and tell him/her about it you get "Um, that's not new. It's called 'blah blah blah' and people have been making it since before you were born."
You mean I'm not original and exciting?
The first time this happened to me it was an extremely deflating experience. The hubby and I had just started officially dating and I was looking for something different to season fish than the usual lemon and black pepper. My cooking knowledge was pretty limited, I'd only moved out of my parent's house a few months before and dad had just started on his path to becoming the super chef that he is now.
Even so, he still knew a lot more about cooking than I did and I hadn't (and still haven't) traveled the world like he has so was only familiar with the foods I'd grown up with. I was pretty much teaching myself to cook, trying this, experimenting with that, taking note of what did or didn't work. I knew dad had more experience and I didn't know very many other people that enjoyed cooking, so I sort of used him as my baseline for who could be considered a good cook. Consequently, every time I came up with something that I really liked I'd let him know about it and see if it was something he approved of or something that sounded good to him too. I know, I know, "How cuuuuuute, still looking for daddy's approval."
Any of y'all try to pinch my cheeks I'm bitin' your fingers.
Back to the fish I previously mentioned, I was making ocean perch and decided I'd try lime instead of lemon. I wasn't sure what to season it with so started picking random spices from the shelf, opening them up, and smelling them together. Side note: if you're like me and this particular activity causes violent sneezing that you worry will contaminate your spices with grossness, breathe them in through your mouth, making sure to draw in a nice deep breath. Then close your mouth and breath them out through your nose making sure to push the air into your mouth before it exits. You'll look a little funny and you'll need to be careful not to drool but it works well. OK, side note finished, back to the fish again (it surprises me how much I sound like Chief Longwind sometimes). I found a combination that seemed promising (coriander, ginger, cumin, turmeric, black pepper) and used it with the lime. It was so good that the next time I saw dad I excitedly told him about.
"And you know what that spice mix is called," he responded with a big grin, "curry."
I'd never had curry before. Only thing I knew about it was that McCormick sold it in a bottle at the grocer's.
"Curry," I asked, the end of my balloon beginning to peel open.
"Yeah, add some powdered mustard to the mix and you've got a classic." He was all smiles.
"Oh," and the helium rushed from my beautiful, shiny internal balloon.
I think dad could see this on my face and he quickly added, "It sounds really good though, especially with the lime instead of lemon. That's a nice twist. In fact, I have some fish I was planning to grill and I think I'll try your method." He is, after all, a good papa who would never want to discourage his children's cooking.
Fortunately, as my experience and confidence has grown, I've found this experience to be less deflating and more vindicating. I can't count the number of times I've told friends about an experiment and had them look at me like I just flipped open my head, pulled out my brain and was now handing it to them. I don't always get that
dramatic a reaction, but still, people in these parts can be rather unadventurous. So now when I find that I've "created" something that already exists it's like "Ah-Ha! See, see! All you doubters, I'm not weird! Take that!"
So I'm wondering, have you ever unknowingly reinvented the wheel? How did you react when you discovered it? Was it deflating, vindicating, or just not a big deal?