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Old 06-08-2007, 09:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Austin, TX
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What happened to my cooking?

I hate to admit this but my cooking has gone towards the bad side. I used to take any recipe and make it taste good. Now, even my traditionally made recipes are bad. I don't know why! Now, when I go to the kitchen to cook I get really nervous. I used to watch FoodTV diligently and now I don't anymore b/c the shows are awful and have no relation to cooking. Another thing that has been going on in my life is my depression (I haven't been working since October) and I have been treated also for hypothyroidism. I did notice that my cooking was not well for the past several months.

Most of the food I would make from Epicurious, foodtv.com, Food & Wine, Gourmet, etc. were great and my husband would love to eat at home. Now, he would eat something and just say "You have anything else to eat in the 'fridge?". Even my Spanish Omelettes (a **** good recipe I got from Fine Cooking magazine) was even better than the Spanish Omelette in Spain (according to my husband last year in Madrid). Now, not so great.

I even try to follow my old recipes to a T and it still doesn't have that taste. My mexican style Guacamole isn't even good anymore and it used to be the best! Heck, I had lunch at the Four Seasons yesterday and I didn't think it was the greatest.

Any ideas?


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Old 06-08-2007, 10:56 AM   #2
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Have your senses of taste and smell changed? These senses heavily influence how we prepare and enjoy food. How long has this been going on? Since it doesn't seem to be only the food you prepare, you might mention your cooking/tasting challenges with your physician the next time you see him/her. You say you are being treated for hypothyroidism, you must have regular appointments for that. See if the doc can shed any light on the situation.

"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 06-08-2007, 12:19 PM   #3
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One thing I think, If your heart is not in it, you can tell in the final result. Sounds silly, but you can feel the love in food, at least I can but I am an odd ball.

Also, if you are having thyroid issues, that can throw off the body's balance, and can effect you taste. And as my buddy Katie E said, let the doctor know. If your salt levels are off, it can effect you.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:21 PM   #4
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Physically Id say get your lvls checked out with a doctor, if you have a condition, it should not go untreated.

My advice aside from your personal well being (which I hope is fine), I suggest you look at the kitchen in the same manner as you look at your room or somewhere you are comfortable.....No Need To be Nervous! You know youre a Chef, don't second guess, your instinct is normally right! Just do what you do....if it doesnt turn out Amazing...Think of what could make it better next time, and then nail it!
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Old 06-08-2007, 07:29 PM   #5
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Depression can certainly affect your cooking ... instead of what was once a passion and joy is now merely rote mechanics that you are forcing yourself to perform to put a meal on the table. You're probably not tasting the food the way you previously did as you cook ... and your perception of the flavors can also be skewed. And that's assuming you're not taking any medications.

"I don't know why! Now, when I go to the kitchen to cook I get really nervous." Anxiety is often associated with depression. Your level of anxiety could just be associated with your depression - or you could be exasperating it based on your expectations of your previous performance in the kitchen ... and that can get into a real Catch-22 situation.

Medications can and do seriously affect people's taste perception in different ways ... sometimes it alters the perception of one thing for another (like savory can become bitter, sweet can become sour, etc.) or just blanks out some taste receptors, or your ability to perceive aromas which also plays a big part in taste, so you can't really taste the food - which can throw the whole spectrum of flavors way off. I know I've had a big problem with when trying to cook for my Dad (before he passed away 12 years ago) and now I'm dealing with the same issues with my Step-Mom. I can make the same dish she loved 10 years ago and today she says it has no flavor - or taste like crap. Tastes the same to me!

Now, as for the changes in the programming at FoodNetwork ... I don't think the fact that you don't watch it as much as you did a couple of years ago is caused by your depression .. it's caused by changes in programming - which, on second thought, I guess could lead to depression. I don't watch it as much anymore, either.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 06-12-2007, 06:40 PM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Austin, TX
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Thanks folks for the positive reinforcement

I think that when I foresee how the food will taste and not get nervous AND not eat candy or snacks while I'm cooking, it is so much the result I want.

I also believe that my thyroid meds are making me more thirsty. That can definitely affect how one tastes food.

Oh, the Food Channel is just horrible. I only try to watch Giada, Sara Moulton, Tyler Florence, and Emeril. I've tried their recipes and they usually come out great. I also like to watch their technique. I used to like Rachel but she is a pain after awhile. I don't like her usage of "EVOO" and "Yum-O". Seems like she talks to kindergarten kids.

I like PBS but could they spice up the personalities a bit? I absolutely love Jacques Pepin and to think that he used to cook at my favorite Howard Johnsons in NYC a long time ago.

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