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Old 08-20-2007, 03:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ironchef View Post
This is a hard question to answer because it's all about perception. One person may be considered a good cook among their own circle, but put them in another group and they turn into total a hack.

That being said, I don't think you can generalize as to who's a good cook or not, because context needs to be considered. It has to be done with a classification involved (like sports). Take high school football. Someone who may be an all-star at the 1A level might be a marginal player on the 3A level and 3rd string player on the 4A or 5A level. Heck, they may not even make the team. Can you still say that they are a good football player? You can in context, but overall that person probably isn't.
Yeah, you’re right, and the responses have shown it. I think I should have worded it as “When did you become confident in your cooking skills”....that is, was there a milestone or accomplishment that made you not afraid to take charge in the kitchen or at the grill and cook for others. I know many people that would never do it, so I was wondering what it is that makes people want to cook and confident in it. Was there a great revelation, a certain milestone, a teacher, school, desire, need, etc.

I suppose it’s like Vera said and it’s just in-grained into some.

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Old 08-20-2007, 03:57 PM   #22
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I agree that whose standards you're being judged against makes a big difference.

I have a fairly picky spouse, so I use her standards. If she likes it, I know it's good. When we first got married, she didn't want me to cook all that much, and she usually thought my cooking was so-so. However, now that I've taken a more inquisitive and active approach to my cooking, she cleans her plate more often and asks me to cook more often.

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Old 08-20-2007, 04:01 PM   #23
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I think some people love it and they are just born that way. I started to cook in a more adult way when I broke my neck in high school. I was stuck in a big body cast and bored senseless, so I spent lots of time reading cook books and making the family dinner. Some of the dishes were much better than others. I was the only one who knew how to cook anything in college, then I learned more while I was in the restaurant business. Now, I think I'm pretty good because all of my sons friends want to come over and eat all of the time. I think that cooking is often a creative outlet. I can't paint or build things, but I can be creative in the kitchen and in the garden.
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Old 08-20-2007, 04:29 PM   #24
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I started cooking as a youngster, and learned to do it right or watch it get dumped and have to start over..That seems hard, but it taught me to watch, listen and pay attention to what I was doing. For me the day I realized YES I could cook, was when I'd spent 2 days preping and working on all the things my mother in law use to make for " her boys" I'd done the sauce for ravioli, the ravioli itself, stuffed onions, rice torta, artichokes her way..This was standard along with fried chicken, finished in the oven, this I even had the nerve to tweak with some garlic and wine, her garbanzo beans as well..This was what she made for each of her boys birthday dinner...Christmas, thanksgiving etc. She could do these dishes in her sleep..So I gave it a try..DH had his brothers and their families come for dinner..Let me tell you, I held my breath on this one..Everyone ate, looked at each other, looked at me and one of the twins, said,I don't believe it, this is even better than mom's!!! Well needless to say after they picked me up off the floor, I never looked back..The test became the thing I love most,,Cooking for my family..
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:22 PM   #25
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People's reactions are certainly important. But as was stated, we are our own worst critics. For me, I believe I'm a good cook now. That belief is based on the ability to make virtually any dish I might want to make. If the dish or technique is new to me, then I will have to use a recipe. But for most things, I can created my own recipes. I also have the ability to deconstruct meals that I like and have tried, and recreate them, often, adding my own spin to the dish.

These abilities come from years of experimentation and experience. They allow me to be proficient, but not yet expert. Another benchmark for me is if I can make something very good, and then make it again consistantly, especially if I'm improvising.

I consider myself above average, even highly talented and knowledgeable, but not at the level of say, Iron Chef.

When you are comfortable with the cooking that you do, then you are a good cook.

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Old 08-20-2007, 07:19 PM   #26
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I think you hafto really like food and have had good food to become a great cook also some people I think uncluding me also have a natural ability to cook.Next you hafto be able to enjoy cooking if not then maybe you wont put in the effort.I think Im a good cook but I have had alot of practice and I believe you get better and better as time goes by.Next you hafto want to learn more and more.People love to eat my food and my 2 month job in Texas every year for the last 10 years says alot as they would not have me back if it was mediocre.Im not talking about every day foods either, I need to come up with great meals as these people are somewhat sophisticated.Some things I make up some things I glean from a recipe.Alot of times a recipe is good but just not quite right so I know maybe to add some lemon or maybe a little cream or some sort of extra to the recipe.Also being able to plan a meal where you have the right combinations of sides so everything compliments the other including making it visually appealing from the appetizer right down to the dessert.Like if the meal is somewhat light I might make a richer dessert if its a heavier meal I will make a really light dessert.Last but not least you want to try to make the meal digestable meaning you dont want people going to bed with a knot in their stomach because the meal is just stuck there because its too hard to digest well.Of course at home I dont really cook anything too complicated so regular foods which is fine with me.I love all kinds of meals from chicken fried steak to sea bass with a lemon leek cream.
I will never learn all there is to know about cooking and I truly believe if you think you know it all its not a good thing arrogance has no place in the kitchen as I have learned many tricks from people that were not that experienced .I also get my mental blocks on some things like biscuits I have worked in bakeries and I think Im quite skilled but still cant make a good biscuit or scone to save my life yet I can make a good croissant,danish dough etc and Im quite the master at dried and regular merinques and yet I also still to this day can become intimidated by large roasts.

Never trust a skinny cook.
Never trust a women that does not like to eat.
If a women has no passion for food then she probably has no passion for love.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:48 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by jpmcgrew View Post
Never trust a skinny cook.
GMTA jpmcgrew! I've been saying, "Who trusts a skinny chef?" for years!
Peace, Love, and Vegetable Rights!
Eat Meat and Save the Plants!
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:04 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by AllenOK View Post
GMTA jpmcgrew! I've been saying, "Who trusts a skinny chef?" for years!
What does GMTA mean?
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:06 PM   #29
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OOPS,I got it, great minds think alike.Right?
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:44 PM   #30
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I came from a poor family and learned to cook so I could survive, and it turned in to my profession and I have never looked back. I have won many awards and made frequent TV appearances and now consider my self a pretty good home cook although I was used to large quantities of food and cooking for one is impossible I eat left overs often. At home we never seen and original meal it was all ways left overs ""Unknow author""

Cook with passion or don't cook at all
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