Ever felt like you've lost some of your capabilities after getting married? I do!
I am the observant type. I learned how to cook by watching my mom and older sister in the kitchen. The gist of preparing Jamaican cuisine is all the same: season very well, brown (sear) meats, and finish off with a cup or two of water and allow to simmer. Of course, that is just for cooking meats, but the methods for preparing other dishes also followed a pattern that was easy to remember.
My favorite thing to cook for the longest time was pan-seared pork chops. Yes, ma'am! That was my specialty. During college, I was on a pasta kick, and I still am. I really loved making pasta with bolognese sauce (something about big meatballs turns me off, so I prefer meat sauce with smaller chunks of meat). Then, I tried my hand at making alfredo sauce from scratch and fell. in. love. Shrimp fettucine alfredo is my favorite to make. I love it, and Beau loves it too. It was the first meal I've ever prepared for him.
Since that meal was a hit with Beau, I never really feared preparing meals for him (on occasion)... until we got married. I mean, I don't even know what got into me. But a crazy desire to be spontaneous, unique and fun came over me and I started trying new things in the kitchen, only to hate the taste of it when dinner time came around. Not complete kitchen disasters per se, but substandard flavors, for lack of a better term. I am not sure if he was being polite, but Beau liked those meals. I, on the other hand, was not impressed. I couldn't quite figure out what was wrong with my cooking, until Beau pointed it out-- I was cooking only to try and please him. I can't even explain what that entails. But if I must try, I will say that I tried to be fancy with different sauces and things and I also tried really hard to not make things salty. Now, don't get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with cooking to please your spouse, but when it causes you to mess up completely, it's not worth it.
The thing is, Beau liked the way I cooked before we got married. I cooked with no frills or tricks up my sleeve-- just using the skills I learned while observing my mom and sister in the kitchen. I have recently gone back to cooking that way I used to and it is so much better.
Baking? That's a different ballgame. I suck at it.
-- Exhibit A: my chocolate chip
Do you cook to please others (spouse, family, friends) or do you cook to meet your standards?