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JinxieFox
09-30-2011, 06:53 AM
When it comes to cooking, I'm all about following recipes, especially traditional ones out of Betty Crocker. I didn't have a mom to raise me and teach me about cooking, so my philosophy is that if I follow a recipe, I can't screw it up.

There are instances in which I am *slightly* adventurous. I don't mind leaving out an ingredient if I don't have it or adding something different. Today I decided to meld two Betty Crocker recipes from the 40th Anniversary edition cookbook (pg. 222 - Beef Stew and pg. 223 - Harvest Stew).

Wooo... I'm a crazy lady! ;)

My husband, on the other hand, is experimental when it comes to cooking. His results are about 50/50. He's fed me a horrendous omelet and some weirdly sweet-tasting fish (I trumped both dishes by serving up a more traditional omelet one morning and fish *minus* curry and cinnamon another night, and he was amazed at how good they were).

But he's also made incredible things by experimenting, like pizza, stew, and this awesome homemade salsa that is now chilling in our liquor fridge.

So what about you? Do you follow recipes with little alteration/variation, or do you like to experiment? What are some of the results you've had with a traditional recipe gone wrong or an experiment that was simply amazing?

Shoe
09-30-2011, 07:49 AM
I'm completely traditional, following the recipe to the letter. I'd be more experimental if I was a more competent cook, but my knowledge of cooking and my cooking skills are so lacking that anything "experimental" would turn into some hazardous material not fit for human consumption. My results are about 20/80 even with a recipe-that is, only about 20% of the time is my cooking edible :(.

JinxieFox
09-30-2011, 08:04 AM
My results are about 20/80 even with a recipe-that is, only about 20% of the time is my cooking edible :(.

Aww. :( Yes, it's true that even a recipe does not guarantee success.

I must admit that when it comes to boxed macaroni and cheese, it seems to taste different - better! - when anybody but me makes it. Weird, huh?

Shoe
09-30-2011, 08:07 AM
Aww. :( Yes, it's true that even a recipe does not guarantee success.

I must admit that when it comes to boxed macaroni and cheese, it seems to taste different - better! - when anybody but me makes it. Weird, huh?

Weird? Maybe. But my daughter, who loves boxed mac and cheese, doesn't seem to want to eat it at all if I make it. I like to cook, but don't seem to have any natural ability in that area.

dottieanna29
09-30-2011, 08:08 AM
I'm with Shoe - I don't cook very often at all and when I do it's very much follow the recipe but, since I only cook when there is no other option, I'm even more likely to go with prepared foods. When dh is away I'll make -pasta with red sauce, chicken with Bisquick dumplings, frozen pirogi or order take-out. The little guys are very limited eaters so they tend to get their own offerings anyway so I make the things that I really like but dh doesn't.

DH is very very much an adventurous cook. He combines recipes, plays around with combinations and probably 99% of the time they are excellent. When they aren't it's usually too (hot) spicy or too much pepper for me but he's pretty good with that lately. The other night we had ground turkey with shredded zucchini and squash, cooked in a casserole with tomato slices and melted cheese on top. Amazing and on our diet. We eat lots of fish, lots of vegetables, lots of things that are really unusual but sooo yummy. I know one night he combined 2 recipes he found with things he's done in the past, with some minor changes and it came out amazing.

He is a chemist which he always says is the same thing as cooking.

dottieanna29
09-30-2011, 08:09 AM
Aww. :( Yes, it's true that even a recipe does not guarantee success.

I must admit that when it comes to boxed macaroni and cheese, it seems to taste different - better! - when anybody but me makes it. Weird, huh?

That's funny. My oldest insists I make the BEST boxed macaroni and cheese and no one else does it nearly as well. :-) My specialty. I don't measure the butter and milk - add a plop of butter and then enough milk to keep it just a tiny bit runny.

farrarwilliams
09-30-2011, 08:18 AM
I follow the recipe for a loooong time. But once I know it really well, I'll improvise more. I like to bake a lot more than cook though, and you have to be more cautious with baking. I'm also not an especially adventurous eater. I'm not picky like I was in my younger days, but I'm also not the person who jumps at trying the foreign squirmy delicacies either.

dbmamaz
09-30-2011, 08:35 AM
My mom was a gourmet cook who created dishes for cook books, sometimes from home. I was considered the non-cook of the family, but once I moved out, I got more in to it. It's a good thing, too, as my diet would be EXTREMELy limited now if I didn't know how to mess around with recipes.

Last night we had sub sandwiches - I used a Gf sub roll recipe as a start, but had to change the flour ratio. This morning I was wondering if I should try adding an egg and lowering the temp next time

Tonight is chili, a recipe I developed when I was vegetarian but have tweaked over the years. I don't have any hot peppers, so I guess I'll just use my hot chili powder. I'm also making corn muffins. . .read yesterday that Gf quick breads have a better texture if you let the grains soak in the liquid for several hours before adding the chemical ingredients and baking, so I'll probably try that . . .

skrink
09-30-2011, 08:51 AM
I love to cook. My mom was an excellent, self-taught cook who never wrote anything down, and who never wanted help in HER kitchen. Her instructions have always been "add enough x so it looks right" and "you can smell when you need to turn it over" and "you'll know you have enough y when you can taste it in the back of your throat". ???? I can sort of approximate a few of my childhood favorites (disappointing how they never quite get there), but I like striking out on my own. I have a stack of recipes that I've used as jumping off points. My total winging it success rate is somewhat less than 50/50 but I do keep plugging away. I enjoy ethnic cooking and will try *almost* anything.

Baking is my real joy. I like the precision, and the results. :) I'm learning to bake allergen-free, which is a challenge.

And dbmamaz - I'd LOVE to eat at your house!

dbmamaz
09-30-2011, 09:51 AM
Lol *blush*

Busygoddess
09-30-2011, 12:34 PM
Not to toot my own horn, but......

Cooking/baking is one of those areas that I have a natural talent. I've been in the kitchen my entire life. As a child, most of the family underutilized me in the kitchen because they couldn't be bothered to find out what I could really do. So, they only let me do stuff like clean the seeds out of melons & slice the veggies. Too bad they didn't realize that I had perfected my homemade lasagna by age 10.

I sometimes use a recipe, but never strictly follow one. Even my first time making something, I'm tweaking, adding, substituting, improving. I have created a huge number of recipes over the years, and may someday write them down. The problem is that there are rarely specific measurements, so I have to guess at measurements when writing down for someone.

I kind of seem to specialize in making food people normally don't like, but making it completely delicious so they love it. The first time I told my dh I was making meatloaf, he looked at me as though I'd lost my mind. The first bite, however, changed that & he has since requested my meatloaf several times. It was similar when I told him I was making chicken & spinach lasagna. He hates spinach, so he wasn't exactly thrilled. Then he tasted it. It is now one of his favorite dishes. My sister's fiance doesn't like crab rangoon, but will eat it if I make it. At an old apartment I lived in, before dh & I got together, my neighbors would line up outside my door when they smelled me baking something.

I love trying out new recipes and seeing how I can make them better. I enjoy creating my own recipes even more. I can cook or bake pretty much anything & rarely screw up. It's just one of my natural talents, and I've honed the skills over the years, due to my love of making good food.

dbmamaz
09-30-2011, 12:56 PM
Not to toot my own horn, but......

Hmm. I'm really bad at tooting my own horn. If i cant even do it with cooking (which all my kids have named as my top talent), I guess I'm totally wrong in thinking that, when I return to work, I will be better at it than I was before . . .sigh.

JinxieFox
09-30-2011, 01:44 PM
Ah, baking. Many of you seem to prefer that to cooking.

I must admit, I've struggled *against* baking, but that's because I never wanted to do the traditional wifely things that might please my first husband. (Long story short: I didn't trust him, so I consistently reasoned that I should not please him by wearing dresses, being affectionate, or baking.)

Lately I've been getting more into baking than I care to admit. ;) I made cookies a few weeks ago, blueberry muffins last week, and I'm looking at making a lemon cake this weekend. I'm finding great joy in something that I tried to avoid for the past 17 years. Heh.

hockeymom
09-30-2011, 03:38 PM
I can't follow a recipe to save my life; I'm always tweaking no matter what I cook. I like to bake also but my boys don't care much for baked goods, muffins will go untouched and so on no matter how yummy they are so I don't do much of it. There are exceptions--pumpkin pie comes to mind--but mostly it's just not their thing.

I admit that I love doing housewifey things, particularly in the kitchen. It kind of thrills me that so many traditional things are coming back, like canning and making cheese. Sustainable hobbies do good things for my spirit. :)

bcnlvr
09-30-2011, 03:51 PM
Baking: adventurous
Cooking: semi-traditional

I am VERY comfortable making treats and such. In fact, before I went into anesthesia, I wanted to be a pastry chef. Cooking, OTOH, I am much more timid. I will put a shallot in place of an onion and omit carrots if I am out. That kind of thing. BUT I always start with a recipe and tweak from there.

ps- I read the heading and HAD TO CLICK to see what ya'll were talking about. Oh, just food.

Stella M
09-30-2011, 06:11 PM
I follow the recipe for a loooong time. But once I know it really well, I'll improvise more. I like to bake a lot more than cook though, and you have to be more cautious with baking. I'm also not an especially adventurous eater. I'm not picky like I was in my younger days, but I'm also not the person who jumps at trying the foreign squirmy delicacies either.

What she said.

Stella M
09-30-2011, 06:12 PM
Ah, baking. Many of you seem to prefer that to cooking.

I must admit, I've struggled *against* baking, but that's because I never wanted to do the traditional wifely things that might please my first husband. (Long story short: I didn't trust him, so I consistently reasoned that I should not please him by wearing dresses, being affectionate, or baking.)

Lately I've been getting more into baking than I care to admit. ;) I made cookies a few weeks ago, blueberry muffins last week, and I'm looking at making a lemon cake this weekend. I'm finding great joy in something that I tried to avoid for the past 17 years. Heh.

Welcome to the baking club Wendy! Now you are one of us....:)

JinxieFox
10-01-2011, 05:50 AM
Welcome to the baking club Wendy! Now you are one of us....:)

Noooo! Must fight... the... power!

Hm, that lemon cake... *dashes off to the kitchen to bake*

mommykicksbutt
10-01-2011, 08:55 AM
Mom was a professional chef. I grew up in her kitchen at the restaurants she worked in. At home she didn't cook much though, dad and we kids would pitch in for that. When she retired she made some amazing meals. She only had a handful of cook books. She kept most of her recipes in her head and took them with her when she died (I still long for her seafood lasgana recipe!). I learned a lot from her and also my country grandmother. I was inspired so much so by these two women that I went to cooking school when I lived Japan and earned a diploma in both Chinese and Japanese cuisines. I'll read a cookbook like it were a novel. I may scrutinize 4 or 5 recipes for the same dish then toss them aside and make it on my own. So in that sense I guess you could say I'm adventurous. I've taken alot of baking classes and tons of cake decorating classes too (I think I mentioned in a much earlier post that I'm an award winning cake decorator). As far a baking I've found that I pretty much stick to the recipe with only a few exceptions when the chemistry was off then I would make adjustment for it. Baking is more precise than cooking. So therefore with baking I'm a traditionalist (at least with the recipes but not with what I do with it!!!!!)

Eileen
10-01-2011, 12:11 PM
I'm pretty relaxed about recipes once I've made it the "right" way the first time. I like to experiment. Generally speaking, the meals I make are not very adventurous because I get really tired of putting a lot of effort into something and having the girls say, "Ew, yuck!" and my husband being ambivalent about it. I get it, I was a really picky eater as a kid, hated vegetables (not surprising due to my mother's awful cooking), hated chunks of anything in my food. I always swore I would not force my kids to eat stuff they didn't want to. But really, it just gets exhausting. Why make a whole meal for four and then have two of them refuse to eat it?

Anyway. I like to try new things. My family, not as much.

dbmamaz
10-01-2011, 01:15 PM
Yeah, Eileen, I can relate to that . . . I rarely cook anything that my pickiest kid wont eat, and like all picky kids, what he will and wont eat is constantly changing. Spaghetti, once his favorite, is no longer on the menu . . .but its hubby's favorite? Burgers (turkey burgers) will only be eaten if I cook it in to a grilled cheese sandwhich. He'll eat salmon and rice like crazy, but the rest of us are sick of salmon, and rice more than once a week makes Orion sick. Dh used to cook, but refuses now. But they will usually eat experimental sweet baked goods. As long as I dont make more than we can eat in a day - they get tired of them pretty fast.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-01-2011, 10:30 PM
I'm a follow the recipe gal, though I will admit to leaving out an ingredient or two if I don't like them or don't want to bother (like parsley--does a teaspoon of it really make a difference???). I love to bake, but I end up eating the lion's share. Not healthy!

My husband is more adventurous. Tonight he made something for himself that used ground beef, ramen noodles, garlic, grape tomatoes, green peppers, and sri racha sauce. He dubbed it "Hamburger Help Me."

LovingMyChildren
10-01-2011, 11:13 PM
I'd love to eat at a lot of your houses! :) I dislike cleaning greatly but would be happy to bring a bottle of your favorite beverage [where is that darn smiley face drinking straight out of the bottle!?]

I used to be a horrible cook - growing up it was HER kitchen like others have noted. I became vegetarian mostly because I couldn't stand to eat any of the meat I attempted to cook (but then stayed that way for a long time for other reasons). I started out, as others have said, sticking close to a recipe because I knew I would likely die from starvation if I attempted to cook something on my own. But, with time, I grew more adventurous as I know the ingredients and flavors. I still love cookbooks and won't ever create something from scratch! And, I too love to look for the same dish in three or four cookbooks then pick what I think will be the best.

However, I'll brag on my DD5. She has a knack for creative cooking. (sometimes... other times :vomit: ). She just likes to combine random ingredients and see what happens. I usually cringe when this is her project for the day but have gotten better at helping make it successful - she is so pleased when her recipe works!! One of her recent recipe inventions was a black bean, apple, and tomato soup. I looked online for a soup with those ingredients (hiding the iphone the whole time so she couldn't see it) and used that recipe to make "her" soup. I would NEVER have put those ingredients together but she did, and apparently, so had someone else. It was a very tasty soup. She now knows that celery, garlic and a few other ingredients are very common in soup so she shouldn't be mad at me when I "just add some normal soup ingredients." Her "pepper salad" on the other hand nearly killed my husband. She somehow managed to convince him to buy certain peppers at the grocery store (of which he had no clue which were hot and which weren't). She chopped them up wearing gloves since we had no idea what she bought (no habaneros or jalepenos tho), and made us eat it. Smart girl wouldn't taste it herself. I got lucky and got a spoonful of only hellishly hot peppers. My husband, not so much. It was sooooo freakin' funny to see him willingly take a bite for his daughter's sake then turn a funny color and run from the room crying and a very strange color. He had trouble breathing for a good hour :D: He instituted a "chef tastes first" policy after that.

lakshmi
10-01-2011, 11:41 PM
I don't cook. But if you learned French technique then you could apply a lot of those to the recipes you are using. And, you might find that you could then end up creating stuff from your brain and having it work

Check out the Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl, (http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/gourmet/) it is yellow.

(husband is a chef, so I do dishes and he cooks.)

JinxieFox
10-02-2011, 05:22 AM
My husband is more adventurous. Tonight he made something for himself that used ground beef, ramen noodles, garlic, grape tomatoes, green peppers, and sri racha sauce. He dubbed it "Hamburger Help Me."

I misread "grape tomatoes" as "grapes", and thought, "Ewww!" XD

zcat
10-03-2011, 08:00 PM
I like all forms of cooking- including baking and grilling.
I think I am a bit adventurous. I would say I follow recipes often but will combine 3 or 4 different recipes to get what I want. I will alter ingredients and not feel worried. I will make a totally untried recipe for guests and not worry that it might be bad. I do feel unadventurous about cooking seafood though. I didn't eat it much growing up and don't eat it much now so I am unsure if things are right if I don't follow a recipe as written.

My dh is an adventurous eater who will often want to combine things in a new way.

Crabby Lioness
10-05-2011, 09:40 AM
I love cooking and baking. I didn't have anyone to teach me, and I started out quite traditional. After 30 years of cooking I've become quite adventurous.

That said, my newest and currently most adored cookbook is the uber-traditional 1970s edition of Joy of Cooking. It's like having a cooking school in a book, and is teaching me how to be even more adventurous!

dbmamaz
10-05-2011, 10:01 AM
my mom had an old 1960s betty crocker - my sister and I used to fight over that book, so she finally took it back lol

JinxieFox
10-06-2011, 05:11 AM
Alas, I allowed my ex to keep "Joy of Cooking". Darn! I treasure the 40th Anniversary Betty Crocker cookbook my uncle gave me - it was one of the last gifts from him before he died.

Last night, I got slightly adventurous with porkchops. They didn't come out amazingly-awesome, but it was an "Ooh, this is a nice change." :3

I love the variety of answers here. When it comes to cooking, I prefer cooking a meal to baking, because I feel like there's instant gratification in cooking a meal. Baking often requires more timing - mixing for a certain amount of time, cooking longer while you sit and do nothing, waiting for things to cool, then waiting for the right time to eat them (cookies at dinner time? Nope. Sorry).

Well, OK, that last part isn't strictly a problem... I ate a piece of the lemon cake for breakfast this weekend.

lakshmi
10-06-2011, 10:26 AM
I like cooking better than baking too. (When I do it) But I also like the combination. I love pancakes! Especially the ones in Gourmet. Yum yum.

Aandwsmom
10-06-2011, 10:29 AM
I am an adventurous cook!
Unfortunately, I got stuck with a traditional and boring DH. *sigh*
He is a meat and potatoes man, no veggies, no hot food, nothing experiemental.....
Luckily my boys are more like me and willing to try new stuff.
Just means I make 2 meals those nights, one for DH of BORING food and one for us.
I am constantly adjusting and melding baking recipes.

jess
10-06-2011, 07:40 PM
I am a mad scientist in the kitchen. I can't follow a recipe to save my life. My dishes are, at best, "inspired by".

They usually turn out edible.

JinxieFox
10-07-2011, 05:14 AM
Ha! I like that... "Mad Scientist". XD

JinxieFox
10-09-2011, 08:34 AM
Well, last night hubby made chili and it was my first time eating chili that had a can of beer as an ingredient. Mmm! I like beer-battered fish and beer bread, but this was great too.

There was only one teeny problem. We have a small crockpot, not an insanely huge one, because there's just the 2 of us sometimes, and 3 at others. So he added 2 habanero peppers, when one would have been sufficient. (He also decided to snack on a Scotch Bonnet prior to that; that was insane. I thought I'd have to call 911!) Well, the chili was a tad *too* spicy, but easily offset with shredded cheese and bread.

Last night's Husbandly Cooking Experiment was a success. :)

Stella M
10-10-2011, 03:54 AM
This thread inspired me to try cooking without a recipe :) It worked! I made Moroccan style chicken and couscous; I would have liked it better with chickpeas instead of the chicken and we'd run out of pine nuts, but it was still yummy. It was fun, like painting with food.

jess
10-11-2011, 04:05 PM
Ha! I like that... "Mad Scientist". XD

I'm not joking. I threw zucchini and coffee in a blender to see how it turned out. I eat and cultivate the coconut milk that unintentionally fermented in the fridge.