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Thread: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

  1. #1
    Chemiker Guest

    Default Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    digress.

    We all know those who are cookbookers. They weigh everything in scales
    per the recipe, buy fry pans (or IR thermometers) that announce when
    the pan is at 360dF, etc. And then, wonder why it didn't taste like
    (fill in blank) grandma's/restaurants dish.

    The cooks, on the other hand: Could care less about ingredient
    amounts, or for that matter, the ingredients themselves. Weighs
    nothing. Eyeballs everything. Owns a cookbook, but doesn't know where
    it is. Has a scrapbook, nect to the stove. Refers to it occasionally.
    Uses it as a trivet. Cooks by smell. Cooks by sound. Always produces
    delicious food (except for that *one* dish he/she loves, but is
    atrocious!), but it seems to be somehow different every time he/she
    makes it.

    Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    perfection), where do you think you fit??

    I have over 300 cookbooks, partly due to my fading memory. I have
    given away over 400 in the last two years. I rate myself a 6.5.

    Get yourself an adult beverage, think about it, and admit who you are.
    Remember: we are all in the position to improve, as time goes buy.

    Alex.

    PS. Who measures grams on Iron Chef? Aside from restaurants, what is
    the *real* value of repeatability of a dish? FWIW; My mom made my dad
    Rhode Island Clam Chowder (delicous) for 12 years before she ever
    tasted it. She couldn't stand the taste of clams. <G> But once she got
    it down, the recipes was etched in stone. I still know how to make it
    today.

  2. #2
    Andy Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    Chemiker <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    > to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    > perfection), where do you think you fit??



    Chefs, imho, have that knack/passion to create, which I don't have.

    So, yeah... I'm a cook.

    I usually follow cookbook recipes and maybe change/add ingredients once
    I'm familiar with previous results.

    Andy



  3. #3
    George Leppla Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On 7/29/2011 1:52 PM, Chemiker wrote:
    > Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    > divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    > digress.
    >
    > We all know those who are cookbookers. They weigh everything in scales
    > per the recipe, buy fry pans (or IR thermometers) that announce when
    > the pan is at 360dF, etc. And then, wonder why it didn't taste like
    > (fill in blank) grandma's/restaurants dish.
    >
    > The cooks, on the other hand: Could care less about ingredient
    > amounts, or for that matter, the ingredients themselves. Weighs
    > nothing. Eyeballs everything. Owns a cookbook, but doesn't know where
    > it is. Has a scrapbook, nect to the stove. Refers to it occasionally.
    > Uses it as a trivet. Cooks by smell. Cooks by sound. Always produces
    > delicious food (except for that *one* dish he/she loves, but is
    > atrocious!), but it seems to be somehow different every time he/she
    > makes it.
    >
    > Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    > to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    > perfection), where do you think you fit??
    >
    > I have over 300 cookbooks, partly due to my fading memory. I have
    > given away over 400 in the last two years. I rate myself a 6.5.


    I was never a #1. I learned cooking at home from my Grandmother... then
    a few short stints in restaurant kitchens. I cook by touch, feel and
    taste unless I am baking (which I seldom do).

    I enjoy eating something new at a restaurant and then trying to recreate
    it at home. If I look at a recipe at all, it is to get an idea of how
    other people cook something. I may look at 4 or 5 recipes before
    settling in the way I want to cook something.

    Bottom line is that people like to eat what I cook so I guess I would
    rate myself around 8 out of 10. Never going to be perfect and not what
    I would consider a "chef", but a pretty good overall cook.

    George L


  4. #4
    jmcquown Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?


    "Chemiker" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    > divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    > digress.
    >
    > We all know those who are cookbookers. They weigh everything in scales
    > per the recipe, buy fry pans (or IR thermometers) that announce when
    > the pan is at 360dF, etc. And then, wonder why it didn't taste like
    > (fill in blank) grandma's/restaurants dish.
    >
    > The cooks, on the other hand: Could care less about ingredient
    > amounts, or for that matter, the ingredients themselves. Weighs
    > nothing. Eyeballs everything. Owns a cookbook, but doesn't know where
    > it is. Has a scrapbook, nect to the stove. Refers to it occasionally.
    > Uses it as a trivet. Cooks by smell. Cooks by sound. Always produces
    > delicious food (except for that *one* dish he/she loves, but is
    > atrocious!), but it seems to be somehow different every time he/she
    > makes it.
    >
    > Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    > to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    > perfection), where do you think you fit??
    >
    > I have over 300 cookbooks, partly due to my fading memory. I have
    > given away over 400 in the last two years. I rate myself a 6.5.
    >
    > Get yourself an adult beverage, think about it, and admit who you are.
    > Remember: we are all in the position to improve, as time goes buy.
    >
    > Alex.
    >

    I'm a cook. Probably a 6 on your scale. I cook very simple food. I do
    occasionally consult recipes (not necessarily cookbooks - I've got my
    mother's hand written recipes and a few from my grandmothers) just to make
    sure I'm on track. I own under 100 cookbooks but they're mostly for fun. I
    rarely use them to cook with. I just like to read them

    I eyeball measurements and often fudge on temperatures. Sure, I screw up
    once in a while. But I'm not concerned about perfection and I'm not cooking
    for a television audience. As long as the food comes out tasting good,
    that's all that really matters

    Jill


  5. #5
    Nunya Bidnits Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    Chemiker wrote:
    > Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    > divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    > digress.


    You are not allowed to say "I digress" until at least the third sentence.

    ;-)




  6. #6
    Dave Smith Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On 29/07/2011 2:52 PM, Chemiker wrote:
    > Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    > divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    > digress.
    >
    > We all know those who are cookbookers. They weigh everything in scales
    > per the recipe, buy fry pans (or IR thermometers) that announce when
    > the pan is at 360dF, etc. And then, wonder why it didn't taste like
    > (fill in blank) grandma's/restaurants dish.
    >
    > The cooks, on the other hand: Could care less about ingredient
    > amounts, or for that matter, the ingredients themselves. Weighs
    > nothing. Eyeballs everything. Owns a cookbook, but doesn't know where
    > it is. Has a scrapbook, nect to the stove. Refers to it occasionally.
    > Uses it as a trivet. Cooks by smell. Cooks by sound. Always produces
    > delicious food (except for that *one* dish he/she loves, but is
    > atrocious!), but it seems to be somehow different every time he/she
    > makes it.
    >
    > Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    > to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    > perfection), where do you think you fit??
    >
    > I have over 300 cookbooks, partly due to my fading memory. I have
    > given away over 400 in the last two years. I rate myself a 6.5.
    >
    > Get yourself an adult beverage, think about it, and admit who you are.
    > Remember: we are all in the position to improve, as time goes buy.
    >



    I view most recipes as guidelines. I have enough cooking experience that
    I have learned the value of using techniques rather than a specific
    recipe. I have used enough different ingredients to learn how they act
    and interact. While I almost always follow baking recipes to the letter,
    I have learned to tweak recipes. I may occasionally have some meat or
    fish for dinner and feel inspired to try something new with it. I may go
    online to look for ideas. Otherwise, I just throw something together.


    But that is just me. I know some people who put on amazing spreads of
    foods and the always follow recipes meticulously My wife's (late) best
    friend was one. If she had tried something really good, or something had
    been recommended to her, she would get the recipe and follow it
    precisely. She would test it on her family before serving it to company.

    He father was the same way and he taught the son in law how to BBQ.
    There one particular way to stick a roast on a spit and it had to turn a
    particular way. There was a special way to start briquettes. Leftover
    coals were put into an old pan can and smothered and then, sometime when
    the coals were burning down and you needed more briquettes, out come the
    used ones which are perfectly usable and don't have the chemical taste.


    I could never cook that way, but I have to admit that they put on
    great meals. OTOH, they were always openly envious of my ability to wing it.


  7. #7
    jmcquown Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?


    "George Leppla" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > On 7/29/2011 1:52 PM, Chemiker wrote:
    >> Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    >> divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    >> digress.
    >>
    >> We all know those who are cookbookers. They weigh everything in scales
    >> per the recipe, buy fry pans (or IR thermometers) that announce when
    >> the pan is at 360dF, etc. And then, wonder why it didn't taste like
    >> (fill in blank) grandma's/restaurants dish.
    >>
    >> The cooks, on the other hand: Could care less about ingredient
    >> amounts, or for that matter, the ingredients themselves. Weighs
    >> nothing. Eyeballs everything. Owns a cookbook, but doesn't know where
    >> it is. Has a scrapbook, nect to the stove. Refers to it occasionally.
    >> Uses it as a trivet. Cooks by smell. Cooks by sound. Always produces
    >> delicious food (except for that *one* dish he/she loves, but is
    >> atrocious!), but it seems to be somehow different every time he/she
    >> makes it.
    >>
    >> Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    >> to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    >> perfection), where do you think you fit??
    >>
    >> I have over 300 cookbooks, partly due to my fading memory. I have
    >> given away over 400 in the last two years. I rate myself a 6.5.

    >
    > I was never a #1. I learned cooking at home from my Grandmother... then a
    > few short stints in restaurant kitchens. I cook by touch, feel and taste
    > unless I am baking (which I seldom do).
    >
    > I enjoy eating something new at a restaurant and then trying to recreate
    > it at home.


    I love doing that, too! That's how I came up with roasted butternut squash
    soup. I tasted it once and said to myself, "I can recreate that!" The
    secret is the tarragon Same thing with Catfish Acadian. The only thing
    I left out (according to the chef from the Bayou Bar & Grill) was the
    celery...and I should have known that was part of the holy trinity.

    > If I look at a recipe at all, it is to get an idea of how other people
    > cook something.


    Ditto that.

    > George L
    >

    Jill


  8. #8
    Dave Smith Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On 29/07/2011 3:33 PM, jmcquown wrote:

    > I eyeball measurements and often fudge on temperatures. Sure, I screw up
    > once in a while. But I'm not concerned about perfection and I'm not
    > cooking for a television audience. As long as the food comes out tasting
    > good, that's all that really matters
    >


    LOL, but how do you know that that stuff on TV tastes like? Let's face
    it, they are professionals, and as much actors as they are cooks. When
    the camera is rolling and the bite into the dish they just prepared in
    camera..... they are going to act as if it is delicious no matter how
    bad it is. It's not like they spend all the time and money filming the
    preparation of a meal and then do it all over again because it doesn't
    taste as good as it should. They want you to think that everything they
    cook is wonderful.

    However... I have to admit that my adlib style of cooking yields
    inconsistent results. Somethings a dish I have created with great
    results in disappointing when I try it again.

  9. #9
    Pico Rico Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?


    "Chemiker" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    > divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    > digress.
    >
    > We all know those who are cookbookers. They weigh everything in scales
    > per the recipe, buy fry pans (or IR thermometers) that announce when
    > the pan is at 360dF, etc. And then, wonder why it didn't taste like
    > (fill in blank) grandma's/restaurants dish.
    >
    > The cooks, on the other hand: Could care less about ingredient
    > amounts, or for that matter, the ingredients themselves. Weighs
    > nothing. Eyeballs everything. Owns a cookbook, but doesn't know where
    > it is. Has a scrapbook, nect to the stove. Refers to it occasionally.
    > Uses it as a trivet. Cooks by smell. Cooks by sound. Always produces
    > delicious food (except for that *one* dish he/she loves, but is
    > atrocious!), but it seems to be somehow different every time he/she
    > makes it.
    >
    > Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    > to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    > perfection), where do you think you fit??



    I think you are mixing two questions here (and misspelled "kook" in the
    subject line).

    Q1: do you measure or eyeball, follow a recipe's time or your instincts and
    watching results, etc?
    Q2: how good is your resultant product.


    just because you eyeball and go by taste and smell doesn't mean you can cook
    worth a darn.



  10. #10
    Dave Smith Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On 29/07/2011 4:01 PM, jmcquown wrote:

    >> I enjoy eating something new at a restaurant and then trying to
    >> recreate it at home.

    >
    > I love doing that, too! That's how I came up with roasted butternut
    > squash soup. I tasted it once and said to myself, "I can recreate that!"
    > The secret is the tarragon Same thing with Catfish Acadian. The only
    > thing I left out (according to the chef from the Bayou Bar & Grill) was
    > the celery...and I should have known that was part of the holy trinity.
    >


    That's how I learned to cook fish. We never had it much at home when I
    was a kid and as good a cook as my mother was, fish was not her forte.
    Good fish was also hard to find around here. We used to go out for nice
    dinners regularly and I got into the habit of ordering fish dishes and
    finding new ways to prepare it. Now I fell quite comfortable doing all
    sorts of fish.


  11. #11
    Nunya Bidnits Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    Chemiker wrote:
    > Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    > divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    > digress.
    >
    > We all know those who are cookbookers. They weigh everything in scales
    > per the recipe, buy fry pans (or IR thermometers) that announce when
    > the pan is at 360dF, etc. And then, wonder why it didn't taste like
    > (fill in blank) grandma's/restaurants dish.
    >
    > The cooks, on the other hand: Could care less about ingredient
    > amounts, or for that matter, the ingredients themselves. Weighs
    > nothing. Eyeballs everything. Owns a cookbook, but doesn't know where
    > it is. Has a scrapbook, nect to the stove. Refers to it occasionally.
    > Uses it as a trivet. Cooks by smell. Cooks by sound. Always produces
    > delicious food (except for that *one* dish he/she loves, but is
    > atrocious!), but it seems to be somehow different every time he/she
    > makes it.


    By your description of cook, it would have to rate lower than the
    cookbooker, noting that someone who does not care about ingredients or
    amounts used is not likely to always produce delicious food. You describe
    someone who would just go into the kitchen with a blindfold and throw stuff
    in a pan, hoping not to set things afire.

    Somewhere outside the hyperbole is a happy medium where a person you could
    call a cook has enough experience to work without precisely measuring
    everything outside of some baking applications, and who can both follow a
    recipe without screwing it up and yet create a dish from the ingredients
    available. The cook is always interested in new recipes both for what they
    yield and what they may teach about methods and ingredients. That cook can
    also make adjustments to recipes to suit their tastes, spot problems in
    recipes and correct them, and substitute appropriate ingredients if possible
    and necessary. That cook could also use many different cooking mediums and
    techniques, is familiar with a wide range of equipment, and is not afraid to
    experiment even if once in a while, it doesn't work out.


    > Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    > to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    > perfection), where do you think you fit??


    Can you be more specific about 10? Are we still talking about home cooks or
    would a 10 be a professional and/or someone who was qualified and capable of
    serving as a head chef?

    MartyB



  12. #12
    Chemiker Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 15:00:20 -0500, "Nunya Bidnits"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Chemiker wrote:
    >> Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    >> divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    >> digress.

    >
    >You are not allowed to say "I digress" until at least the third sentence.
    >
    >;-)
    >
    >

    Mea culpa!

    Alex, beating breast. (not his own)

  13. #13
    sf Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:52:13 -0500, Chemiker
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    > divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    > digress.


    I thought the topic was "Am I a crook".... LOL

    --

    Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.

  14. #14
    Chemiker Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:05:43 -0700, "Pico Rico"
    <[email protected]> wrote:


    >I think you are mixing two questions here (and misspelled "kook" in the
    >subject line).
    >
    >Q1: do you measure or eyeball, follow a recipe's time or your instincts and
    >watching results, etc?
    >Q2: how good is your resultant product.
    >
    >
    >just because you eyeball and go by taste and smell doesn't mean you can cook
    >worth a darn.
    >


    Noted and you are correct. Same syllogism: just because all cats have
    (at one time in their lives) 4 legs, does not mean that all 4-legged
    beasts are cats. Yet it seems true to me that there had been and is
    today a breed of cook who has outgrown the cookbook. Many of them post
    here, I'm pleased to say. It does *NOT* follow, that all such good
    cooks have pleasing personalities...... as a matter of fact, there
    might even be an inverse correlation.

    Alex, going for another rum punch. Making seafood gumbo tonight. Base
    is chocolate roux, with Johnsonville Light/Mild Italian Sausage,
    previously smoked over apple at 225 for 2 hrs. Okra(e) from the
    garden. No tomato. trinity. Yet to add: seafood broth, shrimp, bay
    scallops. Now to make garlic bread. Good eats to all of you. At my age
    good food is one of the few delights left.

    So: who is the master chef in Heaven? Or, for that matter, the other
    place?

  15. #15
    Chemiker Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 15:12:02 -0500, "Nunya Bidnits"
    <[email protected]> wrote:



    >> Self-eval: One passes through #1 before you ger to #2. On a scale of 1
    >> to 10 (where 1 is the absolute newbie cookbooker and 10 is
    >> perfection), where do you think you fit??

    >
    >Can you be more specific about 10? Are we still talking about home cooks or
    >would a 10 be a professional and/or someone who was qualified and capable of
    >serving as a head chef?


    Sure, Marty. I've never known a 10 (least of all, me), but maybe a few
    Grandmothers I've known were that way. Most restaurant cooks I've been
    privileged to know were into repeatability. I've known black cookies
    at Texas deer camps who could cook to order and never miss a beat.
    I've known late night short order cooks in New Orleans who would cook
    to order, and blow your mind how good it was. I guess, they are where
    you find them. They just seem to have a sense of what works and what
    doesn't. Alas, I do not. I guess the best thing I can say is that some
    of these people are artists who know their flavors like a painter
    knows his colors. They are rare, I think. But thank God for 'em. Oh,
    they seem to congregate in Louisiana.....

    Alex

  16. #16
    George Leppla Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On 7/29/2011 3:44 PM, Chemiker wrote:
    > They just seem to have a sense of what works and what
    > doesn't. Alas, I do not. I guess the best thing I can say is that some
    > of these people are artists who know their flavors like a painter
    > knows his colors. They are rare, I think. But thank God for 'em. Oh,
    > they seem to congregate in Louisiana.....



    I know one who lives in Shreveport, Louisiana...... and I have the good
    fortune to be married to her.

    George L

  17. #17
    Chemiker Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 15:56:20 -0500, George Leppla
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On 7/29/2011 3:44 PM, Chemiker wrote:
    >> They just seem to have a sense of what works and what
    >> doesn't. Alas, I do not. I guess the best thing I can say is that some
    >> of these people are artists who know their flavors like a painter
    >> knows his colors. They are rare, I think. But thank God for 'em. Oh,
    >> they seem to congregate in Louisiana.....

    >
    >
    >I know one who lives in Shreveport, Louisiana...... and I have the good
    >fortune to be married to her.


    George, you are truly blessed, as you already know. Treat her kindly.
    Women *always* return more than they are given. You give her crap, you
    can expect a whole *ration* of you know what.

    Alex

  18. #18
    Chemiker Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:35:49 -0700, sf <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:52:13 -0500, Chemiker
    ><[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    >> divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    >> digress.

    >
    >I thought the topic was "Am I a crook".... LOL


    I guess if you're a politician these days, the answer is "YES!"

    No, I don't think you're a crook. (You're *not*, are you?)

    Alex

  19. #19
    Sqwertz Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:52:13 -0500, Chemiker wrote:

    > Get yourself an adult beverage, think about it, and admit who you are.
    > Remember: we are all in the position to improve, as time goes buy.


    What's good to you may not be very good to somebody else. And there
    are many professional chefs who cook dishes themselves would not eat,
    or at least cook it differently. Repeatability and consistency is
    very important in a restaurant setting. Two words: Olive Garden.
    They don't do any actual cooking in the kitchen.

    It's pointless to rate myself on how the food I cook tastes to me.

    -sw

  20. #20
    Andy Guest

    Default Re: Self evaluation: Am I a cook?

    sf <[email protected]> wrote:

    > On Fri, 29 Jul 2011 13:52:13 -0500, Chemiker
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Dear ones, we all know there are two kinds of people.... those who
    >> divide the people into two classes and those who don't.... but I
    >> digress.

    >
    > I thought the topic was "Am I a crook".... LOL



    sf,

    The rfc cabal (TINC) has it on fairly good authority that you are NOT a
    crook!!!

    Best,

    Andy

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