Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

What Kind of Cook Am I?

Outstanding
0
No votes
Excellent
10
27%
Very Good
14
38%
Good
5
14%
Moderately Good-Good
1
3%
Moderately Good
3
8%
Fair
4
11%
Less than Fair
0
No votes
Bad
0
No votes
Abysmally bad
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 37

Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:05 pm

No need for modesty or embarrassment. Let's see how we rate ourselves in the kitchen. And, unless you're abysmally bad there, what limitations to you put on yourself; what are your specialties; and do you consider yourself more traditional or creative (or both)
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby JC (NC) » Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:09 pm

At moderately good, so far I'm the worst cook in the bunch. I need to follow a recipe--I may add an ingredient or two not suggested in the recipe, but I can't wing the entire dish. I'm not very creative as a cook. I don't have a lot of practice with pie crusts or other pastry so could use a pastry chef. My acquaintances at church seem to regard me as a good cook--probably because I usually test a recipe out before making it for company or a potluck dinner. I don't have a regional specialty but have accumulated a number of recipes for baked chicken and a fair number of recipes for stir frys. (Trying to eat healthily.) A few dessert recipes I have used on numerous occasions are apple-nut cake (in a rectangular pan to be cut into small squares or rectangles), orange-flavored bundt cake, chocolate-mint brownies with chocolate frosting, German 'S' cookies flavored with mace, and date-nut pudding (more a brownie consistency than a true pudding.) Favorite appetizers to make are eggplant spread for party rye bread, seven-layer Tex-Mex dip with tortilla chips, crabstuffed mushroom caps, mushrooms sauteed in Madeira, and a tangy vegetable dip based on low-cal Mayonnaise and ketchup (no kidding!) with about six herbs and spices added to it.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Patti L » Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:56 pm

I put myself at very good. I don't usually follow recipes when I cook, and can get pretty creative with the items I have on hand. I keep a well stocked pantry and freezer. My most requested meals are my seafood jambalaya, lasagna or steak au poivre with brandy mushroom cream sauce.

I am not, however, as creative at baking. I can follow directions and things turn out, but nothing is stellar. Which is probably a good thing.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby JC (NC) » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:53 pm

Patti, your specialties all sound like dishes I love to eat.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:03 pm

Rated myself the same as JC but very much coming from the opposite end of the spectrum - For me winging it is the fun of cooking, but I have no technical skill to speak of and a pig-headedness that steers me off-piste as far as recipes go. Generally I'd say I have no specialities, as I rarely try to cook the same thing again :oops: I enjoy playing with herbs in my food and a well-stocked herb garden helps. I do enjoy aiming for subtleness with the herbs (and spices).

I'm lucky to have an appreciative partner - she's intimidated by the timing aspect of cooking, so is very tolerant of whatever I serve up and is very much happy for me to do the cooking.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Lori Gurley » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:45 pm

All modesty aside, I am rating myself excellent, per my DH. I can make my own concoctions, and they turn out great, and sometimes I can just throw stuff together and season with whatever I have on hand.
I don't usually follow directions or a recipe, except as an idea of what goes with what.
And if anyone there could see me, well I didn't get this extra weight from looking at the pictures! LOL
Seriously, I learned how to cook from my two cajun/southern grandmothers, and so far I have never had a meal turn out badly.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Robert Reynolds » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:15 pm

I rated myself as moderately good/good because with some types of food I can wing it just fine, but I don't cook often enough to have a lot of trial & error knowledge about dishes that some of you can work wonders with.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Jacques Levy » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:35 pm

I am very good. Technically I am excellent, I can also do classic French and Italian very well.

I am very much lacking in Asian cuisine, heck, I still don't understand the big deal about soy sauce (salty black liquid) and don't get me started on teriyaki.

I also mess up sometimes when given great ingredients; I do better with lower pedigreed cuts of protein than awesome ones. For example, I once ruined a very expensive piece of Copper River Salmon (shoulda used a lot more butter). I also have trouble with timing; a dish that demands construction of a few layers can mess me up sometimes.

All in all "very good" because what I do well I do extremely well, but I try to stay away from my weaknesses and don't get adventurous enough.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Matilda L » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:10 am

Where is the button for "inconsistent"? :)

I rated myself as good, which I am much of the time. I have periods of not wanting to spend much time in the kitchen as other activities are taking up time and attention. At other times, I don't pay attention to what I am doing and turn out some awful failures! Sometimes my cooking is to die for; other times, to die of.

On the whole I am not good at following recipes. I have a substantial collection of recipe books, which I like to read - but when I cook, either I make it up as I go along, or I adjust the recipe ... which can work well sometimes but not so well other times. My best performances in the kitchen tend to be soups, stews, casseroles, curries - bit gutsy peasant dishes full of strong flavours and textures. I enjoy cooking for gatherings of 6 - 12 people.

I learned to cook from my mother who was an exponent of Australian farm cooking and various of her friends who were also old-fashioned country cooks; then I branched out by observing and copying.

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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:52 am

I immodestly chose "excellent." My range is limited (I don't bake, I don't cook meat, poultry, or fish), but I can manage a rather wide variety of cuisines, create my own dishes on the fly, and have fooled pros into thinking I'm a pro. I find most restaurant food inferior to what I make at home.

If The Other Stupid is with me, we occasionally cross the border into "outstanding," but I can't do that on my own.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Carrie L. » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:30 pm

I just called out to Len with the choices and he without hesitation rated me Outstanding. Take it with a grain of salt though--he probably thinks if he had said anything else, I might stop cooking for him. ;)

I did (also rather immodestly) rate myself as excellent. Nothing really intimidates me in the kitchen (other than pie crust), and almost everything comes out as I intended. Am also a firm believer that one must really enjoy cooking in order excell at it. I find that anyone who says they are not a great cook, doesn't really enjoy it all that much. Like many of you, I am "at home" in the kitchen and when I'm not cooking, I am usually wondering what I am going to cook next. If I am enjoying something in a restaurant, I'm breaking it down trying to figure out how to duplicate it. I think "food-obsessed" is the proper term.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Scott Lancer » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:38 pm

I'm very good. Can't bake a pie worth a damn, but otherwise I'm pretty good. Best on the grill or the stovetop.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby JC (NC) » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:48 pm

Maybe we could have an offline and have Jacques teach us how to make a wonderful pie crust!
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Patti L » Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:33 pm

JC, count me in! I can't make a decent crust to save my soul.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Alan Wolfe » Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:50 pm

Just fair. I like casseroles and most kinds of comfort food. I'm a little better than fair on the grill, I like cookies and stuff wrapped in puff pastry. Also generic quiche(s). I have a very simple recipe for a shrimp/asparagus quiche for example that is pretty good for a non-cook. I like it quick and easy. Food, I mean.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Shlomo R » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:29 am

I broil/grill very well. Otherwise, I need to follow a recipe, and don't have very much patience.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Jacques Levy » Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:12 pm

JC (NC) wrote:Maybe we could have an offline and have Jacques teach us how to make a wonderful pie crust!


Pie crust is easy; use any recipe but just make sure the butter is very cold. Refrigerate before using. My wife who cooks very little makes awesome pie crusts.
Best Regards

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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Mike Wolinski » Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:45 pm

Excellent, IMHO Classic French is my specialty but after living here in the Pacific NW for over 10 years I'm pretty good at Asian-NW fusion too.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Jenise » Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:54 pm

I rated myself Excellent although my husband, like Carrie's, would rate me higher since he eats at home on a consistent level well above that of anyone he knows (though he doesn't know the people on this board!). There's so much to learn yet, and the more I learn the more I know about how much there is still to learn.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Leanne S » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:35 pm

I rated myself very good-- the most popular category.

I figured the top categories were for people who could look at recipes with multiple "For the..." pieces: whole lists of sub-recipes-- and not get flustered. I'm more likely to try to figure out how to get everything into one pot.

However, I use good ingredients, and am willing to scrub and chop and peel them. I rarely use pre-fab sauces or frozen veggies.

I almost never open a cookbook, choose a recipe, and go buy ingredients; instead I'm looking for recipes that use what I have in the garden or that are good deals in the market, and I try not to waste food: I make soup and other peasant leftover-using things.

I do bake, and sometimes I wing it without a recipe. If you're not cooking something that requires actual chemistry, it's not hard to do.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Linda R. (NC) » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:35 pm

I have been reading this thread with interest. I read the list of options to my husband and he said "good" to "very good". I rated myself as good because, while I still have much to learn, I can consistently turn out meals that, at least to us, are as good or better than much restaurant fare. I think if you make food that your family truly enjoys, then you're a good cook. I don't really have any specialties. I do pretty well with Italian-style flavors, pastas etc., and I do all the grilling, too. I have a few Mexican/Southwestern dishes including quesadillas made with chorizo, cheddar and green chiles. One of my most recent creations is chicken with herb de provence and mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce. Extremely simple but very tasty!
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby David Scop » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:25 pm

I voted very good.

Like some others, I don't bake.
Methinks yeast has put out a hit on me for drinking many of its brothers and cousins on tap, and by the bottle in my earlier years, and continuing.
I can eat the baked goodies with the best of em, but stick to the retail side of the counter.

Give me meat of any kind, and most fish and I can knock it out.

If you want to see a mini "Top Chef" episode, come to my house 90 minutes before shabbat, and watch from the kitchen door:
clay pot chicken, cholent, rice, yams with rosemary and garlic are what's popular these days with my family. We try to do the soup Fri morning, or Th night.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:10 pm

I voted excellent. I'm also proud to say I've become humble.
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Re: Culinary Poll #16: How Do We Rate Ourselves as Cooks

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:06 am

I'd rate myself as "very good" but short of "excellent". That because I think the truly excellent cook has to be an innovator and my strengh lies not in innovation but in replicating and perhaps adapting classic recipes from the French, Italian and several other European cuisines.

I will say, however, that no-one on this planet makes better boeuf Bourguignon, tournedos a la Rossini, coq au vin, lobster Thermidor, pommes de terre Anna, eggs Benedict or potato latkes! Challenge that statement at your own risk.

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