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Is it better when you haven't cooked it yourself?

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Many of us can cook exactly what we feel like eating, or at least most of it. In terms of foods within your cooking knowledge, does it taste better if a friend/relative makes it or you do?
Example: my grandmother's soups are very bland, yet they taste amazing to me. when i replicate it at home it's not the same. My mom made a clam sauce last time I was home that was not at all how i would choose to do it, but it tasted great to me. Is it the food, the company, the love for the person who makes it, or the fact that I didn't have to make it myself? Certainly the feeling one gets from restaurant food is completely different, even if it's tasty and enjoyed in company.

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  1. Wow! What a great question. I think it is all of those things you mention - the food(simple as it may be), the love for the person who makes it (I would add the love the person who makes it feels for you & the love with which she serves it to you!), plus the fact you didn't have to make it yourself. Another theory: the feeling of being loved & pampered by mom or grandma leads to relaxed enjoyment; it's a love thing!

    1. I much prefer food made by someone else than something I made. For me that is one reason why I love eating out.

      1. My husband and I love to cook, and generally, I love our cooking. BUT, for some strange reason, I always like someone else's potato salad much better than my own. I have many versions, most of which I get raves about from others, but I usually like it at someone elese's home...or a a restaurant. Conversely, I love my meatloaf. It's my mom's recipe and I've never had a better one anywhere.

        1. This might not be quite what you meant, but I've always enjoyed eating what I cook myself a little less than if my husband had made the same dish (and I'd say we're both equally talented in the kitchen). The reason, I feel, is that when I cook it myself, by the time I come to eat it I've spent most of the day in the kitchen with it - as opposed to having my husband spend all that time in the kitchen while I'm up front reading - then, voila! - the meal appears as if by magic, totally fresh and new to me. I love to cook, and I love to eat (someone else's cooking) - they're two completely separate ways of having fun.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Akatonbo

            Yes! Sometimes I'm just not as interested in something after spending all day with the ingredients, aroma etc. Or if the prep has been stressful, I rarely feel the results were worth it. DH cooks less than me, is somewhat less skilled, but when he does cook I tend to LOVE it precisely because I didn't choose the recipe or do the cooking. When I try to recreate those dishes I never enjoy it as much.

            1. re: julesrules

              I'm rarely hungry after I cook a big meal and often times I'm my biggest critic, so a lot of the time, the end result is not worth it.

            2. re: Akatonbo

              I so agree with you. Food for me too is always better when made for rather than by me yet my friends all rave about what I make.
              (And ask for handouts)Prime example is Thanksgiving turkey. After playing with it all day in the oven, smelling it, taking a taste here and there; it just isn't the same as when you are at someone else's house for Thanksgiving

              1. re: Chas

                I hate Thanksgiving. Just thought I would share <g>. I would love for one year to be the person who gets to bring a dish or the wine to someone else's place.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  I'm not a big fan either! (Thank goodness I'm not the only one!) Last year we catered it in because we had to travel right after we got off work, and that was the best damn turkey I've ever tasted! ;-)

                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    I have asked hubby everyway possible if we could bring in T'giving or go out but unfortunately it's his favorite meal and thinks it's just grand. I hate it.

            3. My great grandmother never measured ingredients, never worked from a cookbook, could never write down her own "recipes" and I have yet to duplicate her choc chip cookies, chicken soup, mandelbread, chicken livers....and when I crave those homey foods...boy do I miss her! How did she achieve consistent flavors and I can't even come close?!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: HillJ

                My grandma is still alive, but whenever she gives me a recipe there's always an addendum at the end of the recipe: "Sometimes I add this or sometimes I might add that, or I don't always use this", etc., etc. I can't duplicate no matter how hard I try, but I think most of it is grandma's touch.