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Do you like to cook?

We know you enjoy good food, or you wouldn't be here... but how do you feel about cooking it for yourself? Are you a gourmet chef? A good plain cook? Somebody who can burn water? A mixture of all three?

I like cooking... sometimes I get tired of it and really want a break (and wish that my DH was able to share the job with me!) but most of the time I'm a good enough cook that I look at the stuff on my plate in a restaurant and think 'why did I pay ten dollars for that plate when I know I can make it just as good or better at home for five?'

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  1. Love to cook. Hate doing dishes.

    I probably rank amongst the good to pretty darn good, depending on the mood and the moon. Around here, if you ain't a good cook, you don't eat very well. Necessity is the mother of kitchen skills, evidently.

    1 Reply
    1. re: uptown jimmy

      I'm with you! I love to cook and have gotten pretty darn good at it too. I have also developed a serious weakness for cookware, kitchen gadgets, cookbooks etc but I guess that goes with the territory.

    2. I love to cook, but I don't cook as often as I used to. I passionately hate my kitchen, and it wears me out just to be in there. If I ever get my remodel (and if I do, it'll be at least 5 years away) I will enjoy it more again.

      Plus time. I am so swamped with obligations that cooking in a frustrating kitchen just feels like one more obligation sometimes -- takes the fun out of it, you know?

      I do love to cook, though, and have since I was a very little girl. Something wonderfully creative and artistic in cooking. And it's pleasing to every sense. How many arts can you say that about?!

      It's great to be able to share that gift over & over with people you care about.

      1. I love food....have most of my life. I don't like cooking. For me it's a burden and the work/reward ratio isn't worth it for me. I'm an average cook, would probably be better if I loved it. Fortunately we eat out about 3-4x/week and Dh cooks more often at home than I do. I probably cook about once a week.

        1. My kitchen has its problems, and once in a while I DO just want to zap something and all I have is *ingredients*, but generally I enjoy cooking so much none of these things really matters. Mrs. O is in fact a pretty good cook herself, as I was delighted to learn when we first met, but her dedication to regular meals is all but nonexistent, whereas mine is an obsession. So I'm the cook, and since her dad is the cook in her family she did not find it hard to get used to (difference is that Pops won't wash dishes, whereas I do, and don't mind it at all). And, in turn, she doesn't mind dusting and vacuuming, and loves painting walls and ceilings, all of which are things I despise doing.

          The thing about me and cooking is that it's really the only skill I've engaged in, other than driving, that I consider myself to have come close to mastering. You never really do, because it's an endless, bottomless process, but understanding that it IS a process, that it's about ingredients and procedures a whole lot more than it is about specific dishes and recipes was an incredibly liberating thing to me. I get a huge kick out of being able to look in the pantry and invent supper from what I can find - I know I'm going to like it, and if Tania does too then it's a big Bingo. The acid test, I think, came the first time I cooked something brand-new for a dinner party - what they tell you NEVER to do - and it had'em licking their plates, or at least looking like they wanted to. Since then I've never worried about it for a second.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            I do brand new things all the time for parties, and my mother just can't believe I threw her sage advice right out the window on that one!

            I think when you are a good, experienced cook who really enjoys cooking, you can tell what's going to work and what isn't. Not that my mom isn't a good cook; she is. I just don't think she typically found cooking something of a hobby as well as a necessity.

            When you're a really good cook, you can crave something you've never eaten before and make it, and other people will love it, too.

            And I love reading cookbooks. I have a pile by my bed and read them like some people read stories. I felt guilty about all the cookbooks I had because I am able to find so many things online. And then I thought, hey, what if these were novels? Would I feel guilty then? No, I wouldn't. So I don't feel guilty anymore -- the only problem is that we're running out of places to build shelves!! :)

            1. re: luv2bake

              this would be a GREAT thread. I also read cookbooks....

          2. I love to cook. I love to bake. I love my new kitchen. We did a remodel almost 2 years ago and I got whatever I wanted and i couldn't be happier. I don't know what we ate for the first 2 years we lived in our home because the kitchen was so awful, I didn't use it. I would say I am a great home cook.

            Last week, my husband and I went out and wondered why we spent $85 on an average meal at Bandera here in LA. We had to wait nearly an hour for a table, on a weeknight, and they comped out app because of the wait. Two entrees and 2 glasses of wine and valet parking.

            The next night, I made minted pea soup, filet of beef bourginion and delicious green beans with lemon for a fraction of our mediocre meal out.

            I also read cookbooks for fun. With 3 little kids, recipes use up my attention span.

            1 Reply
            1. re: roxhills

              I'm there with you about being disappointed by restaurants. Ethnic restaurants are the only places that serve better food than I can cook at home, AND are a good value for the price. I feel guilty spending a week's worth of grocery money on one meal, and if it's no better than I can do myself, why bother? Going out to eat doesn't even feel like a luxury a lot of times, more like flying on an airplane.

              Plus, our friends generally can't afford to go out to eat. So most Fridays, I bring food to the practice barn for a night of rock 'n roll and socializing. 8 or 10 of us eat for the price of a dinner check for 2.

            2. I'm a pretty good cook, but as a single guy I don't have many people to cook for, or that believe i can. I get a lot more out of cooking when it's for others.

              2 Replies
              1. re: amkirkland

                Me, too. That's part of the joy of it. Gifts for others on ordinary days (and special ones, too, of course). Life would be so nice if everyone shared their gifts with others every day just because it made them happy, wouldn't it? :)

                PS Once you convince the right person you can cook, you won't be single long. :)

                1. re: amkirkland

                  yea same here I guess. Well I don't know how good I am since I don't have anybody else to eat it, but I enjoy it the same. I lost my "passion" for it for a while but lately have gotten to eating real healthy which forced me to cook more meals and have started to be more creative which has made cooking for myself a lot more fun.

                2. I love to cook; for myself, for my SO, for my parents. A lot of my afternoons/evenings revolve around the planning of meals, purchasing of food, then the making and consuming of the meal.

                  I try to shop daily, as I just let my day-to-day cravings dictate what's for dinner. Plus I don't have a car, so shopping on a large scale is not possible. (SO let me borrow his car once to shop, and I was baffled when I got to the supermarket and pulled a giant cart out to shop for the week).

                  After work I'll walk to the market to pick up ingredients, take 'em home, put some music on, pour a glass of something and go to it. After all the food and drink gets consumed, there's grumbling with the SO over who should clean. Once a week I'll come home empty handed, grumpy, and declare I am just not in the mood to make a mess cooking that I'll have to clean up ;)

                  My skills are getting better. Even though I'm a pretty laid back cook, I try to be conscious of getting faster with my knife and stuff like that. The more I cook, the more I learn, the better I'm getting. I enjoy my own food than a lot of 'typical' restaurant food; but then I'll go to places where I'm thoroughly reminded there's a lot to learn.

                  1. I love cooking and I'm a good cook - and I'm THE cook in our house. I didn't used to be very interested in making up stuff from scratch, as long as I had about a million cookbooks to choose from. But in the past year, I've gotten really creative about inventing recipes and I'm having a great time!

                    I hate baking, though, which is why it's good that my husband was a pastry chef. He doesn't cook (unless he has to, which is rare) and I don't bake, and we make the perfect team! Baking is too precise for me, and regular cooking is too flexible for him - if we don't have the exact ingredients for something, he doesn't know how to handle it.

                    1. Between me, mom and sis, we put a pretty mean spread together....lots of fighting, but no bloodshed yet.

                      Me, I am an organized and very detailed cook, mom is a slob in the kitchen (but it ends up tasting good) and sis is a fabulous baker. We can all present food beautifully, set a spectacular table including, flower arranging.

                      Unfortunatley, our passion for entertaining can be so great that friends and family are intimidated to reciprocate.

                      People get nervous to have us over! We don't jugde. I would be just as happy with a six foot hero.

                      Anyhoo, yes, I love to cook and love even more when people enjoy my food.

                      1. I do enjoy cooking. I go through phases now and then when I'm indifferent, but not too often. And there really aren't any good places here in town to get a decent dinner, so I have to get over that indifference pretty quick.

                        I have great fun trying new things, and especially different ethnic dishes. Mike is the Orkin Man for the area, and he has made friends with the Mexican butcher up in Storm Lake, so lots of good things come from there. He told me how to make my own carne asada tacos. That's where we buy our ribs for smoking, too.

                        Last summer Mike's 16-year-old grandson spent the summer with us. He had just taken a cooking class in school, and was interested, so we spent the entire summer cooking and baking and stuff. I taught him how to make mac & cheese from scratch the second day he was here. He has better knife skills than I do. It was great fun. When he got ready to leave I made him a cookbook with a lot of my old favorites and things he had helped me make. We got to where if I cooked something that he liked he would ask, "You're putting that in my cookbook, aren't you?"

                        Mike's a pretty good cook himself, but he doesn't do it too often anymore. He got a tongue, of all things, from his butcher friend and cooked it yesterday, just like the guy told him to. He had given him the right spices and told him just what to do. I'm not really that adventurous, I'm afraid, so I didn't try any. Actually, though, except for the taste buds, it looked and smelled like just about any pot roast, if a slightly funny shape. But I didn't try any.

                        1. I love to cook. I knew nothing about cooking when I married but my husband is from a family of people who love to cook and it has rubbed off. I very much enjoy the process of thinking up what to make from the ingredients on hand (I actually enjoy that more than selecting a recipe and having the procedure lined up in advance), I am intrigued by the ways food combine with other foods and the ways they react when subjected to different preparations and I delight in the results - most of the time.

                          Time in the kitchen is fun.

                          1. I love to cook. But I've been busy working lately and I haven't found the time to cook. I think I'm a pretty good cook, but I may be rusty when I go try it out again. By the way I hate doing the dishes also

                            Blog: http://foodlava.com/blog/

                            1. I enjoy a lot of the prep work - hunting down the ingredients, cutting up the bits. The actually cooking though, isn't as fun for me. Could be because I am not great at it, I recently learned how to boil an egg. But it's also because I can either cook OR eat -- eating after cooking is just too much of the same thing. And I like to eat!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: orangewasabi

                                My husband is great at the chopping (which is why he loves to make salads - says it makes him feel like a chef! lol) We make a great team. You just need to find the other half of your cooking team!! :)

                                1. re: luv2bake

                                  oh yeah, my husband often gets roped into cooking because by that point, I'm too bored to continue. Thing is, he'd rather eat out than cook in, so I can only corral him into cooking so frequently before he rebels. Too bad though, he's good at it

                              2. Love love love to cook and love trying new dishes, especially ethnic foods. Grew up in a very food-disfunctional family. Hoping to find a cooking club where I live and recently "networked" with someone I met in local Asian grocery store who is also interested in getting one together. My sons tell me "Mom, you can cook ANYthing!!!" which is nice to hear.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Val

                                  I absolutely LOVE cooking! I must have gotten it from my step mother who was a gourmet cook and caterer, even though she didn't come into my life until I was 16. I love to putter with pots and pans and new recipes, especially ethnic ones such as Thai and Indian. I love buying dishes and cookware and kitchen gadgets. I also have the most important accessory any creative cook can have - a spouse willing to eat absolutely anything and everything I cook. I remember going to my father and step mothers house and it seemed that every meal was special, whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. It took me a while to realize what it was - my step mother set the table with lovely china, glasses and flatware for every meal.

                                  1. re: Axalady

                                    My grandmother did that all the time, too, even if she was eating alone. She always set a beautiful table. That's something I completely let go a few years back, and I really regret it.

                                2. Quick answer - Yes.

                                  I find it a challenge to make dinners during the week that are inexpensive, tasty, nutricious and on the table in less than an hour. I also buy the food daily for freshness and what DW and I are in the mood for. Having no extra food and limited clean-up has become a talent. We have "family" dinner on Sundays when I can whip up something a little more special and our younger daughter (18) is actually around to join us.

                                  My older daughter (senior in college) asked me create a "book" of recipes for when she moves on her own after college. This project is in process and should be completed at the same time as she accepts her diploma.

                                  On the weekend in the summer, our pool is open for family and friends and the in-laws love to invite their cronies over for a dip. Lunch for these friends is always a simple and light affair but the smiles are great on the eldery. It's amazing how a marinated grilled chicken breast can make a 70 year old smile. Throw a little pasta salad on the side and it's nirvana.

                                  I also never know how many teenagers will sleep over after a saturday night pool party (i think we maxed out at 18 last summer). I prepare a big breakfast for all of them on Sunday mornings and they are all so appreciative it is a wonderful site, especially with all the teen-bashing I hear.

                                  1. I Love to cook, if the work hours(weekends,late nights) were not so terrible for cooks I would still be doing it. When I did cook for a living I enjoyed the pace of the day, and the fun that was had with the other folks in the kitchen.

                                    I cooked as a living for about 10 years, I was a line cook and worked every position on a line, in many different style restaurants, and learned something at every stop.

                                    I call myself a scratch cook, I dont have the title of chef, but I know from experience, and some of the chefs I have worked under(CIA grads, etc.) that I can hold my own in a kitchen.

                                    1. I love to cook. I probably cook 5-6 nights a week and eat out the other two. During the week I try to get cooking done in an hour give or take so I have time to play with my son (18 months) after work, although if something is easy but takes a while to cook, like a roast chicken then I just shift my play time to after its in the oven rather than play then cook.

                                      I try to do my food shopping on Sunday for the first half of the week with a rough idea of a menu but it can change easily enough and then go back on Thursday if need be. A certain number of veggies, starchy sides and a protein.

                                      The weekends are when I can get more creative and make additional courses, sauce from scratch which I can then use during the week etc...

                                      The only real downside is my wife complains that the All-Clad pots and pans are so heavy so I end up having to wash some of the bigger pots and roaster, although she does load the dish washer and hand wash the wooden spoons, knives and wine glasses so it works out.

                                      I am really looking forward to my son being a little older and he can stay up later to have dinner with us everynight. These days its pretty much weekend breakfast and lunch and Sunday dinner when he sits at the table and eats with us.

                                      Finally to jfood. I grew up with my mom cooking for our family all the time and when I got married she gave me a cookbook she had made with all of her popular recipes from growing up in it. I love it and use it all the time. I would recommend a binder or something you can add recipes to since I am always asking for new ones to add to the collection and I am sure your daughter will to.

                                      1. I absolutely love to cook. However, my apartment is very old and the kitchen flat-out sucks. I live in a 1920's house that has been divided into 4 units. I love my apartment, the hardwood floors throughout, the 13' cielings, the huge windows. But the kitchen! My oven does not work properly (temp control is WAY off, it continues to heat to 500 degrees even if set to 250), I have no dishwasher (makes using mixers/food processors/lots of pans a pain in the neck), and the surface I have to cut/work on is 2 ft by 1.5 ft.

                                        But occasionally I will borrow a friend's kitchen. They like it because they get to eat my food afterwards. I'm in law school now but I think if I hadn't taken that route, I would have gone to culinary school and become a cook.

                                        1. I love to cook, but over the years I've learned that I really don't cook for myself...I prefer to cook for others. On that rare occasion when the rest of the family has other meal plans, I'm likely to make instant ramen or boxed mac & cheese for myself, or even go out for fast food. What I really enjoy, tho, is going to the fridge to see what we have (I don't do much of the shopping, so sometimes Mrs. ricepad gets stuff on a whim and I don't know about it until I start pulling stuff out), and crafting a meal out of whatever's in there. Remember the Food Network cooking show called "Ready, Set, Cook!"? I love that kind of challenge.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ricepad

                                            I agree that I mostly like to cook for others. I might make things I will enjoy, but I'm not going to make them just for me. If it's just me, I will grab Fage yogurt (my new pleasure!) and some fruit or have some cheese and crackers or something. Even a bowl of oatmeal or cold cereal with fruit.

                                            I think I might end up being too skinny if I lived alone. Maybe I need to try that for a while!! haha

                                          2. I'm sort of ambivalent. I'm still in training, so when I try anything more complicated, I get stressed out that it's not going to turn out well. But my boyfriend and I eat at home 6 nights a week and between cooking and cleaning, I'd MUCH rather be doing the cooking.

                                            1. I love cooking. I think I'm too young to say I have mastered it (26), but I'm adventurous and fearless when it comes to trying new recipes and techniques.

                                              I hate cleaning up and I'm an unmitigated disaster in the kitchen, but the food is usually very yummy and I often host dinner parties so I have more people to experiment on. :)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. Absolutely love to cook but definetly in the beginning stages of gourmet..have a TON of learning to do.

                                                1. Often, cooking is like therapy to me. It's so satisfying to take a bunch of ingredients and turn them into something wonderful, fulfilling the promise of a great recipe, especially if it's a first time deal.

                                                  Unfortunately, I live with the Picky family. Trying to come up with something that three kids will eat and doesn't seem like school lunch for supper is a rare occasion, like aligning of the planets. All too often I cook boring, run-of-the-mill food just because it's most popular, or because it's fast on a hectic work/school night. But still, I do try to foist new and different things on them from time to time, with some backup for the little beasts who declare "I don't like it" (even though they've never tasted it),

                                                  I definitely like to cook a little more gourmet than I do, but I'm working on it!

                                                  1. i love to cook. living alone, i rarely cook anything complicated for myself -- think lentils, eggs, soba noodles, etc.-- but love pulling out the stops for friends or a special someone.

                                                    i went to culinary school, and have worked in high-end dining for many years, so feel very confident about experimenting. unless i'm baking, which requires pretty precise measurements and ratios for proper results, recipes are mostly for inspiration. tonight is gnocchi with poached quail eggs and truffle oil, braised rabbit over beluga lentils and morrocan carrot salad. yum.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                      If you call tonight's meal nothing complicated (afterall its lentils and eggs among other things) I would love to hear what you cook when friends are coming over.

                                                      1. re: matt

                                                        lol, nah -- my b/f was coming over. it was a smashing success of a meal. had chicken liver pate and prunes on toast to start, too!

                                                    2. I'm a pretty good cook, especially if I take the time to follow a recipe and buy the right ingredients. Some of my "experiments" or really super-quick thrown together meals are not as successful (like the lavender creme brulee made with splenda and non-edible lavender!). However, I only cook about one or two real meals a week -- the rest is heating stuff up, sandwiches, eating out, ordering in, leftovers, etc.
                                                      But since I've had no formal cooking education, there are huge gaps in my knowledge. I'm pretty good with baking, desserts, candymaking, vegetables and starch dishes; ok with chicken and some fish; but really spotty in terms of how to cook diffferent meats or different cuts and types of fish. And I can't figure out why some people want to grill nearly everything -- hardly anything seems to come out as well on my outdoor grill as if I pay careful attention to cooking it on the oven or the stove.
                                                      On the other hand, I can cook a mean campsite meal on a Coleman stove and I'm getting fairly good at certain Chinese and Japanese dishes.

                                                      1. Love it! I wish I had discovered this much earlier, I'd probably be a chef today. I've seen bathrooms bigger than our kitchen, and while my wife's the better cook, I have a much more adventurous palate. So much to learn, but there's nothing better than having friends and family gush over your food!

                                                        1. I loooooooove cooking and baking (with the exception of rolled out cookies, I HATE doing that), I love being in the kitchen, I love cooking for me, I love cooking for an audience, I love it all and will love it even more when our new kitchen is built this spring!

                                                          1. -----

                                                            I rather enjoy the entire process (plan-prep-cook-dishes-etc.) with the exception of the inability to literally hose down the kitchen when finished.

                                                            Fortunately I do have a roomy kitchen in a mid-'60 rental unit. However, I am shocked to see these modern units/homes have such a small dorky - wall to wall, 9 x 12 kitchens in them. It seems that if you was to expect any long term food storage, it would be from a freezer or some pantry located in the garage.

                                                            My sis once had a place where she went out and bought a cart to put all her flatware and servingware in because her only kitchen drawers were about 5 inches wide. The microwave had to be put on the cart because countertop was only 30 inches to each side of the kitchen sink.


                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: RShea78

                                                              Crappy little kitchens are my pet peeve as well. I don't understand why the put weensy little galley kitchens in new homes. I don't love my kitchen, but somehow it's actually better than a lot of what's out there!

                                                              1. re: mrbunsrocks

                                                                Unfortunately, I think it's because so many people are on the run and the mentality of eating out all the time. If you don't have time to sit and eat dinner with your family, especially if you have a young family, then maybe priorities need to be rearranged. I think about what so many kids are missing out on. I hardly know anyone whose family sits and eats together anymore. Even if I'm not setting my table like I should, we're still eating together. I know people whose kids just wander in the kitchen and grab a plate whenever they're ready to eat, and they sit alone in front of the TV or computer or video games while they eat. Everyone eats at a different time, as they wish, where they wish.

                                                                I can't imagine how different my wonderful memories of childhood would be if I had grown up that way.

                                                                Boy, I kinda got off the track on that one! I was also going to say how funny it is that some of the new homes have these gigantic kitchens, and no one ever uses them. Actually, it's not funny. It makes me sick because I want one to use!!! :)

                                                                1. re: luv2bake

                                                                  Our apartment is OLD and I am at constant war with the kitchen... it's got enough counter space (thank the Gods) because they thought a breakfast bar would be a neat idea. We never eat at it, but at least it gives me some place to prepare food. But the storage is abominable - those five-inch drawers sound oh so familiar... I couldn't believe it when I moved in and discovered that there were only TWO miniscule little drawers in the kitchen! There's room for the microwave in the corner next to the sink, but there's zero room for any other appliances, and no dishwasher. At least the stove is good - if it wasn't I think I would have said 'we're breaking the lease' and moved out!

                                                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                                                    Yeesh. I guess I need to stop complaining about my kitchen!

                                                            2. I love to cook, and I'm too poor to eat out often. What's more, the SO does dishes. That said, I have to admit that after a while, I really crave someone else cooking for me.

                                                              1. I love cooking and consider myself a good to sometimes great home cook. Not very good at cleaning up after a meal. I try to minimize the mess as I cook because I tend to lose all motivation once I sit down to eat. I would cook more often if I had the time.

                                                                1. I love to cook and most of the time my day seems incomplete with out cooking. Exceptions are while on vacation, I just cannot see eating the food I could get at home. If I am sick or if I have been on a cooing marathon and am just tired and ready to let someone else do the cooking for a change. That only happens a few times a year.

                                                                  1. I do love to cook and I am pretty good at it so the rumor goes. I cannot bake worth a damn except for boxed stuff and premade cookie dough. I range on the compulsive side so I love to clean, I hate clutter, I have to clorox everything within my grasp and cannot go to bed until all of the dishes are done and put away. Sigh. I am trying to make wontons tonight for the first time to go with Kung Pao noodles and beef.. wish me luck!

                                                                    1. I really enjoy cooking. I wish I had more time to do it, but I usually don't.

                                                                      Even more than cooking, though, I LOVE baking! I wish I had more time for that too - and more calories to use!

                                                                      At Christmas, I bake for most of the people I give gifts too, and I bake for the other teachers in my school, and I always bring something to the volunteer breakfast. I'm always trying new things, and nothing makes me feel better than whe someone asks for the recipe. :)

                                                                      1. Love to cook, love to bake, probably prefer to bake... hate, hate, hate to clean! We've been doing really good about cooking at home since Christmas and I'm very proud of us! I've also been keeping up on the cleaning fairly well, although right now it's a bit of a mess, but I'll fix that today. I always tell people I'm a good recipe-follower. A good cook, to me, is someone that can make it up as they go along, improvise, and most often, that's not me. Perhaps that's something that comes with age (I'm 26), but at this point, give me a good recipe and I'll make you something good!

                                                                        1. Like everyone else, love to cook. I was a baker, cook all the meals at home, and have enough training in techniques, so don't (can't?) follow recipes. Friends now often have me look in their ref to come up with a spur-of-the-moment meal. Leave the BBQing to the (other) guys, however.