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Have I created a monster (by cooking so well)?

My name is Scargod. I am a reformed perfectionist. I cook at home. I have (Walter Middy-like), aspirations of being a great chef...

My SO, her children and our friends like my cooking. OK, that's too self-effacing; they generally love my cooking. She brags when she says, "that was restaurant grade!"
Yet, there are times when I feel unappreciated. There are times when I don't hit the mark, because I was experimenting, didn't have everything I needed, or perhaps I was tired. Yadda-yadda.
"Honey, I don't feel like it tonight, I've got a headache!" Yet, I am expected to perform.

We have differences... She likes fish far less than me. She might sprout feathers any minute from the chicken she eats (mostly in Italian food). She generally likes the resurrection of leftovers as a new dish less than me. Southern cooking are less interesting to her, as well as fried foods and game. This limits my ability to please her (as well as me), and stay out of a rut.
Perhaps what I am saying is, my SO knows I can cook. She is picky, yet usually is quiet and picks at her food if she doesn't like it. I can tell..... Vegetable melanges like ratatouille or stews don't suit her too much. Thus leftovers are harder to deal with. She likes soups and sandwiches, but not so much with soups if she knows it's recycled.
She likes simpler foods and mono-vegetable dishes. I did onions, potatoes, caraway seeds, bacon and savoy cabbage (from the garden), and she did not want it a second time. On the other hand she frequently likes potatoes. She loves my sandwiches with chicken and the kitchen sink!

This may be a whiney rant, but what am I to do? How do I please her on a regular basis, and keep up my level of cooking, when she doesn't appreciate my creativity, diversity and adventurous repitoire?
It's hard to keep up the level of cooking when I don't feel appreciated. If I don't keep up the level then I'm below normal and she notices that, too. Usually she doesn't complain, critique my cooking or tell me what she wants. She wants me to make the decisions and not make her head spin with choices!
We eat out only about one dinner a week. On the other hand, she has lunch out about twice a week. I cook 10-12 meals a week for us.
Heloise, What can I do to feel better about my cooking and please both of us?

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  1. You deserve better.

    You're good enough, you're smart enough, and darn it people like you...to quote Stuart Smalley. You food sounds terrific! Can't please everyone, and some people make living out of being hard to please.

    1. Forget Heloise. This post sounds like it needs a Carolyn Hax analysis!

      1. Have more dinner parties.
        Stop deriving your self esteem from the reactions of others.
        Talk to her, not us. It seems like she does enjoy your cooking. Make sure that's true.
        Calculate your stats, ala baseball, and try to improve them.

        1. Ever heard of the Cookbook of the Month on a site called Chowhound?
          I advise you to join in the cook along and change out the rut you seem to be in.
          That will be - Oh forget it. It's free. Advise, that is.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            No I haven't! Never heard about it... don't see it anywhere... (?)
            If this works out I'll have to compensate you with a drink if I'm in the area. I may be passing by one day on my/our way to Passadumkeg's place.

              1. re: Firegoat

                And here's a link to the September one, which I think all participants have really enjoyed - we've eaten pretty much only Vietnamese food at home all month:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/553813

                1. re: Firegoat

                  Well, there you go! You know how I hate abbreviations... I did not know that COTM was it. I guess it always is stickied?

                  1. re: Scargod

                    Yes, the thread for the current month, which has all of the 'reporting back thread' links in it, is always stickied for that month. Then, a second one is stickied - we go through a 'suggestions' thread early in the month, then a 'voting' thread, and then the 'announcement' thread.

                    Here the link to a post with all the months we've done - September is the two year anniversary.

                2. re: Scargod

                  I hope you will join us this month when we will be cooking from 3 of Mario Batali's books and/or his on-line recipes.

                  Here's a link to the past COTM (Cookbook of the Month) listing so you can see what you've missed:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5558...

                  And, here's a link to a Batali thread with comments:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/559083

                  1. re: Gio

                    Gio - thanks for doing that - I thought I'd put a link in my post, but edited it repeatedly and I guess it didn't 'stick'!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      You're welcome, MM. I edit interminably so I can certainly empathize.

                    2. re: Gio

                      MMRuth and Gio: Thanks, very much!
                      On first inspection I was thinking of "Being John Malkovich" or turning over a rock and finding a whole sub-culture that I never knew existed! I had no idea this was going on at Chow.
                      What another great way for me to be distracted and use up my time!

                      1. re: Scargod

                        One thing I would note - there have been months where I've loved the book and could have cooked from it all month, where my husband has tired of the food, and so I've stopped, even though I didn't want to (Dunlop - Chinese). Other months - Well's Vegetable Harvest, and the Greek month, we both tired of the food quite quickly. My husband (almost) literally put his foot down on the former, as a result of a brocolli puree. That said, I got two great recipes out of that book that I make pretty regularly, so it was worth it.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4371...

                        1. re: Scargod

                          <"What another great way for me to be distracted and use up my time!">
                          It's good CHow, for heaven sakes. It's almost better than ... sliced bread.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Indeed - it's much more productive than many other things I do on this site!

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              No doubt-for me, too. I was thinking that when I started considering it and saying what I did. I may have to stop with the other BS.
                              BTW, I bought Batalia's Molto Italiano. I've cooked quite a bit of Italian. It's right up there with Thai, Mexican and "Southern". I was just shopping for a good, second Thai cookbook, but couldn't decide.

                  2. Grab the vacuum and say "Darlin' ,you've done all the hard Hooverin' whilst I've done all the easy cookin' here for five years, I apologize, and we'll switch it around for the next five." Use you best Fut Wurth accent, and she will beg for more of the same...;) Trust me just this once.