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Why do some foods taste better when made by someone else?

Why do my mother’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste better than mine? Why can’t I ever duplicate her simple oil and vinegar salad dressing?

These are simple “recipes”, with only a couple ingredients, and I’ve watched her making these and other things, so I know what she uses. Her measurements may not be exact, but even if I use the same brands they still don’t taste the same.

As a general interest topic, I’d like to know, does anyone else feel the same way and why do some foods taste better when made by someone else?

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  1. i almost never like my own salads - no idea why bc if I got them at a restaurant, I'd love it, but when I make it at home, it just never tastes great

    same goes for tuna fish - i can always taste the can and i probably prohibit myself from adding as much mayo as a deli would

    and definitely a lot of my mom's food tastes much better when she makes it - less effort on my part makes it easier to enjoy her feasts!

    3 Replies
    1. re: jpmcd

      This begets another question: Why does beer taste better and colder in a bar than at home?

      1. re: Oneiron

        He he - how true. For the most part, I don't like my own cooking (I get rave reviews on most things) however my son agrees that I even make better cold cereal than he does, so go figa . .

      2. re: jpmcd

        I have to agree with salads. (and not my mother's. Her food was the reason I learned how to cook - self preservation!). Salads at friends' homes, restaurants etc. always taste better to me for some reason!

      3. There's a reason why there is something known as Comfort Food.....foods made with love from Mom back in more simple times in our lives triggers peace and a sense of calmness......memories and good thoughts.....make foods taste better.

        1. it's probably a psychological thing...nostalgia maybe?

          Like I'm kind of vain, so when someone else makes something I usually make, I tend to think, "hmm...mines better"

          1. I'm more critical when I made it.

            1. I'm a little vain too when it comes to my "specialties". But I've always wondered about the pb&j...I've been making them for thirty years and still if my mother makes one, I'll be darned, it tastes different!

              fourunder must be right, it's the love factor that imparts some indescribable nuance to make food taste better.

              I wonder if someone feels the same about something I make?