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Are you a better cook than your Mother?

p
PhilipS Feb 4, 2013 08:45 AM

Pretty sure I could out cook my dear old Mum any day. I don't boil sprouts until they are pulp and my yorkshire puds are light and fluffy.

I actually think that my Mum doesn't really enjoy cooking. She did have her speciality pieces like her chocolate terrine and lemon meringue pie, but I don't actually think her heart was in it.

I guess that for her cooking was a means to an end rather than a hobby. My Gran, however, was an excellent cook and I will never be able to produce her pastry or shortbread.

Anyone else out there a better cook than their Mum.

  1. p
    Puffin3 Feb 4, 2013 08:50 AM

    My dear old mom had to cook whatever came in the door and that she did. I don't think she ever 'loved' cooking but she loved those she cooked for. I'm a different cook but in some ways she was a better cook considering what she had to work with.

    1. alliegator Feb 4, 2013 08:51 AM

      Heavens, yes. The women in my family have always been horrible cooks that aren't afraid to admit it and laugh about it. When my dad couldn't home to make dinner, my mom's creation was "salad bar". She'd put out a big bowl of lettuce and little ones with toppings like we enjoy at restaurants and that would be dinner, haha!

      1. Jay F Feb 4, 2013 08:52 AM

        I hope so.

        1. p
          pine time Feb 4, 2013 09:03 AM

          I'm certainly a "different" cook than my Mom, but not 100% sure that means "better." She could whip up a delicious batch of biscuits with no recipe, no measuring, just a bit of this and a bit of that. She regularly had a tablefull of food every single night, but I may do a main and--not always--a side veg. She didn't have either the money, the access to recipes (certainly not the internet), or the time. She kept us fed, albeit basic meat and potatoes, but with considerably fewer resources than I have available.

          That said, I make stuff she'd not only never heard of, but I'm sure, she'd never even taste. I've traveled (she didn't), so I've been exposed to lots more cultures and cuisines than she imagined. Not convinced that makes me better, just different.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pine time
            l
            lagatta Feb 4, 2013 09:12 AM

            I'm like pine time; my mother was an excellent cook, and always insisted on making "real food", although she was a schoolteacher and widowed when I was 15 (and my dad had been very ill for most of my childhood beforehand). So I learnt to cook very early to be able to pitch in.

            Like pine time, I've travelled much more than mum and had access to many more cultures and cuisines (though we did already have access to many European cultures at least when I was growing up).

            1. re: pine time
              Perilagu Khan Feb 4, 2013 09:45 AM

              Good answer, and I echo it.

              My mom passed away in 2009, but I've retained all of her greatest hits and incorporated them into my repertoire. Thing is, I can only do perhaps 2/3 of them as well as she did. She had the elusive Midas touch with the remaining third and I'll never again experience them at the peak of perfection in this life.

            2. melpy Feb 4, 2013 09:16 AM

              I would say I am similar. As we have learned more and more about nutrition etc.. both she and I have evolved.

              As a kid we were a little picky and so was my mother. Everyone has slowly been adding things to their repertoire.

              I make many types of cuisines while she does not. I use more spices that she doesn't. She bakes more often.

              1. n
                nlgardener Feb 4, 2013 09:24 AM

                Yes. Once I got into my teens and started babysitting for people I discovered a new world of food, and even greater discoveries when I went off to college. My mother does not like to cook. She has, however, become an adventuresome eater. Credit goes to her children for that LOL! We're all "foodies" - perhaps because of our early deprivation???

                1 Reply
                1. re: nlgardener
                  alliegator Feb 4, 2013 10:04 AM

                  Same here! My brother and I both really enjoy cooking and trying new restaurants. Perhaps for the same reason!

                2. h
                  HillJ Feb 4, 2013 10:02 AM

                  My Mom a f/t working parent excelled in family food budgets, produce shopping and quick, light fare picnics. But, she LOVED food magazines and the food/restaurant/wine sections of the newspaper.

                  By the time I was 12, Mom was clipping recipes out, sticking them on the frig with a note for me to give it a try.

                  I wound up being the better cook only because her hard working life paved the way.

                  1. iowagirl Feb 4, 2013 10:06 AM

                    Another in the camp of not necessarily better, but definitely different! My mom loves to feed people and loves to eat - so food has always been important in my life (I took after her, whereas my sister is more "food is fuel, unless it's chocolate!"

                    I am more into the local, seasonal, sustainable kind of cooking, and am more adventurous than my mom, but our weekly conversations always start out with "what did you eat today?"

                    She also bakes MUCH more than I do and is MUCH better at it than I ever will be. I love that even though we cook differently, we still bond over our love of food!

                    1. suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 10:10 AM

                      i hate to throw a wrench in all the nice things you all are saying about your moms. But that being said, my mom was an awful cook. She hated it and it showed. She never used Saran and leftovers dried up. On Friday nights the weekly leftovers, no matter what they were got thrown in a pot with water to make a stew. You mat get scalloped potatoes with tuna mixed with leftover Chinese takeout and a hot dog all in the same pot with a can of tomatoes and call it stew. And i wish I were kidding. The horror stories I have. So, that said, yes I am a better cook than my mom.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: suzigirl
                        h
                        HillJ Feb 4, 2013 10:13 AM

                        ROFL, no wrench-just the truth right. I suppose my Mom knew that her children would never be well behaved enough to eat a morsel of what you just described. My Mom didn't like to throw food out but also wasn't a fan of leftovers. So whatever she prepared was never in big quantities.

                        1. re: HillJ
                          suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 10:18 AM

                          I wish my mom had the restraint to not have leftovers. Spaghetti sauce, pork chop,creamed corn and canned tamali stew anyone?

                          1. re: suzigirl
                            h
                            HillJ Feb 4, 2013 10:21 AM

                            Oy! I can't imagine. Makes for a great story though :)

                            1. re: HillJ
                              suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 10:26 AM

                              Bless her heart, she just didn't learn to cook. I could shock you with the food scars

                              1. re: suzigirl
                                h
                                HillJ Feb 4, 2013 10:34 AM

                                I bet! My Mom was pretty fearless with most things but for some reason she was never comfortable with a gas grill and by the time we convinced her to buy one she was head over heels in love with the small hibachi grill for shrimp. One day she decided to try lighting the gas grill and surprise us with grilled steaks. When she lifted the grill lid to turn the steaks over she was hit by a fire puff and lost a few eye lash hairs...well, she never stopped telling the story. My brother took over the gas grill duties and she stayed indoors while the grilling was going on. Bless HER heart, she thought gas grills were evil.

                                1. re: HillJ
                                  suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 10:43 AM

                                  I am only five foot tall and when I was lifting the lid on my grill I burned my tummy pretty badly because I didn't go from the side and leaned into the grill. I am in your moms camp... grills are evil

                                  1. re: suzigirl
                                    h
                                    HillJ Feb 4, 2013 11:42 AM

                                    Maybe that was the issue, my Mother was petite as well.

                            2. re: suzigirl
                              Perilagu Khan Feb 4, 2013 10:45 AM

                              Did your mom grow up poor? If so, that probably explains her lack of "restraint."

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 10:50 AM

                                No. She actually was adopted and grew up very well off. We as children grew up poor though.

                          2. re: suzigirl
                            sal_acid Feb 4, 2013 11:37 AM

                            My sister!

                            1. re: sal_acid
                              suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 05:06 PM

                              Haha. Was your mom scary in the kitchen too?

                            2. re: suzigirl
                              breadchick Feb 4, 2013 07:08 PM

                              Are you Ruth Reichl, haha. Good grief, the stuff she has in her book about her mother's cooking. Yikes.

                              My mother was a good cook when I was growing up, but it was just the basics. Meat, starch, veg. She got more adventurous when older, but it was always the sweet stuff. She lost her interest in cooking anything much beyond food to eat. She then loved coming to her daughters houses!

                              I love cooking, have a very well equipped kitchen, and it's my pleasure. But, I have more advantages then my mother had, and more exposure to different foods.

                              1. re: breadchick
                                suzigirl Feb 5, 2013 08:10 AM

                                You caught me...Suzi is just a nickname. I can really relate to Ruth. My mom was awful.

                            3. ipsedixit Feb 4, 2013 10:15 AM

                              Are you a better cook than your Mother?
                              _________________

                              No.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                a
                                akq Feb 5, 2013 10:44 PM

                                +1

                              2. j
                                Janet from Richmond Feb 4, 2013 10:39 AM

                                My Mom was a terrible cook and for her food was a burden. My two brothers and I are food lovers and good cooks.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                  coney with everything Feb 5, 2013 05:10 AM

                                  Ditto. My mom hated to cook but was stuck doing it and had a repertoire of "how to make one pound of burger feed six people".

                                  Yet two of my sisters and I all ended up at least moderately interested in good food. Youngest sister? Not so much

                                2. pinehurst Feb 4, 2013 10:41 AM

                                  No. I'm not a better anything than my Mom.

                                  1. j
                                    jlhinwa Feb 4, 2013 11:19 AM

                                    Yes, I am a better cook than my mom in terms of flavor, variety, ability to please diners and guests consistently. She definitely has me beat in terms of thriftiness and good use of ingredients on hand.

                                    Baking, hands down, she has it all over me and most everyone else I know. I still (at age 50) am reluctant to try some of the baking recipes for which she is well-known, because I know I won't measure up, even though it has been years since she has baked herself.

                                    1. biondanonima Feb 4, 2013 11:21 AM

                                      Yes. My mother is a competent cook and can follow a recipe, but she's very unimaginative and, despite years of practice, lacks a certain amount confidence in the kitchen. She rarely strays from a recipe. Also, she grew up in the 50s, and finds many typical 50s-type preparations (boiled-to-death vegetables, etc.) perfectly acceptable to this day, despite the fact that none of her children would touch them with a 10-foot pole even AS children.

                                      1. hyacinthgirl Feb 4, 2013 11:33 AM

                                        I am probably a better cook than my mom, but that is only because I am a better eater than my mom. She doesn't really enjoy food that much and she's not very adventurous (really, some people would say I'm not either but compared to her I'm Evil Knievel).
                                        My mother follows recipes and executes them well, but she just isn't very curious and doesn't work hard to expand her palate nor her skills.
                                        Meanwhile, I'm currently trying to teach myself how to do a variety of Persian dishes. Before that I was experimenting with Indian cooking, to the best of my ability.
                                        I also try to make all my own dressings, marinades and sauces, while she's always buying them purchased and pre-made. Certainly there are times when my attempts are not as good as the pre-made ones, but when I get them right, they're far superior. I don't think she really would notice the difference, if it weren't pointed out to her.

                                        1. r
                                          ricepad Feb 4, 2013 11:55 AM

                                          No. My mom is a pretty damn good cook - for instance, she can knock out a multi-course, traditional Chinese banquet for 10 without busting a sweat (except she always underestimates how much rice I like to eat!). There are a few things, however, that she absolutely cannot do well. Her spaghetti Bolognese is wildly inconsistent, most baked goods are either doughy or burnt (or, oddly enough, both), and her meatloaf is just about inedible. And her idea of a barbecue is to toss some dogs (usually chicken franks....ugh!) on the grill. I have always chalked it up to her refusal to measure. She knows how Chinese stuff should look, smell, and taste at every stage of cooking, and for things that don't require much measuring, she does really well. Anything for which measuring is important, however, means unpredictable results at dinner time. For her, recipes and cookbooks serve as mere guides and inspiration, they're not absolute instruction manuals. Most of the time the results are very good. Sometimes, in fact, they're outstanding. Every now and then, tho, we'll wonder, "What in the hell is THAT on the table?"

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: ricepad
                                            v
                                            Vidute Feb 4, 2013 11:49 PM

                                            "What in the hell is THAT on the table?"

                                            my mother's stuffing experiment one thanks giving. not even the dog would eat it!

                                            1. re: ricepad
                                              lilpixy Feb 5, 2013 10:01 AM

                                              You have just described me...If I have to measure you can forget me making it, I don't think I even own a full set of measuring spoons and cups. My mom however is nit picky and anal retentive about EXACT measurements in EVERYTHING.

                                            2. iL Divo Feb 4, 2013 12:03 PM

                                              "
                                              Are you a better cook than your Mother?"

                                              yes...my passion, not hers

                                              1. m
                                                MonMauler Feb 4, 2013 12:15 PM

                                                I like to pretend I am, but I'm not. My mom has always made good, old American comfort food staples, so I am a more adventurous cook. And I can, and will, cook meat to the proper doneness, whereas she prefers, and serves, everything well done. Lasagna, chicken noodle soup and the like are her domain. Meanwhile, my dad has always excelled on the grill and at breakfast. This leaves little room for me, so my cooking revolves more around frying (neither of them have ever been comfortable with deep frying), exotic/ethnic meats and preparations. One of them would insist on assisting if I tried to make something in their regular rotation - they know what they like when it comes to those dishes.

                                                On the other hand, ask me to set a dinner time and have everything done at the appropriate times, and I fail miserably (my dad usually fails at this, as well). Yet, if my mother tells you dinner will be at 7pm, you better believe the meal will be totally cooked and will be being plated at 7pm.

                                                1. l
                                                  lagatta Feb 4, 2013 12:55 PM

                                                  As for the men, my uncle (my mum's youngest brother, half-way between her age and mine) remains the best all-round cook in the family for both every day meals (he brought up his two daughters himself; their mother had emotional problems) and fancy cuisine.

                                                  Unlike my mother, I almost never bake. I know how to bake bread, but except for the odd homemade pizza, there is really no reason to bake bread in central Montréal, in a neighbourhood where I can find not only French, but Italian, Middle Eastern and other breads around the corner or down the street. And I almost never eat sweets. My mum didn't either as she got older - no medical problems, just watching her weight - but she had done so much baking earlier in her life that she could still turn out a good, even cake or pie for company. The only pie-like things I make myself are quiche and savoury vegetable tarts...

                                                  My mother's repertoire did expand with time - she was very interested in new things - just of an earlier generation.

                                                  1. Chemicalkinetics Feb 4, 2013 01:41 PM

                                                    Hi Philip,

                                                    You may find this interesting:

                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8113...

                                                    I think my mom is a better cook than me on some of the dishes, but in general, on the broader pictures, I am a better cook than her.

                                                    1. t
                                                      tonifi Feb 4, 2013 01:55 PM

                                                      What my mom did well she did very well. She could fry a pound of bacon in a ten-inch cast iron skillet and every slice would be perfect. She made wonderful white gravy, and when she made fried eggs she never broke the yolk. She did not enjoy cooking, though, and quite rightly saw it as a kind of drudgery that convenience foods came along and relieved. (Hey, I love to cook, but putting 2-3 meals on the table every day can get pretty old after a while). We at a lot of thing that ende in 'roni' or 'helper'. I love to cook and I know that I am better at it than a lot of people I know, including my mother, but I've had the luxury of time, varied ingredients, inexpensive supplies, and the information superhighway for guidance and inspiration. I can't say that back when the cooking for almost every meal involved 'pick through the beans, rinse the beans, soak the beans, boil the beans, eat the beans...repeat' that I would have been quite so enthused about it.

                                                      1. s
                                                        suburban_mom Feb 4, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                        My mother admits that she hates to cook. So, yes, I am a better cook than my mom. My sister on the other hand is a better baker than my mom. My mother is also not fond of baking.

                                                        I love to cook. My daughter also enjoys cooking. I fear though that I have spoiled my boys. Neither of whom even try to cook but love to eat good food.

                                                        1. k
                                                          Kontxesi Feb 4, 2013 03:21 PM

                                                          My mom was cooking for five children who fought constantly and a husband who always wanted that one thing that wasn't on the table. (Example, I spent three hours making Easter dinner, and as we sat down to eat, he said "Where are the rolls?", knowing full well I hadn't made any.) She had to beg and plead for money to buy groceries.

                                                          I think I'm only a better cook because the people she was cooking for took the fun out of it. She had no reason to try to make something new or different because some picky kid would complain (probably me), and someone would make a rude comment. I wouldn't want to cook under those conditions, either.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Kontxesi
                                                            melpy Feb 5, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                            I thought you meant your father wanted some hanky plankton before I finished reading the sentence.

                                                          2. BlueMagic Feb 4, 2013 03:45 PM

                                                            My mother believed potatoes came from a box and creamed corn was a vegetable..so yes.. I am a much better cook.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: BlueMagic
                                                              suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 05:12 PM

                                                              You mean there were real potatoes and corn when I was young? I thought that was a modern thing invented after I was old enough to cook.

                                                              1. re: suzigirl
                                                                p
                                                                pksmart Feb 4, 2013 05:22 PM

                                                                I didn't know that potatoes where round and not flakes out of a box. Corn from the can was boiled for what, an hour?

                                                                1. re: pksmart
                                                                  suzigirl Feb 4, 2013 05:59 PM

                                                                  I can so relate. Weren't all veggies cooked that way? I first became aware that potatoes including boiled and scalloped weren't from a box/can when my mom fell at work and was had to stay at home for about a week and a half and we had no income from her and two kids in the single digits and one just barely in her double digits. Dad got a huge bag of potatoes,25 lbs I would guess, a 5 lb box of bacon end cuts and a bag of onions and every night he cooked them on the grill. It was cheap eats I'm sure and tasty.

                                                            2. Savour Feb 4, 2013 03:51 PM

                                                              My mom is a great cook, and some of her recipes (Caesar salad, fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, stuffed cabbage) are the ne plus ultra of such dishes. I am also a great cook, and I tend to be a bit more adventurous than she is because I'm more interested in cooking as a thing. She spends more time on cooking than I often do (she lives alone and has a flexible schedule whereas I work full time and have two small children).

                                                              1. p
                                                                pksmart Feb 4, 2013 03:55 PM

                                                                Please make sure my mom does NOT see this.

                                                                My mom was a terrible cook. Not her fault, necessarily. She just didn't seem to have the time an maybe kids simply have no taste...

                                                                I was 18 before I have a fresh salad. My mom made veggies every night, mind you, but it was from a can and cooked on the stove till they were mush. I hated, no I HATED veggies growing up. It didn't help that my dad would tell me to eat them "they will put hair on your chest!". As a girl, the last thing I wanted was 1. to eat that, and 2. hair on my chest.

                                                                She did make orange jello with shredded carrots in it. That was one veg I would eat!

                                                                Funny, now that she is retired and the kids are gone, she is much better at using fresh produce.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: pksmart
                                                                  EWSflash Feb 5, 2013 07:51 PM

                                                                  My mom had my friend and me come over for dinner one night when I was in my mid-20s. She served steamed broccoli, and my friend had no idea how to eat it, because she'd never seen it before. Holy cow- she was one of six kids. She said for dinner her mom would make ONE box of Kraft mac & cheese for all six kids, if you can believe that. They're all very short and petite (no big surprise there). To this day she loves broccoli. 8^)

                                                                2. t
                                                                  thedryer Feb 4, 2013 04:01 PM

                                                                  My mother is the best cook I ever met, can make anything and everything without as much as a recipe. She just "knows" how to make it all.

                                                                  I am more jealous of her talent to get it all done at the same time, piping hot and served to 8 people without as much as breaking a sweat. Such an amazing woman!

                                                                  Now my mother-in-law is a different story; I don't think she even knows how to boil water...

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: thedryer
                                                                    EWSflash Feb 5, 2013 07:51 PM

                                                                    Awesome, thedryer.

                                                                  2. fldhkybnva Feb 4, 2013 04:01 PM

                                                                    My mom was a great cook and as much as she could tried to get a home-cooked meal on the table at least most of the days of the week. It was nothing too special, but always tasty and classic typical dishes. Unfortunately she is disabled now and can no longer cook and is quite annoyed that now as an adult I have taken a liking to cooking whereas as a kid I wanted nothing to do with it. I think that now I would definitely be considered a better cook by most people, but her cooking never disappointed. I think I have much more variety and cook many more things out of the typical stereotyped family dinners of spaghetti and tacos and with dishes of that nature I tend to elevate them or focus on each individual component to improve. For example, mom never would have mixed up her own taco seasoning and the standard packet style were admittedly quite good but SO and I always make our own taco seasoning and focus on developing cooking skills.

                                                                    1. p
                                                                      pedalfaster Feb 4, 2013 05:20 PM

                                                                      Tough question.

                                                                      I don't eat meat so my mother was much much better at say roasting a chicken or frying a fish.

                                                                      She also had a cake business, so she was better at baking (and decorating) sweets.

                                                                      I think I am better with salads, simple veg prep, bread baking, and non-cake desserts...except, my cream puffs will never ever touch hers. They were OMG to die for.

                                                                      1. mudcat Feb 4, 2013 08:31 PM

                                                                        My mother was an excellent cook and while I enjoy my own cooking I would rather have hers if that was possible. She could do more with less than anyone I have ever known. She could put a meal on the table pretty fast without any apparent hustle and she took the time to involve my younger brother and me with the cooking. If we were home we peeled the shrimp, opened the oysters, killed and dressed the fowl and pared the vegetables. She had a few quirks. She would mumble a commentary on the process as she cooked, pluck a morsel out of the bowl she was working with at your peril if she had a knife or spoon in her hand, and she would not cook on an electric stove. She loved her oyster patties.

                                                                        1. s
                                                                          sueatmo Feb 4, 2013 08:42 PM

                                                                          Yes better than she was. She didn't like to do it all that much. She worked and I think she felt undervalued. Dad didn't want to go out to eat, and he certainly didn't cook.

                                                                          She taught me a lot though, and she never minded if I messed around in the kitchen.

                                                                          1. emglow101 Feb 4, 2013 09:13 PM

                                                                            Yes, but I was not a better cook than Papa. He was a master at making soups and beans. We always had a garden." Gotta eat your root vegtables" he would say.

                                                                            1. MsMaryMc Feb 4, 2013 11:24 PM

                                                                              I'm better at making dinners--more range, less fear of herbs and spices, less need to cook meats and veggies to mush. I also use fewer convenience foods and mixes (CoolWhip, instant mashed potatoes, Hamburger Helper, etc.)

                                                                              I'm not and probably never will be the baker she was. There were ALWAYS home-made cookies in a tin in her kitchen when i was growing up. She ran a virtual bakery out of her kitchen, making cakes and pies and other goodies for friends and neighbors. Her pie crust was the Platonic ideal--light, flaky, just superb. I'm pretty good at that stuff, but she was better.

                                                                              And I can't make fried chicken as well as she did (but that's my next project, so stay tuned).

                                                                              1. bagelman01 Feb 5, 2013 03:14 AM

                                                                                Absolutely, Mom's 90, blind in one eye and confined to bedor a wheelchair.

                                                                                That said, she wasn't much of a cook in her healthy days. Vegetables, if served were canned (with the exception of frozen brocolli). Most suppers consisted of a piece of over broiled meat and a veg with a glass of water.

                                                                                I was told that she was a great cook in her early days, but really never saw it. I asked her about 30 years ao why she never put out a nice family meal, only for guest, and she told me that my older blings and father didn't appreciate her efforts and by the time I was born she just didn't bother anymore. By the time I was 10, I was the only child left at home and w tended to eat out 4-5 nights per week, or I'd cook my own supper.

                                                                                1. sunshine842 Feb 5, 2013 04:32 AM

                                                                                  yes, I am -- and she'll be the first one to say so.

                                                                                  My mom is a "food is fuel" gal -- she *likes* good food, but cooking just isn't her thing.

                                                                                  Her mother was a meat-and-potatoes cook, with a few cakes and cookies to round it out. Good basic fare, but nothing that really sticks in my mind as one of Grandma's great dishes. (I taught my grandmother to can tomatoes and make strawberry jam -- my other grandmother taught *me*)

                                                                                  She also never kept me out of the kitchen, and I started cooking regularly for the family by high school -- I was over the moon to get to cook, and she was over the moon to be relieved of the duty. Everybody's happy.

                                                                                  She's a good cook, and has some awesome family favorites that we still all seek out...but she's very quick to tell you that cooking just isn't her deal as she points at me.

                                                                                  1. TheHuntress Feb 5, 2013 05:29 AM

                                                                                    Yes, I am a better cook than my mother.

                                                                                    My mother is, uh, interesting. Growing up food was plain, boring and bland. I thought I hated vegetables because all vegetables were microwaved and served plain. I thought I hated salad because "salad" was wilting iceberg lettuce, tomato (I hate tomato) and awful cheese (I don't like cheese either). Every summer (and summer goes forever here) it was either canned tuna and "salad" for dinner or ham and "salad". When I went to the UK I was regularly asked if I was sick or had cancer. I began cooking as soon as I was old enough, it really came down to that my mother disliked cooking, worked hard and was tired. My dad is very bland with his tastes and she often catered to what he wanted to eat.

                                                                                    There are some things I will never be able to cook as well as my mother and they are mince pies, lasagne and lemon meringue pie. Oh and cottage pie. She does those things well. Otherwise I avoid eating at her house.

                                                                                    1. MGZ Feb 5, 2013 06:09 AM

                                                                                      Yeah, I'm significantly better with all things food than my Mom - cooking, intuition, wine, ingredients, etc. She'd be the first one to tell you. In fact, she invites me to her house to cook for her and, often, her guests. I load up my pans, knives, coolers, what have you. She does reimburse for the ingredients.

                                                                                      It's always funny when I'm at work and she calls, "I'm sorry to bother you, but . . . ." is usually followed with a cooking question.

                                                                                      At bottom she's not bad, I'm just that good.

                                                                                      1. mamachef Feb 5, 2013 07:01 AM

                                                                                        Definitely. Mom didn't love to cook and it was obvious. I learned to cook in self-defense. :) She had a few things that she did well, but was heavily into substitutions that didn't always make sense, as in the case of the pecan pie, wherein mom discovered that she didn't have pecans, so she used raw peanuts instead. This was not a good thing.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: mamachef
                                                                                          sunshine842 Feb 5, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                          mine used corn meal in a stir fry recipe...because if it came from corn, it must be the same thing as corn starch, right?

                                                                                          It tasted okay, but the gig was up when my sister stared at her fork and asked why the stir-fry was gritty.

                                                                                          That was 30 years ago, and that story still makes the rounds every once in a while...

                                                                                        2. meatn3 Feb 5, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                                                          Yes.

                                                                                          My Mother could follow a recipe and put some very good dishes on the table. I don't think she viewed cooking as drudgery but it wasn't a passion either. Her cooking explorations were largely directed by my Father - his likes and dislikes and recipes he was interested in tasting. Like many of her time and upbringing, it is hard to define what her preferences may have been.

                                                                                          I am much more aware of nutrition, technique and have a deeper understanding of ingredients. I derived a lot of pleasure from cooking and enjoy the results and the creativity of the process. I also really like shopping for food. All of which has allowed me to explore this world more fully than my Mother did.

                                                                                          1. h
                                                                                            Harters Feb 5, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                                            Absolutely, Philip.

                                                                                            Mum's adulthood started in the 1930s. She got married in 1948 - when food would still be rationed for some years to come after World War 2. As for a cooking style, her take on things was that it was impossible to overcook anything, so vegetables could boil away to a mush for ages. She'd then slather them in butter. And, of course, that generation were not exposed to the many cookery programmes on TV, nor to eating out except very rarely. Or, indeed, to the experience of foreign travel and the food in other countries ( I think she only left the country on two occasions)

                                                                                            At least she was better than my partner's mother (who is still with us) and who is such an appallingly bad cook that she could ruin a tin of soup.

                                                                                            That said, on a generation thing, when my maternal grandmother developed arthritis in her hands, granddad took up baking. I remember him in his 70s and he rmade the lightest, most delicious fairy cakes. My own baking skills wouldnt get anywhere near that.

                                                                                            1. TheCarrieWatson Feb 5, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                                                              I'm probably more versatile and better technically, but her food always tastes much better to me than my own.

                                                                                              1. l
                                                                                                laliz Feb 5, 2013 01:30 PM

                                                                                                My grandmother died when my mother was only 13; and had been sick before that, so no one taught my mother to cook. She worked full time in the 1950s when nobody else's mother worked, and week night dinners were things like fish sticks, TV dinners, tuna noodle casserole, Kraft dinner, etc.

                                                                                                She made Sunday dinner a lot; pot roast; meat loaf, swiss steak, scalloped potatoes, stuffed pork chops and they are heavenly in my memory.

                                                                                                We also went out to dinner a lot, and ordered in a lot.

                                                                                                yes, I'm a better cook, because it is of interest to me, and like others have said, I have access to information and ingredients she never would have dreamed of.

                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                  sandylc Feb 5, 2013 07:13 PM

                                                                                                  My mom has very little imagination, is not open to new ideas, and is frightened to death of making mistakes. She considers herself to be a very good cook.

                                                                                                  Draw your own conclusions!

                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                    afridgetoofar Feb 5, 2013 07:55 PM

                                                                                                    Nope. I just have better and more varied ingredients available to me.

                                                                                                    1. l
                                                                                                      Leepa Feb 5, 2013 08:01 PM

                                                                                                      Absolutely not. We cook different styles of food but, all things considered, she was a much better cook than I am. She's 94 and has recently suffered a stroke so I'm afraid I've eaten the last of meals prepared by her. I can only aspire to be as good. I cook more interesting things, but they're not better.

                                                                                                      1. Lillipop Feb 14, 2013 02:10 AM

                                                                                                        I can cook but I grew up with a mother who did home made cooked custard based ice creams in a hand cranked wooden ice cream maker.....made her own egg noodles all by hand and flipped them over tea towels on the back of her wooden kitchen chairs to dry...baked her own bread....rolls....made lasagnas that weighed in at about 10 pounds each.She knew how to slay pluck and butcher live chickens....she knew how to clean and fillet fish etc.No I am not as good as mom was ..I can cook but my mother was creative....did it all from scratch....strong and fast...she was an actual maniac now that I think about it:)

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