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A different "Lost It" thread - losing the knack.

NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 05:41 AM

I used to make great chili. It was my mom's recipe, slightly varied, but I loved it. Now for some reason even though I do everything the same it just turns out bleah. Is it the quality of the ingredients? Nope - I've experimented with different brands, more $$, etc. It just doesn't turn out anymore. I have another recipe for rice, which involved doctoring up a box of Uncle Ben's, and it has been getting progressively worse every time I've made it over the last few years. My mom also makes this one and hers always turns out great.

Have I just lost the knack? Has this ever happened to you?

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  1. grampart RE: NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 06:02 AM

    Does anyone else in the family notice a change in the taste of your chili? If not, it could just be a change in your taste buds; it happens as we get older.

    3 Replies
    1. re: grampart
      NonnieMuss RE: grampart Apr 22, 2013 06:24 AM

      Nope - pretty much everyone agrees that it just isn't very good anymore. It's neither taste buds, nor altitude, water quality, or anything else like that.

      1. re: NonnieMuss
        grampart RE: NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 06:34 AM

        Another mystery of life. Maybe time for a new recipe.

        1. re: grampart
          NonnieMuss RE: grampart Apr 22, 2013 07:20 AM

          Seems like I just lost it. I know there are threads on peoples' "Achilles Heel" recipes, but I really used to be good at this one. Oh well.

    2. ursy_ten RE: NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 04:59 PM

      I used to always instinctively know what flavours would go well with what. Then I got mis-diagnosed as bipolar and went on Lithium for 6 months or so. Along with my short term memory, went this instinct.

      Either that, or I just lost the *confidence* in my ability to "just know" that X paired with Y = YUM... I don't really know, it's all terribly subjective.

      1. LMAshton RE: NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 07:46 PM

        The husband and I got chikungunya (it's a mosquito borne virus, very nasty) six or seven years ago. For the next year, our salt meters were completely broken - all food required (I only cook from scratch) required double the salt. It was so bad that, when his parents came into town, they asked me to let my mother in law do all the seasoning cuz they just couldn't eat my food.

        It comes back every now and then, usually when we're sick with something else. We need way more salt for a while. Our most recent cold, from two months back, affected more than just the salt meter - everything tasted like cardboard to us. Didn't matter how much chilli powder or pepper or salt or garlic or pickyourseasoning went in, it was all as bland as bland could be. It was really bad for about a month. We still have it a bit, nothing tastes like it used to, but we're getting better.

        As for losing the knack - yeah, happens fairly regularly to me. I'm chronically ill - genetic protein defect. On my bad days, I can't cook worth a darn. Everything is just... The husband is mostly patient, but at its worst, he'll order out. Which sometimes, he has to do if I'm having a particularly clumsy day anyway and need to stay away from all sharp objects.

        1. h
          HillJ RE: NonnieMuss Apr 23, 2013 04:57 AM

          Sure, losing the knack happens..and happens to everyone at one point or another. I've been off my caking baking game from time to time and when I am, I just stop and move on for a time. Wasting good ingredients bothers me more.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HillJ
            p
            pine time RE: HillJ Apr 23, 2013 01:13 PM

            I've also lost the cake baking gene, at least for moist and flavorful white cake. And, my white bread recipes (except for sourdough) are also failing me. Maybe it's white foods...

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            Pwmfan RE: NonnieMuss Apr 23, 2013 02:57 PM

            Yes, and it is really bugging me. Last week a had a craving for a Mexican-style casserole dish I used to make often but haven't made for many years (recipe from a co-worker's wife). I dug out the recipe and made sure I picked up all of the ingredients at the store (nothing exotic). The finished product tasted nothing like I remembered. I don't think I made any huge mistakes (it's a very simple recipe). It does contain some convenience products (taco seasoning packet for one) whose formulations might have changed. I'd like to blame my failure on this but I'm not sure I can. I'm going to wait a few weeks and try again but, truthfully, I'm a little afraid to try again. I can only hope this "losing it" is a passing phase. Thanks for this thread, NonniiMuss; it always helps to know one has company in this life.

            1. monfrancisco RE: NonnieMuss Apr 23, 2013 04:36 PM

              No solutions, but definitely sympathy. I have problems with pastry, Bloody Marys, and cacio e pepe. Eight times out of ten, they're all outstanding, but those other two times... With me, though, it's more intermittent (so far, anyway) than it is a steady decline so I guess I shouldn't complain.

              1. foodieX2 RE: NonnieMuss Apr 23, 2013 04:43 PM

                My problem is making gravy. When I got my first apt and started hosting Thanksgiving I could rock the gravy! Some where along the way it started tasting floury, or greasy. Too salty or bland. These day I don't even bother, I buy it from WF. The first year I bought it everyone asked if I tried a new recipe.

                Of course there is the possibility that my gravy was never really that good and my friends and family were too polite to say anything and my tastes finally caught up. There was rarely leftovers though so I would prefer to believe I "lost it".

                1 Reply
                1. re: foodieX2
                  monfrancisco RE: foodieX2 Apr 25, 2013 04:21 PM

                  You do wonder that, don't you? All this time, they've just been being so nice... I'm prone to having hurt feelings, but I'd much rather serve something lovely!

                2. drongo RE: NonnieMuss Apr 25, 2013 05:22 PM

                  Something similar has happened to me on occasion -- i.e. something I've made for years (sometimes decades) no longer turns out well. I've never really figured out why -- perhaps the quality of the ingredients has changed or the behavior/performance of my equipment has changed. I've gone back to experimenting with recipes, and generally recovered -- i.e. to a new recipe that's good.

                  1. ursy_ten RE: NonnieMuss Apr 25, 2013 06:12 PM

                    I also have a strange phenomenon occur where the first time I try some recipes, it's awesome! We absolutely love it, and I think, "wow, that was SUPER EASY, I'll have to keep that one in rotation".

                    But thereafter, the result turns to "meh". No idea why, but it's frustrating!

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