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Dec 6, 2013 11:47 AM

Do you welcome criticism of your cooking?

I'm sure we all get it. How do you handle yours? For the most part, I enjoy feedback about what I've prepared. I make notes on my recipes & will tweak the preparation next time. Occasionally I get annoyed when I'm convinced I've made something perfect and along comes a picky, know it all.

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  1. I'm usually WAY more critical of my own cooking than anyone else who is dining at my table ever could be.

    And my mother's name is Lois - she liked my turkey this Thanksgiving, whereas I thought the white meat was a bit dry. SEE? :-)

    9 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      Another Lois. Such an uncommon name. Always hated it. Grew up getting the Superman jokes.

      I am like you & usually notice flaws others are oblivious to.

      1. re: i_am_Lois

        I think it was more common when my Mom was born (1930). One of her stepson's MILs is also Lois...I think they're close in age - maybe 3 years apart.

      2. re: LindaWhit

        I agree - I'm more critical of my own cooking that others would likely be. I also tend not to notice others' cooking snafus either because I'm too interested in eating :)

        I also tend to think that many people are just happy to get free food that they didn't have to cook. This goes double for co-workers who, I have noticed, will eat just about anything left out on a counter or table. Anything.

        1. re: pheenmachine

          My husband's coworkers are where the dessert trials that weren't up to my/our standards go. Pile those not quite right cookies/bars on a paper plate and they will be gone by noon. Usually he over hears at least one nice comment about them too (did you see there were these awesome cookies in the break room?. . .)

          Never use your nice rubbermaid containers though.

          1. re: pheenmachine

            Oh, good Lord, yes. Especially graduate students. I could take anything into the office and it would be wolfed down.

          2. re: LindaWhit

            Sometimes people who are more critical of their own cooking than anyone else can be less receptive to criticism from others. (Not saying you are like that). But being extremely self-critical has a side-effect of being a bit of a defense mechanism against criticism from others.

            1. re: calumin

              I see. I understand it. It depends why a person is critical of their own cooking. Being self-critical is a manifestation of various mental states.

              There are at least two underneath reasons why a person is very critical of him/herself. I can be self-critical of my baked goods. Mostly, this is due to the fact that I have a certain expectation, and my products are usually shy of this goal. So I would be like "Man, I changed the recipes, but the cookies are still not as flaky as I wish". In these cases, I am generally receptive toward criticism from others because I want to be better in the future.

              On the other hand, people can be overly critical as a defense mechanism. They want to be overly critical, so that they can avoid criticism. They want to be perfect in this instinct, not in the future. The person is not receptive of criticisms from others because this is exactly what they try avoid. I see this most often when people try to throw the perfect parties or perfect wedding. This is the end-game. They want a perfect party or a perfect wedding at this very moment, and not in the future. Therefore, any constructive criticism is not constructive to them.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                And I am the LAST person who would ever throw a "perfect dinner party".

                When I say "critical of myself", I'm more disappointed in myself, such as the slightly dry white turkey meat at Thanksgiving.

                But was the entire meal completely and utterly ruined because I didn't serve what I thought was a pitch-perfect Thanksgiving dinner? Hellz no. Both Mom and enjoyed many leftovers from that bird. :-)

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Yes I think the issue is when the cook feels he or she has achieved some form of near-perfection or high quality standard (as a result of a hyper self-critical process), and then others criticize, indicating they don't share that view.

                  In this case, being hyper self-critical makes the external criticism even more jarring. It would be as if you spent a week preparing the perfect dinner party, questioning every decision, only to have the guests nitpick all your dishes. I'm not sure all self-critical cooks would welcome that kind of criticism. The dynamic is different.

                  There's a scene in the movie Joy Luck Club where one of the mothers prepares this lavish meal, and the daughter's boyfriend says how wonderful the food is and only needs to be doused in soy sauce. That criticism, however well-intended, was not taken well!

            2. I do welcome criticism of my cooking, so long as it's constructive, meaning there is something that can be better or changed for the better, then again I'm my hardest critic.

              1. Criticism of my cooking is okay, but not of my *taste* --
                the problem is, they're so intertwined!

                2 Replies
                1. re: BangorDin

                  By 'taste' do you mean (as an example) someone saying to you, "Why in the world would you serve ____ with ____ ?"

                  1. re: i_am_Lois

                    That's a very good example. Deciding to have breakfast for a dinner party, or sometimes embracing unhip / out-of-fashion dishes also come to mind.

                2. It depends on how it is tendered.

                  1. I try to say I am open but it sometimes ends up with yelling that my husband should appreciate me more.

                    But to put it in perspective my husband is a PITA and once complained my pie crust was not moist It's not supposed to be moist.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Siegal

                      Is your husband a really good cook or baker? Or a pro?

                      1. re: monavano

                        No. He is just very picky where in all seriousness it borders on an eating disorder

                        The pie crust debacle happened bc not being from the south we don't do pies often so he decided he likes cookie crumb crusts best (made it once on a cheesecake) and all other crusts are not as good

                        1. re: Siegal

                          Pie crust is a lot of pressure, IMO!
                          I tend to default to pies and tarts with those graham cracker/butter crusts. Either that, or I buy the pie crust...

                          1. re: monavano

                            Yea it's hard to go wrong with butter and cookies! Haha. But sometimes it's fun to change it up. And then you get criticism and try to put on your big girl face but want to cry.....

                            Maybe that's just me. Lol

                      2. re: Siegal

                        Your husband & mine could be identical twins. Once I made chicken-ala-king. Husband insisted I add no bell pepper or pimento to his. So I prepared 2 separate pots. He tasted both then complained his pot tasted bland & wanted what was in my pot for his dinner. I prefer that he stays out of my kitchen.

                        1. re: i_am_Lois

                          That reminds me, last week I made Turkey A La King with some of the leftover turkey. I have fond, fond memories of it and was really looking forward to eating it.
                          DH was not so over the moon with it. Just not his thing, I guess.
                          (I've got to have it with green pepper and pimento too)

                          1. re: i_am_Lois

                            Haha! They are exactly the same! You just have to try to remember their good qualities when they do those things to you

                            1. re: Siegal

                              Siegal, I gotta tell you this one. I asked him once what his favorite dessert was. He told me pineapple upside down cake. I make one for him from scratch. He refused to even taste it... complaining it was prepared in the wrong shaped pan. (I used square, he thought it should be round)

                              1. re: i_am_Lois

                                OMG that remind me of when I first met my husband and we were registering for the wedding he told me he would only drink his espresso out of glass. I thought he was kidding....

                                1. re: Siegal

                                  Incredible. Somebody must be cloning men.

                                  1. re: i_am_Lois

                                    Count my father in that cloned pool. He made my mother return a rice cooker in the 90s because it didn't make rice like he remembered from living in Japan in the 50s.

                                    He had many "expression only out of glass" traits passed on to me that I need to check myself on once in a while. Mine is I can't stand colored drink ware.