Culinary Questions: Best and Worst Foods?

A couple of related items from the uncomfortable questions comments. First, from Elizabeth:

What's your favorite homemade supper? What is your favorite thing to cook?

then a bit later from CCPhysicist:

What is the WORST thing that Kate ever cooked? What was your own worst cooking disaster?

This is a tough question, because I like to cook, and I like pretty much everything I cook. I don't get to do much complicated cooking these days, though, because with SteelyKid running around, it's a little risky to do much beyond "grill meat, heat vegetables, serve."

My favorite thing to cook is probably Thanksgiving dinner when we host Thanksgiving up here. It's got a bazillion component parts-- brine the turkey, roast the turkey, make stuffing, make potatoes, make vegetables-- and I get to mess up every pot we own in the process. That's a lot of fun, in an exhausting kind of way.

If we disqualify that on the grounds of not being a single dish, there are a bunch of dishes that were grad school staples for me that I've made a million times, and really like, things like grad school chicken creole, which is pretty much idiot-proof at this point. I don't make that all that often any more, because the huge amount of garlic tends to trigger Kate's acid reflux.

I'm also fairly proud of dishes where I've reverse-engineered something, or modified a recipe with good results. I've got a curried shrimp thing that I do now that's basically Alton Brown's shrimp scampi recipe with curry powder (actually, a mix of curry powder and garam masala) in place of the garlic. That comes out really well, and without too much trouble.

The worst cooking disaster I've had was probably the time I made kheer (Indian rice pudding), not so much because I messed up the cooking (I did burn some of the milk, leading to black flecks mixed in with the rice), but because I made this big bowl of a dairy-heavy dessert the day before we determined that SteelyKid (who was breast-feeding at the time) had a sensitivity to dairy, so I had to eat the whole thing myself. That was generally a bad time.

The runner up would be the second time I made steak with a sugar-based sauce, out of one of Mark Bittman's cookbooks. I had made the dish once before, but in the interim, Kate developed really bad acid reflux, so the second time around, I left out the onions. The problem was, in addition to flavor, the onions must've provided some moisture or maybe just surface area to soak up the sauce, because without them the sauce basically turned into hard candy. We had to chisel the leftovers out of the pan.

Kate's made quiche a few times, and I don't care for that. That's a matter of my not liking eggs, though, not a slight on her cooking ability.


More like this

A couple of times a year, our department secretary will organize potluck luncheons, and badger the faculty into cooking things and bringing them in for a big gathering in the conference room. We invite all the students, and everybody eats way too much, talks too much, and generally has a good time…
The Thanksgiving advice from Making Light got here too late to do us any good, but we had a fine first Thanksgiving anyway. My parents, sister, grandmother, and one of my great-aunts came up from New York, and Kate's parents came up from Boston, so we packed nine people into our smallish house,…
Prior to SteelyKid's arrival, the "Pasta with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan" recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything had become one of our staple recipes. It's dead simple to make, we always have the stuff on hand (I've been planting sage in pots outside for the last couple of years), and it…
Lately, friday's have just been too busy for me to get around to posting a recipe. So I decided to switch my recipe posts to saturday. I'll try to be reliable about posting a recipe every saturday. I tried making homemade salsa for the first time about about two months ago. Once I'd made a batch…

Has Kate tried prevacid for the acid reflux? I used to have severe problems with reflux, and the prevacid stopped it completely! Now I can eat any type of spicy foods - onions, garlic, pepper, curry, whatever - with no problem (and I haven't observed any side effects...)

There is another proton pump inhibitor called pantoprazole. It is sold under various tradenames including pantoloc.

A generic version is now available, and it's a lot cheaper. You have to take it every day not just before tucking into the chicken vindaloo

By killinchy (not verified) on 26 Jun 2010 #permalink

Favorite food to cook: Chinese Beef and Broccoli. Super easy, all in the prep.

Favorite home made: Pork Chops in sour cream and dill sauce over rice.

Keyron has made what I call Sahara Desert Cookies. I've managed to make a tomato sauce that could eat rust off a bumper.

Thanks for the foodie blog post, Chad! You one-upped me by posting your kitchen disasters, which is what I wished I'd asked (in the interest of uncomfortable blog topics), though not what I really wanted to know.

And I'm glad you expanded it to include several favorites.

My worst kitchen disaster was when I took two lovely fillet mignons and marinated them in beer, thinking I'd make the classiest beef carbonade ever. I took one bite and prayed that my beau wouldn't recognize that taste that was hauntingly familiar. It's a fine thing if you can take a piece of liver and make it taste like fillet mignon. Not so good if you take a perfectly good piece of fillet mignon and make it taste like liver! (He married me, anyway. Whew.)

My right-this-minute favorite dinner is teriyaki sirlion tips on the (charcoal) grill, potato salad, and corn, with chocolate strawberry shortcake for desset. My favorite thing to cook (lately) is madelienes.

By Elizabeth (not verified) on 27 Jun 2010 #permalink

P.S. I will try yoru recipe for grad student chicken creole. It sounds good, and I am a great collector of recipies that someone has made "a million times". Let's hear it for tried and true!

By Elizabeth (not verified) on 27 Jun 2010 #permalink

I am noted for fruit salad, fried catfish, and lasagna. I am still criticized for, back in the 1980's, mixing in some leftover pinto beans and cornbread into meatloaf. I thought it was delicious!

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 27 Jun 2010 #permalink

Worst disaster ever, rabbit in red wine lentils. The rabbit was so gamy, it even made the lentil part inedible. Later I found out it's like cork, you got a one in 20 shot it's bad. Biggest disaster, overbrined pork chops at a party with 50 guests. The flavor wasn't too bad, but they cleaned out my fridge, wine cellar and bar in search for liquid afterward.
My biggest rewards are whenever my wife agrees to try something she hated from her mom's cooking (now there's cruel and unusual punishment) and she likes my version.