I love to cook. And I think I'm a pretty decent cook. I love to concoct - often with unfortunate mistakes, but I learn from them and do it better the next time. And I'm the "baking queen", according to my friends. But I've never felt like the chef in my own home. My husband is the king of picky eaters, which us an unusual set of royalty. I can list on one hand the very few things my husband actually likes: mac & cheese, spaghetti, steak, prime rib and pizza. I can tell you, I've only made prime rib once in our marriage, and I will rarely serve mac & cheese as a dinner entree. So, my cooking repertoire is quite small. (Yes, I do cook more than the above-mentioned meals, and my hubby pretty much tolerates them.) My husband's assumption all along has been that our children would err on the side of his picky-ness instead of my adventurous appetite - there are very few things that I truly dislike because I was forced to eat everything when I was growing up. If I didn't eat my veggies at dinner, then I sat there until 8 PM, until I finally managed to choke down the cold, disgusting, slimy greens. Al's family was quite the opposite: if something made him gag, he wasn't expected to eat it.
For the bulk of our marriage, I have not made anything with vegetables in it. Very few casseroles, soups or stews grace our table, and when they do, the veggies are always neatly discarded at the side of the bowl. Baby carrots are served with every meal, because that's what my children have grown accustomed to. That's the vegetable with most meals, with the occasional salad or cooked peas or beans, which no one eats except me!
OK, enough complaining! Now I will tell you the best part. Almost every one else thinks I'm a great cook. If I make dishes for potlucks or for guests, I usually get compliments. Last night was the best. My hubby's assumption is that, if I ever try anything new, the kids won't eat it. But we had some of my children's friends over for dinner last night, and I made a shepherd's pie from scratch by throwing stuff together that we had on hand. My hubby ate it (and I think he actually liked it!), one of my children liked it, while the remainder of my offspring turned up their noses at it. But our guests - thank you very much - polished off the entire pan and made comments like, "I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner!" and "This is the best shepherd's pie I've ever eaten!"
Why, thank you. I rarely ever get such nice compliments. Especially from my family.