Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just Because It Looks Good Doesn't Mean It Tastes Good

Pasta with Minted Pea sauce...when I saw this recipe online, I was intrigued. It sounded very fresh, summery, and vaguely British. I imagined a zesty, slightly sweet, quite savory dish with deep, complex flavors and a velvety texture. What I got was a very minty, very pea-y, very thick-tasting, and thus very unappetizing dinner that not only disappointed me, but my parents as well, leaving us yearning for dessert (leftover strawberry-rhubarb pie) to get the taste out of our mouths.

Looks pretty. Tastes not so pretty.

Now, I love to cook and I love to try recipes from all over. New ingredients and unique combinations of flavors and textures intrigue me and I'm fortunate enough to have parents who are willing to try out just about anything I make, even if it's a bit unusual. But, just because a recipe or ingredient sounds unique and daring and delicious doesn't mean the end result will turn out that way. I'd say that a majority of my recipes, whether created from scratch or adapted from those of others, turned out just as I expected, or better. Now, there were one or two spectacular failures along the way, like the anchovy-laced pasta dish I mentioned in this post about listening to your gut in the kitchen, but mostly, the recipes I tried out worked out just fine. Despite the successes, you've gotta be prepared for a few "A for effort" dishes along the way, and not be surprised when a dish you think sounds amazing is less than amazing when it's actually on a plate in front of you. It's all part of learning to cook and honing that skill, and while it totally sucks serving a less-than-stellar dinner, you just cross that recipe off your list and move onto the next thing (or, if you're me, you make sure the next thing you make is one of your tried-and-true recipes and hope that everyone forgets the abomination from the night before). So, for those cooks out there brooding over a bad dish, chin up and try, try again!

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