Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The cook's personality type--what's yours?
My mother, who liked to entertain and was known as a good cook, never succeeded in teaching me her craft. Heaven knows she tried.
When I was 14 she was working Mondays through Wednesdays, and she asked me to prepare supper those evenings. The day before, she would write out a menu, assemble the recipes or write out instructions, gather the ingredients, show me what pans to use...
I hated it.
Even so, I thought I did a pretty good job. She, however, loved to tell her friends about the time I put cinnamon in the beans. You just don't put cinnamon in beans, even if the combination is delicious.
When I was 15, my mother decided it was safer to eat dinner three nights a week in the cafeteria at the college where she worked. The food was terrible, but predictable.
Over the years, I taught myself to cook. My food was not like my mother's, but she enjoyed eating it. She couldn't help herself, though--every time she had dinner with us, she would shake her head in amazement and say, "I never thought you'd be able to cook a meal like this!"
I thought of my mother when I took the cooking personality quiz in yesterday's New York Times. No question: she was 'methodical' and I'm 'innovative.' 'Healthy' would be our area of agreement--good nutrition is an important aspect of cooking, but never at the expense of good flavor. Ripe blackberries, good; wheat germ in mashed potatoes, bad.
Tara Parker-Pope's article accompanying the food quiz, "Who's Cooking? (For Health, It Matters)", sheds further light on the five cooking personalities she identifies.
If you'd like to see how your Myers-Briggs (MBTI) type affects your cooking style, there's no better explanation than Bonnie L. Marsh's legendary pumpkin soup recipe. You will surely recognize your style in one of her four alternate sets of directions.