As recently as five years ago or so, I got twitchy if Cranky wanted to cook the food. He likes the kitchen and he has good ideas, but he had a bad habit of overdoing this ingredient or that, just because "there was still some left" or "I thought it would be better if there was more."
I couldn't get him to stop dumping the kitchen sink into the soup kettle, because he believed his behavior was beneficial. Using up the rest of the mustard, because the jar was almost empty at that point, so why not? Dumping in the entire sausage instead of "just right," because he likes sausage, so... why not?
This resulted in imbalances. We still talk about the over-garlicked vegetable pie. Gah! A family joke now... And yet he continued to overdump.
He's uncertain about his ability to judge flavors, and we both modestly acknowledge that I'm pretty good at it.
But the guy deserves kitchen time, and I shouldn't be such a suspicious, controlling spectre.
And so he began cooking ambitiously (without recipes) and I tried not to fret. He really got the hang of it!
He still discusses his ingredients with me and asks for advice. Usually, he'll have me come and taste something and do some fine tuning.
But he is suddenly (gradually?) a rockin' home cook!
Yesterday he dared to make soup. I MAKE THE SOUP AROUND HERE. But he made the soup.
Fresh chicken stock, scads of spring onions and one small leek, a load of white button mushrooms. Really nice! I had no complaints at all, but suggested he add a glug of red wine when he was finishing the soup with a dollop of cream.
He sneaked in a little sherry, too.
So good. And it didn't taste like my own cooking. It tasted like his.