My paternal grandma was a good cook. Not sure if she enjoyed it or not because back then you made everything from scratch. As soon as you could buy bread in a loaf at the store she stopped baking it from scratch. And she thought boxed cake mixes were a gift from God.
Grandma spent all of her life cooking for her 7 kids and all the hungry farm hands. (My grandparents owned a dairy farm.) I have several of her old cookbooks, the majority of which are your basic church cookbooks where all the members submit their favorite recipes. She's got many of these recipes circled throughout the books.
She also liked to clip recipes from the newspaper, from magazines and from ingredient packages. I have several composition notebooks from the 1960's where she has glued many of these found recipes.
All these recipes lead me to believe that she liked to try new dishes and wasn't just making the same things over and over again. And I'm the same way.
Dan always complains that I should find 10 - 15 things, learn to make them well and be done with it. He doesn't like all of my experimenting. But in my defense, I can't find 15 things that we all like or that we would all be happy eating on repeat for the next 10 years.
So in my never ending quest to find something we all like, I'm always trying something new. (I think my grandmother would have loved Pinterest!)
Last night, I tried Ina Garten's Baked Lemon Chicken.
Isn't this so pretty?
I thought it was a really good chicken dish. It was moist and juicy and very lemony.
Peter thought it was "too lemony". Dan said it was "nothing special". And Sarah said it was "very good". (However, the fact that she left most of it on her plate leads me to believe she felt otherwise. She's really good about telling me how good dinner is even though I can tell she really doesn't like it.)
And at the end of dinner Dan declared, "It was good but don't make it again."
And we all got a good laugh because according to my parents, that's what my grandpa would say to my grandma after she made something new and he didn't like it. The first time I heard this story I was a little annoyed. I could imagine my grandma toiling away in the kitchen over a new dish and hoping it would be something her husband would like. And then to hear, "It was good but don't make it again" had to be a bit of a let down.
However, after my own failed attempts at new dishes and hearing critiques from the peanut gallery, I can see where he was trying to let her know how he felt without hurting her feelings. Instead of telling her everything that was wrong with the dish, he told her it was good but no need to make it again.
And I'm guessing she appreciated being let down easily and knowing that she didn't need to waste her time on that one again. But I'm also guessing that she was still slightly annoyed because I imagine she thought the dish was just fine!
Don't feel too bad for me though. Not everything I try gets "It was good but don't make it again."
Last week I tried this dish and it was met with three hearty declarations of "This is really good!" I, thought it was okay but since they all three really liked it, I will be putting this in the rotation and adding it to my list of things I make that my family actually likes. Now I just need 14 more....