What Kind of Cook are You?

pork roastI just finished Elizabeth Berg‘s Year of Pleasures, which was lovely, as all of her books are. Her values shine through without clobbering you over the head, and they are so similar to my own core values that I always find myself nodding along as I read. I think Elizabeth and I could be great friends. But there is one way her central character, Betta,  and I are very different. Betta cooks. A lot. Easily. Confidently. At the drop of a hat. The right groceries always seem to be on hand. She nurtures people through food. I wish this described me, but it so doesn’t.

I have to plan meals. I mean, sit down with a recipe, make my list of ingredients, go shopping, scrutinize the recipe as I cook and even then I often screw it up. I can’t bake well at all, although I really do think my 25 year old oven has to share the blame for that. I do blame it, all the time.

If someone stopped by unexpectedly, Betta would throw together a pork roast stuffed with somemthing exotic, surrounded by potatoes and veggies, and she would have enough to serve however many people showed up.  If someone stops by unexpectedly at my house, I pull out the take-out menus for the nearby restaurants.

So I’m curious. Is Betta more typical or am I? What kind of cook are you? (and if anyone has the recipe for that pork loin in the picture, send it my way. Yum!)


  1. Lisa on August 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I love to cook!! Especially if I can use ingredients from my small garden. Herbs and some vegetables…yum!! Throw some veggies in the saute pan and make some pasta and I have a meal! I also bake (sorry Diane) and if you look at my Food photo album on my Facebook page, you’ll see many of the things I have made…
    The key is to keep some non-perishable staples on hand – things you can put together to make a meal out of. Canned beans and tuna, pasta, sauces… then if you have a hankering for say a tuna casserole (bad example – but all I could think of at the moment), you have most of the ingredients…
    If I want to make something a bit more exotic – then I do plan and shop for the ingredients.
    That is how I cook.

    By the way – That pork roast does look yummy!!

  2. Gina on August 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    YAY! You read it! My favorite of her books. I just love the message in this book of enjoying the simple things in life. Food would defintely fit in that category. I try my experimental cooking on Sundays. My poor husband, he never knows what he’s gonna get on Sunday. It’s either something delicious…or not. LOL

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the book.

  3. Lorraine Lapointe McNamara on August 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I love to cook and I invent every time, that is why people get very frustrated with me when they ask me for a recipe, I don’t have one! I love to create, so I create with the ingredients I have on hand.
    My husband calls me The Queen of Cuisine, it bothers me because he says that about everything I cook so…!
    I am very unorthodox in my cooking, like this one time I had made an omelette with honey and yogurt… because I did not want it to go to waste! If I bring something at work for potluck I hear, how did you bake this made that? Oh well that must be the French in me!
    I love Elisabeth Berg, but have never read that book of hers! I will look for it!

  4. Margo on August 19, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Diane, I’m like you…if someone shows up unexpectedly I pull out the restaurant menus in my kitchen drawer and order take-out…I DO know how to make a lucious pot-roast and I also make a tasty Thanksgiving Turkey (remember your blog about Turkey Day At The Mayo Clinic-I’ll always think of that when preparing Thanksgiving Dinner!)…My husband is the cook in our family and can make the most wonderful, homemade spaghetti dinner with such ease…I love to eat, just not cook so much and find so many other things to do other than being in the kitchen…sigh, I’m going to leave the cooking to my husband who is so good at it.

  5. Margo on August 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    P.S….I think cooking/baking is a real art and I really admire people who can do it so well…I love watching my husband cook, and I love watching friends work so passionately in the kitchen…of course the smells are wonderful too. (-O:

  6. Diane Chamberlain on August 19, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Oh, this is fun to read! I actually do enjoy cooking when I have the time, but I will never be a confident, throw things together sort of cook. It think it would have happened by now if it was going to! You all are making me hungry, though. I just noticed Elizabeth Berg has recipes on her website!

  7. Margo on August 20, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Diane & Gina, it sounds like I’m going to have to get this book! I’ve never read her before but you both seem to like her writing alot.
    Diane, when I have the time I like to cook too but there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything I love.
    When Gary cooks he does not read a recipe, just takes handfuls of things and throws it together…and it always tastes superb…like I said, cooking is an art and those who do it well have a special gift to offer to us who love to eat.

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