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As I am browsing through websites tonight planning what to cook for our romantic valentines dinner in a couple of weeks and looking for something for tomorrow night as well, I started wondering, what do I enjoy most. I love searching through cookbooks and websites for ideas. Coming up with a menu then finding the recipes I want to work from. I think this takes me the longest. Do I enjoy the finding of ingredients and putting them together to make something that is hopefully tasty and worthy of the effort. Or, is it the eating that is the most fun.

I would have to say that I enjoy the planning best followed closely by the cooking. How ironic is it, that the eating, while highly enjoyable, comes in last. :biggrin:

What do you like most?

Sandra

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The eating.

To be blunt, the only reason I learned how to cook is because I realized early on that I was actually going to have to eat whatever I made, so it had better be good.

I've since realized that I do enjoy the process of planning and shopping and cooking, but in the end, what's most important (and enjoyable) are the results and the consumption thereof.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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What do you like most?

Planning, followed by cooking, followed by eating.

In the planning stage, the meal is as perfect as I can imagine. Everything's garnished beautifully and there are no mis-steps or flaws. Cooking is a lot of fun for a different reason; I like the process. While eating, I usually spend too much time thinking about what I could do differently or better next time.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

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What do you like most?

Planning, followed by cooking, followed by eating.

In the planning stage, the meal is as perfect as I can imagine. Everything's garnished beautifully and there are no mis-steps or flaws. Cooking is a lot of fun for a different reason; I like the process. While eating, I usually spend too much time thinking about what I could do differently or better next time.

Yes, I agree completely! Dreaming is the most fun part of planning, visualizing and virtually 'tasting' the different recipes and ideas that I find in cookbooks, or on the net. Followed by just puttering around in the kitchen. The act of cooking for me is very relaxing, and soothing. I just love it. By the time I serve the meal it is sometimes anti-climatic. I often enjoy it more the next day. Depends on the occasion of course. But I do find that that night, I will enjoy it, but will wonder, hmmm, what if I'd used more cilantro, etc.

It's all good though.

Pam

Edited by pam claughton (log)
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That is a good question. It changes from time to time, but I guess overall it is the eating because it is all done for that. But, there are definitely times that the planning or the cooking are enjoyed more. Tonight the order of enjoyment was cooking, planning and then eating. It was a delicious dinner and fun to plan, but I did prep work and cooked all afternoon and it was relaxing and the main attraction of my day.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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My order would be: cooking, eating, planning.

Not thatI don't occasionally find planning enjoyable, but I hardly ever actually plan out in any detail. I'll just read eG for a bit, look at lots of things that seem tasty, then wander into my kitchen, see what I have in the cupboards, fridge, and freezer and start throwing things together until I have something that seems like it should be breakfast/dinner/supper. Since I rarely cook from recipes this makes my planning phase pretty non-chalant. If anything it boils down to seeing a photo of something Middle-Eastern Behemoth prepared and figuring that I'll use some similar flavors in the soup I'm going to make, or seeing some asian concoction that Jinmyo put out and deciding that I'm going to dress my steak like that.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Eating last, and a tossup between planning and cooking. I've found that eating without cooking, no matter how sublime the food, always seems to be missing something. Even the best restaurant meals I've been to don't leave me as satisfied as a simple plate of homecooked pasta with butter and parmesan.

Planning I love to do for big elaborate setpiece meals, trying to co-ordinate several courses while trying to incorporate what happens to be particularly excellent at the markets and showcasing some unique ingredients that I've just discovered. I can easily ponder and tweak a dinner party menu for a month before I'm completely happy with it.

On the other hand, simple, daily cooking is also deeply satisfying, starting with a big pile of raw ingredients and methodically disassembling them. It's soothing.

I guess it all depends on what mood I'm in.

PS: I am a guy.

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I would say planning, cooking and then eating. The only variable to that is the pleasure I get from someone enjoying what I've cooked.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Cooking, then planning, then eating.

Cooking is playing with fire and knives.

Doesn't get any better than that. :laugh:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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My order of preference is planning, cooking, then eating.

I find, however, that by the time I sit down to eat I already feel satiated. This has puzzled me for years. Am I alone in this? It isn’t because of “excessive” tasting or pre-meal snacks. I’ve suspected that this occurs because I’ve been looking at food and smelling it as it cooks. This may satisfy my hunger center. It’s not unusual to serve my guests and have to struggle to sit down and eat. I do, of course, because I enjoy their company. Oddly, this doesn’t occur as often when I cook just for myself.

Would someone please tell me that I’m not alone with this phenomenon? Is there a way around it?

--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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Cooking and eating then planning. I always liked to eat and remember from a very early age that that if I wanted to eat well, I better learn how to cook.

I don't seriously plan meals unless it's say a dinner party, but I do plan when I travel (visit Oyama and the store on Cambie/39th in Vancouver for charcuterie and BC wines, Calgary for wine, Edmonton for wine, Winnipeg for knives, Toronto to mock the wine coolers).

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I love cooking and feel that too much planning, unless I am preparing an elaborate feast with multiple entrees and sides that have to be brought together at a specified time, causes me to lose some spontaneity and flair.

This is the reason that I often do not have a specific recipe for a dish and that the dish itself is constantly evolving until it reaches a point that I feel is virtually perfect. Not to say that it couldn't be improved but rather it has reached a point where further changes would take it away from the desired result.

I enjoy eating, but it is a far second to the cooking and planning is yet further down the list.

You didn't mention shopping, however many of my adventures in the kitchen have begun with the discovery of a new and interesting ingredient in a market and then figuring out how to use it in a recipe or basing a recipe on it.

I look up recipes that use it and go from there.

Except in baking, where adherence to a formula is critical, I rarely prepare a recipe exactly as written every time. Usually I will prepare it the first time as written, then use it as a platform to put my own stamp on it.

This is the part that is fun for me and sometimes just substituting one ingredient for another, or adding an ingredient, can completely change the entire complexion of the recipe and make it more interesting to me.

This may sound arrogant but I am not trying to "one-up" the recipe author, I simply want to explore new avenues of flavors, textures and appearance.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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It depends. With elaborate dinners that I plan for guests, the planning comes first - then the cooking - then the eating. I LOVE that stage when you are planning a big dinner and you are thinking about it all day.. on the way to work you suddenly know that tarragon is the herb that should go in the stew and everything is just perfect in your head. Shopping is always part of the planning for me because I change my plans according to what I find in the shops or markets.

The eating of a dinner like that is almost always an anticlimax. The joy of that dinner for me is not in the eating, but in watching others eat.

With simple food, that does not need a lot of planning (like a bowl of pasta, a roast chicken, or even a very good cheese sandwich) I can enjoy the food much more. Also I sometimes feel that the way I can enjoy my food the most, is to eat alone.

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As much as I love cooking and eating.... planning trumps all. I love to research recipes, think about interesting combinations of food, put together a meal plan and then make shopping lists for all the various ingriedients. In fact, I like this so much I've offered to put together a weekly meal plan for a couple of co-workers! :wacko:

sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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My order of preference is planning, cooking, then eating.

I find, however, that by the time I sit down to eat I already feel satiated. This has puzzled me for years. Am I alone in this? It isn’t because of “excessive” tasting or pre-meal snacks. I’ve suspected that this occurs because I’ve been looking at food and smelling it as it cooks. This may satisfy my hunger center. It’s not unusual to serve my guests and have to struggle to sit down and eat. I do, of course, because I enjoy their company. Oddly, this doesn’t occur as often when I cook just for myself.

Would someone please tell me that I’m not alone with this phenomenon? Is there a way around it?

I find myself in the same situation. I wish I could find a way around it. No matter how good the meal, I just don't find myself very interested in it, and get most of my satisfaction out of others' pleasure.

I do think it has to do with saturation of the senses.

And, andiesenji, definitely shopping/planning, cooking, eating.

V

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It's interesting that so many people put eating last. I have a theory that the set of people who love to cook and the set of people who love to eat might be fairly independant of each other.

I'm not so sure about that. What I'm seeing here, is that most of us who do the cooking, shopping planning are cooking for someone else. Yes we eat too, but the triumph of the shopping, planning cooking stage is seeing how much everyone else enjoys our labours of love, because that's what cooking is for us, a labour of love. I like to eat as much as the next person. But I sure don't put the same kind of effort into planning, shopping cooking for myself as I do when I know I'll be cooking for others.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I have a love hate relationship with the planning. I enjoy browsing through recipes for ideas, but creating the menu is torture. :wacko: I've yet to find a way to keep it simple but wonderful. Some of my menus have required so much multi tasking and split second coordination that I was exhausted when the cooking was finally done. I enjoy the cooking, especially the prep work. I feel so organized when I have everything ready to go, in spite of whatever injuries I incur during my prep work. (Still nursing my thumb after using my mandoline for the first time! :shock: ) Eating can be fun, unless I am still picking apart each dish and deciding what I should do differently the next time. I guess the best part for me is the cocktail hour, which usually begins after all my prep work is done and I have reached the part of the cooking where I can begin to relax. :biggrin:

KathyM

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I really love eating a good dinner with good friends.

But there's something about getting into my grungy clothes, knocking back more wine than is strictly necessary and and putting "cooking music" on, LOUD (The Grateful Dead. So sue me.) that really transports me. Knives and fire, as Jinmayo said, adrenaline and wine, primal urges and crative outlets. Don't talk talk to me, don't turn on the TV and don't get between me and the stove.

It's as close to ecstatic dancing as I've ever come. Except for some of those Dead shows.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I really love eating a good dinner with good friends.

But there's something about getting into my grungy clothes, knocking back more wine than is strictly necessary and and putting "cooking music" on, LOUD  (The Grateful Dead.  So sue me.) that really transports me.  Knives and fire, as Jinmayo said, adrenaline and wine, primal urges and crative outlets.  Don't talk talk to me, don't turn on the TV and don't get between me and the stove. 

It's as close to ecstatic dancing as I've ever come. Except for some of those Dead shows.

Absolutely! Ratty t-shirt, shorts (I hate sweat pants. Makes my behind verrry unappetizing!) and thongs. Must increase the danger of oil spattered toes.

As much as I love my dear ones, please don't engage me in a conversation involving physics, religion or -gak- politics whilst I'm cooking. Bad things happen.

I used to love the shopping aspect of planning meals. I love to feel, smell, squeeze, et cetera. This was before I moved to a small town with very sad, sorry stores. Overpriced, incredibly limited selection of everything, few things actually fresh. Don't ask about their seafood. -gah- I used to shop at Food Front, Trader Joes, Elephants, Phil's Uptown Meat Market and City Market in N.W Portland. Gads. Beautiful times. Ah well.

So, first is planning/shopping, second is cooking and third is eating. Dead fricking last is clean up. Used to kinda enjoy it until I began to make lunches every day, cook supper from scratch every day...again, ah well. At least I get to cook! :wub:

edited to add an "I"- trying to depart from my anal ways and finding it to be difficult.

Edited by petite tête de chou (log)

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Great question... funny you should ask it at this point. I enjoy all three but I'm in a transition. Previously it was definitely: Planning, cooking, eating.

However, I recently read Dr. Clowers "Fat Fallacy" book (awful title for such a good book) and it has forced me to reconsider. A large portion of his theory is that eating should be about tasting and savoring the meal as well as enjoying the company you are in, even if you are by yourself.

So, I now find myself having switched this around. I really am starting to enjoy eating more, and the planning stages are requiring far less energy for me as I'm eating more of what I have a taste for, rather than what I think would be "right" or impressive. Also, I'm avoiding processed foods, which, somewhat counterintuitively, makes things a whole lot simpler. My trips to the grocery, which used to be longer affairs which involved more thought, are now fairly quick. You can skip a whole lot of the store if you avoid the processed stuff. All around it has made the mealtime production a lot more of a natural thing.

So now, I think I'm an eating, cooking, planning person. At least most of the time. And I feel like it's been a good change for me.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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I think cooking is first, because it's both intellectual and creative. If it wasn't followed by cleaning up, I'd like it even more.

Eating is second, especially when the recipe turns out really well. I've gotten over that depressed-and-defeated thing when stuff doesn't turn out. Toss it out and it's a new day.

Planning is two stages; one is great and the other is dreadful. I love to go through cookbooks and find things to make. I'm still trying to work out a system that allows me to find recipes I ran across a couple of weeks ago. Now where did I see that? Website? Which cookbook? Or was it a magazine? Where was it?????

The second stage is shopping, and that absolutely drives me nuts. Our new Super Target has things the other stores don't, but it's on the opposite end of town from where I live. Arugula? Haven't found it yet. Fennel? If it's not at Target, forget it. Fresh seafood? Probably not, unless it's special ordered. Even something like fresh herbs can be frustrating to find. It just seems like I purchase ingredients for a recipe, and can find all but one... and the ingredients sit in the fridge and rot while I'm trying to find that last package of fresh basil or whatever. Like I said, it drives me nuts.

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The second stage is shopping, and that absolutely drives me nuts.  Our new Super Target has things the other stores don't, but it's on the opposite end of town from where I live.  Arugula?  Haven't found it yet.  Fennel?  If it's not at Target, forget it.  Fresh seafood?  Probably not, unless it's special ordered.  Even something like fresh herbs can be frustrating to find.  It just seems like I purchase ingredients for a recipe, and can find all but one... and the ingredients sit in the fridge and rot while I'm trying to find that last package of fresh basil or whatever.  Like I said, it drives me nuts.

I agree with your shopping frustration. Even though I have a wonderful Wegman's nearby, I've still run into the problem of getting to the end of my list and not finding a key ingredient. Sometimes it's meant stopping at a few more stores looking for something as simple as fresh oregano. But, depending on my mood, it has also nearly brought me to tears when I'm now in the store, missing key ingredients and don't have a plan B. :wacko: I'm getting better at the plan B stuff, but it has usually taken me so long to come up with my original menu that I hate to have to change plans without the aid of my recipes.

KathyM

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