I have a question that probably doesn't have an answer, but I'll ask anyway, and hope for some insight! I am a private cook for a wonderful family. They are very easy going and have very few dislikes. They are open to suggestions and new ideas. I can always tell when they love a dish I've made, but I think they hold back if they don't like something I've made. I can't believe they liked EVERYTHING I've done, but it is a nice thought, lol. I've asked them about particular meals and they always say they liked it. I have no problem with criticisms with my food, I love hearing feedback. Maybe they don't want to hurt my feelings. Anyway, I am constantly trying to please them with new dishes and I am running out of ideas. I have a million cookbooks, but sometimes I like looking for a tried and true recipe that I know will work. I go to a few websites that have recipe reviews, but I can't always depend on them. One recipe in particular, a roast with dried soup mix and canned soup got hundreds of 4 star reviews...it looked awful, and I can't imagine my family liking it. I'm not a food snob, but I need more sophisticated recipes to keep my family happy. Epicurious is good, but is there another site you'd recommend?
My other question is, how do you cook something you don't like? I know I am cooking for their palate, not mine, but when I hate a particular ingredient, I have trouble cooking with it...I can't tell if the dish is good or not, or properly seasoned. My problem is lemon juice and vinegar. My family loves homemade salad dressing, but I can't pick out a good viniagrette to save my life, lol. I made a good poppy seed dressing and a sesame oil dressing that they liked, but otherwise, I'm lost. And lemon on anything other than a dessert is just gross to me, lol. So, overlooking that I don't like it, how do I even know what I just made is good? I've picked out popular recipes with good reviews, but I hate the ones with lemon juice. Again, my family seems happy with everything I make. I think maybe I need to chill out and relax, lol