I'll admit to cooking for years. Yet, as I reflect on earlier meals and menus, I realize that the early attempts were good but not great - and I thought my self an excellent cook then. There seems to be tipping points when my food reached a different level:
Grade school - When I learned that there were other foods besides steak and rice - and I could make them myself
High School - The first trip to Europe and the exposure to different flavors and thoughtful food prepared with quality ingredients
Marriage - The rhythmic production of meals and it's repetition made me a less self-conscious cook and discovery that simple is great
A stint in Italy - The awareness of the relationship between culture and food - the reasons food tastes different in different countries, regions or towns - and to respect that
Vegetarianism - This will sound strange to most -the drive for flavor and texture in dishes made me a better overall cook - even for meat
What were your tipping points and for what new catalyst should I search?
(If this has been done before, please let me know and I'll pull it.)