I had a wonderful time at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining show last weekend. One of the interesting results of attending, though, was the discovery that I would rather do it myself. I have always had a rather wide independent streak combined with a tendency towards pickiness. These traits are balanced by a bone deep laziness. However, the show made it abundantly clear that my laziness no longer balances my pickiness when it comes to food. Nearly everything I tried caused the same reaction - I like mine better, or I could do this myself, why should I pay you way more than it would cost to do it at home. It wasn't that it was bad, there were just very few wowers and the exceptions were invariably things that I couldn't do at home - a really high quality balsamic vinegar, a fabulous hot pepper relish (ok, I probably could do the relish, but I don't like working directly with things that can literally burn my face off). I came away with several good ideas, but very few purchases. I actually bought scrapbooking stuff, not food or cooking or entertaining items.
Even Giada's cooking demo - which I must say, was beyond fabulous - was more inspiring than instructive - not that she wasn't, but that her instructions were things I already knew. Still, an aisle seat 4 rows away from one of my favorite celebrity chef - it bears repeating: coolest sisters ever! The pasta she made was something I had been doing for a few years, only she used butternut squash and I use pumpkin. Several times I kept thinking things like, that's a good idea, but we don't eat pork, I wonder how it would work with chicken or G. doesn't like basalmic vinegar, so I would have to substitute a different acid. (By the way, we discovered this weekend that G. is not in fact crazy and does like balsamic vinegar - she had just never had balsamic vinegar that met her picky standards before.) I kept thinking how I would tweek her recipes to suit the tastes of the people I cook for, all the while being wonderfully entertained by her fabulous personality.
Really, what I took away from the show was a renewed confidence in my abilities as a home cook. I know the people I cook for, and that intimacy of knowledge allows me to create food that is more suited to them. And being able to walk away from the show knowing that, for the most part, my food tastes just as good as the jars and mixes that people pay for (sometimes way too much) - to me that is what being a domestic goddess is all about.