If ever there was damnation with faint praise…
But we cannot help it. Even if we are not bakers ourselves, we can always look askance at other’s cooking. And we do it for the best reasons – we do it to honour our mothers.
Every mother makes three memorable classes of food; the stuff that isn’t as good as that made by our mate’s mother – the stuff that we don’t like to eat – and the recipes that are the correct standard of the world.
It might be sauerkraut, it might be banana bread, it might be oatmeal with gravel…but whatever it is, there will be one dish that we remember our mother cooking that was the correct way to do it. All others are pale imitations, no matter how well done. And we resist any suggestion that we are biased.
Our wives do something that is correct, as well – or we might do it if we are the cooks of the house. Our children will remember this. The difficult part is when our wives do a version of what their mother did, which is a version of what our mother did…and the three dishes are remarkably different, even if the ingredients are the same. Three women cooking the same dish in three correct fashions whilst eyeing each other off over the sharp knives is a daunting prospect.
When they present you with three different tasting tablespoons to tell which is the right recipe…run.