I can follow a recipe just fine although “season to taste” still eludes me. However, the just being able to put something together is the problem. For example, tonight I wanted something to eat. I thought pasta might be possible. Going through my supplies I found:
Shredded sharp cheddar
Tiramisu flavored yogurt
I also had staples like flour, sugar and oil but no butter, milk or eggs.
I was thinking pasta and cheddar but was initially stymied by the lack of butter or milk.
Not a problem, I thought, since I can make a roux with oil. The chicken broth can be used for a sauce; I will simply base my cheese sauce on a veloute rather than a bechamel.
I made my roux, added the chicken stock and then the cheddar to create a creamy luxurious sauce which coated the pasta well. Unfortunately, as anybody with adequate taste buds would know, the taste was not as exceptional. Sure it was cheesy and I ate it after adding lots and lots of cracked black pepper, but people who can actually cook would have known that this wouldn’t work.
I don’t have a problem with technique, but I will just never have the knack for knowing what flavors will work and which won’t. I think it’s back to strictly following recipes for now. My new mantra is DON’T IMPROVISE!