do you ever feel as if there is a gamble in having someone taste something that you dearly love, that you think is one of the best things you’ve ever tasted, for fear that in their failure to feel similarly some thread of sympathy, of connection, will be foreclosed? i’ve definitely thought about this with literature – the fear of too strongly recommending a book, or of lending one that is too close to one’s heart, for fear that if the person does not appreciate it they will somehow appreciate or understand you less, consequently, or you them? i mean, it is not a great fear, but it gives me pause, sometimes.
tastes are so idiosyncratic and so personal, so it should not surprise that to share a taste for something feels like a particularly strong form of sharing. and its lack all the more tragic. i wonder if this is the risk that lies behind all sharing of food – a layer or two deeper than the simple bond of ‘breaking bread’ together (that i’ve written a more about here, with a slightly different tack).
conversely, i find there is a strange disconnect in cooking for others, if food that i have made makes others happier than it does myself. when someone thinks phenomenal what i consider only adequate, and the whole matter of one being one’s own worst critic is beside the point. i sometimes feel that it is a greater compliment when someone likes something i’ve made only as much, roughly, as do i, when they can say “Yeah, this is pretty damn good, a really solid _______. I can see what you mean about something being missing, but i wouldn’t worry about it,” rather than when they are moved to gush and/or rave.
is it possible that that is a selfish thing? prizing one’s own evaluations over the happiness of others? a chilling thought, if one thinks of cooking as an act of love, as it is often framed (counterposed against cooking as self-obsessed [and masculine] technical mastery), but nonetheless i can see where i’m coming from (duh). in that shared critical evaluation, not identical, but not utterly different from a shared love, there is the consonance of something that makes sense to one making sense to another, so that one does not feel alone in it.