DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My wife is a competent cook when she follows a recipe. However, she thinks she has a real flair for cooking and will go off script to “improve” a dish. The trouble is her improvements more often than not result in an inedible mess.
I do not want to discourage her from cooking, especially since she enjoys it so much, but I don’t know how many more unappetizing meals I can take. How blunt should I be with my test kitchen cook? --- FOLLOW THE RECIPE
DEAR FOLLOW THE RECIPE: It sounds like your wife’s creativity doesn’t yield a 100 percent failure rate, which may be a good starting point whenever you speak to her about her cooking.
Perhaps the way to go is to make clear how much you like the successful experiments and encourage her to use those ingredients and combinations more often.
A gentle push in the right direction might work better than spotlighting her misfires.