Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cooking Fears: What Has You Quaking in Your Clogs?

Photo by Winona Leonards
I asked a group of friends, including many personal chefs, what gets them quaking in their clogs when it comes to cooking.  Mageircophobia, or fear of cooking, apparently takes many forms, including fear of causing illness, serving inedible food, presentation issues, fear of the cooking process, and fear of recipes.  

Those of us who cook for a living, and for pleasure, usually only have a few things we'd either prefer to never tackle, or some we'd like to, but fear failure.  And unlike true mageicophobia sufferers, we don't need therapy and medication to overcome our fears, we just need a good old fashioned double dog dare.

The first one to tackle, and photograph their feared food, was fellow personal chef, and sassy Cajun girl, Winona Leonards.  That beauty of a strawberry cake, above, is her mother-in-law's from scratch recipe.  

She tackled the feared cake for her husband's birthday. "While I'm nowhere near his mother's ability in the cake-making dept.....I held my own. It was a good cake. I was always so scared to make it....I conquered the beast."   I bet it was phenomenal.

Baking challenges surfaced among the group, most of whom aren't pastry chefs: Popovers, cream puffs, pastry dough, souffles.  Personally, I have made some of the worst pie dough ever attempted. 

Protein challenges were the second largest category, with trimming and cooking a whole beef tenderloin, whole fish, killing/butchering/boning poultry.

The not as familiar or common, also made the list: Bison, ostrich, alligator, turducken, octopus, eel. And foams.  Which I bet even nice restaurants in Akron aren't prone to putting on a plate.

As a technique, deep frying at home, isn't one too many people are comfortable attempting.

And parents, don't forget you can create a food fear,  we've got one fear of lentils because they were likened to bed bugs.

So what's your secret (or not so secret) kitchen fear?  If I double dog dare you, will you tackle it?


  1. I've overcome quite a few cooking "fears" since getting married including making a rolled stuffed beef dish and risotto. I now know that I can make risotto without hearing Gordon Ramsay in my head telling me I'm a donkey for doing it wrong. :)
    I'm not gonna tell you my other fears because I'm afraid you really would double dog dare me! :)

  2. Oh geez... gonna have to confess it's fried eggs.. nicely flipped eggs with intact yokes.. fried eggs... love to order them out and in my kitchen on Sunday morning it's scrambled or over easy.

  3. If it makes you feel any better, I just conquered fried eggs about a year ago. Mine aren't always beautiful, and sometimes I break a yolk, but everyone is victory celebrated with a dip in toast.


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