One of the earliest lessons I have learned when cooking for myself is that failure is going to happen. Luckily, I haven't failed when I'm cooking for a large group of friends or co-workers. Whenever I make something new, I expect that I will fail. I'm not being self-defeating, I'm being realistic. Then, when I don't fail and the dinner is amazing, I am that much more impressed with myself and the meal.
One way I don't spread my failure around is to only make something new for myself. Don't invite friends, neighbors or co-workers over for dinner when you are attempting to make beef egg rolls for the first time. If you're like me, a group of people around while you fight with wrappers and hot oil will only make a bad situation worse. (I only nearly burned down my apartment. If there were other people I may be homeless right now). Also, when you are cooking for yourself, it is much easier to throw a frozen pizza in the oven or drive to the Golden Arches Supper Club for one than scrambling to feed a scad of people.
It is important, that when you fail, to not see it as a total loss. The only way something is a true failure is if you fail to learn from it. Example:?Next time I make egg rolls, I will wrap them all in advance, better regulate the temperature of the oil and possibly have a fire extinguisher/fighter near by.
When a recipe fails, analyze what went wrong. Was the chicken not cooked all the way? Were the potatoes not seasoned enough? Did the heat from the red pepper flakes distract from the other flavors? Once you determine the kitchen culprit, you can plan ways to thwart it next time.
It is hard to say when you should give up on a recipe. Do you have to try it twice before it fails??Once? Four times? That is completely up to you. When something new doesn't turn out right the first time, you may not want to try it again right away. Keep the idea in your head or the recipe in your book because some unknown day in the future, you may feel adventurous enough to try it again.