I've always enjoyed cooking and spent a lot of time looking for interesting recipes and menus and amassed an extensive cookbook collection. Somehow in spite of my collection, until about the last 10 years I've been a very unimaginative cook. I've always done things the way my mother did, bought the same cut of meat, etc.
Then, I started attending events at Cooking by the Book and met several chef/cookbook authors. I was struck by their innovation and have slowly started to get away from recipes and just use my imagination.
About 20 years ago I had tried to make a goose but I received so many objections that I also made the usual roast beef, cut from the top sirloin. A few years ago when I wanted something different for Christmas dinner, I bought a rib roast and followed the recipe exactly (I couldn't make too radical a change). It was delicious. That became our traditional Christmas dinner.
This year it was time for a change. I bought a piece of beef tenderloin or filet mignon. Then I got home and realized that the only way I knew to cook filet mignon was to make steaks and cook them in oil and butter but that didn't seem so festive. I checked out the Food Network and found a recipe by Alton Brown. It was delicious, so tender. I'll never go back to top sirloin.
I'm slowly getting away from my old boring ways. At a time when most of my friends have given up cooking and fussing over their own meals, I'm getting more and more interested in cooking. After all, I'm worth the effort it takes to make a good meal for myself.