When you make the superlative of "well", it must be "best" without "the", right? If you say "the best", does it sound quite awkward?
ex)We can cook (the) best in the dorm.
Actually, it was a question of a workbook to transform a comparative to a superlative as in the following.
ex)...I'm so lucky to have a college roommate like Sue. We've only know each other a few months,....For example, I thought I was the world's biggest coffee fan, but I've seen no one enjoy coffee more than she does, including me! Also, we both enjoy cooking, and nobody in the dorm can cook better than we do...
Q. Transform the underlined below.
= We can cook _best_ in the dorm
I doubted if I can add "the" here, so I looked up in the dictionary, and the dictonary says "best" not "the best" is the superlative of "well".
But judging from what you said, when there is nothing to compare in the given situation of a sentence, you can use only "best" as in "We cook well on a campfire, we cook better in a kitchen, but we cook best in the dorm"
and when there is something to compare as in "Of all the students in the dorm, we cook [the] best." you can either use "the" or not. Right?
"I am best at rowing" could mean that you are not as good as swiming and cycling.
"I am the best at rowing" would generally mean that no one is better than you at rowing.
Now you've introduced more context, and you've made some further assumptions - that you can infer certain rules from what I've said in a different context. I don't think that's valid.