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Aug 11, 2006 09:00 PM

Are we really THAT rare? Guess so...

I know all too well that everyone is not a Chowhound - I know people who really do believe that we should eat to live, or who are indifferent to what they eat, and some of them are otherwise perfectly reasonable human beings. But I do tend to expect people who are connoisseurs of good stuff (i.e. the things *I* like) to be at least somewhat interested in trying to expand their horizons...

Anyway, last night I went to a weekly gathering of local car nuts. These things are by invitation only (but that's a great big e-mail list) and free of charge, but you're expected to bring food to share and your own beverages, or else drop five bucks in the kitty. As usual I chose to share, so I made my favorite bean salad (recipe on Home Cooking if you ask nicely), with Trader Joe's canned cannelini beans and some fresh basil and almost enough olive oil...well, I put this down on the food table, then took my bottle off to find a cup and look at the cars. Got caught up in several good conversations, finished the bottle with a little help from my friends, then figured I'd go home since the hamburger grillers had quit for the evening. So I went to pick up whatever might be left of my beans...and they'd hardly been touched! Now, it's not the prettiest dish in the world, but it's good enough that I've been asked the recipe quite a lot over the years. I was scratching my head about that, when one guy said, "Oh, we figured those were peanuts," and a couple of other folks nodded and said, "Yup, peanuts," plainly implying that I should've known better than to bring peanuts.

It would have taken just one of those guys to take a taste and figure out what it was in there. And not ONE of them bothered to try! I can understand not liking it for one reason or another; what I can NOT understand is standing there speculating about it when the answer is right in front of you, one spoonful away!

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  1. Sorry to hear the dish didn't go over well. I know part of the pleasure of making anything is having someone else enjoy it. I wouldn't mind having the recipe myself.

    1 Reply
    1. I've been lucky enough to spend time in the poorest parts of the South Bronx. There are a lot of family gatherings for holidays, for any occasion whatever. Each woman (and any man who wants to)will bring a dish. Reputations stand or fall on the quality of the cooking. If the event is in a public park, you'll see crowds around the stuff brought by the woman with the best rep. And the quality judgment is quite subtle. The same is true in the more traditional parts of Oklahoma. I know a woman who makes an incredible pie once a year with peaches she picks herself in a certain region with the best peaches. She won't give the recipe to anyone, not even her own sister. (Especially her sister, her sister would duplicate it and bring it to the family's gatherings.) In fact, I'm sure similar scenes play out anywhere in the world.

      1. It's the old "I don't think I'm going to like that" syndrome that is self-perpetuating and self-fufilling. If someone makes up their mind in advance, without a trial or taste test, there's not much to be done except schlep the beans home and enjoy them yourself.

        For more years than I care to count, I've heard this refrain and will continue to be amazed until the lid is nailed shut. What pathetic, unchow-worthy lives must be led by the tastebud timid who won't even venture a teeny bite, just in case it might be delicious ..........

        1. NOBODY wants to be the first person to try something at a party AND nobody wants to be the last one to finish it up....

          You have to take a big helping out for yourself, stick an additional spoon in it...tell someone to "try that" and then let it go...

          Really. Its weird, but happens ALL the time...I make sure if that is happening (at a tailgate or friends party), I just walk up and grab...then everyone seems to think its OK....

          4 Replies
          1. re: Cathy

            Oh, I'm the pity taster at potlucks. I always taste the ugly, untouched dishes (unless they look unsanitary or are clearly not homemade.) You never know when you'll be surprised and find something delicious! I just can't bear the thought of the poor soul who brought that dish going home with it completely unappreciated. It would hurt my feelings if it happened to me. I hope someone out there remembers to pity taste something I've brought that doesn't look pretty.


            1. re: Cathy

              I don't like to be the first person to eat any dish as a party, but that's more because I don't want to look greedy (which, incidentally, I am). But that's markedly different from a group of people, clustered around a dish at a party, debating what it is. TRY IT, for goodness' sake!

              I've actually stopped making cannele, which are little puffed custard morsels, because they are blackened on the outside (to deliciously offset the sugariness of the melting centre), and every bloody person who walks in the door looks at them and then proclaims, sagelike and overly sympathetic, "Oh, dear - look, you burnt them!".

              1. re: Gooseberry

                LOL. I have responses like that all the time from people who are older and therefore think they're wiser. "Oh, dear, did you forget to put the sugar in this?" No, it's not supposed to be drowned in sugar, it has fresh seasonal farm fresh fruit just picked yesterday! "Oh, this is a bit spicy, isn't it?" Yes, it's a habanero. "Oh, this isn't very creamy." No, it's a sorbet! Oh well.

              2. The same thing happened to me at a pot luck, where the group misunderstood the chowish dish that I had lovingly prepared and lapped up the dishes (Cream cheese and chili jelly) I thought were so pedestrian! I solved that problem by always bringing along a little label card to the gathering that I place in front of my dish that tells what the dish is. If you could do it again, you could name your dish
                "Tuscany Bean Extravaganza" or something similarly enticing.
                BTW, I'd love to be on your car show email list!

                1 Reply
                1. re: OneJayneDoe

                  Cream cheese and chili jelly LOL - that is what my co-worker brings to every single potluck.