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eating other people's cooking - like it or not?

sometimes i'm completely uninterested and skeptical of eating other people's cooking

totally sounds arrogrant but i don't trust that other people can cook food as well as i can (i know i'm such a snob!!)

what to do? how do i get over this? what do i do when someone offers me bottled dressing?? how about being served heated-up frozen appetizers?

pls tell me i'm not alone and just plain ol' mean...

(but on a postive note on this subject, tonight my husband did made me a great dinner - glazed pork chops, roasted carrots and potatoes, asparagus - i taught him well ;)

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  1. It's easy. Before you go anywhere where someone else is cooking say to yourself: people are more important than food. Then remind yourself that they're feeding you, taking you into their home or wherever and trying to be nice. There's no downside there.

    You're only mean if you say something to them about their food other than "thank you." Otherwise, I don't think it's bad to think "ugh, this dressing is awful."

    1 Reply
    1. re: ccbweb

      I concur- it is polite, and very human, to be thankful for any gift.

    2. Reasons like this evening remind me why I dont like to eat anyone elses cooking...I was at my long time friend considered familys house this evening and she took on the task of changing around some kitchen cabinets. As I was getting ready to toss the sweetened condensed milk that expired in 01, the Heinz gravy that was due in 02 and the baking powder that kicked over in 00, she said they were all still good. And they wonder why all of their baked goods stink! Blech. No thanks!

      2 Replies
      1. re: chelleyd01

        I don't know about the 'gravy', but condensed milk doesn't really expire - it just goes a darker colour and it's still perfectly good unless the can is rusty or damaged. And baking powder is good forever as long as it stays dry. There are some things that really need to be disposed of in good time, and others that only have a sell-by date on them for the benefit of the store.

        1. re: Kajikit

          Amen. I grew up in a household where food was stored for years and years. I'm horrified by some of the things in my parents' house (ever had a Coke that tasted of the can? If you wait over twenty years to drink it, it will), but I did learn that a lot of "expiration" dates just encourage people to waste perfectly good food and spend more money. I think the real point is that Heinz gravy never tasted good and never will.

      2. I second what ccbweb said- people are more important than food. I try to remember that not everyone has the interest in food and cooking/baking that I do, but that they want to be hospitable nonetheless. I would much rather enjoy the company of friends (and be a gracious guest) than think that the pressure of a home-cooked meal prevented them from extending an invite in the first place. I might however, if the opportunity presents itself, take the opportunity to share of my own chow tips in a friendly way- for example, as I accept their bottled dressing say, "I recently discovered this great dressing at the store the other day-you should try it- you'd love it!" If I knew they had an interest in cooking (again, not everyone does), I might mention the incredibly easy app that I recently brought to a potluck (or whatever) and that I'd happily share the recipe if they demonstrated an interest in it. Again, the tone wouldn't be pushy or imply that their effort is sub-standard in any way- just sharing a chow tip with a frined (in the spirit of this site!)

        2 Replies
        1. re: sweet ginger

          I have never been able to master that non-pushy tone. My suggestions always come off as criticism. If the food is sub-par I try to limit myself to statements like "Thanks for making dinner.". If the company kept doesn't make up for sub-par food there is always ketchup.

          1. re: Romanmk

            How about just accepting that the person put themselves out to make you a home-cooked meal? I used to have to eat dinner at my old boss' house and his wife was a terrible, really awful cook. Food was burned, rice was crunchy, seasonings and spices were non-existent, but I did it. Even her kids were running for the frozen dinners once they saw that she had the cookbook out on the counter (she always tried new recipes on me!). I always genuinely thanked her for thinking of me while I was all alone, on the road and staying in a hotel, and feeding me a nice home-cooked meal. I could also bring myself to say things like "I LOVE pork chops" without lying. Sometimes you just have to smile and be nice. It is not nice to feel so superior. It is not a cooking contest and IMO you need to be gracious. The cook may have their suspicions about their own lack of skill, so only make a fuss about the food being good if it is credible.

        2. <<what to do? how do i get over this? >>

          I think that you should not make plans to eat other people's cooking. Stay away from the whole thing. Decline invitations that may put you in this position.

          1. I am confused. I always thought the first rule of being a good guest was to say thank you and eat what you are served, or at least make a polite attempt. To the best of my knowledge no one has died recently from eating bottled thousand island dressing or totinos pizza rolls or whatever. If you think it is going to be that horrible, I agree with the posters who said that you would probably be happiest making an excuse and declining the invitation.

            No, I don't think you are mean, and probably not alone, but surely in a minority. And what on earth does your husband's cooking have to do with going to parties?

            1. I always smile and eat whatever I'm served and I always compliment the hostess, no matter what. It's kind of hard sometimes. My mother-in-law makes a beef tenderloin -- a beautiful cut of meat -- that she boils, yes boils, for a day or two -- I kid you not -- that I have to gag down every year. Then there's my dad who thinks people "overcook" their poultry and serves rare duck and chicken. We eat around the bloody parts and pray for the best. I often have people watching my reactions to their food because I have written a food column, so I make sure to keep my reactions pleasant and tempered. It's just good manners.
              I've also made it clear to my children that they NEVER, ever complain about food served to them when they are guests, unless it's an actualy allergy. No one cares what your particular food prefereneces are when they've already gone through the trouble of preparing a meal. Take a few bites, move the food around on the plate and compliment the hostess on the food, blaming a "late lunch" if it's really impossible. Ask for recipes when you're cornered, it makes people think you really liked it. You can always pick up some McDonald's on the way home if you're hungry or need to get the taste out of your mouth.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Fuser

                Wow. Boiled beef tenderloin. There oughta be a law...

                1. re: Fuser

                  Fuser -- Im with you on all but one point -- if you ask for a recipe for something you didn't like, your hostess will think you actually DID like it, and will probably cook it for you again.

                  I've eaten plenty of bad meals cooked by people I love, and try to make the best of it. If I had your mother-in-law, however, I would step in and try to save the poor beef tenderloin before she commits that :"food felony" again.

                  1. re: Fuser

                    Fuser.. my Chinese relatives always eat rare poultry. There's millions of them.

                  2. I was raised to eat & appreciate what was served at any home. I happen to dislike sweet meat ( fruit or sweeten otherwise) but I have choked it down and smiled.
                    I was also raised to NEVER eat in front of ppls whom I don't have enough to share with ( like family members & friends ) . I have bought fast food in the past and put it away because someone has arrived unexpectedly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pamelakrest

                      I thought I was the only one that still did this. A friend of mine visited me a year ago when i lived with my mother and two younger sisters. She arrived with Burger King and I told her it was rude to bring food to someone's house when you do not have enough to share. To this day she still thinks I am nuts...lol.

                    2. I guess I am strange in that often I prefer other people's cooking. For me, even when I make something fabulous (I'm an average cook, but have a few signature dishes that are my pride and joy) I am tired of it by the time it hits the table.

                      And don't worry about an invitation to my house as I keep a box of frozen carmelized onion and feta puff appetizers in the freezer for emergencies and have been known to use bottled dressing....good bottled dressing, but don't want to rist offending your sensibilities since obviously you wouldn't be coming for the company.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                        Great answer, Janet--I'd be a happy guest in your house! I'm too familiar with the feeling of being tired of the food by the time it hits the table. I really enjoy eating at friends' houses, especially when I can go early and learn how to cook something new!

                        1. re: Kagey

                          Excellent answer, Janet.

                          My solution -- take over bartending duties. One of my martinis or manhattans and you won't care what you are eating.

                        2. re: Janet from Richmond

                          I agree as well. I could care less WHAT someone else is making me-they are the one in the kitchen making it. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich tastes like gold to me coming from someone elses hands. After I have slaved in the kichen on a great dish-it just tastes okay to me by the time it hits the table while the rest are gushing over it. I think the senses are so overloaded from the smells and tastings while making it that the chef doesn't get to enjoy the fruits of her labor. Not fair I say! I love to see what types of ingredients people use that differ from mine and I always learn something new.

                        3. I feel the same way. I avoid eating at other people's homes or taking part in potlucks for this very reason. There are a few times a year I can't avoid it, and I just smile and am gracious. But the vast majority of my husband's family relies heavily on boxed/processed foods that I think are horrible, not to mention they are really bad for you. His whole family is very, very obese, two members have had gastric bypass already and several others would be excellent candidates if they didn't have a host of other health problems due to overeating and inactivity. It's difficult. I don't wish to appear impolite so I just take small amounts of what is offered and try to load up on veggies or salad if it's there. If not, eating very lightly for one meal here and there certainly won't kill me.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rockandroller1

                            jpmcd, sounds like you have two options.

                            Don't go to someone's house for food unless the person is 'insert your favorite famous chef here'.

                            Or do as rockandroller1 suggests.

                            1. re: rockandroller1

                              My in-laws have a neighbor who LOVES to bring them food (my MIL has had gastric, and FIL has diabetes).

                              The neighbor brings them a chocolate cake 2X week. He makes the cake with three cake mixes. It feels like it's 20 pounds. They usually thank him and pawn it off on someone else or trash it. He is mentally handicapped and he gets a GREAT joy out of baking. So, for them, what's the point in telling someone who loves it so much?

                            2. I will give other peoples cooking a try. I cook all the meals in our household, so sometimes it is nice to be able to sit back, and have someone cook for me. I know everyone has not spent years in kitchens like me, so I give them a chance, and go with an open mind of trying what they serve.

                              With the above said, I always have a back-up plan in place just in case the food isnt that good. I scope out the area we are going, and have a restaurant in mind to stop at after we leave if I have not had a good meal.

                              1. Three of us were very good friends. Two of us loved to cook and were pretty good at it. The third couldn't put a meal together from the take-out counter at Citarella but decided that since we cooked, he would as well. So he tossed stuff in a wok. With lots of oil. Without any seasonings. And he'd be soooooo proud of himself. Whenever we could no longer get out of another dinner at his house, the other friend and I would meet up beforehand and get a hot dog or something. Then we'd laugh all the way to the pastry shop afterwards. But while we were there, we'd eat as much as we could and encourage the effort. He certainly meant well, and it was after all only two or three nights a year. Little to give up for a good friendship.

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Joan, ITA with you, and others that have stated that friends are more important than food.
                                    I do have to say that there are many worse things than, *gasp* being served bottled dressing, that's beyond snobbish IMO.
                                    We went to my best friend's (more like a sister really) for dinner last year. Her husband had gone fishing off of Montauk the night before and caught a beautiful fish (sea bass, I think??). My husband and I watched in silent horror as my friend and her husband doused this big, fresh, gorgeous fish in a bottle of mayonaisse, a couple cups of chopped white onion and topped it off with parmesan cheese (from the green can).
                                    Then they cooked it for an hour or so!
                                    What can you do? I made myself another cocktail and filled up baby carrots and hummus before dinner was served.
                                    When dinner was served, dh and I each took a piece of fish offered, which was hard to find under all that mayonaisse (did I mention I hate mayonaisse) and commented on how fresh it was.
                                    Would I ever trade a night with my BFF for a gourmet dinner without her? Absolutely never in a million years!

                                  2. Snobbery isn't seeking out the good stuff--it's feeling to good to eat, drink, wear, etc, anything else. And (this is not intended to be a barb) this seems like what you're struggling with.

                                    This attitude doesn't have a bad reputation for no reason; after all, being discerning, eating and living well, these are virtues. The bad reputation is for two reasons: first, it's limiting, as it makes one say 'I don't like this,' 'I don't even want to try this.' An easy way to miss some good experiences--this goes even when the food is bad, for the company and the atmosphere may be great. It's the same attitude that keeps some poor souls from ever eating good pho or authentic Mexican, which tend to come from the humblest of locations.

                                    Second, it's a surefire way to make others feel inferior or resentful of one's *assumed* superiority.

                                    Anyway, eating a fishstick now and then is not a big deal. Drinking a crap beer does not make one a crap beer drinker.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Discoethan

                                      I agree that snobbery is not "seeking out the good stuff", the following is from dictionary.com for Snob

                                      1. a person who imitates, cultivates, or slavishly admires social superiors and is condescending or overbearing to others.
                                      2. a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field.

                                      Certainly in that context, not something to be proud of, and I doubt that is how the OP intended it to be read.

                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                        Yes, and the fact that OP called herself a snob shows she has a sense of humor about it.

                                        Actually, though, my musings on snobbery were in response to her attitude, which includes 1) assuming that others cook poorly, and 2) treating eating non-gourmet food as a terrible imposition.

                                    2. Yes. Wouldn't you be insulted if a guest in your home refused food you offered them?

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                        I had this happen for our 4th of July party this year. We're in Mexico and it was the rainy season, so we started early. Drinks and apps at 2 and lunch at 3 followed by desserts around 4:30. The 20 people that I invited showed up at 2 and had a terrific time. The 2 people that DH invited showed up at 4 and wouldn't eat because the food had been sitting out too long. Apps were covered on the terrace and mains/salads/veggies were in the house on the buffet. When I offered to fix the wife a plate, she walked out saying loudly, "No, I'm going somewhere to get good food." Turned out that they went home and had leftovers. That's the last time I'm cooking and including them. BTW, they think that I told them the wrong time and I'm in the wrong.

                                        1. re: Pampatz

                                          Something tells me those two don't get invited to your home (or sooner or later anyone else's home) for a meal much anymore.

                                          1. re: maplesugar

                                            Their daughter and her husband are in town for Dia de Muertos. THey want to have a meet and greet at their house (first time in 2 years that we have been invited to eat there). The catch is that I'm supposed to bring an app. Not happening.

                                      2. interesting feedback...wasn't expecting life lessons in humanity - thought it would just drum up some chatter about FOOD and cooking it yourself vs eating someone else's

                                        i definitely didn't think everyone would assume i act these internal thoughts out at dinner parties!

                                        but sincere thanks to those of you who shared a similar story and got the jist of the post...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jpmcd

                                          Well, you did ask how to get over it. You got a variety of responses saying 'you just do.' And I doubt many commenters supposed you made gross-faces at bad food at dinner parties. I think they were trying to correct your attitude rather than your behavior.

                                          1. re: jpmcd

                                            I've certainly had those same feelings plenty of times. It seems that being invited is where we cross the line into a sensitive area. Certainly if you were talking about restaurant food people would be agreeing more wholeheartedly. The post makes me think of bad meals though. Those are some visceral and gross memories. I guess that's my fault for feeling like I had to eat that stuff to be polite. Overcooked shrimp tasting of lighter fluid, greasy frozen egg rolls, burnt stuff. Blech.

                                          2. jfood learned a long time ago that there are people with more XXX and less XXX and that goes for cooking as well. Some will cook some things better, some will cook things worse. jfood goes for the company and the food is background. So jfood has decided not to rate friend's cooking, or anything else. He goes for the friendship and the good times, if he has some good food it's a bonus and if he's hungry when he gets home, he has a bowl of frosted flakes.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: jfood

                                              My husband and I went to a "dinner party" last summer where every dish on the buffet table was served in its store container, straight from Sam's Club. I certainly would never openly criticize the hosts for serving this crap, but I'm certainly not going to eat it! You can do a lot of covert moving the food around on the plate action to avoid giving offense. I don't think, though, that one is obliged to consume bad food. My younger brother once hosted a dinner for the extended family where he partially pre-cooked BBQ chicken. After letting it sit around on the kitchen counter all afternoon, he "finished" it on the grill. I instructed my husband and two kids not to touch it. Everyone else suffered serious food poisoning. Sometimes eating to be polite is just plain crazy.

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                "You can do a lot of covert moving the food around on the plate action to avoid giving offense"

                                                If you don't want to eat it, don't put it on your plate.

                                                This is a perfect example of why I am happy to hang with the "rude crude" biker crowd. If someone opened a bunch of cans and boxes and sat them out for a dinner party, there would be plenty of open criticism, which is much more honest than telling tales on them later for "serving crap.".

                                                1. re: FrankJBN

                                                  What in the world is wrong with eating food from a Sam's Club container once in a while? Do I tarnish my chowhound credibility to say that ALL prepared, pre-packaged food isn't inedible?

                                                  However, it isn't someone else's COOKING, as the OP was referring to. It's what someone else serves at their home.

                                                  1. re: Neely_Ohara

                                                    "What in the world is wrong with eating food from a Sam's Club container once in a while?"

                                                    Well, if you want to do this for yourself, feel free, but when "It's what someone else serves at their home.", sorry, it don't fly even with the crude crowd. Maybe for a joke, but otherwise, put that stuff in a pan and heat it up then serve it in a bowl.

                                                    Now, on a long trip one can cook a can of beans or soup on the exhaust manifold. How do you heat up your container of Sam's Club cuisine at home?

                                            2. sometimes i'm completely uninterested and skeptical of eating other people's cooking

                                              totally sounds arrogrant but i don't trust that other people can cook food as well as i can (i know i'm such a snob!!)

                                              what to do? how do i get over this? what do i do when someone offers me bottled dressing?? how about being served heated-up frozen appetizers?
                                              I'm completely flabbergasted at your post. Your supposed superiority in cooking better than your friends' cooking could very well be your own opinion. How do you know that you cook better than other people? How do you know they aren't being polite and saying your food is good when it isn't? After all, taste is in the mouth of the eater, and perhaps those that have eaten your food are doing exactly what you seem to be incapable of doing - thanking you for a meal cooked for them despite them not actually liking it.

                                              So what do you do? You use the bottled salad dressing, however sparingly. It won't kill you. You eat one or two of the heated up frozen appetizers. It won't kill you. And you thank the person who invited you to their gathering for their friendship and the fact that they spent time making a meal for you.

                                              1. Try thinking of eating other people's food as reading the comics vs. reading literature.

                                                Just view your food as literature - what is important to you. Food created by other people is simply amusement. It probably won't kill you and it'll give you an ability to talk other humans and that is often a worth eating a meal that doesn't meet your culinary standards.

                                                1. I go for the company & appreciate the energy they have put into the event and perhaps the meal. And once in awhile you may be surprised. I had a friend who cooking = open can, dump in pot. But once she made a wonderfully flavored (but hideous looking) vegan meatloaf sort of thing. She had asked for the recipe elsewhere. She's just not that motivated to expend much thought on flavor, but she is able to recognize it & will make it if it doesn't seem too taxing...Also, there is getting to be better prepared products available. Many non-cooks appreciate good food and these products cater to them.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                    I have to admit that while office-type pot lucks can find me rather wary and picky, I am lucky enough to get invited often to a the home of a friend who fairly recently has found that he loves to cook. Even if the food were a fraction as good as it actually is, I would still go for their company. I'm just lucky that the food is more often than not fabulous.

                                                  2. How is bottled dressing or heated up frozen appetizers considered "cooking"?

                                                    1. This post irritates me on many different levels.

                                                      1."sometimes i'm completely uninterested and skeptical of eating other people's cooking" Well then, don't go eat at anyones home! That will rid you of your problem quickly.

                                                      2. "totally sounds arrogrant but i don't trust that other people can cook food as well as i can (i know i'm such a snob!!)" This is arrogant. I feel like I am a really good cook, as well, but as far as trusting others to cook like I do is unrealistic. After all, what if they were raised in New York, and I was raised in Texas. There are going to be regional differences, and techniques.

                                                      3. "what to do? how do i get over this? what do i do when someone offers me bottled dressing?? how about being served heated-up frozen appetizers?" Not every single cook is privvy to the time, and or talent, that you are expecting. Plus some people are just ignorant, and don't know how to make a homemade salad dressing. And there are some very acceptable frozen appetizers out there for the person who doesn't have the luxury of spending a couple days to invite someone to their home for dinner. I was raised by a woman who boiled her roasts, smothered everything she could with some cream of mushroom soup, and made the worst potato soup I have ever eaten - not that I will touch that as an adult (bad memories!) but after saying that I was lucky enough to get into the world and learn how to cook much better tasting, savory, food. How did I do it? Help from friends, magazines, cooking shows, etc. What if I had just accepted the fact that food was supposed to be prepared that way, and was satisfied with it, or, even, liked it? A lot of folks just don't have the knowledge, desire, or input, to go beyond what they know. That's too bad, but if they are friends, oh well . . .

                                                      In closing I will say that it fills me with trepidation top go to someone else's house for dinner, but that is because my husband is VERY picky, and it's not polite to quiz the hosts about what is going to be served. So, in a way, I share your pain, but not for the same reasons. I just don't want him to embarrass me. I could care less what they feed me. If I could choke down my mom's cooking, I can choke down just about anything!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: danhole

                                                        I think jpmcd just forgot to put [internal thoughts on] and [internal thoughts off] before and after the post.

                                                        We all took it for truthspeak and have reacted accordingly, I think.

                                                        1. re: dolores

                                                          I'm not exactly sure what you mean, Dolores, but I have had my say and will get off my high horse now. If this was meant to be tongue in cheek, I totally missed it.

                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                            danhole, I am in agreement with your post. jpmcd came back to say after the OP that it was 'internal thoughts'. It appeared to be a statement on how jpmcd actually felt, hence all here took it as reality. It is not easy when one is reading a post to distinguish between 'internal thoughts' and reality.

                                                            No, it wasn't tongue in cheek, just not very clear. Sorry.

                                                            1. re: dolores


                                                              I went back and read what jpmcd posted about the internal thoughts, and of course I never thought that this person would be at someone's house grimacing, or refusing food. I just don't think like that in the first place, so I suppose that is what irritated me. But to each his own! I am disagreeing, but not trying to be disagreeable! ;-)

                                                      2. I'm curious--does the OP go to resturants?

                                                        1. I guess that I agree with JanetfromRichmond the most. Because I cook all the time, I truly enjoy any invitation from anyone else. Doesn't matter a bit what you serve me, I'll happily enjoy and appreciate it.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                            Yeah I agree too -- food is more about the experience of sharing time with people than about the food. Now, I think it does become about the food when you get served something really bad...that makes it hard to ignore..I like to have dinner parties with basic yummilicious items that everyone is sure to enjoy - so that the focus is on the experience and not something poorly made.

                                                            1. re: Zucumber84

                                                              In other words, it is always about the food.

                                                              1. re: FrankJBN

                                                                Cooking and food is very subjective. I think I'm a great cook, but hate cooked onions, which are a base of nearly every soup and so much else. I almost gagged upon tasting them in a friend's otherwise perfect macaroni and cheese casserole.

                                                                I cook to my own tastes and order at a restaurant to my own tastes, but cannot obviously do so at another's house. Geez. I deal.

                                                          2. my experience has usually been that people who actually take the time to cook know what they're doing, otherwise they don't invite someone else over.
                                                            there have been a few times when someone made something more or less from scratch that i found really strange. but as long as the flavor is not too strong i can find something pleasant about it.
                                                            oh, and start by asking for small portions, you can always ask for more!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: fara

                                                              >i can find something pleasant about it<

                                                              That is why I usually don't go to someone's house for dinner with a lot of expectations because I know there will be something that I will like and if I had expectations I'd be proven wrong. Additionally, most people I know have families and/or have demanding jobs where they work excessive hours or are remodeling their homes and don't have time to plan and make a hoitsy-toitsy dinner. I don't think it would be fair to have preconceptions about eating at their homes because everyone I know has certain constraints on their time or their budget.

                                                            2. "what do i do when someone offers me bottled dressing?? how about being served heated-up frozen appetizers?"

                                                              Just thinking of family alone, if that's the worst you have to suffer through, my suggestion to "what to do? how do i get over this?" is to pray fervently to your deity-of-choice that you were granted such a charmed life. ;)

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: MikeG

                                                                I thought of this thread yesterday at a baby shower thrown at the grandmother-to-be's home, with all home cooking. There was bottled salad dressing, cake from a mix, pie filling that included Cool Whip. I ate some of everything and enjoyed almost all of it, and wondered to myself how the Chowhounders would feel about the spread. Would people actually let the salad dressing ruin a delightful party?

                                                                1. re: marmite

                                                                  I went to a shower just like this a few months ago. There was nothing even remotely appealing to me. Food loaded with corn syrup and additives and stuff tastes horrible to me. I took a plate of plain salad and plain veggies and just said I wasn't that hungry, and had a very nice time. The company was definitely what was important and I had a good time, but I was starving by the time I got home for dinner. I just cannot eat cool whip and stuff like that, I think it's awful. To me, it's almost like asking a vegetarian to eat meat just because that's what's offered. It's ok if they didn't go out of their way to accommodate me or if they don't happen to cook that way, but I'm not going to eat it.

                                                                  1. re: marmite

                                                                    It would be silly to let the salad dressing ruin an otherwise delightful party. But then I love Cool Whip. It's one of my dirty little secrets!

                                                                  2. re: MikeG

                                                                    I agree that bottled salad dressing or reheated frozen things are hardly the worst that can be offered. How about getting food poisoning? It's happened to me. I've also been served obviously spoiled fruit more than once. By multiple different people. :)

                                                                    If you honestly can't stand anyone but yourself, er, I mean, anyone else's cooking, then maybe you should just enjoy your own company. I don't say this to be flip. I find it bewildering when people who like tasty food suddenly become people who are incapable of eating anything without complaining.

                                                                  3. "what to do? how do i get over this? what do i do when someone offers me bottled dressing?? how about being served heated-up frozen appetizers?"

                                                                    YOU SAY 'thank you'...did you really need to ask?

                                                                    FYI At the end of the night you thank your host again. This is were you can invite them over so you can showcase your 'talent'.

                                                                    1. I, too, am very picky about what I can swallow (darn gag reflex:).
                                                                      I don't think I could eat food from Sam's containers but would if I were not able to avoid. Offending hospitality offered and accepted is the ultimate in rudeness.
                                                                      Food made with love always tastes good!
                                                                      .... poisonous people usually cook nasty food IMO:)

                                                                      1. There is only one reason I can think of for declining to eat in someone else's house: If it's a serious health hazard. Otherwise, I'm flattered that they would cook for me, no matter what their skill level. Happens I'm an exceptional cook, but I NEVER compare someone else's cooking to mine. That's not what I'm there for. I'm there to enjoy the company and appreciate the effort.

                                                                        If I sound preachy, sorry. But I have had a first time guest at a Christmas dinner unabashedly pig out on three servings of beef Wellington, then announce to the table that she would NEVER invite me to dinner because she couldn't cook like that. I hate people who think life is a contest!

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                          I hate people who think life is a contest!
                                                                          Well said. And hosting a dinner/party/get together is stressful enough without worrying that your guests are judging/critiquiting/comparing everything you serve.

                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                            I'm pretty sure she felt she was giving you high praise, not being competitive.

                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                              Yes, but it's a backwards sort of praise. Sounds like Caroline would enjoy being invited as a friend to that person's house for dinner - as she said, she's there to enjoy the company and appreciate the effort that went into it. But since her guest has already decided she can't live up to the perceived levels of cookery, she'll never get that invite.

                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                ummm... No. She never did invite us to dinner, her home or a restaurant. And never called to say thank you for the Christmas dinner. That was the only time I ever saw her. Her husband and my husband worked together and she was new in town, so we invited her and her husband so she could meet other engineers and their wives. She was just a jerk. You meet them every once in a while. Life happens.

                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                  It's such a shame when people feel as though they have to culinarily compete. I'd much rather rub elbows with greater home chefs and learn a thing or two!

                                                                                  1. re: link_930

                                                                                    ive even learned a few things from people who were generally pretty rotten cooks... we all have a few hidden talents here and there.

                                                                            2. I've pretty much stopped going out to eat in restaurants because I'm always dissatisfied with the food -- from selection to presentation to product. I fear I'm becoming a mal-adjusted curmudgeon.

                                                                              That being said, I will NEVER be so low class as to turn my nose up at my friends' kind invitations. I don't care if they're serving Doritos, orange soda, hot dogs, and black licorice. But then again I'm pretty lucky with my friends.

                                                                              1. Anyone ever stop to think that some people think eating sushi is just weird? Well, if you invited one of them over for homemade, fresh sushi ... I mean, it's the same problem, only in reverse. Some of us good cooks fail to realize that if your guests are used to cake mix cakes, bottled salad dressing, and frozen pre-prepped foods, our fancy schmancy homemade stuff might actually taste "funny" to them. For all you know, they're stopping for McDonalds on the way home from YOUR place. Doesn't make anyone right or wrong, but does call for all of us to please be nice to each other (as many posters have pointed out).

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: k_d

                                                                                  Good point. Just because it is made with fresh, high quality ingr by skilled hands doesn't mean it suits eveyone's palate...

                                                                                2. i have some friends who are good cooks, its always a pleasure to eat there and then a few who dont even attempt to cook, store bought stuff, some in containers some not. i do find the latter disappointing, thats not the way i would do it but i was taught never to turn my nose up at food. so i dont, no pushing it around on the plate either, thankfully they serve buffet style so i can avoid the unappetizing things and stick with the simple stuff. even if the salad came from a bag its still edible right ? so i suppose inside i do feel they should have made more of an effort (my friends i know them!!) because i would. but the reality is not everyone views food the way i do.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: foodwich

                                                                                    Well said! I have a very good friend who claims that she is "known" for her baking & sells these items at her Temple for a lot of money. Personally, I think she uses way too much sugar in everything she's made, and the pastries she makes don't have much flavor (in my opinion). But, I'm not about to tell her that I think she's an awful cook. I know how much love & effort she puts in her baking. I eat the few things she makes that I like, and I leave the rest. I'm not going to ruin a friendship over baking or cooking.

                                                                                  2. Suck it up. Not that I don't feel you, as I've had friends who've served me Hot Pockets from the micro, spoiled mussels and doritos salad(don't ask, I've nearly blocked it from memory.) When it's my turn, I bring over the ingr and show them how to make something tasty from scratch. They find it inspring and I don't burn any bridges...

                                                                                    Plus, if you bring a nice bottle of wine, you still get a treat...

                                                                                    1. I can relate JPM, particularly if it's a home cooked, old-fashioned meal that only your Mother &/or Grandmother can truly prepare & for which you'll enjoy; i.e. I can't enjoy anyone's french toast, except my Mother's.

                                                                                      1. I refuse to eat stuff like mussels at parties and such unless i know the host and have either seen them prep them properly or heard them speak of the proper way to cook them.

                                                                                        I went to an informal party once where at one point in the evening, a large kettle of mussels were produced and some people happily dove in. I may have eaten one to be polite, they are not one of my favorite foods anyway, but at some point it came up in conversation about cooking them and i mentioned that they were a bit of a pain in the butt to prep....and i got a funny look so i elaborated on how you have to pick them over to make sure the shells are closing while you are cleaning them and toss the ones that won't close (they're dead) or alternatly, how you have to toss the ones that don't open during cooking. The same person who had cooked these things that evening, made some comment about how wow, they didn't know that. Never again. Shellfish poisoning is not worth being polite for. I'm even wary of ordering these things in restaurants.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                          Its incredible to me that your hosts went to all the trouble and expense of cooking mussels for a crowd and didnt have a clue what they were doing. As much as I love mussels, I wouldn't have touched them either. It would make me question the age and quality of everything ELSE on the table too.

                                                                                          1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                            Trouble and expense? Where I live, mussels come in a big bag for $3. A bag will feed two at least - a big kettle could easily be filled with three bags. As for trouble - well, the only trouble in cooking mussels is in making sure you've only got good ones, and apparently they didn't bother with that...

                                                                                        2. I tend to avoid those situations all together. I only go to eat and people's house that I know and trust.

                                                                                          It's less about someone's ability to cook and more about their standard of cleanliness. If I go into your house and see a cat on the kitchen counter chances are I won't be eating much from you. If you have a roach problem -- forget it! If I've ever seen you share a spoon with your dog, no way jose.

                                                                                          And forget about potlucks I either avoid them all together or bring something great that I don't mind eating.


                                                                                          1. Typically, I don't care what other people make - it is that someone cared enough to make it for me. Eventhough food is my passion and career, sometimes it is enough to have good family and friends to share a meal with.

                                                                                            my blog http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com

                                                                                            1. I think it's the Hindu religion that states you should never eat anything unless it's prepared by someone who loves you. Kinda impractical in our society, but still food for thought. And it doesn't say, but one can extrapolate, that you should eat whatever is prepared by someone who loves you. Or at least try. It's a karma thing, I guess. Now, obviously not everybody that invites you to dinner are going to love you, but hey, they're inviting you over, aren't they? That shows some feeling at least in the same general direction. You should respond in an appropriately generous manner.

                                                                                              Then again, while I'm a pretty good cook too, I'm almost always hungry and ready to eat pretty much whatever you put in front of me, as long as it's reasonably edible... like one of Pavlov's dogs.

                                                                                              1. I am with OP. I am an excellent cook, and tend to shy away from other peoples cooking, arrogant or not. I am the same way at restaurants. I find that a great majority of them just don't get it right, i.e."wetish" omelets, hash whites, etc. I think one knows if they are a good cook or not, and there is not a thing wrong with that.