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So What Would You Have Done?

I have posted a bit on CH, and am known among my friends and co-workers as a pretty decent cook/hostess. Last weekend we spent the day at an out of town friends' home through dinner. We had agreed ahead of time to have dinner at home, this couple has been married a very long time, doesn't have children, doesn't cook too often. I volunteered to make latkes (potato pancakes), butter cookies and chopped liver for the dinner, as this would be a Chanukah celebration. All they had to prepare was some kind of main dish.

So, we arrive at their home about 11:30 a.m. expecting to go out for some lunch, a little shopping or visiting, etc. The friend's husband shoves a 5 lb. RAW brisket at me and says, please make this for dinner. I was a little taken aback. These people may have a gorgeous gourmet kitchen with state of the art appliances, but they are not cooks and I lacked quite a few major ingredients and tools. Anyone who has ever made a brisket knows you need to make it the day before, so you can de-fat the meat and de-grease the juices. We were planning dinner at 6:30 p.m. I knew I had to quickly get that brisket into the oven, and tried to make do with bouillon cubes (yech!), no celery, no chile sauce, less than perfect ingredients. Then the friend's husband stood over her to ensure she was taking notes (and pictures!) so she can replicate the recipe. AND complained that we didn't get out to lunch till 1:30 (by the time I browned the onions and the brisket, made the sauce, etc).

Truthfully, I felt like a schmuck. I should have put my foot down and had them get a flank steak or something way easier. Anyone been in a similar situation? This is your time to vent!

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  1. I've never had anything at all like that happen ever so I can't vent. Since HE'S the one who's the schmuck, I'd have wrapped that brisket in freezer wrap of some sort, gone to the grocery myself and bought said flank steak and just said "I'm in no position to cook a brisket today so this is what we're having." Jerks need to be dealt with firmly. Pussy-footing around will never work. Please practice in front of a mirror before going back for a repeat with these people. Sheesh.

    1. I'm speechless. Who does that? What an idiot. I'm surprised he didn't expect you to make lunch too.

      1. Hindsight's always 20/20. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

        Yes, you could have delicately informed him that cooking a brisket is a 24-hour proposition and declined to make it for that night's dinner. But instead you did your best to accommodate your boorish host. You made the best of a bad situation.

        Venting is a good thing. This guy's behavior was totally unacceptable. But you should take solace in the fact that you handled things as well as you did. What goes around, and all...

        Happy Holidays

        1 Reply
        1. re: alanbarnes

          I agree with alanbarnes, you did the best you could and were very polite about it, and now you know better than to accept an invitation from them to eat at their place again.

        2. This story is hi-larious! It is worthy of a sitcom, if Seinfeld was still on I'd suggest pitching it as an episode.

          1. Sounds like they think you can do anything; and it sounds like you can! So how was it? How was the brisket; how was dinner; how is your friendship?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Sam, yes it's true. There is no "S" for Schmuck on my forehead, instead it is "WW" for WonderWoman! Believe it or not, the brisket turned out pretty damn good. I cooked it for 4 hours, took it out of the sauce and stuck the meat in the freezer on the plate for an hour to cool down so I could slice it. I was able to trim off most of the fat from the meat, but wasn't able to de-grease the sauce as much as I would have preferred.

              The annoying thing is that because it worked out OK, my friend's husband laughed and thought this validated the bad preparation!

              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                i guess it would've been *not nice" to load his plate with the most artery-clogging fat.

                just fantasizing........