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Do you lie to your friend? Do you?

You go to a friend's for a meal at a party. The friend tells you the food will be great - even maybe tells you something you will have is "legendary" or "famous". You go. You try. The result? Not good! Perhaps even bad. The food is only a legend in the chef's mind. This is your friend. So... when they ask if you like it do you tell? Do you fake it? Do you tell them you dislike it? What do you do?

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  1. Of course I'd lie. Or I'd say something like "Thank you; I had a great time." My assumption is, if the company is good, I'd enjoy myself anyway and could say that honestly.

    3 Replies
      1. re: PegS

        It depends on how close a friend but, for most, count me in on the sin of omission - I'd never lie but if pressed . . .

        'It was very flavorful'
        'I've never had anything quite like it'
        'Thank you for such putting in such a great effort on my behalf'
        'I really need to see the recipe' (to see what went wrong!)

        But most likely
        'Thank you, I had a wonderful time - you're a great host(ess)'

        [Edit - with more thought, the following:

        For my friends that are very much into food and they, of course, know the same of me, I'll deconstruct the food while eating (again, only with certain friends) and then start to riff on the ingredients. I'll likely never say anything is bad (but that's me) but will suggest improvements of ingredients or techniques. And I do this because I expect the same of them - my dishes can't improve unless someone gives me feedback. Some of my friends have told me to just start over on the creation of a new dish - and I love them for it]

        1. re: PegS

          Indeed, it's the polite thing to do.

          Luckily my closest friends can cook. The more casual friend, not so much. Recently had a meal with some and things were off...but didn't matter, still had a fine time.

        2. The people I call friends in this life, are people I have no problem giving and getting honesty from. If a friend asked me how something was, I would tell them what was or wasnt good and maybe what could be better/how. Otherwise, that friend goes on through life thinking this dish is sensational, and serving it with pride to other unsuspecting people. How is that being a friend?

          now, just some casual acquaintance? yeah, I tell the white lie and say thank you and leave.

          2 Replies
          1. re: nkeane

            NKeane: Maybe it is sensational but your taste buds just didn't like it. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's not delicious...your opinion is not the final word on food.

            1. re: Jacey

              of course it isnt.(although to me it is. but thats another thread) In that case, Jacey, I would say exactly that......"DIsh was spot on Friend! seriously. I just dont care much for dishx, but of the ones I have had, thats the best!"

          2. I'd probably ask some probing questions about the food and discuss ways to tinker (though not saying it's bad).

            1. I have a tough time outright lying. You can tell pretty quickly if I am lying. So I don't think I could in this situation, but I would probably choose a tactful response like some already posted above, such as " I had a great time! Thanks so much for inviting me!"

              If you think you can pull off a white lie, and it works for you, go for it. And I agree that I don't really need to lie to close friends. If you think your relationship can handle it, ten I think honesty is always best.

              1. "that was a very interesting dish." -- specific to the dish.
                thank you for the nice time." -- overall.

                1. I''d absolutely say I loved it if asked at the party. If asked afterwards I might offer constructive criticism depending on how good of a friend and how constructive the criticism.

                  1. Two things about me: I LOVE anything anyone else prepares for me! Anything. Second, I don't lie. So, I'd honestly say, "I loved that. Thank you! But, do you know, I think you screwed the pooch on this one. ..."

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      That is absolutely brilliant! Why haven't I thought to say that before?

                    2. I'm pretty much bombed by dinner time, so it doesn't much matter. I'm usually "elected" to do the cooking wherever the party is, and if I don't, it's a treat for me to have somebody else cook.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                        >>>>I'm pretty much bombed by dinner time, so it doesn't much matter.<<<<

                        thank you, mr. big shot #1, for my first guffaw of the day.

                        1. Akkkkkkkkk!! I've answered this question before. You figure out something kind to say without lying- or create a diversion and run for your life before you have to answer!!
                          My favorites include: EVERYTHING looks and smells FANTASTIC!
                          But... legendary? It's all relative, innnut?

                          1. I think we are all better off if we get honest feedback through our lives. I would tell him that the company was great and I had a wonderful time but the food sucked.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Veggo

                              I have a really difficult time believing that you'd actually say that, V. (o_O)

                              1. re: Gio

                                G, to borrow from Will Rogers, I never met a meal I didn't like. I hope to coast to the finish line without having to tell a friend that their cooking is inedible. Some have been forgettable, and there's a pathetic irony that we remember forgettable events longer than unremarkable ones.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  If the events are forgettable why then are they remembered longer than unremarkable ones? Do they make more of an impression because they did not impress us?

                                  I hope I never have to tell someone who served a labor of love to friends that the meal was unremarkable and/or forgettable. I wouldn't know how to do that. Thank goodness I've never had that experience.

                                  As Im_nomad has said, though, why would anyone say beforehand the meal was going to be legendary? That smacks of a bravado incomprehensible.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    Yea, good man! The worst I ever had was wonderful! Almost

                              2. errr....what kind of individual actually invites people over for supper and tells their guests ahead of time that the food they will be serving is "legendary" , "famous" or even great ?

                                24 Replies
                                1. re: im_nomad

                                  The reference often comes in the form of "my aunt Pea's FAMOUS 5 bean salad" , or "I make this for EVERY party - it's legendary among my friends...". The last time it happened to me, the person said "This is my favorite potato salad recipe. And now it will be yours." Er, it wasn't...

                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                    Agree. That's a recipe for disaster. I think I'm a pretty damn good cook, but I'm also my own worst critic. I have no problem, for example, to express my disappointment in a dish I prepared for company, and I WANT honest answers (I do get them from my man, he won't hold back because I told him so '-D) from my guests, but I realize how hard that can be, even amongst friends.

                                    I have a very hard time lying about something I care a lot about, such as food, so unless it were a really good friend who wants an honest opinion, I'd try to avoid saying anything about the food in order to not having to lie....

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      <I have no problem, for example, to express my disappointment in a dish I prepared for company, and I WANT honest answers>

                                      I'm with you. I've made things that came out great, scary-bad, and everything in between. I also tend to carefully review my own cooking - does anyone else think there's too much thyme in this? - which I'm pretty sure drives people insane. Can't help it, though.

                                      To the OP: yes, I would lie. Easily, quickly, and without any guilt whatsoever. But I wouldn't take seconds, because that would be pushing it.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        Oh I so know what you mean about criticizing my cooking while eating. I know if the dish sings or not, and when it hits a flat note, I want to know why. I'm sure some people think I'm fishing for compliments or just obsessed but . . .

                                        I am obsessed!

                                        (Seconds, I'm not that polite)

                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                          I do that way too much.... Did I put in too much lemon? Are you sure it isn't too spicy? Did I add enough salt?

                                          It's definitely due to insecurity slash just wanting everyone to love it....

                                          1. re: kubasd

                                            Not so much insecurity as wanting it to be 'perfect' -- and that includes perfect in my eyes. Because I rarely to never cook by recipes, some of my standard dishes don't necessarily come out exactly the same all the time, and sometimes I find them lacking. Of course, the people who haven't been served my A-game dish '-) perhaps don't know the diff.

                                            But I do like my food to live up to my personal standards, and I welcome any and all constructive criticisms. That's what friends are for.

                                            1. re: kubasd

                                              It probably doesn't stem from insecurity for me (you'd have to know me!) but rather a search for that elusive harmony. I'm also curious about other people's palates and what tastes good to them. Lastly, like linguafood, I rarely cook from a recipe (or when I do, follow it exclusively) so want to know how to tweak it for the next time I make it.

                                              I'd love it if someone told me 'just a bit of star anise' or 'try some schezaun pepper next time' or some interesting and significant contribution.

                                              1. re: alwayscooking

                                                I find that if I spend time cooking something, I'm not really the best judge of how it tastes, because I sort of self correct it in my head when I eat it. What I intended becomes what I experience. The way you sometimes can't see the typos in something you've written, because you know what it *should* look like. If that makes any sense.

                                                1. re: small h

                                                  I think that is true when it comes to seasoning, but there are factors like overcooked vs. undercooked that I still detect once in a while.

                                                  1. re: SamuelAt

                                                    Yes, I'm usually able to be objective about that, myself. Because it relies primarily on tactile and visual cues, which are more quantifiable.

                                        2. re: linguafood

                                          Yes, the recipe I was expected to love was really not my thing, so I said it was "a new experience". I think the chef was insulted, but I don't put white chocolate chips in my potato salad.

                                          1. re: SamuelAt

                                            Whattttt?!!! Please don't put them in mine, either. ;)

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Yes - that is a true story. My neighbor said she craved sweet "throw ins" to her salad to counter balance more savory flavors like "potatoes and relish".

                                              1. re: SamuelAt

                                                Ohmygoodness. Now relish is "savory" and needs to be offset by white chocolate chips. Check, please! ;)

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  I offset it with a big chug of beer and and a polite escape from the conversation. ;-)

                                                2. re: SamuelAt

                                                  Oh, that is just SO wrong. Chocolate chips in potato salad? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Yes, it was funny because you couldn't see them easily so the taste came as a surprise. At first, I thought maybe a child had dropped a cookie in by mistake.

                                                      1. re: SamuelAt

                                                        Perhaps this "chef" should put this recipe up on Allrecipes.com or another site where others can make comments. Then she will understand it was an abomination against nature, as well as a decently made potato salad!

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                    Perhaps you should have eaten around the white chocolate chips, put them in a pile on the side of the plate, and said 'I'll keep these for dessert'.

                                                    1. re: alwayscooking

                                                      I'm polite, but not THAT polite! ;-)

                                                      1. re: SamuelAt

                                                        Right. I'd probably be asking "what pooped in my potato salad?"

                                              2. I lie very badly, and it is very evident. (The curse of having parents for whom lying was a hanging offense; this is true of everyone in my family.)

                                                So I would offer a blandishment. If the person is a real cook and capable of receiving honest feedback and desirous of it, I would provide it at another time. I would avoid judgments and offer questions and observations, et cet.

                                                1. I love Sam and Moh's replys. I did lie once to a friend who took a lot of effort and bombed and it came back to haunt me professionally for a bit.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: bigfellow

                                                    I think if you were just honest about a horrible meal you could be as tactful as you can and some people would still hate you. I have a friend who is not really a great cook, I actually got a stomach ache after one of her meals. She loves to cook and thinks she's great at it, if I were ever honest with her it could get messy! I guess it just is not polite to put down something someone did specially to please you.

                                                    1. re: bigfellow

                                                      ok, there is a story there somewhere... the thought of it haunting you professionally sounds quite ominous!

                                                      1. re: moh

                                                        I was at an interview many years ago, the chef asked me if I knew *****. When I said yes, he thanked me for my time and cut short the interview. This happened in my next interview. At my third interview, the chef asked me the same question and then proceeded to give me a major blast of crap before hiring me.
                                                        This was a tourist town in Ireland where everyone literally knows everyone. The woman that everyone asked me about had me over with some other friends for dinner. It was awful. At the time I was making a bit of a name for myself as a line cook moving up to Sous in these interviews. She asked me how the meal was. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I said, "wonderful thank you". Well, the company was good. So whenever anyone told her that her cooking was off, she proceed to tell them that I had said that her cooking was wonderful. This meant that these chefs had heard that my taste buds must be off.
                                                        The chef who had hired me had eaten my food. He figured that a canadian had to appear to be nice even if he was lying. So he told me to either shut up or to be honest.

                                                        Since then I am now told that I am as subtle as a sledge hammer.

                                                        1. re: bigfellow

                                                          Oh dear! That is quite the story! Here you are trying to be nice, and it comes back to bite you in the butt... But good to hear it ended well. Thanks for sharing the story! It is always fun to hear the inside scoop about the industry.

                                                          1. re: moh

                                                            Well, I was a lowly line cook at the time. I was also born in Canada, not in Ireland, AND my parents were foreigners from 20 miles away so...
                                                            But we all live and learn. Didn't someone once say, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger".

                                                            Now, even though I've just finished an early dinner an hour ago. I have the strangest craving for lamb & coriander, as well as pork & cabbage dumplings. Go figure!!!!

                                                            1. re: bigfellow

                                                              I am certain they lace those dumplings with something addictive....ummm....pork and cabbage soup dumpling.....

                                                              1. re: bigfellow

                                                                Lamb & corriander sounds delicious. So do the dumplings! I

                                                      2. I'd tell them I didn't like it, but I'm not exactly known for my subtlety.

                                                        1. Except for very close friends, Jfood normally says, "that was nice." Many times eating over some friends is adventurous, with raw food, concoctions that are somewhat suspect, and pets that have free reign on countertops.

                                                          There are one or two friends that there is a tremendous mutual respect for cooking ability and the sharing of thoughts and ideas is lots of fun. But why why criticize someone's famous chicken parmesan. Heck, if they like it let them go at it.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            That's not a bad way to go. I think I would try to find something honest I could say - if I didn't like the dish I would talk about the interesting spices, the selection of produce, the way the meat was cooked...circle the answer but not lie.

                                                          2. The other day my best friend was going on about how much she loved the cake at her wedding reception and how great the bakery was that they made it exactly the way she wanted it. I thought the cake at her reception was literally inedible -- I threw my piece in the trash after a couple of bites. I just smiled and said "oh, yes, it's a wonderful bakery."

                                                            The only time I would criticize food someone made for me is if they asked me for a specific critique, such as "do you think this needed more salt?" Or, "I wasn't happy with the texture, what do you think?"

                                                            1. I am so happy on the rare occasions I get to be a "guest" and not cook, not host, not carry the burdens of the event, I am as gracious as I can be. Food is so subjective and I respect the effort and intent even if I'm not wowed by the food.

                                                              1. It is rare when food is inedible or that you can't avoid eating what is. I can recall eating very light portions or avoiding what was terrible. I have to admit, if I am suspicious, I try to get away with a small taste first.
                                                                I also try and be slippery, but if cornered, I cannot lie. Usually there is something positive you can say to buffer the negative and you can say it as constructive criticism. If it is a friend asking, who has eaten with me and knows of my interest in food, I think they want my critical opinion. Nobody wants to find out later that they have been lied to and made a fool of.
                                                                I have my "famous, perfected" chili. I would want to know if it were bad.

                                                                1. I have actor friends who can't act. "Did you like the show?" "The costumes were just Beautiful!"
                                                                  I have comedian friends who haven't quite figured out how to land a joke. "What'dya think?" "I liked where you were going with that routine, what made you think of it?"
                                                                  And yes, I have dear dear friends who throw dinner parties who can't cook.
                                                                  "Where did you find that recipe, it's so interesting?"
                                                                  "It must have taken you forever to prepare all of this, where do you find the time?"
                                                                  "This is a beautiful presentation, it almost looks too pretty to eat!"

                                                                  Never helps anyone to hear lies. And I do feel lucky and loved to have friends who want to include me in the things that they love and make them happy. There's always Something nice to be said about almost everything.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                    I have a friend who is a soap opera actress. At her 40th birthday party, she opened every trivial gift with her hands clutching her heart, staring at the heavens with gratitude for her good fortune and wonderful friends. I wanted to puke, but a couple more glasses of wine adjusted me. Darlin', you're off duty. Hit the kill switch!

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      And after ever heartfelt teary eyed thank you, you ought to have yelled "and... scene!"
                                                                      : )

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        That is awesome. Did she sometimes trail off mid-sentence and then yell "Line, please? Line?"

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          >>>>> a couple more glasses of wine adjusted me<<<<<

                                                                          yes, the great attitude-adjuster! lol!

                                                                          oh, and let your friend know that "guiding light" was just canceled.

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            Soaps are pretty steady work. You get killed off on one and then you show up on another.

                                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                                            That is great! I think I would have needed the wine too or I would have been tempted to yell "cut!"

                                                                            1. re: SamuelAt

                                                                              if i'd had the wine, i probably would've yelled "CUT!"

                                                                              (and then watched the other party-goers stare at me with their mouths agape!).

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                I prob would have said something along the lines of.... "save your audition for acting school!!" haha and then been hit..

                                                                        2. My response would depend more upon how much the questioner wanted the truth versus a pat on the back. I have a close friend or two who would prefer to be given a few props than to hear my honest opinion, and I would find something that I felt comfortable saying such as: so-and-so seemed to really enjoy your legendary dish, your guests had a great time. If anyone, strangers included, wants to hear what I truly think, I am probably too ready to offer suggestions for improvement.

                                                                          1. I feel that when someone invites you into their home and feeds you it is NEVER ok to insult what they have given you. It's just bad form and has been since Ancient times (see The Odyssey). But constructive criticism is different than an insult. If you have a close enough relationship with the host, and you know they won't be insulted by your "constructive criticism," go ahead.

                                                                            1. Politely lie, then feign a dead grandmother next time I'm invited to dinner.


                                                                              1. Hope to find a middle ground way to handle a direct question.How outrageous versus BAD is so subjective.Did one dish suck?Was the entire menu a misstep?With friends it is rather easy.People I only sort of know it's a bit tougher.Try to convey the "truth" gently so it isn't a deal breaker.

                                                                                1. depends how well I know the person, if I'm closed I'll be very upfront about it. I mean, you might have to eat their food again if you don't >.>...

                                                                                  If it's someone that might get offended easily than I'll just say "not my cup of tea"

                                                                                  But most likely I will know them well enough to be honest...I mean...most people I know don't really invite other people for dinner unless they know each other really well.