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Then the next time the same meat with the same dose of extra salt. How do you approach that

If it is a close friend or close relative would you say something

I guess most people would just eat it the second time or maybe just eat the salad and indicate not feeling well in order not to eat the meat again.

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  1. Ya that's a tough one. You really want to make sure you've got a filled water glass or you'll be over-quaffing the wine. (If that's a problem.) Helping yourself to the smallest piece next time would help. If the sides aren't oversalted you can just fork in each mouthful piled up w/ potatoes and veg. I never say anything b/c it's the hospitality I appreciate. I used to tell my mother when she over-salted. But you know the limits of the relationship here so can better judge.

    1. 1) Lie.

      Use the old Doctor's-Orders low-salt-or-I'll-die-young manoeuvre.

      2) Truth (ish)

      I use far less salt and I guess I'm just extra-sensitiv. I can't tolerate that much salt; to me it overpowers the excellent flavour of the meat.

      (as a complete aside, I can think of at least 10 verbs meaning to lie, I couldn't think of one that means to tell the truth.)

      1. You know the depth and the sensitivity of the relationship far better than we ever can. If at all possible tell the person, if for no other reason that the health aspects of overly salty food. It's possible s/he has a lack of salty identifying tastebuds and simply doesn't recogninze that it's too much.

        Invite them to your house and serve properly salted/spiced food and don't put salt on the table.

        1. Eat a small serving, don't say anything. Even with close friends, I will never make any sort of negative comment about the food unless SPECIFICALLY asked. I have one friend who is a fastidious cook and does ask for feedback - which I give him. But with almost everyone else, I say thank you it was absolutely delicious. When it comes to salt, I find that there is a VERY wide range of tolerance. I happen to like salt and maybe to some people my food is oversalted, but I'm pretty sure it's well within reasonable limits.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            this is more an etiquette question than a food question. You do whatever causes the least harm to yourself and the host. can you offer to bring an entree the next time you get an invitation?

            1. re: lucyis

              Not unless that kind of offer is common in your circle. Normally, except for potlucks, in classic American etiquette it would be seriously risking an implication by a guest that the host cannot provide sufficient hospitality.

            2. re: Nyleve

              I'm surprised at how many people are advocating lying. I would definitely want to know if there was something wrong with the food I was serving, as I want my guests to enjoy themselves; if they're not, I'd like to be made aware of the situation so that I can improve my cooking to ensure that they will enjoy themselves in the future. There are gentle and diplomatic ways to handle this from the guest's end.

              1. re: vorpal

                exactly - there are ways to be honest without saying "wtf, you suck as a cook"

                1. re: thew

                  Not always. Sometimes you just have to lie. Or, if not exactly lie, then just change the subject. Oh come on people, there are some people who will NEVER be better cooks. Never. So what do you want to do? Give up the relationship? Some folks don't take criticism well - so just tell them it was delicious and then change the subject.

            3. I think I would add salt to it and eat it down...

              ...just to see what would happen the third time ;)

              1. If they have a dog, hold the meat under the table and have the dog lick the salt off.


                  Sorry, had to respond in the manner that I read the question.

                  1. STFU smile and tell my host what a great time I had.

                    1. Family know that I neither use salt in my cooking nor add it to my plate. Other family members are not so picky but know that, if I find it overly salty, I'm just going push the food round my plate and smile sweetly and say how nice it was but I wasnt hungry. They know that I'm lying.

                      If I'm then asked if it was too salty, I tell the truth. They understand.

                      1. Unless there were clear medical reasons preventing me from having salt in my food (there aren't at present although I am careful not to overdo it on the salt both for health and taste reasons), I would eat anything that is put in front of me.

                        However, if it's a family member or a very close friend and I'm dining at theirs often, I might just ask them not to salt my steak and tell a small white lie about trying to cut down on the stuff for some reason or other.

                        1. I would take it into the bathroom and carefully rinse it off.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: beevod

                            If I ever see one of my guests get up from the table and take their dinner plate to the head with them I'll try to remember that one!

                          2. i know it's radical but i tend to opt for honesty and directness.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: thew

                              I have nothing against honesty and directness, but I always feel that when I'm a guest in someone's home and they're feeding me I have to remember that it's not necessarily all about the food. There's the social aspect of it as well which, very often, is the real point of the meal. I have a very good friend who is not a good cook. When she invites us for dinner we do know what we're going to be in for. But I'd never EVER be honest with her about her cooking because that would make her feel awkward and it would probably be the last time we'd ever get invited there for dinner. We always have a nice evening and I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have friends who invite us for dinner. The food - what can I say? Her Ersatz African Peanut Stew was pretty freaking terrible. But we still had a good time.

                              1. re: Nyleve

                                Yeah ,regrettably honesty and directness are often mistaken for rudeness and arrogance. Do I tell my retired next door neighbor that I don't want to come to her yearly holiday dinner because her kitchen grosses me out and her food is always lukewarm and tasteless? No. I go every year. I go because it makes her happy, and I go because hopefully someone will come to my house at Christmas when I'm as old as her. In the long run it's just as easy to be polite. Whether or not food is involved doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference.

                                1. re: Samalicious

                                  I have been guilty in the past, where being forthright has turned out to be forthwrong.

                                  Like the apocryphal gravestone...

                                  Here lies John Wright
                                  He was right all along
                                  But he's just as dead
                                  As if he'd been wrong.

                                2. re: Nyleve

                                  What's she doing making peanut stew, real or otherwise, if she's not a very good cook and she knows it? Is she trying to impress you? Next time she proffers an invite, can't you smile and say "yes, I'd love to spend some time together again, but don't stress about the food." When she inevitably asks (anxiously), you can suggest something simple you know she can't screw up (don't mention carry-out or she'll feel insulted).

                                  1. re: saacnmama

                                    You see - that's the thing. I've eaten some awful stuff in my life. We all have. It's not a big deal to me to have to endure another bad meal for the sake of friendship and social grace. You can't replace a dinner party with a foodless get-together. In our community, we gather around a meal. If the food is bad, you just nibble at the edges, push it around the plate a bit and pour yourself another glass of wine. It's not that hard. Truth is, she is quite proud of her peanut stew - among other things - and is also perceptive enough to detect any attempt on my part to convince her not to serve it. Like I said earlier, it's not always all about the food.

                                3. re: thew

                                  Thank you. I'm glad to see that there are people out there that don't feel the need to lie through their teeth to risk a small bruise on someone's ego. What kind of a friend can't show a little honesty?

                                  1. re: vorpal

                                    Hey, I still think drinking lots of beer w/ salty beef sounds pretty good and it ain't no lie.
                                    Snicker snack

                                    1. re: vorpal

                                      It's not a lie to keep one's mouth shut. If asked, tell the truth. If not, no need to say a word unless it's a no-hold's barred relationship. My goodness, can you imagine if every encounter we had involved a full airing of what's on our mind throughout? "Hey Sandy, thanks for inviting us over for dinner, even though the last two times I was here, the meat was WAY too salty. And by the way, your front porch paint is peeling and your fence is heinous. And that skirt is doing nothing for your chubby waistline, though that blouse is a lovely shade of pink. Oh yeah, I saw your husband flirting with the babysitter last week when he dropped her off. Where's the bourbon?"

                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                        Oh, agreed. If the host doesn't express an interest in your opinion, there's no need to say anything. I'm only speaking from my own perspective, and I always want to make sure I inquire for every guest's opinion so that I can tailor meals better to their tastes and get feedback to improve my cooking.

                                        Again, though, there seems to be an "it's all or nothing" attitude amongst many of the CHers here; a little diplomacy and tact will let the host know things are too salty without being insulting, rude, or callous.

                                        1. re: vorpal

                                          You are so right - the all or nothing just doesn't work. It's not just about how we say what we say, but who the person is to us. Without taking either of those into consideration, there's no real way to answer this question.

                                  2. Eat very lightly, drink lots of water, and if asked what you thought about the meal tell them diplomatically that it was too salty for your palatte... or that you're not 'used to' eating salty foods, or whatever other way you want to put it that won't start WWIII. Don't say how fantastic it was when it wasn't, or you'll be stuck eating it (and lying about it!) till kingdom come.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Kajikit

                                      I second this, but only if asked. If not asked say nothing other than thanks for the great evening when leaving.

                                        1. re: Karl S

                                          Fourthed completely. This is the best advice I've heard on Chowhound in awhile.

                                    2. Drink lots of their beer and smile.

                                      4 Replies
                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                          Optimism is the "ism" most positive of all. I thank the gods for every day I am here.

                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                            Amen to that. I must remember this when I'm tempted to rant and rail.

                                        2. Most Asians have the perfect solution. We eat little meat; and if it is too salty, we eat a lot more plain rice with it.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            Wasn't that a scene in a movie? Scent of Green Papaya? Joy Luck Club?

                                            1. re: soypower

                                              Don't know, but its the story of Asian eating. We hardly ever eat at someone's place where a slab of MEAT is served. Most people I know, know how to cook - with a bit of meat within more complex preparations.

                                          2. Sad but amusing story.
                                            At a holiday dinner, my senile mother-in-law brought a baked veggie dish.
                                            Evidently, every time she tasted it while cooking, she added more salt.
                                            It was un-edible, there was so much salt in it.
                                            When we politely mentioned it, she got irate, and finally insisted
                                            she hadn't even made the dish.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: pacheeseguy

                                              This sounds like something my MIL would do. However, I have never had any of my in-laws make a dish for me, so I cannot attest to the level of their cooking, just their personalities ;-)

                                              1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                lol!! MILs are so funny... My MIL once baked a cake and forgot sugar... or baking powder/SR flour. The 'cake' was flat, dry and obviously, not sweet. I ate some anyway and thanked her for the large piece she sent us back home with, telling us it would be great for brekky!!

                                              2. If its your mother, then I guess you could probably mention that you don't like so much salt in your food. If it it's anyone else, family or friend, then I cast my vote with those who avoid would confrontation or criticism (implied or direct) of the food on the table in front of you. If the dish is truly too salty for enjoyment, I would probably not finish my portion. If there is another dish that is pretty good, compliment that one, and eat more of that.

                                                If you are on a low salt diet, then you must tell everyone whose food you eat about your need for low salt food. This is fairly common, and your host should be asking about it upfront, IMO.

                                                1. Drink water like you just crawled across the desert. That should prompt questions, where you can delicately mention that it is a little too salty FOR YOU. If that does not elicit any response then vigorously and repeatedly dunk your meat in your water glass or nearest liquid of choice. Another more subtle method would be to scrape away at the meat. It might get their attention; like, "WTF are you doing?" Then you can delicately mention salt. If not, you can perhaps scrape away enough salt that it will be palatable.

                                                  1. I have a good friend who is an insecure cook who is always trying to improve her skills (which aren't bad). She often asks me to tell her what I think, often in the prep process, which is discreet, and then I will, though rarely in front of anyone. (She once spent a weekend in tears because her husband's extended family, all of whom love to profess their "honesty," commented freely and negatively about almost everything she served; one even blamed her upset stomach on the previous night's dinner.) But I would never comment to her--or anyone--after the food is served and set before us. Nor would I tell them the napkins are scratchy, I didn't like the china, or the music sucks. I have another friend who always complains about the bright lighting in my kitchen, which I find terribly annoying, as I need light to prepare food.

                                                    To me, it's just bad manners to evaluate/judge/comment upon the host's (almost always) good intentions, which seems to suggest that my taste is superior to hers or his.

                                                    Clearly, there are exceptions and tactful ways of going about being "honest." But as a general rule of thumb, I remember that I'm a guest and try to appreciate the invitation and the company if not every morsel.

                                                    As someone who hosts often, I've tried over the years to follow Julia Child's dictum, "never apologize." But if I put something on the table, and I taste it and it is really bad, I will comment and thereby try to release my guests from their prison of decorum and good taste (pun intended!), but inevitably, being good guests, they will assure me it's "delicious" and continue eating--or pushing their forks about the plate. And the really polite ones who want to be assured of future invites, well, they'll gamely ask for "seconds, please" :)