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If your host is burning their food and doesn't turn down the heat...

...and it looks like they might not be making the connection between the level of heat and the burning of the food, but are also not asking for input or advice, do you say something?

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  1. Nope! If it was family I would but a friend I would let it go. Most of my friends are not as knowledgeable in the kitchen as I am (I know it sounds pompous of me) and I'd rather not make them feel bad.

    1. Call me a rude guest, but if I'm in the kitchen with the host to notice something is burning or close to burning, I would probably just turn down the heat myself and say something along the line of "I know when I host I have a million things on my mind, sorry but I turned down the burner as I was afraid it was burning, do you want me to turn it back up?"

      Of course though in my circle, if I'm close enough with the host to be in the kitchen while cooking, I'm close enough to help and not feel rude by potentially embarrassing them. I know if I was the host I'd rather have the help then have to face the embarrassment/stress of burning a dish for a dinner party.

      1. 'Did you mean to have the pan turned up that high?'

        1. I would definitely say something like, "Whoa, is something burning?" I know I've been so busy juggling multiple things in the kitchen that I've nearly burnt stuff, and would definitely want somebody to tell me.

          6 Replies
          1. re: lawhound05

            lawhound, I'm thinking about how hilarious that would have been in my situation since I was standing 2 feet away from her as she was doing nothing else but burning the bacon...

            1. re: inaplasticcup

              ahh, well you didn't say it was bacon! One man's burned is another's "crispy". :) I actually went to a diner with someone that ordered their bacon medium well. Do other people order bacon to temp? I still get a chuckle out of it. Aside from being slightly embarassed and surprised that they asked for a temp at a diner, it got us on a big convo about how people are very peculiar with their taste in bacon crispness. Personally I like it a crisp on the edges but still a bit chewy on the inside. Burned, dry and super crisp is not my preference, but maybe the host's.

              1. re: timxph

                I hear you on the preferences, but you know how there's a way to achieve a supercrisp doneness without actually burning the bacon and making the whole kitchen smoke? She actually mentioned that the bacon was burnt and then proceeded to flip it and cook it some more at the same heat. It wasn't my impression that she liked it that way, but my perception could have been off.

                1. re: inaplasticcup

                  I have two relatives that always order their bacon "burned" when we go out for breakfast. It always comes out extra crispy.

                2. re: timxph

                  That is so true! I love my bacon crisp to just a few seconds short of burning.

                  1. re: timxph

                    My ex used to tell stories of a co-worker who would, on business trips, order his bacon extra-crisp. He always wondered if the request made any difference to the restaurant staff. Then again, my ex only ate microwaved turkey bacon, so he had no preferences on regular bacon.

              2. I'd ask if I could turn it down...especially if it was going to be my sole sustenance in the next hour or so.

                1. I'd mention something. It's not rude. Burnt food is ruined food.

                  1. the host may have learned that the correct way to cook bacon is on high heat, and if you are good, and standing over the pan watching it every minute, especially as it gets close to done, its a great way to cook it. but it can go from almost done to smoking, burnt to a crisp in a magically short moment in time. You might mention that you used to burn bacon all the time trying to get it crisp till someone suggested you cook it at a slightly lower temperature. But only if its a good friend. Otherwise just be prepared to eat some "extra crispy" bacon.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      Yeah. Not so close a friend. 'Twas "extra crispy" alright. :)

                    2. You know, it would never have occurred to me *not* to say anything. I would have said, without even thinking, "Oh, I think that's burning!" And if she was the type who likes burnt bacon, she could have replied, "I like it a little overdone."

                      My family still comments that my toast is burning even though I have told them a thousand times I like it that way. I never get offended. Noticing and commenting on burnt food is just a knee jerk thing. People seem to appreciate warnings like this, for the most part.

                      1. Since this is in reference to bacon, at some point I would explain how glad I am to have learned about making bacon in the oven or the microwave, either of which is easier than in a skillet. If she is not satisfied with how hers turns out, she'll ask for details on how to bake or nuke it. I would not do this while she's in the process of burning the bacon, but later on, in relaxed conversation.

                        1. It is a custom where I live to cook anything on the grill until is 100% dried out and hockey puck like for "safety reasons". Pressing burgers to release juice is mandatory and if anything is "leaking" they aren't done yet! We grin and bear it and pile on the condiments. It is also pretty much the norm to order all meat well done or medium well at restaurants (we eat medium rare). I think it depends on if you think it is intended or if they would want to know.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: melpy

                            I have a very good friend who loves to barbecue with the gas all the way up and with the fat flaming away. I'm always afraid that he's going to incinerate everything but he seems to know when medium-well is reached. Unfortunately I like me meat medium-RARE. :o[

                            And......... no, I don't say anything. He pours very good wine!

                          2. oh man, I AM this host...
                            I have a studio apt (read- all one room) and smoke everyone out at LEAST 1/3 of my dinner parties. The source- a small sized oven (you cannot cook ANYTHING fatty without smoke) which is also slightly uneven due to a non-level floor which burns anything in oil on the stove.

                            I try to minimize by cooking things ahead of time but sometimes I'm to engrossed in the cooking that I turn around and see my guests clouded in a plume of smoke. Most know by now to open a window at-will, or simply tell me "hey, you're burning sh*t" from the comfort of the couch 10 feet away...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: CarmenR

                              That's very self aware and good natured of you, Carmen. Sounds like you create a relaxed environment for your friends, and that's certainly one of the marks of a good host. :)

                            2. Depends on my relationship with the host. A good friend = "Hey, turn the heat down!" Someone I don't know as well = "Can I help with that?" My almost mother-in-law = Say nothing and eat what she serves.