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Etiquette question


OK I will jump right into the situation. My daughter and her colllege age boyfriend eat dinner with us often. Now, I am a foodie no dought about it. I take pride in what I put on the table. The boyfriend puts Sriracha hot chili sauce on everything. I'm talking garlic smashed potatos(til they are red), parsley pilaf and seafood risotto. Last night I served a dish seasoned mildly with saffron and other herbs. He immediately went to get the hot sauce. I followed him into the kitchen and told him "not every dish is meant to be hot". I said some cooks (myself included) would be offended.if he used it on virtually every entree and consider it rude.
He got mad and sulked thru dinner. Later my wife said I was wrong to take offense and I should count hot sauce as a condiment. for him it's like salt and pepper.
Was I right to tell him it was rude? Was it rude? Is hot sauce a condiment to be used on dishes that were never intended to be hot?

  1. You were rude.

    But at least the guy now has a great story to post about his GF's Dad.

    This isn't about whether or not hot sauce is a condiment. It's about someone trying to police how another adult seasons their food.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      Agreed. He's a guest. Make him feel welcome. Who cares how he likes his food?

      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

        But there is a point when a "guest" who "eat(s) dinner with us often" transcends into something else, something more familiar, familial, as in family.
        That being said, the comfort level changes and the etiquette rules loosen up. Not rude as I see it.

        1. re: Motosport

          Then by all means, scold. That makes adults feel comfortable.

          1. re: Motosport

            I agree that it is rude to tell anyone how to eat his or her food. However I also agree with Motosport that there is a point where the "guest" term no longer applies. In this case, he was comfortable enough to go on his own to the kitchen to get the Sriracha sauce. That speaks more to "friend of the family" and less to "guest"

            1. re: 2roadsdiverge

              I love when someone agrees with me. Hope my kids read this.

              1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                Sure, you can have that conversation. But I don't think following someone into the kitchen and telling them they're rude and you're offended by it is the way to do it. More like, "Pete, do you mind tasting it first? It's meant to be a subtle dish. The yellow is from saffron, you won't taste it under the hot sauce. Just humour me and try a bite first. I'll go get you the sauce." I mean is it meant to be educational or just insulting to the poor kid?

                1. re: julesrules

                  Nicely worded--brava to you.

                  1. re: julesrules

                    jules - exactly the route I was thinking, especially the "tasting it first" part.

                    Also, if this was still on a guest/host level (sounds like the family is beyond that) isn't it rude of a guest to not consider the thought and effort that went into the making of the dish?

                        1. re: julesrules

                          This sounds like the way to approach the subject, jules. Very well said.

                          1. re: julesrules

                            Say it Jules!

                            And only if the person is basically family. I can't fathom doing that to a guest or even my in laws (one of whom is a salt o'maniac). I just laugh and get on with it.

                            And with the OP - that kid you are schooling may well turn into your child's spouse and the parent of your grandkids. Zippy the lippy if you have a long term vision of happiness and welcome visits. You don't want the spouse thinking you are an A#1prig.

                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                        He uses the same condiment on all foods - who says he's an adult?

                    1. I have two thoughts, each worth .01

                      The first is: if this is the worst quality in the boyfriend, then, big-picture wise, who cares? Maybe he really, really likes sriracha. Maybe he has a taste bud defect. Not a damning offense. So, I would probably have bitten my tongue.

                      The second is: does he do this at restaurants, too? If you took both him and daughter to a fine dining establishment outside of your home, would he douse his filet mignon and baked potato in sriracha...or ask for the stuff? Would he ask for hot sauce at your local Papa gino's? In other words, does he do the douse all the time?

                      1. Etiquette is a two way street. A polite guest generally should not use or ask for condiments that aren't presented at the table with the meal. At the same time, a gracious host keeps their mouth shut when a guest uses/requests a condiment that was not intended to go with the dish.

                        82 Replies
                        1. re: mpjmph

                          I agree with this. Many find using salt and pepper before tasting something to also be rude.

                          My best friend's husband does the same thing with various hot sauces, I think things initiates as a badge of honor but he may have caused it so he doesn't taste the milder flavors anymore.

                          I don't think this was necessarily the time to bring it up though either.

                          1. re: melpy

                            there was a long discussion about exactly this just a couple of weeks ago.

                            I'd be pretty hacked if someone drowned my carefully-prepared meals with hot sauce, ESPECIALLY if he did it before even so much as tasting it.

                            It would also mean I'd be going to a lot less trouble to cook for him, as he obviously only has one flavor profile in his brain.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Exactly. I have a friend I cook for occasionally. He pretty much grabs every condiment available and dumps it all over his food.

                              But the thing is, he's poor (basically homeless) and I know he's used to eating bad food that requires doctoring, so I cut him some slack. I do try to ask him to please taste the food first before he re-seasons it. He knows I use better quality ingredients and seasonings than what he's used to, so he's more willing to try his food "naked."

                              But I'm also not going to break out the really good stuff, since I know he's not going to appreciate the distinction.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                and it's okay if someone doesn't have a hound-ish palate -- it just means I'm probably not going to spend a huge amount of time and effort on preparing something with a subtle flavor profile.

                                Maybe I'm the one living in the dark ages -- but it really doesn't matter to me what someone serves, I eat it the way it is prepared and served, and whether or not *I* think it needs salt or pepper or hot sauce is immaterial -- this is the food that my friends/family have offered to me, so I take it exactly as offered.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Seriously? You never add salt or pepper to any food friends or family have prepared for you? That's amazing. I mean, I even re-salt food *I* prepared if I don't like it the way it came out of *my* kitchen.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    follow the example set by the host, otherwise eat what's served you. first is mom's voice, second is dad's.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      We eat very little salt, so it doesn't take much to be "enough" for me.

                                      If there's a salt shaker on the table and it's really, really desperately lacking, perhaps. (but salt shakers don't appear on tables round these parts all that often, whether in a restaurant or in someone's home)

                                      I don't remember the last time I've added anything to a plate that was served to me, regardless of where. (and I rarely salt my own)

                                      I would never, ever ask for a condiment/seasoning that wasn't already on the table.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Huh. Well, I guess I don't see a problem or breach of etiquette with adjusting the seasoning of food cooked for my personal enjoyment to the level that I actually *do* enjoy it.

                                        Of course, I always have a salt shaker and pepper mill available for my own dinner guests, and would never hold it against them if they >gasp< actually used them.

                                        Tastes are subjective, after all.

                                        If people want to take offense, for whatever reason, they'll find one. It's just not my style.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          here in France, salt shakers don't often appear at the table, because the food is assumed to be properly seasoned ahead of time. Salt shakers DO exist, and I'm certain someone's going to be along to proclaim loudly with lots of eye rolling that they ate at one restaurant in Lyon that DID have shakers, so I am wrong, wrong wrong, and what's it like growing up as an idiot? -- but as a general rule, they're not there.

                                          As above, I'd never ask for something that's not already on the table.
                                          I'd never, ever season before tasting (and would hope that guests would offer me the same courtesy)

                                          But if someone were to grab the salt shaker and salt away before tasting, I'd make the mental note to not put forth my best effort the next time, since it will go unappreciated.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            I'd make the mental note to not put forth my best effort the next time, since it will go unappreciated

                                            by you or the guest?

                                            1. re: fourunder

                                              I would probably still invite them over and cook for them, but it would definitely slide away from the subtle and intricate -- more toward the burgers-lasagna-pizza end of the things.

                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                              Well, yeah. I always taste my food first before I decide whether it needs more seasoning (less, unfortunately, is impossible at that point).

                                              I admit it's a bit more tricky to ask for salt if it's not already on the tables, which is why I always make shaker & mill available so as to not create some weird-ass, awkward situation of perceived or imaginary possibilities of a Serious Dining Offense for my guests.

                                              I do remember now hosting a couple of GFs way back in HS, having prepared a simple (*perfectly* seasoned, of course haha) Greek salad. One of the girls kept pouring salt on it like it was going out of style. Well, she ended up rendering it inedible, and I had to toss it. That did raise my cockles just a tad, as I hate wasting food for such an idiotic reason.

                                            3. re: linguafood

                                              yeah, the breach of etiquette question is what is so subjective (as well as taste). my problem with some of these posts is people saying "i would never never never" in a "how dare you even think of doing what i wouldn't do, you must be a terrible person" tone. i would not NEVER ask for seasoning that wasn't intended, nor would i not EVER feel some sort of resentment/displeasure, however, small, if someone seasoned my food differently than i really wanted it. i would also not NEVER say something, nor not ALWAYS make my displeasure known, nor not EVER be impolite, even unintendedly. (this is not aimed at you lingua, just where i decided to pipe up.)

                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                I was making no statement about anyone else's behaviour.

                                                *I* (me, myself) would never ask for that which was not already on the table. Period.

                                                I would, however, find it bizarre if someone were to ask me if I had a bottle of sriracha for the cassoulet, and would answer "sorry, I don't have any" -- which in the case of sriracha, would also be a statement of truth....nor would I feel particularly obligated to fetch the Tabasco, Crystal, or piri-piri which I do have.

                                            4. re: sunshine842

                                              i get not doing that in a person's home, but if say you were at a Chinese restaurant but you weren't automatically offered the little hot chili sauce/peppers tray that we pretty much know are available at most Chinese restaurants, even not in America, you wouldn't ask for it?

                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                probably not, unless it was supposed to be offered with the dish I ordered (like in a menu description) and was just overlooked/forgotten.

                                                I also don't eat ketchup (don't like it) -- so I don't ask for that for burgers and fries, either.

                                                I don't usually add soy sauce (see "I don't eat much salt" above), although sushi usually warrants a few drops.

                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                  Restaurant ettiquette is a bit different, because you are a paying patron, not a guest. Even then, how you ask matters. I was recently in a restaurant that served what, in my mind, was a terribly underseasoned, bland risotto. There was no salt & peper on the table. I flagged down the waitress and said something along the lines of "I don't mean to offend the chef but ... would it be possible to get some salt & pepper?" She laughed, said no problem, and brought it to the table. In the same circumstances in someone's home, I'd never ask for salt & pepper no matter how flavorless the dish were.

                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                  "I would never, ever ask for a condiment/seasoning that wasn't already on the table."

                                                  Not even a pepper mill in a restaurant? I live in metro NY, and most places still have s and p on the table, some servers carry pepper mills, others will offer it after food is served, and others will bring it when asked.

                                                  I haven't asked for seasonings in anyone's home, but I'm not offended if someone asks me; I want folks to have what they like.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    probably not, unless it was supposed to be offered with the dish I ordered (like in a menu description) and was just overlooked/forgotten.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      I love pepper, and find it's a wonderful addition to most meals. It's usually offered, but I ask when it isn't. Are you saying that's bad manners?

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        I'm saying I would never ask for the pepper if it wasn't already on the table.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          Ok, and I was asking why?

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            because if it was intended to be offered, it would be on the table.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              That seems like a very odd, hard line to draw.

                                                              For example, how many times on Top Chef have we seen chefs send out food that some but not all judges have found to be over or undersalted or seasoned?

                                                              And so often, the contestant says s/he has tasted the food and it was good... but one or more judges found a really bad taste experience.

                                                              Your meal is made to suit a palate other than your own, and adding a seasoning to it after tasting it to make it suit you does nothing to diminish its other qualities.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                I'm not sure why I'm being made to feel like a freak or beast for doing things a) the way I was taught and b) the way I feel I should do things.

                                                                What YOU do is your choice, and since the chances of us sharing a table are rather remote, neither of us impacts the other.

                                                                If it's not on the table, and it's not something that's *obviously* supposed to be on the table and was overlooked, I don't ask for it.

                                                                I - me - myself.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  I feel the same way. For example, I love butter on my bread. But if I was at a home and it was not offered (not everyone serves it that way) I simply wouldn't ask for it. Others may think this is nuts, but I would rather eat the meal the way the family usually eats it. It would otherwise seem to imply that the meal was "lacking" if I need to ask for something.

                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                    I think someone would have to be awfully thin-skinned to be offended by a request for salt or pepper or another condiment.

                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                      one more time...you do what you want to do; I'll do the same.

                                                                      Nowhere have I ever said that I think it's rude or boorish....I have said (repeatedly!) that *I* don't do it.

                                                                      That is all.

                                                                      and thanks, DGresh-- there are also places in the world where butter isn't ever served with bread (even places where, maddeningly, the butter is good enough to consider eating right off of the butter plate...)

                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                        Apparently some are. I never knew until reading it here. Be careful about asking for salt, pepper, butter or anything else you might want or need.

                                                                        Dare not ask about the toilet unless it is offered up. : ))))

                                                                        Funny what raises the ire.

                                                                        I am gonna start bringing a secret stash of condiments to friend's homes where I am iffy on their feelings about condiments. Pepper up the sleeve, mild distraction of husband spilling water onto the table... WABAM! Potato peppered!

                                                                      2. re: DGresh

                                                                        That's really different; you're not paying for an experience as a guest in someone's home. Different situation, different etiquette.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          But isn't this whole thread about being in someone's house? At a restaurant, sure, I guess I'd ask for salt if I thought it needed it. But I honestly can't recall that ever happening.

                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                            Yes, a home where the young man was welcome to go to the fridge and get the siracha before, the dad knew about this habit, and had not said anything in the past about it. Yet, chose to make a fancy dish anyway.

                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                              I am not one of those who said the dad was alright. But I also have said that I wouldn't help myself to condiments at a sit down dinner at *anyone's* house, even my FILs, and I've been married 23 years. That's just my personal feeling. And as I said downthread, I personally would want to know (gently however) if I was doing something that was rubbing someone the wrong way.

                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                My point is that this was already allowed to happen on previous occasions, the dad gave him permission at other times. It was something that was done before.
                                                                                It's not about what you or I would have done.

                                                                              2. re: wyogal

                                                                                I think this is an interesting study on the need for control and maybe a few other things. I cannot fathom trying to dictate how another person who is a guest in my home (comfortable or formal) will be ALLOWED to enjoy their meal especially if it is not hurting anyone else. And to ambush someone in the kitchen? LOL

                                                                                I am blissfully naive.

                                                                              3. re: DGresh

                                                                                There's actually been quite a bit of side discussion in this thread about home v. restaurant etiquette.

                                                                                Even if restaurant food is well seasoned in the kitchen, for many folks, like me, fresh cracked or ground pepper enhances it a lot... compared to black pepper that's been cooked in.

                                                                                I'm pretty sure that's why so many restaurants have begun placing pepper mills (and not shakers) on tables... a development I'm very fond of.

                                                                                Why does the food have to be deficient for a diner to want to add something that enhances the experience?

                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                  you have never had to salt your food at a restaurant?

                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                    no I never have (except maybe french fries, and then they always have a shaker available)

                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                      Except for eggs, I don't think I've salted restaurant food more than maybe two times in my life. When it was severely lacking taste. But fresh black pepper is a whole nuther thang.

                                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                                              I'm not trying to make you feel like a freak, and I"m sorry if you feel that way.

                                                                              I'm addressing it only from the perspective of this topic, etiquette, not personal psyche. Your personal choices to season or not season your food are no one's business, that's not what my question is about.

                                                                              So you still haven't answered, but clearly, I don't want you to keep feeling all angsty.

                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                This may be poor etiquette to jump into a side conversation that I was not a part of but from an etiquette perspective, I think I can now at least partially go along with others who question the OPs, maybe, lack of tact in addressing the issue. It may not technically be the question that the OP asked, but I strongly believe the more glaring breach of etiquette was committed by the boyfriend. So, does one bad deed deserve another?

                                                                                Having followed this thread from the beginning and read all the opinions from, "talk to your daughter" to "you may never see your grandchildren", this is now my final conclusion to this drama based on my astute observations.

                                                                                Dad snapped.

                                                                                That's about it. He snapped.

                                                                                Having said that and if I were, and for the most part, am, defending him, I would point out the mitigating factors.

                                                                                First, this was not a guest in the normal sense of the word. He's a regular in the house. He helps himself in the kitchen. My guess is that he knows the password for the WiFi and the one for the garage remote. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't actually have a toothbrush of his own in the house. He's almost family so the normal guest-host relationship has been adjusted.

                                                                                Next, dad is a foodie who cooks, takes great care and pride in the product he puts out and to watch his work disrespected right in front of him just eats at him (notice the excellent use of the word "eats" - I'll do it some more further down). Ever lend your spotless car to a friend and have it come back trashed? That's how he feels about his food. We should not underestimate the level of intensity that cooks feel about their food.

                                                                                Now dad didn't just blow up at the first offense. That would have been over-the-top rude. He let it fester, eating at him each time they sat down for dinner. Months pass and dad is now waking up in the middle of the night from nightmares of drowning in sriracha, having sriracha thrown in his eyes, having his yet to be born grand daughter, aptly named Sriracha Elizabeth being weaned on a similac/sriracha formula... OK, I'll stop but you get the picture.

                                                                                Finally, after purchasing some wonderful imported saffron at $9 million an ounce, gently stirring in those threads to get that perfect yellowish, orangey hue and those great subtle flavors, enter Sriracha Boy.
                                                                                Ladies and gentlemen, can you really blame the man? For the love of food and how amazingly wonderful the taste of saffron is, this man was only defending what is truly good and right in this world, food.

                                                                                Next time dad, just be a little more tactful about it. Apologize to the young man, maybe buy him a sriracha variety pack or get him in a headlock and give him a noogy.

                                                                                I've got to get a hobby.

                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                  Yes, I can blame the man. He knew what was going to happen.

                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                    True. I'm just saying, yeah what dad did was not right but I kinda understand where he's coming from. If I were the judge I'd consider everything, find him guilty and sentence him to probation and maybe a bit of community service. I get the feeling that many on this thread would give him life.

                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                      No, it's just that there are too many people, self-professed "foodies" that value their own cooking skills over relationships. and harbor resentment towards those that don't feel the same way about their food.

                                                                                      1. re: wyogal

                                                                                        Yeah, that's the divide, I think. For me, an awful lot of the enjoyment of cooking is making folks happy and making sure they get something they love and will enjoy.

                                                                                        I mentioned, on another forum, that I serve three different cranberry sauces at Thanksgiving, and one is the dreaded canned stuff that is neither berry nor sauce that you slice because some people in my husband's family like it and grew up having it annually. Bleah.

                                                                                        One person posted in high dudgeon that it would *NEVER* appear on her table under any circumstance.

                                                                                        I guess she told me.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          "NEVER" for me is the problem throughout this thread. when someone says "i would NEVER" it's implicitly a judgment on those who would/might/have. i distrust anyone who says they'd NEVER anything. you NEVER know when you'll have to eat your words. but hopefully there will be a bottle of sriracha around because it won't go down easy.

                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                            No. It is not.

                                                                                            "I would never" indicates *my* behaviour.

                                                                                            If you interpret that as a judgment on yourself, it's your issue, not mine.

                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                              I would never berate another human for srirachaing food at my table. I can say that with 100% certainty. Others, it should go without having to say, are free to do as they please. No implied or overt judgement.

                                                                                              Now if my dog decided to start srirachaing her kibble I have laid before her - that my dearest Mariacarmen I would have to put a stop to.

                                                                                          2. re: wyogal

                                                                                            Ah, but foodie is really in the mind of the beholder. Whether his food is really any good misses the point. It's his passion. It's probably pretty obvious to anyone familiar with him that his cooking is important to him and anyone with a clue would recognize that and be particularly sensitive to what they do to his food.
                                                                                            I think we are all passionate about something??? that others might not understand but, recognizing said passion, most people avoid demeaning or minimizing it. I don't understand my friend's obsession with ceramic pigs or another's fixation with all things Red Sox but I wouldn't use one of those stupid pigs as an ashtray or wipe down the kitchen countertop with that dish towel that Big Papi once used to wipe the sweat from his head. And don't even get me started on how easy it is to inadvertently minimize the importance of someone's pet ("hey, it's just a dog". See how that goes over with some people). Was dad wrong? Sure. Understandable? I think so. Does that make it right? Nope. Do I think he should not be allowed to see his yet to be born grandchildren as a result of this? No.
                                                                                            Most likely conversation with his daughter 20 years from now:
                                                                                            "Hey, what was the name of that boyfriend of yours that used to put sriracha on everything?"
                                                                                            "Oh, that jerk. I forget."

                                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                                              You are far overestimating the social awareness capacity of a college-aged boy!! ha

                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                I think this is actually insulting to college age kids. I think very many have developed a rather nuanced view of interpersonal relations. It's kind of insulting to say "well he's only 20, what do you expect?"

                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                    ROTFL! So true in my experience.

                                                                                              2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                Some are passionate about siracha.
                                                                                                Still, he (the dad) KNEW this was going to happen. It was not unusual. He should have avoided it, and handled it differently.
                                                                                                Relationships are more important than food.

                                                                                        2. re: bobbert

                                                                                          "...having sriracha thrown in his eyes, having his yet to be born grand daughter, aptly named Sriracha Elizabeth... "


                                                                                          If his wife isn't giving him a pass on his behavior, I don't think you should, except that you do it so amusingly.

                                                                                          Thanks for the smile.

                                                                            3. re: mcf

                                                                              Pepper is an optional addition to many things, so is customarily offerred to diners in restaurants. A pepper mill should be on the table for a private dinner, but if it isn't, as a guest I would not ask for it. Even though I like black pepper, and add it to many things, it wouldn't hurt to do without it for one meal.

                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                See, and I really think black pepper brings out the flavors in some dishes.

                                                                                I don't understand the hosts who don't put out salt & pepper for their guests. It's like "my food is perfect the way it is". Yah, maybe for you, but not for me. And undersalted anything is just a waste of time and not worth eating.

                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                    Usually, pepper is available, whether in a restaurant or at home. It's optional. Some people don't like it.

                                                                                  2. re: GH1618

                                                                                    @GH1618 -- THANK YOU.

                                                                                    @linguafood -- it's pretty rare to have S&P on the table in France -- either at someone's home or at a restaurant.

                                                                                    I didn't ask for condiments before living here anyway, but living here reinforces that - it IS considered rude to ask for it here.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      I haven't been to France in a while, and I don't remember the table settings at the few mediocre bistros we went to.... but either way -- bummer.

                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                        the chefs can get a little touchy if you ask for condiments -- it's a clear statement (in their eyes) that the dish is badly seasoned - a smack right across the chops of any chef in the country.

                                                                                        (truthfully? I rarely ever think it needs it...things like raclette are served with a pepper grinder, but that's because it's traditional and expected.)

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          You live in France. You're fortunate to be able to have *the* finest food in the world at your fingertips. Whether it be a little, old French woman cooking at an Inn for 4 tables, no menu just walk in an eat what she's prepared, or a restaurant in Paris....
                                                                                          There's nothing like it. S&P at the table?

                                                                                          Enough said.

                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                            Yes, it's absolutely impossible to receive bad food (or badly seasoned food) in France, ever. No matter where you go, the fact that you are in the magical country of France will elevate any food served, with no need for s&p at the table ever.

                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  Of course there's miserable, horrible, industrial food in France.

                                                                                                  But is there typically a salt shaker or a pepper mill? No.

                                                                                                  I do my best to avoid the former, then there's no need for the latter.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    Are you sure? Miserable food in Fwwwwaaaaance?

                                                                                                    Why, impossible, I say '-D

                                                                                                    Of course, not even the addition of s&p could've saved some of the mediocre bistro fare I've had the displeasure of sampling in Paris.

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      Next time, ask latindancer for restaurant reccos.

                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                        Ha! Thanks for the laugh, mcf :-D

                                                                                                      2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                        the worst steak I've ever had in my entire life was in a "mamie cooking for four tables" hole-in-the-wall in rural France.

                                                                                                        It was a piece of shoe leather cooked to death and then cooked a little longer, swimming in a salty, factory-prepared sludge of oily sauce, and served alongside frozen french fries.

                                                                                                        I didn't salt it, because it was a salt lick on its own, and there wasn't enough pepper in the entire place to save it

                                                                                                        It's one of the few meals in my life that I basically pushed around my plate until my companions were finished..

                                                                                                        made the oversalted steak at Applebee's seem like gourmet fare....at least that one came with steamed broccoli that was actually still crisp-tender, and was tender enough to cut without electric tools.

                                                                                                      3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        Well, I've never eaten 'miserable, horrible, industrial food' in France.

                                                                                                        I'm assuming that's what linguafood's referring to and where she/he's eaten.

                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                          my companion's meals were quite nice, by the way -- one chicken, one fish -- both reasonably well-prepared. I have no idea what they did to that steak.

                                                                                                          Miserable, horrible, and industrial DOES exist in France...fortunately it's not all that common -- most of the food here is anywhere from decent to awesome.

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            Miserable, horrible and NOT industrial also exists in France. Though the food is usually wonderful, not every restaurant serves great food. And I've had some pretty lamentable meals to prove it.

                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            I do have friends in France (and yes, they are native-born French) who have harissa at the ready.

                                                                                          3. re: GH1618

                                                                                            See my comment above: I agree, in a private home, I would not ask for anything not on the table. But as a host, I always ask if everyone has everything s/he needs before I sit down, because in all the last minute pre meal activity, I may have forgotten something.

                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                              If I really wanted salt or pepper I would pretend not to notice that it wasn't on the table and go from there.

                                                                                              "Pass the salt please", "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that the food was salted perfectly".

                                                                                              1. re: kengk

                                                                                                THAT kind of snarkery would ensure that you never had another invitation to many homes.

                                                                                                Talk about passive-aggressive.

                                                                                    2. re: linguafood

                                                                                      I cannot not resalt a baked potato. If it is not on the table, I would rummage thru the kitchen til I found it.

                                                                            4. Like everything in life, it depends.

                                                                              It certainly is *not* rude to inform someone that some dishes should be enjoyed, at least initially, sans condiments.

                                                                              But like with childbirth, it's all in the delivery.

                                                                              If you approached it in the way of, "You know, son, I too love me some good Sriracha, but sometimes I find that I like certain foods with no condiments whatsoever. For example, I like Sriracha, but I find that ice cream is infinitely better without the red stuff. Perhaps you should consider some of your favorite foods without Sriracha and see if you prefer the difference, etc."

                                                                              If you did it this way, I don't think it would be rude and I don't think the BF would be sulking afterwards.

                                                                              But if you took the tone of a scolding father (or, ahem, father-in-law), and said something to the effect of, "Son, when I was your age, we didn't have Sriracha, we ate all of our foods bland, and by god, when we discovered saffron, we treasured it like water in the desert, etc." Then by golly, he might never step foot in your house again ...

                                                                              1. I don't think I would have openly said something. I'd probably be passive-aggressive and hide the sriracha when he came over. "Oops we must be out"

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                    He probably carries a spare sriracha in his holster.

                                                                                    Thanks for the chuckle.

                                                                                  2. You don't say how often is 'often' they are there for dinner but since his habit rubs you the wrong way. Whenever you know ahead of time that he will be there why not just grill out hamburgers and hot dogs and serve with pickles and chips. That type of thing. Then it won't matter what he puts on it. Save the good stuff for when you know he won't be there

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: miss_belle

                                                                                      that's a good answer. i wouldn't want to waste my efforts. and i know it shouldn't matter, but it kind of does. and i also know that's a control issue.

                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                        Yes, it's a control issue. But it puts us in control..:-)

                                                                                      2. re: miss_belle

                                                                                        I agree. My brother and his family all eat steaks well done (which we did growing up, I went over to the med. rare side as an adult) and they really enjoy it.
                                                                                        I was happy to treat them all to strip steaks but bought Choice as Costco, not Prime at my butcher!

                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                          I was brought up in medium well steak enviroment as well. As I've grown up and developed my own palate for things I'm a medium rare to medium at most steak eater these days. Anything above medium starts detracting from the flavor of the steak.

                                                                                      3. I am at least partially guilty of this. I add some type of spicy hot condiment to most things. Sriracha often goes on pizza (not all the time), crushed red pepper goes on lasagna, and the other night I put Tabasco on stuffed peppers. At the same point in time, I always taste a dish before adding any seasoning or condiment, if only for the purpose of determining which seasonings/condiments work best and how much to use.

                                                                                        I wouldn't have said anything in the situation described by the OP, but I can understand why he did.

                                                                                        1. Rude? Not in my book as long as you were pleasant about it. I put my two cents in about food when at home and especially if I am cooking.
                                                                                          Is the boyfriend's ethnicity the driving force here? I once watched my East Indian friend open a can of chili and empty it into a dish she was preparing. When she saw my expression she just said: "my parents are coming over."
                                                                                          My vegan (The Hezbollah of vegetarians) daughter uses Hot sauce on everything I prepare and huge amounts of pepper in the dishes she prepares. I.M.H.O. it's an indication of something lacking in her diet but I keep my mouth shut. I am not dumb.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                            Then again, my 72 year old neighbor who has taken CIA classes and is currently perfecting "Rack of Lamb" puts Ketchup on all meat.
                                                                                            On all meat, including our Porterhouse for two at Peter Luger.
                                                                                            I just cringed and kept my mouth shut in respect for my elders.

                                                                                          2. Well, there's one up for the boyfriend in your daughter's eyes :).

                                                                                            It was kinda rude, I understand your annoyance, but is it really that big a deal, in the grand scheme of things, when it's all said and done?
                                                                                            He likes Sriracha. On everything. Now you know it next time he comes and your attempts to make a lovely, time consuming, well planned out, delicious dinner are lost on him. It's your daughter. Some things transcend the taste of food.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                              Exactly. I find it incredibly condescending when an adult tsk-tsks another adult about something that is simply personal preference.

                                                                                            2. I might have asked him instead, where his love of hot sauce came from and tried to pull a little more of his culinary background from him. If things went down as you have described, I think you were a little heavy-handed. You were correct in what you said -- about cooks perhaps being offended that the whole flavor profile of a dish they'd worked hard to create just got obliterated -- but being correct doesn't take away your obligation, as the older and wise party here, to be be kind.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                                I wonder if he is relatively new to the Sriracha? Although I had always liked Louisiana style hot sauce when first discovered Sriracha I couldn't get enough of it for a while.

                                                                                                My 16 year old niece is currently doing the same thing.

                                                                                              2. i would have looked you straight in the eyes....while holding the Sriracha in my grip.....taken the cap off and poured out the sauce onto my plate, never blinking an eye or looking down.....then I would have thanked you for your wisdom and cooking the meal.....and allowing me at the family table. After about 30 seconds, i would have said I agree d with you....then I would then have asked you for the Ketchup.

                                                                                                1. I think you did him a favor. He needs to learn that there is a difference in behavior when dining as someone's guest vs. what you do in your own home.

                                                                                                  Sounds like he makes himself pretty comfortable in your house, so there was nothing rude about your speaking frankly to him, much like you would do with your own children.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: pamf

                                                                                                    I think you're at the crux here: if he's at the house enough that he's going into the kitchen and helping himself to condiments, then he's past the guest stage. Since he's the daughter's boyfriend, he should be treated equivalently, which means that as a father, you have duty to instruct him on proper table manners, including not dumping condiments all over food someone else has prepared for you.

                                                                                                  2. He was rude in thinking he could just go into your kitchen and help himself to anything he wants. You should have just told him politely to please remain seated and ask for what he wants. If he ignored you, then you could have told him more clearly to stay out of your kitchen.

                                                                                                    Once he's trained to know that he doesn't have the run of your home, then when he asks for hot sauce, you can just say you don't have that. If he can't be trained to respect your home, then he should not be invited back.

                                                                                                    In short, the issue is not the hot sauce, but the behavior expected of a guest in your home.

                                                                                                    27 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                      While I do sympathize and empathize with your feelings about the food you serve to those having dinner with your family, I think were I in your situation I would not have said anything to your daughter's BF.

                                                                                                      I tend to agree with the responders here who said speaking with your daughter about how you feel would be the thing to do. Then you step away. If she says something to the BF, good. If he reacts by being more understanding of your efforts, better. If the sriracha overload continues, so be it...

                                                                                                      ETA: This is meant to be in response to the OP.

                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                        It's his daughter's boyfriend, so I would guess aside from Dad being the hot sauce "nazi" he feels comfortable in their home.

                                                                                                        We would have never told our daughter's BF or any friends to "remain seated and ask for what you want".

                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                          He's either a guest or a member of the family. If he's a guest, then he shouldn't be going into the kitchen and helping himself to condiments. Guests eat what's served to them and say thank you.

                                                                                                          If he's a member of the family, then he should be treated as a child of the house-equivalent, and instructed on expectations for behavior at the table in this household, as necessary.

                                                                                                          He can't have it both ways!

                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                            No. They are both adults. Do you really tell the other adults in your house how you prefer that they eat your food? That's just being a control freak.

                                                                                                            OMG, I can imagine telling one of my cousins how they should eat something I've prepared for them. Or if one of my aunties told me how I should eat something.

                                                                                                            This is not how a functional "family" operates. Sorry.

                                                                                                            1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                              Exactly.....he is not a child.

                                                                                                              We have friends over very often. I can't imagine scolding them for helping themselves to condiments. And they certainly would not be " instructed on expectations for behavior at the table in this household, as necessary".

                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                Guests in my house do not get up from the table, go into the kitchen and root around for condiments at a sitdown meal. Once someone does that, then all rules of etiquette have been thrown out the window and everything is fair game.

                                                                                                                All that said, I do think that the poster was more than a little passive-aggressive in the way he confronted this young man. An "I" statement ("I would appreciate it if you would at least try the dish the way it was intended to be eaten") rather than a "you" statement ("you're being rude by putting hot sauce on everything") would have been preferable.

                                                                                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                              Would you tell someone older than you that they are eating something "wrong"?

                                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                No. But this person is in essentially a child-parent relationship, and one function of being a parent is to educate your children on basic manners. Note that the poster pointed out that many people -- not just the poster -- would consider this young man rude for dumping hot sauce all over food that his host(ess) has prepared. When he gets over his sulk, the young man might appreciate that someone bothered to explain simple manners to him!

                                                                                                                I don't know about you, but my mother still tells me when she thinks I'm doing something "wrong" and I'm old enough to be the mother of an adult myself.

                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                  <essentially a child-parent relationship>

                                                                                                                  No, actually, a college aged person is no longer considered a 'child' and therefore shouldn't be treated as one....by the parents or anyone else.
                                                                                                                  The days of teaching table manners should have been done before the child went off to college.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                    At what age would consider him an adult?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                      When a child has a boyfriend/girlfriend, and they are over 18, the relationships shift, and it becomes two couples, not parents and children. (throwback to some transactional analysis). Unless the "children" are choosing to relate to the "parents" in those roles... otherwise, adult-adult would be the way to go.
                                                                                                                      This is not about a condiment.
                                                                                                                      This is about the parent wanting to stay in control and relate to the child (and boyfriend) as children, instead of the adults (albeit young) that they are.
                                                                                                                      The perceived "sulking" was what the dad observed, after being rude. Who cares about condiments? If one makes a meal for others, it's about them not the chef/cook's ego.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                          Well, I completely disagree with you there. This guy is not the OP's son, not to mention that using a condiment is not a sign of poor manners.

                                                                                                                          If your mom still takes you to task for things you do and you're okay with it then fine, that's your specific family dynamic and it obviously works for you. But people who are not her child would not be required to appreciate your mother's unsolicited advice.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                            "I don't know about you, but my mother still tells me when she thinks I'm doing something "wrong" and I'm old enough to be the mother of an adult myself."

                                                                                                                            And you LIKE IT????

                                                                                                                            Mine did, too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              Your mother knows how to press all your buttons -- because she's the one who wired them all.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                Not actually my situation. First of all, she's dead. Second of all, it wasn't just family she had that effect on. She was a sort of roaming, uh... *instructor.*

                                                                                                                                I never let her press mine, but my older sister went off like a bomb every time. Maybe because she never spoke up when young and then blew it all off, as I did.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                  that was a general comment, in response to you only to have it in a reasonably logical location in the discussion.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    my mother was an "instructor", too. she instructed herself into driving away all, but one, of her friends.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                            Is he still to be treated as a child well into adulthood? Ho about if they marry and have kids? : ) beware the bar of soap should a cussword slip from the kiddylips. Children must be corrected! BWAHAHA.

                                                                                                                        2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                          So, you're saying the father should kick out the boyfriend and then expect his daughter's going to come skipping back into the house with glee?
                                                                                                                          Doesn't work that way.

                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                            At some point, bad behavior would warrant being kicked out. One would hope it wouldn't reach that point. Whether the daughter is gleeful is entirely irrelevant.

                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                              If the father's desire is to keep his relationship with his daughter intact then it *is* completely relevant.

                                                                                                                          2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                            If the OP doesn't have a problem with the bf getting up and going in the kitchen I don't see how it factors into anyone's responses. The question is was the OP/Father rude in correcting the bf.....nothing about the bf's behavior.

                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                              Trained? He prefers his food a certain way. So what? And if he's the daughter's boyfriend, it's not odd for him to grab a condiment from the refrigerator. It's not as though he's riffling through their personal things. On the flip side, I would find it rude for someone with a close relationship to ask me every time they wanted something from the kitchen. I'd actually find that rude.

                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                "Once he's trained to know that he doesn't have the run of your home..."

                                                                                                                                We're not talking about a puppy here.

                                                                                                                              2. I would have grabbed the sauce from his hand and smashed it against the wall. OK, maybe that would have been a bit rude. Seriously, I think it depends on your relationship with the young man. If you do guy things together and are even capable of hanging out a bit then sure, say something. The less familiar, the less likely I would say anything.

                                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                  Going out on a limb here. Our daughters in the past have brought a few jerks home. Everyone of them acted in a selfish rude manner. One of them refused to remove his ball cap at the dinner table. In every case my daughters eventually dumped them. One wasn't so astute. She was left with a baby and a little girl he had had from another marriage. The court told our daughter she could either raise the little girl or the little girl would be put into foster care. Your daughter needs to open her eyes. If I were in your position I would remove that hot sauce from the house. If the idiot demands it tell him there is none available. It's your home and your food. Stand up to the punk or you will ironically lose your daughter's respect if she gets in too deep with the boyfriend. "Why didn't you say something at the time Dad!"

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                    Damn, the guy likes hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                      Wow. Did you pull a hamstring on that leap?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                            I pulled a stomach muscle laughing at your post. Thanks lady.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                              This thread has become quite the sociology lesson... ;-)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                              I wouldn't serve dinner if a guest were wearing a hat.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                Our daughter dated a nice guy who always wore a ball cap. He was in college, losing his hair, and very self conscious about it.

                                                                                                                                                At our home, we never said a word.

                                                                                                                                                One night we were going out with them for a nice dinner and my husband talked to our daughter beforehand and she said something to her BF but did not make him aware that her Dad was the source.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                  You and I think alike and your husband's a wise man....so's mine and thankfully my dad was too.

                                                                                                                                                  There's a whole lotta psychology going on with a college aged daughter (finding her independence, figuring out who the good guys are, etc.). The male stuff going on between the dad and the boyfriend is pretty typical....the daughter may fully understand the quirkiness of the boyfriend and is waiting to see how her dad reacts.
                                                                                                                                                  If I were the dad I'd not bring it up again. I'd pick myself up and dust myself off and I'd invite the 2 of them over again and make whatever suits the occasion. It sounds like the dad loves to cook and he should do so. I'd bring out the Sriracha and *kindly* tell the boyfriend that he knows how much he likes it and 'here it is if you'd like it'.
                                                                                                                                                  I would be willing to bet the boyfriend will go easier on the Sriracha this time around and the daughter will look at her dad a little differently.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                Do people who love hot sauce not practice safe sex? Not getting the dire tone here.
                                                                                                                                                Is hot sauce usage really that ominous?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                  I think some people take themselves and their self described 'foodie' expertise a little too seriously.

                                                                                                                                                  I would find this case scenario, with a young man who's obviously obsessed with Sriracha, quite entertaining, to say the least.
                                                                                                                                                  It'd be like having my very own SNL at my dinner table.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                    I didn't read the OP as taking himself too seriously. Just having a bit of pride in his food, and in a position to enjoy good manners from his guests. It's one thing to occasionally drown out the food with sriracha - but to do it all the time is disrespectful.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                                                      I would assume that any of us who love to cook or bake or entertain have a certain amount of pride in what we are able to accomplish.
                                                                                                                                                      Having said that, I'm not in the habit of telling my guests what they can or cannot do with the food I prepare for them.
                                                                                                                                                      It's their palate and I don't take myself so seriously that I'd take what they put on my food personally.
                                                                                                                                                      Also being a huge good manners freak I'm the first to expect such. I'm also in the age range of the OP. Certain things have to be 'let go' in this life especially when it comes to the significant other of one of our children. Life is seriously too damn short.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                          I agree. Manners aren't meant to be a tool with which we make others, our guests, feel inferior and embarrassed. Manners are how we make others feel comfortable and welcome, even if they mess up a little. We were all 19 once and didn't know everything.

                                                                                                                                                          A quiet suggestion out of earshot of others, as jules suggests above, might not be out of order since the BF has become familiar company, but telling him he was rude to his face wasn't especially nice.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                    Agreed, but less vehemently. The young man is an oaf as many are at 19 y/o. Procede with caution.

                                                                                                                                                2. it's called pick your battles

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. Since you are the 'senior' and the dinner was cooked by you at your home and if this is all you said:
                                                                                                                                                    "not every dish is meant to be hot". I said some cooks (myself included) would be offended.if he used it on virtually every entree and consider it rude.
                                                                                                                                                    I think it is perfectly fine to 'educate' him!
                                                                                                                                                    In France, in some restaurants, if one ask for ketchup and add it to the dish without even tasting it, the chef will 'throw you out of the restaurant'!!!

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                                                                      No, but by the time you finish the meal under the icy-cold shoulder, you'll probably wish he had.

                                                                                                                                                    2. When they join you for dinner, do you consider him a guest, or a member of the family? And just as importantly, does he consider HIMSELF a guest, or a member of the family. If you both agree that he's the former, then you were both rude. Him for helping himself to the Sriracha, and you for publicly upbraiding him for it. OTOH, I wouldn't have gone through the effort and expense of preparing something with saffron knowing that it would be lost on the BF. Better to stick to meals that go better with hot.

                                                                                                                                                      I don't blame you for being ticked off. I'm proud enough of my cooking that I would take such behavior as a lack of respect for the work I do to make things taste right, and if he thinks he needs to color it red, then I wouldn't bother seasoning his food at all in the preparation.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                        +1 It's like when I cook for my in-laws. I simplify and try to get in touch with what is conventional. It's more comfortable to have them enjoy my for-their-benefit cooking than to watch them push around one of my more authentically me efforts.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Yes, it's rude to correct a guest no matter how rude they are. The definitive movie version of this incident is in To Kill A Mockingbird, when Scout brings Walter (who is from a very poor home) back to her house for lunch. Walter asks for syrup and pours it over his entire plate of food. When Scout comments on it, Calpurnia (the Housekeeper) hauls her off to the kitchen & tells her that, if he were to pour syrup on the table cloth and start eating it, she is not to say a thing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm going to answer in this manner. The person closest to this issue besides your daughter (Who I'm going to assume supported her BF since you have said she was in your corner on this issue) is your wife the mom.

                                                                                                                                                          If your wife felt you were rude then guess what.......I would say you probably were. Personally I feel it is rude.....regardless of how much care you put into a dish your taste as well as everyone else's is different. I for one love hot sauce and I also love Sriracha hot chili sauce. Do I put it on everything......no but I do LOVE regular black pepper and I tend to pepper everything I eat up. If I asked for the pepper in your house and you chastised me because you felt your cooking appeals to all tastes and I shouldn't have to pepper my food, I would thank you and leave.

                                                                                                                                                          Variety is a spice of life....let the kid enjoy his.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                            I agree you already had the answer....happy wife, happy life

                                                                                                                                                          2. Yes you were rude. Who are you? The condiment police?

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                Professor Higgins, evidently.

                                                                                                                                                              2. He's a young clod. I can only imagine his table manners.

                                                                                                                                                                1. If he puts that on everything, from now on you should just serve him broccoli or tofu. What's the point of having good food only to drown it in hot sauce? You can't taste the food!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I don't understand why anyone cares about what another adult chooses to eat or how they like their food seasoned. You don't have to eat it that way so why waste any time even thinking about it.

                                                                                                                                                                    I would have been offended if you had said that to me. Instead of focusing on his love of Siracha, maybe try to have forge a good relationship. You never know if he could end up to be your son in law.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: baseballfan

                                                                                                                                                                      Because it's not about how they like it. It's about not having the modesty or patience to stretch a bit and try to enjoy something out of ones comfort level.

                                                                                                                                                                      (Don't get me wrong, I'm with Calpurnia here, but the kid is a clod.)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I guess this is the bottom line: what are you looking for, here? Vindication? And if we agree with you, then what? Will you ban him from your home? Or from hot sauce? Or from your daughter?

                                                                                                                                                                      This is about more than hot sauce and sulking.

                                                                                                                                                                      Is he a nice, considerate guest otherwise? Good table manners? Sometimes brings flowers/dessert? Offers to help with dishes? Or is he just a boorish sulkypants?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I thought that I remembered a thread wherein the chowhounds professed their love for Sriracha on everything.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Total control-freakery. If you were my dad, I'd have ripped you a new one for being weird with one of my friends. If it was a friend of your wife's, would you have stalked her through your house to tell her how you preferred she eat her food? Respect the adult status of your child and her chosen partner. Good lord.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. "Is hot sauce a condiment to be used on dishes that were never intended to be hot?"


                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                              You might benefit from thinking of this incident as a learning experience for all concerned. The boyfriend is imature. No matter what goes down, getting sulky isn't a good thing. As for you, realizing that many adults don't think about food in the same way that you do can be a freeing experience for you.

                                                                                                                                                                              You love to put on a really good meal. You carefully take the time to do so, but perhaps you could use some pointers in the hospitality department. I tend to get all worked up and kind of possessive about my cooking, so I feel your exasperation, but I have changed my way of looking at hospitality.

                                                                                                                                                                              The daughter may someday drop this clod, or she may marry him. He may eventually get smarter about food, or he may go on a diet of hot sauce over chocolate chip cookies. This jerk has handed you an opportunity to sharpen your hosting skills in a way that will contribute to your having wonderful family dinners in the future. That's what you would like, isn't it? We are never too set in our ways to learn a new skill. I figure that's what Chowhound helps me to do.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cheesed

                                                                                                                                                                                The bf is the clod here? How about the adult who treated him like a child?
                                                                                                                                                                                There are dozens of tactful ways to address what's taken to be a social faux pas and this just isn't even close to one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the point here is both OP and the boyfriend could use lessons in manners--boyfriend on table manners and OP on how to handle the boyfriend.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Cheesed

                                                                                                                                                                                  This is an excellent post and well thought out.


                                                                                                                                                                                  But some of us can't be a fly on the OP's wall so choose to wing it. What else can we do..:-)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Yes, I'd say it was pretty rude. Of you.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Piling on here to say that yes, you were rude, but I hope you took an opportunity to apologize and smooth things over.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Chances are if your wife thought you were rude, you were no matter how you phrased it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think the bigger question is how is his overall behavior? Your comment that he "got mad and sulked thru dinner" seems a childlike and immature reaction. More like a petulant teenager.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Was that really the case?

                                                                                                                                                                                    Or was he more likely embarrassed and kept quiet thru dinner and you interpreted it as "sulky"?

                                                                                                                                                                                    The fact that you rose from the table, followed him into the kitchen and in effect scolded him for something you have silently accepted all along would have mortified me, a 50 year old woman! Coming from my BF's father? Yikes!

                                                                                                                                                                                    I would ask your self would you have done the same thing if your wife or daughter suddenly developed a love for hot sauce and was putting on everything? What about your best friend? A co worker?

                                                                                                                                                                                    Me thinks there may be deeper issues than just the hot sauce….

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed, with Janet. A very good post.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I think you yucked his yum. Are his tastebuds immature--very possibly. But, they're HIS tastebuds, not yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                        So, you know he doesn't have your refined palate--forewarned is forearmed. I'd cook fewer nuanced flavors for him or cook whatever the heck I prefer and let him sauce up his portion to his heart's content.

                                                                                                                                                                                        He may be out of your daughter's life eventually, but putting her in the "my BF or my Daddy" is a fight that's not worth fighting. It's only food.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Yes it is rude to criticise a guest but a "guest" should never get up from the table and start rooting around in the kitchen cabinets of his host to grab something that wasn't offered.

                                                                                                                                                                                          When the boyfriend did that he broke the host/guest dynamic.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Since the young man obviously was raised with no manners or consideration someone needs to place limits on him.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Perhaps the best way, instead of criticising his choice of condiments would be to chastise him instead for his rudeness in helping himself to things not offered.

                                                                                                                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't get over people ripping this guy's character apart over helping himself to hot sauce. What's next, he's an axe murderer because he turned his mashed potatoes red?
                                                                                                                                                                                            A grip. Get one.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                              That is a ridiculous strawman argument monavano.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Etiquette isn't about axe murderers, or life and death. It is about basic common manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And what I pointed out is that the rudeness is less in how he chooses to season his food than in getting up from the dinner table and going through his host's kitchen to get things that were not offered to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                              That is considered rude in just about any culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Much like if your host had ice tea on the dinner table and you got up and started looking through his liquor cabinet instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                              A grip. Get one.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                                                                                                                                                                                Well the OP did not say this whatsoever. And how does anyone know how this young man was raised? You're sweeping judgement is astounding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually the OP DID say it:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  "He immediately went to get the hot sauce. I followed him into the kitchen "

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That he went meant he got up. That the host followed him to the kitchen means the boyfriend went to the kitchen. That the host had to follow him to do this usually means permission wasn't asked beforehand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The OP did NOT say they were upset by this, so I don't get hammering away at his getting up. He was followed to instigate a confrontation about the use of hot sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    The host/cook should have kept their ass in their seat and lip zipped and let the offense (quelle horreur) cool off a bit before addressing in the the heat of the moment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, it just saddens me that people can be so quick to judge this man's character.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    So be it. I'm more of a "whatever floats your boat" person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for stating this so beautifully!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  For those still caught up in the food/taste thing, imagine a dinner guest helping himself (without asking permission) to your medicine chest or underwear drawer. Just bad manners!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Food and underwear are not meant to be shared with guests. Well, for most people!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Unless you're in the habit of keeping condiments in your underwear drawer, it's definitely not the same thing...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Talk about a straw man argument.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Many of us have a grip. You just happen to disagree. Be nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      OP probably handled it badly, but drowning all food in the same sauce is akin to putting ranch dressing on pizza. A vile habit. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      In anticipation of the dissenting view....Yes, it is America and we are free to be boors if we so choose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Be nice? OK mom.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just can not get over the freak outs. OMG!!! Hot sauce!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                        *Red* I tell you! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Great post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is not an area the OP asked about but just as an example, in my household, we always invite casual, familial guests to help themselves in the kitchen. It's very possible this young man was not being rude at all in getting the hot sauce from the kitchen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're making an assumption that he has no manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, but . . .daughter and bf dine at OP's home frequently and bf is known to put hot sauce on everything he eats. Drawing from my own experience the most likely scenario is: first dinner or ten, bf asked for hot sauce and OP, not wanting to be a bad host/embarrass daughter, provided it. After 10 or 20 of these meals, OP said "you know where we keep it, help yourself." After another 20 of these meals, bf just helped himself without the asking. (As I said, just drawing from my own experience here.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My dad, the father of 4 girls, would have been happy to have bf help himself. After a certain amount of time, he got fed up with the bf asking his daughter to get him a drink, a snack, etc when said bf spent as much time in our house as his daughter. (He did not raise his daughters to serve "their man.")

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That was my take on it as well. Especially since the OP made no mention of being bothered by him getting up to get it himself. The issue seems to be what he was getting, not the manner in which he was getting it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was also my interpretation. I've always found that when you frequently share dining experiences with someone that after awhile a certain casualness takes over. I have no problem with friends who know where things are kept in my kitchen helping themselves to it. I agree that if I were hosting a more formal dinner with guests that were new to my home I may find it a bit ballsy (although I certainly would not label them a terrible guest and write them off my list for life), but if it were a regular Sunday night dinner type of thing I'd think nothing of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: RichardBreadcrumb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Per OP, the kid eats dinner with them "frequently." He's there enough that he knows where the sriracha lives and doesn't need to bother someone else to get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. I think both of you should be made to sit down and watch a movie together. Perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird as suggested, or Joy Luck Club.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At least in Elf he brought his own syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. GRAPEGRIFF- since it's such a topic in the replies, let me ask you. Were you annoyed that he got something from the fridge/kitchen or just that he used Sriracha?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I don't see a response like this one - so I'll post it -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Get annoyed... that's fine - but don't address the issue until you are done feeling emotional about it - and in fact why don't you wait until you have a sense of humor about it, make a joke - "I thought I might just make sriracha soup as a first course for XXX's birthday dinner, he likes it so much" - the trick is to smile and really mean it in a good natured way. He will hear you or he won't, then you're done and you can keep teasing him about it... but it's really not worth getting and staying bent out of shape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: harryharry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am on your side but maybe your daughter would have been the best person to deal with this situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When someone does what he did it is saying "I dont like your food and the way you cook it." That is offensive to the highest degree to anyone who cares about cooking and seasongs. He didn't even try and taste your food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My step son bathed his Thanksgiving dinner with hot sauce this year and I was irate. Above all else he grabbed whatever sauce he could find and put it all over the food. Later he admitted that he hated the sauce so what was the point in the first place? Clearly he wasn't going after any specific taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, why do you care? Why were you IRATE over sauce on food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In honest curiosity, would you have been that upset if he drowned everything in gravy or cranberry sauce? Yes, you made and provided those 'condiments', but if they were used to a point where the turkey, stuffing, etc was non-tasteable, does it matter?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I wanted to thank you for starting this thread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I must say I am learning quite a bit about "the new etiquette".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had no idea. I am late forties....and have never felt so old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. OP here, I seem to have struck a nerve. For clarity, he is at my home frequently and is certainly welcome to peruse the fridge. I guess I was thinking of it more as a learning experience but I guess who am I to teach him..By the way, I'm 60 and he is 19. Could it be agenerational thing? My mother always apprised us of what was and wasn't acceptable at the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grapegriff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ok, he's 19. He's young. We all did things at that age that we would never, ever do now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My daughter's 18 - if it was her in the boyfriend's place, I'd be upset for two reasons - that you spoke to her in that way (and she would have been hurt and horrified), and that she offended you as well. I'm sure it wasn't intentional on his part (to offend you), and you might have taken it a bit personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think you could have handled it differently. Maybe think about how you might feel if the boyfriend's father or mother spoke to your daughter in that way - for whatever reason?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If it was my daughter's boyfriend, as long as he was good to her and she was happy, if it helped him enjoy his food, I say more power to him. It's likely he'll grow out of it in time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grapegriff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If boyfriend is allowed to help himself and is at your house often, then it seems that the rude one in this situation is you. I don't know why you'd follow him into the kitchen over hot sauce. If he is allowed to help himself then I don't see any "law of etiquette" being breached here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you like to cook, maybe you can ask if he'd like to help prepare a meal with you. In this way you can impart some knowledge and maybe he'll pick up a few things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                He's 19, don't get bent out of shape over it. If he's otherwise a good guy and treats your daughter well then let it go.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If there are other issues, well, that's beyond the scope of this board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grapegriff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At least you came back.-:) A lot of posters don't..:-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grapegriff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You mother gave you guidance. I'm 30, and my mother still does the same for me, but I would be mortified if someone other than my mother (or perhaps my aunt) gave me such a blunt etiquette lesson. Let this young man's parent(s) guide him, or at the very least let your daughter fill him in on your expectations when they have a private moment. While I'm sure (or at least I hope) he respects you, you are not his parent. I imagine he was quite embarrassed at being scolded by someone other than his own parents, particularly by someone he likely wants to impress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grapegriff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm one of those who are with you. 1st date? Meet the parents for 1st time? No, I'm not saying anything. He comes in the house without knocking? Helps himself to the fridge? Calls me anything but "Mr. ..."? He gets the same treatment as my other adult kids which is to say i treat them like adults but in a much more familiar and maybe mentoring kind of way. I would try not to be a jerk about it, but I'd probably have no issue saying something either. Of course if he's a sensitive young man, I'd try to be a little sensitive in the way I approached things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grapegriff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are not his mother, he is not your son. If he is welcome to your fridge, and you know this is his behavior, then you should have known it was coming. Why bother with saffron?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you truly want to teach him and not control him, then invite him over for a cooking lesson.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Wow and I thought my father-in-law was bad. You were pretty rude. I love hot sauce and I do put it on a lot of things that maybe some people might not agree with, but that's my choice. I like my food hot. Very, very hot. If there's hot sauce available, I'll probably use it and if someone were to tell me how to eat my food, I'd be offended. I think an apology is necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Here's a recent conversation about this.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have to admit, I have been guilty myself of policing my husband's condiments when I cook dinner. After reading all the responses, I realized that we don't all have the same taste buds, and I can't control what another person considers good flavor in foods. His hot sauce may just add a little zip to his tongue. To me, it adds fire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. In my neck of the woods, for guys in their teens through twenties Sriracha seems to be the equivalent of salt and pepper. (My 65 year old BIL, retired Marine, likes Tobasco and lime on veritually everything--never argued with him about it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I don't have a dog in this fight, but I am continually delighted that if there is a thread with the word "etiquette" in the title it invariably means someone is pissed off at someone else about something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Samalicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And that there will be a fair number of responses that bend the rules of netiquette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My 2¢.......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do most of the cooking in our home because I love to cook, so can easily understand why your sensibilities might be hurt by the BF dousing everything with Sriracha. I'm just OC enough that I even feel that way when someone uses an aerator before first trying a wine the way the winemaker made it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That said............ if this is the BF's worst "flaw" I'd get over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cook for yourself, your wife and your daughter! Don't let him stifle your enjoyment in cooking. On the other hand ......... I think I'd throw a fit if someone put ice cubes in a 15 year-old premium Napa Cab at my dinner table. :o]]]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Unless I were about to ingest something that would potentially hurt me (food poisoning/allergies/magic brownies/etc) I would consider anyone commenting on my eating choices to be a food fascist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I don't think it's so much rudeness as an inevitability of judging another by your own expectations of their behaviour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    From the outset, etiquette is silent on whether or not you should season a dish you eat a certain way, or at least not as codified as knives being held in the right hand and placed on the plate while chewing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    More specifically to this situation, yes you are a foodie, a marvellous and wonderful thing to be in life. This dude isn't and is also quite a fair bit younger so possibly has immature tastes if the crap i ate unknowingly at university was any indication.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chances are he doesn't actually mentally distinguish between mashed potato (not doubting yours are lovely) and a finely spiced delicate risotto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't just mean in terms of mentally not processing or appreciating the difference between preperation time, skill involved or expense or rarity of ingredients used.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I mean also simply not processing the differences in the flavours between the two things. When my taste was quite immature it was food i liked, and other food, i liked hot and so hot sauce aligned most dishes closer to a flavour i like. the guy's really young and may not care about food that much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You do, and i admire that, but you can't get snitty with him for not. Maybe this just isn't someone you should be putting huge efforts into a meal for. I can understand you take great pride in what you serve your family and he joins your family for dinner regularly so obviously you'l need to serve him what it is they're eating also, but maybe just try and accept this is not an interest you share.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And no, he wasn't being deliberately rude. I sympathise with you, watching one of my nephews drown a bisque i served one night in salt was a bit heartbreaking, but he's a kid and a little bit of 'whatever' goes a long way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe there are other reasons you don't like this young man that prompted following him from the table to have a dig at his tastes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    does any of this make you a snob? I just gently make the point that as people become more and more deeply involved in their food and cooking there can be a risk that we become rather overbearing hosts who absolutely insist our guests apreciate every detail of the extraordinary meal we have presented them and perhaps lose some of the joy of sitting down to a meal with our loved ones and those special to us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Part of the problem is that adults expect a certain behavior from adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But many college-aged males are far from adult. Esp if they are actually in college. Frat houses and dining halls are dens of swinish manners and bad taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The young clod will figure things out in a few years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I would probably ask him to try just one bite without the sriracha. My boys dump hot sauce on everything, and that's my rule, one bite without it, so they can at least taste the food the way it is supposed to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Reverse the situation. The young man serves you a meal at his home. The potato and rice dishes have Sriracha on them, because he thinks they taste good that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think your wife is right, "...for him it's like salt and pepper."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I would eat it, as presented, and not scrape the top layer off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I remember a friend made me rice in her rice cooker one day and then scolded me when I dumped some soy sauce on it. She said "In Japan that's considered rude!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was like, "well 1) You're not Japanese and 2) we're not in Japan."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I truly love the way soy sauce tastes with white rice. That's the way I like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Food is a very personal thing, as is taste. When you step in to tell someone how they should eat something, you are intruding on something very personal. When you cook for someone, I think it's like any other gift you give - once the recipient has it, it is theirs to do with as they please. If you can't handle people doing what they please with the food you cook for them, then don't cook for them. Because at that point you've made it about YOU and your ego, and not about doing something nice or generous for someone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They say the same thing with Sushi/Sashimi.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Your response was exactly the same as I would have made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I think it's like any other gift you give - once the recipient has it, it is theirs to do with as they please."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess that's true but that doesn't mean it would not be rude to take that white cashmere sweater I just gave you as a gift and then use it in front of me as a tug-of-war toy with your Rottweiler. If you feel strongly about food, as most of us on this board do, it's just as easy to get a bit out of shape when your daughters very familiar boyfriend puts hot sauce on your saffron seasoned rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Once again, it comes down to the relationship one has with the offender. When my MIL requests ice for her $15 glass of cabernet, I say nothing. When my 24 y.o. "adult" son thinks a couple of shots of tequila make a nice aperitif with our Italian dinner, yeah, I'm opening my mouth. I have close friends where we would have no problem "saying" something to each other and others where nothing would be said. All depends...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Putting hot sauce on a food because you enjoy it and personally believe it enhances the taste of something you are about to INGEST is very different from deliberately destroying a sweater. This guy was doing what tastes good to him. No one has a right to judge that. He clearly likes hot sauce. This is not a moral failing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I guess I don't feel so strongly about food that I try to insert my opinions into other people's digestive tracts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And there is a big difference between your own son doing shots at a family dinner and a person to whom you have no tie except through your daughter overusing a condiment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Deliberately destroying something I may have spent hours working on to get it just right, to me, is at least equally as insulting to me as mentioning the hot sauce would be to the young man. As I've stated, it all depends on the personal relationship the two of us have. If it were more formal or I did not know him well, I wouldn't say a thing. If we're comfortable together and joke back and forth, if he puts his feet up on my coffee table, if he calls me bobbert instead of Mr. Bobbert and I feel I can talk straight with him, I find no issue with it. By the way, if he does put his feet on the coffee table or wears a baseball cap sideways at my dinner table but we don't do that in my house, can I say something?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've learned not to pour a vintage wine when my ML is over because it kills me to see the glass filled up with ice. If this kid were coming to dinner and I knew he'd be killing my effort with hot sauce, I wouldn't bother cooking. I certainly would not take him to a high priced restaurant where he couldn't possibly have an appreciation for the efforts put forth in the kitchen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Once again, if we have a good, familiar relationship, I don't see any reason not to tactfully point something out to him. I learned a great deal from older, more experienced and worldly people pointing things out to me (always tactfully) when I was younger and not so young. It has served me well in life.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And finally, as long as one of your parents are still alive,you're still a kid. Probably the only time you'll ever appreciate that is after they're gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <you're still a kid>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good luck with that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      At least to them you are. Like most, I really had zero appreciation for this fact until they were both gone but I still have a few elderly aunts and uncles left who, although they definitely treat me as an adult there's still a little bit of "they're the grown up and I'm the kid" in our interactions. It's never condescending or anything like that but it's there, however subtle. Even though I'm a card carrying member of AARP myself, I'm OK with it. For a modern, liberal east coast elitist, I can still be old fashioned in so many ways. Perhaps one of the reasons so many younger people have no clue about so many things is because folks like us think it's best to not say anything and let our kids find it all on their own. Sorry, I digress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You might always be their child, but that is no reason to be treated as a child.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My parents, my husband and I have developed a great adult-adult relationship over the years. We enjoy each other's company, and relate as adults. Last summer, while visiting them, my sister arrived. She and her husband have spent very little time together with my parents as a couple. He was not with her on this trip (he has hardly ever accompanied her on family trips). From the moment she arrived, my sister and parents reverted to Parent-Child relations, and communications. It was a horrible day. We were planning on leaving the next morning, anyway, so only had to endure it for a day. But, it was miserable. My husband saw it clearly. I just bit my tongue. They were oblivious to the change in dynamic.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And, it seems my sister and her husband only do things together when it involves their children, who are now adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Nero Wolfe said, 'A guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality.' Once, he invited Fred, a business associate, to dinner in his house. Fred called for vinegar, and put it on everything. Despite the disruption of his own digestion from watching this, he said nothing. He solved the problem by never inviting Fred to dine with him again. Good solution!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Things taste different to different people. The young man might well be a "nontaster" -- the opposite of a "supertaster." (I have one daughter in each category.) Supertasters have more taste buds than average, and taste everything very strongly -- bitter things are more bitter, sweet things are more sweet, etc.. Nontasters have fewer tastebuds, and everything tastes bland to them. Your dish "mildly seasoned with saffron and other herbs," while perfect to you, might well have been like cardboard to the young man. I suggest that you both try not to be offended at the difference in your taste buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Reading all these comments, it occurs to me there a many people who are control freaks and want to muck up other people's business for the sake of...mucking up other people's business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Between the thread about one person eating at a table for four alone, in a "seat yourself" room, and this OP trying to control another adult man's food choices,...I am laughing. Who are these people with the energy to control everyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Setting rules in your own home is not controlling "everyone," it is controlling only guests in your home. What happens in my home is my business, not metely "other people's business."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sure, but setting rules regarding how a guest seasons his or her food seems extreme. One can do so, certainly, but should one?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Right? The moment someone decides to tell me how to season my own food, they are attempting to exert irrational control over my personal choices. On food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But it is not necessarily your food, is it? When you are a guest at someone's house you are being provided food by your host. That doesn't translate into being your food. Just as if you're staying overnight the bedroom doesn't become your bedroom and you can do whatever you want with the space.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll agree that the original poster was being overhanded in his approach to the boyfriend and I wouldn't have done it, but the boyfriend also needed to learn a few manners as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As a child I was taught to remember the following manners as a guest in someone's house:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Always eat the food politely. If you don't like it still eat some of it and keep your mouth shut. The only excuse would be if the food looked unhealthy or uncooked (raw chicken).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Never ask for seconds unless prompted by the host/hostess and/or if others have broken the ice by accepting seconds. If it's self-serve, always take small portions. Don't appear to be greedy and you don't know if the host has future plans for the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Never ask for condiments that aren't already on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. If you season, season lightly. Don't offend the hostess's cooking by implying it's not good enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A good guest would never do anything to imply that the host isn't being good enough of a host, and that includes the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Once it goes in your mouth it's yours. If you sleep in someone's bedroom, you don't then take it home with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  See, this is why I dislike the "I was taught...." line of thinking: it kind of implies that anyone who wasn't taught the same ones were raised in a barn. But the thing is, just because your parents instilled certain ideas in you, it doesn't make those ideas universal truths.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I eat food politely because I, personally, think it's a polite thing to do. I ask for salt if I want more salt because I don't find that an outrageous offense, either. *Shrug*.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LeoLioness


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It seems Carson from Downton Abbey has been posting on this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Manners are a minefield because people have widely varying ideas of what constitutes good manners and what doesn't and it affects everything from language to table habits, and having lived in several countries in different parts of the world I'm aware there's no universal truth when it comes to specific manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My reasoning for wanting to post on this particular thread is that while I agreed with just about everyone else in that the OP, as the host, erred the most in his behavior and attitude towards the boyfriend, at the same time I can see how the boyfriend still demonstrated what would be considered bad manners in the eyes of many people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well said, Roland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lots of self-righteousness was brought out by the situation. I find that discouraging but not surprising given previous threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In my judgement, which is final and binding, OP was out of line in the way he handled it, but not in resenting the boorish behavior of the young oaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Young oaf was guilty of frat behavior while among real people. If he is lucky he will realize that he is an uncivilized clod and learn how real people behave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Case closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Young oaf was guilty of frat behavior while among real people. If he is lucky he will realize that he is an uncivilized clod and learn how real people behave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Case closed."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Except that the other adult actually present, according to the OP, felt that *he* was rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you'd included the full quote from my post there'd have been no reason for *your* post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In any event, I declare this case closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Adios. Stay hungry my friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          but if you were taught a certain way, and corrected if you didn't do it that way...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          then yes, you were raised to believe that those who don't do it that way are wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That one's just logic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For, me the issue is whether a guest should be helping himself to the contents of my kitchen, not what he puts on his food. He may use anything I put on the table, or ask for something else. If he asks for ketchup, I'll suggest he stop at McD's on the way home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I think there are a few issues at play - the first being the notion of getting up and going to the kitchen when being a guest, and second the constant use of hotsauce. However, I'm only going to address the hotsauce one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that in a family situation it is common for family members to doctor food as they see fit. However, it is also completely within reason for the "parents" or individual purchasing the ingredients to place boundaries either for health reasons (aka it is not ok to add a quarter cup of sugar to your cereal) or value reasons. If a dish is made with an expensive ingredient (say lobster) and not being respected by the "child"-consumer (in the sense of playing with food, or feeling the need to cover it in CheeseWiz) - then it is ok to say "this is not how this ingredient is appreciated in this house - when you can buy your own lobster you can prepare it however you want, but in my house no CheeseWiz (or Siracha) on lobster". I think that both setting both kinds of boundaries in a home with children is fine - when children become adults it's different but not dramatically.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While this is the case of daughter, her parents and her boyfriend - had the OP been the boyfriend's boss and been aggrivated by such eating habits then the consequences could be different. While I believe the OP's opinion to be entirely in the right - I would have suggested approaching the daughter at a non-meal time. Say something to the effect that while you don't take offense to certain items being "Sirachaed" that you would really appreciate trying the food un-hot sauced first and for certain pricier subtle ingredients do take offense when Siracha is added and for her to address her boyfriend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I strongly disagree with this notion about all food in all places being able to be altered to our exact taste. In a restaurant, fine. At home, of course. But in someone else's home, having no regard for how they would like food to be consumed for whatever reasons (be it manners, tradition, health reasons, etc) is rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that manners and etiquette are a two way street between host and guest - hosts can not expect guests to be their clones and guests (even if its family) do not get to treat the dinner like it's being held in their kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. In the big picture, is he good to your daughter? Is he kind? If so, what does it matter if he is addicted to Sriracha? Also, I think his age and stage in life have to be taken into account. All kinds of new wonders present themselves when you are in college and it sounds like this kid has discovered the thrill of Sriracha. I remember being astounded at the age of 17 that there was as much free coffee in the dining room as I could drink! All day! One of my friends started dumping ketchup on anything and everything, including spaghetti. It happens. Then, you grow up and find new tastes on your own time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      While I understand the issue of this being a non-major issue and if he's a good boyfriend, then to let this slide - I don't see why the OP has to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think a better time to bring up the issue is not in the middle of the meal when he goes to get the hot sauce, but rather through the daughter prior to a meal (aka "We'd like to invite you and boyfriend for a sole dinner on Thursday, and would really appreciate if boyfriend would respect using hot sauce when we place it on the table and not for every meal"). Indulging a behavior that you find irritating, and essentially "ruining" a meal that you'd like to present is only going to build resentment and treating the daughter and her boyfriend more like children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He doesn't have to....he can be the Dad who is a control freak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Comes down to "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I really don't see why trying to find a compromise is a simple toss up of "right or happy".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For some cooking is just a means to an ends - but for many people it really is something that means a lot cook and a lot of effort goes into meal planning and preparing. If I knew that the way I chose to season food prepared for me by a romantic partner's family was bothering something, I'd want to find a middle ground. Maybe dad is going to get used to mashed potatoes always being red - but it doesn't mean that the two shouldn't look for a place in the middle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Great perspective on the bigger picture.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I never went through a hot sauce phase, but have a fondness for A-1 still. It springs from growing up in a well-done steak family and the poor beef needed *something* to flavor it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DH is the same way and I went through a time where it bothered me that he would still put A-1 on a nice, med-rare steak that I prepared. Not so much anymore, maybe because I've improved my ability to make pan sauces.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The A-1 still finds its way onto my baked potato ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Maybe he just doesn't like the food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lol. I was waiting to see if/when someone would suggest this possibility. Maybe the BF, rather than being a "clod," is manfully finding a way to doctor food he finds unpleasant for some reason so that it is palatable to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              +2. This is what I was thinking too. Maybe he thinks the food is so bland that adding Siracha is the only way he can choke it down. Most 19 year olds don't want to eat parsley pilaf and mildly seasoned saffron-herb whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The OP should have expressed his concerns to his daughter, not to the BF. The daughter could have possibly explained the need for Siracha, or spoken to the BF in a manner that wasn't as hostile. It's different coming from the GF as opposed to the GF's dad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Wow - this is one hot topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You were wrong to try to control how another adult eats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But I sympathize with the impulse -- I've had to bite my tongue when a guest immediately adds S&P to a dish without even tasting it first (after tasting, fine).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. My opinion, if you liked the kid, the sauce would have been on the table with extra bottles in the pantry. I don't know how important it is to you that your daughter comes over often. If you enjoy her frequent visits, suck it up and just put the sauce on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sherrib

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and or,......prepare a meal where Sriracha would compliment the main dish...or other components of the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. It was wrong for you to make a guest feel uncomfortable in your house. After he leaves, you have the option of never inviting him again, but don't make others feel uncomfortable during dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For the young people, Sriracha sauce is considered a cool condiment to drown food. I'm not a fan of a lot of food fads and don't follow most of them myself. There is a big difference in educating somebody and just being a jerk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hate to say it, but you were being the latter in this particular case. If you are going to write about your behavior to try to gain sympathy, make sure that you are right for starters. Think before you speak is the golden rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Based on everything that you have written, I can certainly see Sriracha being served on everything that you wrote down on the menu. The kid is brilliant because I would not have thought about some of those combinations and will try them. It was not like he was putting it on ice cream, although I should not knock it until I try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why would you even serve non-spicy food for a guest who you know loves spiciness? I usually only like spicy foods too and all my family and friends know this. Some people, for example, Chef Jamie Oliver, feel chilis are addictive, which may be true from psychological and physiological standpoints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Be more open-minded. Good guys are hard to come by for any woman. The fact that this young man loves spicy foods is a bonus in my eyes. I've been on a Sichuan pepper binge having only discovered it a couple of years ago and never want it to end. Sriracha is small time...tell that kid to amp it up! Habanero, here I come...j/k, I'm far from reaching that level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm just curious how you would react if the boyfriend prepared dinner for you. If you saw him dousing each plate in Sriracha before serving, would you ask him to leave the Sriracha off of your plate or would you accept the plate doused in Sriracha, as your host has intended the meal to be served?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When I have been a guest, I have tried my best to eat the meal as it was prepared for me. If the dish is truly too spicy for me to handle, I try to adapt as much as possible before accepting I will eat as much as I can before stopping or pick at the less spicy parts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Most "horrible" guest dishes have mostly followed the other trend (being cooked to death/bland) - but they were always in homes where that was the style of how they cooked/served food. And I was a gracious guest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm of the school that when I'm a guest in someones home I pretty much eat the dish as presented and think it rude to doctor it up unless the host put something else out and stated that "you might want more salt or might like some siracha with that." I can't imagine, no matter how much I love ketchup on everything, asking for some to add to the paella.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a huge deal for me. Not all condiments are created equal in everyone's eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And so while asking for hot sauce in one may be akin to asking for salt/pepper/glass of water - in another it can clearly be taken as a sign of not appreciating the care that went into a dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course not all condiments are equal. And it varies with the situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mayo on a hamburger vs. mayo on ice cream. Which makes sense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Passing them the requested mayo for their ice cream vs. getting upset over them smearing said mayo on the ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Which makes sense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. So do you like the boyfriend? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I think it's rude to do that continuously to someone else's food when you are a guest in their home. He's young doesn't know any better or doesn't care, but you're not his parent, no matter how regularly they come over or how casual. As others have said, you have to pick your battles. Stop serving anything you care about when he comes over because you know he's going to do this, and let it go for your daughter's sake. I don't know why you keep having them over for dinner if he's annoying. Either meet them out somewhere where you have nothing invested in the food, or have them over for drinks or coffee or something before or after regular mealtime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You have a right to say something if he's doing something damaging, like throwing his food or banging his silverware on the table or attempting to set fire to the tablecloth, but not here, as much as you might want to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think back many years ago when I was the future DIL in my fiance's house, and if I was doing something to my future MIL's food that hurt her feelings (she was a wonderful cook), I sure as heck would have wanted to know about it. But the way would have been for future FIL to talk to my future husband, and for future husband to quietly tell me to knock it off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exactly. If the relationship is serious between the daughter and BF and BF is engaged in rude or inconsiderate behavior, then it is appropriate to address the issue, but not in a confrontation between the father & BF at the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. May not relate to the OP's situation, but I wonder about ethnicity/background: Mr. Pine absolutely detested my mother's cooking (at least for the 1st decade, he finally got used to it). She didn't use spices and tended to overcook everything. He's from India, used to highly spiced and nuanced food. He's also bluntly honest and speaks his mind when asked (nicely, but not diplomatically).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At least the OP's guest didn't overtly tell him "I don't like your food." Still think the OP overreacted, however, especially given the guest's age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. You should not have approached him on this subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Next time he is invited over to dinner, magically run out of all hotsauce. If he asks where it is, tell him you either ran out or took it to work with you and forgot to bring it home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Three things will happen (1) he will get the message, (2) he will find a new condiment in your refrigerator, or (3) he will go out to his vehicle to get his home. In that case, lock the door while he's gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: motomom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is what I was thinking! However, since the subject has already been broached the BF would probably suspect you did this as retaliation. I would have loved to have heard about what his reaction would have been had this strategy been the initial one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I think your response was rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In your shoes, I would prepare simpler dinners when they are over and I would just bite my tongue about the sriracha. Hey, I like the stuff too but also appreciate other flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I might try to engage in food-related conversation at dinner, in the interest of broadening culinary minds. Along the lines of "can you taste the cumin in this dish? Don't you think it enhances the flavor of the XXX?" With luck, he'll begin to notice that there is more to life than sriracha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I like that, in general, as a way to try to broaden stubborn palates. Thanks for planting the idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Can you taste the cumin in this dish?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The obvious answer:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "The only thing I can taste in this dish is sriracha."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe curiousity will get the better of him?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Ok. Different situation here, but similar. At the tender age of 18, I was staying at the house of friends of a friend of mine, who had gone to school with the son of the family. We "kids" were all roughly the same age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    After dinner, as we were hanging out, we were served gin & tonic. The son of the house at some point said to "help yourselves to more if you like", which perhaps his mom had missed, because when I did just that -- i.e. heading over to the liquor cabinet in the other room to pour myself a refill, the mother followed me and gave me a scolding that turned my cheeks on fire. I was incredibly embarrassed not to mention confused -- for taking the son's words at face value, and spent the rest of the evening in my room being very, very angry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grown-ups (and I use this term loosely, knowing my share of juvenile adults) don't generally like being "educated", "scolded" or "lectured" by their hosts. Period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I would rather bite my tongue than make a guest of mine feel anything less than welcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, of course. Drinking age in the UK is 16 for beer, 18 for spirits - same as in Germany. The legality had nothing to do with this PA shaming tactic. "What a bitch", is what I still think, and I wish I had taken her on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just wondered because if one of the "kids" gave you alcohol and then a parent saw an underage kid going back for more, I'd understand the commotion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But this just sounds mean and/or parents and son were not on the same page. I'd hate that I had to stay a moment longer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Probably all of us, even the cheekiest of hounds, look back on some similar past experience and think, man, if I had it to do all over again now, I would give them the what-for! In any case, I would have at least reported it to the son who had given me permission so that he could go yell at the mom. Or at least I think I would, though I probably would have done the same as you, get humiliated and angry and run away and hide. It's a good lesson. Though on the very cusp of adulthood, you have to treat them like adults even though it's hard when you are the elder one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Somebody could write a doctoral thesis on all the weirdness exhibited in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Indeed. Except my stuff, which was insightful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. As a mom with a son who has a great girlfriend, let me offer this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your daughter and her BF are exploring the possibility of becoming life partners. This means there are a lot of dynamics to consider. To be challenging with him on something so relatively insignificant as hot sauce is not worth what it could do to the future of your relationship with both your daughter and her BF.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When it comes to your child's significant other, just accept tiny things like this and appreciate the happiness he brings to your daughter. It wouldn't hurt to do the math and realize that being nice to him now leads directly to seeing more of your grandchhildren down the road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought exactly the same thing! This could be the father of your grandkids. It is simply not worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              but there's something to be said for mentioning that someone is stepping on your toes....preferably before he teaches your grandchildren how to trod on others' toes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How about teaching acceptance, and that really, food is not the center of the universe. It's about the relationships, not the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the bottom line is that Dad was upset. Whether justifiable or not, his perception is his reality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The other side of the coin is that the daughter probably ought to be having a conversation with the boyfriend -- that okay, you love sriracha, but you need to skip it when you're at my folks' house, because it drives my dad up the wall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One meal without hot sauce every couple of weeks when they're at the parents' house isn't a lot to ask in the greater scheme of things, either, especially if these might be your inlaws and your children's grandparents one day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On the other hand--setting boundaries with future in-law (no, in-law, you can't control the condiments I put on my food) is a good thing too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        there are certain behaviours I avoid when in my own parents' house -- because it doesn't kill me to skip it for a few days and it sends them round the bend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Everybody has to give and take on hot-button issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good advice to set boundries early on. I wish I had done that with my overly controlling MIL who does in fact try to control what people eat even though she is an appalling cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Once I grew up (married very young) and grew a backbone, it took me years to straighten out the situation. Now that I am 50, she sometimes forgets who she is dealing with and has a go at me. Very entertaining!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Another angle to consider: I think that often people who frequentlly use a lot of hot sauce do so because it's the only thing that they can taste - they haven't been blessed with very many tastebuds!!! Or, have allergies that interfere with smelling (thus tasting), or sinus problems that do the same....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Or have inherited very different receptors from most folks. I had a neighbor who obsessively sought the hottest peppers he could find and eat them while sweat poured off of him. Turns out, it's a pituitary stimulant or has some effect. A few years later, severe hormone deficiency was diagnosed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My husband salts everything heavily before he eats it, and I stopped being offended, he needs the salt and he doesn't need me telling him how to eat after all these years. He does not taste salt at all unless a LOT is present.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When a friend had her adrenals out (the body requires salt for adrenal function) she could not, in the post op aftermath, taste salt at all, not even licking it out of her hand, until her body had adjusted to lower steroid levels from the excess her glands had been producing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've had the experience, when a tad high on steroids, of having my food tasting unbearably salty due to receptor changes, and when adrenally insufficient, pouring salt on my food, whereas normally, I hadn't used salt at the table in decades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Individual biochemistry, inherited receptor function determine what food tastes like to the individual, not just our brilliance in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We should let others live and eat what they can taste in peace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes indeed there is a physiologic explanation for boorish behavior. Its not the nice young man's fault. He's just built that way. He has faulty taste buds. Yes that's it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Suppose he had a bowel condition and farts a lot. That OK at the table?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If he had a bowel CONDITION that caused him to fart a lot, yeah, it would be ok. Because he wouldn't be able to help it. I have a friend with extreme digestion issues - she tries to keep it under control and has radically altered her diet as a result, but she still toots pretty regularly (and often foully). What, I'm gonna hold it against her?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It doesn't matter if this guy's preferences are biologically based or not - it's WHAT HE LIKES/PREFERS. The previous posters are just pointing out that it may have underlying reaons. However, the OP is taking personal offense over this guy's tastebuds and dietary preferences. I still maintain that it's a mark of an overactive ego on the OP's part rather than a failing on the part of the boyfriend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Really life is too short to be upset by stuff like this. I mean, really, is the OP cooking for the approval of his daughter's girlfriend? Is the appreciation of his wife and daughter not enough for him? Is his OWN appreciation not enough for him? Why is he so invested in a 19-year-old's eating habits?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And frankly, life is too short for me to debate this anymore. TTFN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I will have to say when a child is dating someone who's a potential life partner you do spend a lot of time nitpicking over the details and potential character flaws (preferably only in private). It's what parents do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So you don't care if your child's bf/gf displays bad manners or bad habits?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't believe this young man displayed bad manners. And no, I don't discuss it. I look at the bigger picture, the relationship. The dad in this case, was the one with bad manners, IMO. He knew this was the young man's typical behavior. He (the dad) set himself up for it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Relationships come before food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree Roland. Bad habits don't usually improve with a wedding ring. If he's got a problem now I wouldn't count on it getting better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Parents who don't care about who their kid marries? Hard to imagine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No one said anything about not caring, except for Roland putting words in my mouth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And this young man did nothing wrong. He has been at the house frequently, has been welcomed in the past to get up and peruse the fridge, this was a known habit. It just so happens that this time it ruffled dad's feathers because he valued his food/cooking over the relationship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I apologize if I inadvertently put words into your mouth. Perhaps nitpicking was the wrong word but as a parent I naturally still want the best possible outcome for my child and that includes the girls he dates, so my husband and I do discuss the merits of the girls he's brought home if only to be aware of any possible red flags (and this is true for any friends he spends significant time with).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for the OP I imagine there's a good chance that there's more going on beyond this specific hot pepper sauce issue and the father is possibly using this example as an excuse to vent frustration and dissatisfaction about the particular boyfriend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and, by the way, my DIL might have some odd eating habits, but I couldn't ask for a better mother to my grandson.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, THAT counts as something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No, not nitpicking and finding fault doesn't indicate lack of care, just self control. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not mine either. Everyone learns different things growing up. And chances are the BF or GF is nervous and still is young and has a lot to learn about everything, besides.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      EDIT: Also, if someone doesn't know something, you teach it to them rather than punishing them for not knowing it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      While I don't yet have a child of dating age, I imagine I'll be doing the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My husband had pretty terrible table manners when we were dating lo so many years ago. My mom smartly bit her tongue and had another drink as he chewed gleefully with his mouth opened. Later she said "Any chance you could convince him to chew closed?". She said it in a funny way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He would have probably been the guy who would rummage thru the fridge. He would also probably done some other etiquette no no.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He turned out to be a pretty terrific husband and really good to my mom. Glad she zipped her lip. Some stuff - in the grand scheme of things - don;t add up to a hill of beans doused in sriracha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ps - he still occasionally chews with his mouth open when his food is too hot. I grouse - it has no effect but to tick him off and disturb digestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ooh, that chewing with the mouth open REALLY gets to me...I think you should spend an entire meal with him at a small, initimate table, loudly masticating with your mouth wide open.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He does not loudly masticate. Once in a while it opens. It is not wonderful, but does it send me into shaking convulsions? No. Has it kept him from getting promotions or having life long friends? No. Do people refuse to have us over for food? Nope. Do people not me or my mom probably even notice it? I don't know and I suddenly realize I don't care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let the sriracha be squirted!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, my SO DOES have a "bowel condition" (Crohn's disease) which causes him to pass gas a lot. He tries to "hold it" until he is not around people or can excuse himself to the restroom but sometimes it's not always possible, and it's very uncomfortable and sometimes painful for him to hold it in. So, in a situation like that, yes, it is OK, at least for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You bring up a good point. Maybe if gets embarrased for letting one slip in front of people he could just tell them simply that he has crohns and occasionally lets one get by the gatekeeper. My gosh I would not only fully enjoy hearing that, but would be OK with it. Most would I hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I may or may not enjoy talking about it later, but I would be nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. With my DH, children, their partners, and other immediate family members... I ask that they "puleeeze" taste the food first, before adding whatever condiments they find in the fridge. Had I prepared a dish with particularly suble seasoning, I might introduce this topic at the beginning of the meal. As pertains to my daughters, in particular, I would consider whether someone who does not taste his/her food before reseasoning has enough consideration for the efforts of others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It just makes no sense to add anything to food before you've tasted it. Dingbats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. O.M.G.! I am always amazed at the topics that get so much action.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Always entertaining!! I love CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Me too! I have read this entire thread with great interest mixed with some amusement and disbelief.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Until now, it has never occurred to me to be offended by what a person chooses to do with a meal once I have presented it to them to eat. The only exception being that if I make a great effort on a special dish or baked good, I do take offense if my immediate family refuses to even try a tiny bite. Thankfully, that happens rarely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I can understand where you're coming from and it can be frustrating at times if people don't attempt to taste your food before changing it but it sounds like you've just made the relationship a bit more strained than it needed to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As others have mentioned, you wouldn't suggest a single malt to a friend who insisted on having some coke as a mixer (not twice anyway!); don't waste saffron on someone who will cover the food in hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If I was you I'd order a bottle of a different hot sauce as a peace offering and say I may have been overreacting.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I have frequently had a similar situation with some Egyptians staying with us who insist on putting ketchup on everything. One night I made spaghetti with meatballs, and Ahmed asked for ketchup. I told him that if he wanted to have ketchup on his spaghetti, he should go into town and eat at a restaurant, but that it wasn't going to be happening in my house. He got it, and never asked for ketchup again. Perhaps it was rude of me, but I was housing and feeding three young men, and when I make something special for them -- and something that doesn't have pork and I know that they will enjoy -- I think they should eat it as intended. I took another boy to Pepe's Pizzeria, and those of you who live in the general NY tri-state area will know it as a quite famous place, and I saw him anxiously looking for our waitress. When I asked him what he needed, he said, "ketchup." I told him that they don't serve ketchup in pizzerias, but he flagged down the waitress anyway, and asked for some. Her response? "Oh, dear god, no." lol. Your guest was rude, and you were right to tell him so. Sometimes people just needed to be educated, and clearly he needs a palate adjustment. And I think there is a big difference between salt and pepper, which enhance the flavor of food, and things like siracha and ketchup, which materially change the flavor of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that being a guest - particularly when visiting people who don't eat like you (for whatever reason) it has the opportunity to be a great learning experience. I lived in Ireland for a while as a student, and was invited by some lovely people to eat with their very kind family's. And as much as I appreciated the invites, the conversations, the hosting and the experiences, a lot of food was served ranks as some of the worst in my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On the other hand, when I was 13, I spent a summer living in Germany with a family - and my palate grew in such great ways during that time. I tried the (scary to me) very dark bread, a variety of sausages, fresh water fish for the first time, and some North Sea tiny prawn-like creatures that were peel and eat. I didn't like everything I tried, but I liked a lot more than I expected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the OP situation, I believe that dad should have talked to his daughter about the issue prior to dinner for her to bring up with the boyfriend - but other than that, I personally do find what the boyfriend did to be rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            " Sometimes people just needed to be educated, and clearly he needs a palate adjustment"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You made you in charge of educating peoples palates?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jlbwendt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm in charge of the people who stay in my house, and eat my food. Having lived in Egypt, I can say that these Egyptian kids think McDonald's is a gourmet meal, and have zero table manners. They will shovel food into their mouths as soon as they are seated, and have no idea what to do with a napkin. Believe it or not, they enjoy staying with us, and have completely changed their attitude towards food and have learned to wait until everyone is served before they start eating. And I have hosted upwards of 30 of them over the last few years for as long as 3 months. So that's why I'm in charge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Is it fair to judge them by American standards? When you say they had no manners, isn't it more accurate to say they had no American manners? And, really, judging from this thread, you could only really say they had no manners by the standards of your household. When you dined with them at their Egyptian homes, what did they think of your manners?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We never dined with them in their homes, so my only point of reference was what I observed in more public venues. Egypt is not a foodie culture, and these kids either ate out at places like MacDonald's or had servants sling food at them at home. There is no "family meal" per se, except perhaps the iftar during Ramadan, and they were amazed that we ate together like that every day. Many of them remarked that they would like to do that with their families when they grow up. They're getting a place to stay and two meals a day. Pretty sweet deal. Anyway, my house, my rules, and that includes manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh sure, you're welcome to make any rule in your house especially when you have a captive audience. My comment is that it's rather unkind for you to proclaim they have no manners when you're merely annoyed they didn't automatically fall in line with your American view of what "manners" entail. My point is that you can see from this thread that the concept of manners varies by household let alone region.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, you have no way of knowing how I approached this, do you? FYI, it was with humor. And I currently have a return visitor, so my rules can't be to too onerous, can they? These are very well-educated young people, many of whom would love to find permanent jobs here. My POV is that I'm doing them a favor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think we may be a bit far afield in a non analogous situation here. In fact, you seem to be offering an overall opportunity for acculturation which can benefit them in their future professional lives. They're visiting because they want to become more proficient and familiar with American customs and opportunities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think when you have long term resident guests as opposed to a non residential adult dinner guest, the need for rules differs... you have to live with the behavior of the resident ones and they're here to learn. You just have to get through dinner with the meal time one. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hear, hear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Study-abroad students are housed with local families, in part, so they CAN learn local customs, and that includes table manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The world is so small now that little things like cultural differences can make or break an international partnership (private or business) - and there isn't anyone who wants to sit down at a table only to have one's dining companions staring at them as if they were raised by wolves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're right, I don't know how you approached this since I don't know you or your guests. Your post came across as intolerant to me but I'm glad to hear that I misinterpreted it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            While I understand that the initial response is "wow that's harsh" - and it can come off as harsh, I also think that comments saying "you know how eats just don't make him anything special" is also harsh. I believe that eating with others (be it another culture or just a family down the street) can be a great way to learn about new things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I understand what people are saying about the way the OP approached the boyfriend as being harsh - but I also do not think that asking someone to try eating food by their custom to be rude at all. In fact, were I to meet someone who insisted on ONLY eating food exactly the way they wanted to be far more rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh, I'd still cook for him -- but I wouldn't spend a lot of time or money putting subtly-flavored dishes on the table. Saffron is going to be buried under the sriracha, so I wouldn't make anything with saffron. I'd still cook, but it would be meals that I would be less peeved to have buried under a layer of hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Did you know he was coming to dinner?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If so - and you knew he put hot sauce on everything - why did you serve up a dish you knew would cause this issue?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Was it a test?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Those are the questions that keep running through my head. If I had a regular dinner guest with a well established love of hot sauce I would plan meals that are complemented (or at least not ruined) by hot sauce, and make the hot sauce available on the table from the start. Based on the etiquette training I had, that is what a good host/ess does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's what I was wondering too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My potential in-laws, especially SO's stepdad, are blue collar folks, with pretty simple tastes. Knowing this, I planned a dinner of a pork roast, roasted potatoes, and roasted broccoli. Very simple but still tasty. I knew they wouldn't appreciate (in a literal sense, not that they wouldn't appreciate me cooking for them in general), if I had made something "fancier".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And, SO's stepdad requested ketchup for his potatoes (before tasting them) and requested bread. All I had was sandwich bread, which he was happy with. I found the requests to be odd, but he is the guest, and I was the host, so it's my job to make sure he's happy in my home, regardless of what I think about his eating habits. And, next time they visit I will be sure to have some bread or rolls with dinner, since I now know he likes to have bread with every meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have encountered the bread thing, as well. Some people are just mystified if you don't serve it every time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here. A meal without bread is very unsatisfying to me. I suck it up and do without even when eating with family members though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was mystified that he wanted bread when we already had potatoes! I'm not a big bread eater so maybe that's why I just don't really get it. But whatever floats his boat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's because he's from my neck of the woods, right? Very common. Also, I'm from ND, not only was there bread on the table, it was always buttered bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pretty much, Nebraska originally but yes, Wyoming now :) He had butter with his sandwich bread too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My gramps born, raised and hardly ever left Texas. White bread and butter every single dinner. I did not know it was regional. I thought it was because they were very poor growing up and bread is filling then you just get used to it and then want it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree with Julie - at least for my home. My job is to make my guests - however familiar, comfortable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, depending upon your gramps' age, white bread was likely a coveted luxury for him growing up. For my mother, it was called "light" bread and was very rare. They had only conbread and biscuits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't think it's exclusively regional. For my grandmother born in eastern Europe and who lived her adult life in NY, bread was always served with dinner, even when there were potatoes. In her case it was rye bread. I suspect that the common thread in all of their upbringing was an abundance of starches was served to economize on the amount of protein served, as Sal V suggests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My grandmother was the same way - whatever the meal, there was bread (even if it was Wonderbread) on the table. It's kind of like my friend who is from the Philippines: There is rice with EVERY meal short of pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My father was eastern European Jewish and I grew up in NY, where bread, typically the fabulous corn rye from The Garden Bake Shop in Glen Oaks was always on the table. We had Wonderbread in the house growing up, but never on the table at meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We moved to Oklahoma from Maryland when I was 11. I remember my mother noticing that every restaurant we ate at served plain white bread with butter for just about every meal. The kicker for her -- and she still tells this story -- was when a neighbor suggested a local steakhouse by saying "And you get as much bread and butter with your meal as you want!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. All friends are foodies. They would be offended if you added salt or pepper!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. After scanning several dozen replies - I would have done the same thing. Actually, I probably, after cooking with real saffron, seasoning with care, etc., would have been even more blunt re "DROP THE !&!$ING SRIRACHA." OK, maybe I'm joking and exaggerating (a little).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe you, and I hypothetically, would be considered rude, but an immature twit who drowns all food in Sriracha and then sulks about it is not my idea of an "adult" either. He needs to grow up and stop eating like a little kid drowning all food in ketchup to make it palatable and taste the food first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Eating with family is an enjoyable thing, or at least it should be enjoyable. The thing about food is, what is normal to one person might be completely weird to someone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I make ragu and depending on who's eating it, it's normal or incredibly strange. (There must be carrots, there must not be carrots, no oregano, WHAT?? no oregano??)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Furthermore people have different habits. (Cut off crust for anyone's sandwiches before?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So this young man loves Sriracha and puts it on everything, I think that's actually quite amusing. If you serve dessert, does he put Sriracha on it? If not, perfect segue to "No Sriracha this time?" Keep it light, make your point and move on, families don't spend enough time together to sweat the small stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  " If you serve dessert, does he put Sriracha on it? If not, perfect segue to "No Sriracha this time?" Keep it light, make your point and move on, families don't spend enough time together to sweat the small stuff."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So funny and so right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Please stop being rational. That's not allowed on this thread (by people on either side of the debate).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Has anyone here just answered your questions as asked? I'll try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Was I right to tell him it was rude?" No, you were probably more wrong than right to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Was it rude?" Not necessarily; especially if he has been welcome in the past to be this casual in your home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Is hot sauce a condiment to be used on dishes that were never intended to be hot?" If that's how the eater likes it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Please look for and embrace the good qualities that your daughter sees in this guy. Maybe with time your relationship with him can advance to the point where you are both more open to each others' points of view. You could gently encourage him to be more interested in food somewhere down the road, perhaps?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My latest thought.* I blame the daughter 100%. That's right, it's all the daughters fault. Even before the first "meet the parents" meeting, how is it possible that she failed to mention "...my dad is a bit nuts when it comes to his cooking. Please don't ask for sriracha or salt or anything else that's not already on the table." When I was young, I was told to "...not get in any political debate with my dad." and "...don't let him know you're a Yankee fan."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think my daughter warns her revolving door of boyfriends to "take the hat off when you meet my dad". Or maybe they're just respectful though I doubt it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Come on girl!!! You grew up in this house. The guy keeps putting sriracha on everything and you don't know it's bugging dad? The girl has to be clueless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      *I reserve the right to change my opinion at any time as new opinions and information comes to light.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like that you reserve that right. I also add that asterisk to every single one of my posts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I blame the sriracha. If it were not so magical the young buck would not be so madly in love with it and the old fella would not use it as an excuse to challenge the young buck and would just come out with the real reason he got his BVD's in a knot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Girls should always warn boyfriends about the peculiarities of the parents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You had to be told not to get into a political debate and reveal you were a blasted Yankees fan? Those are a given. ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The same thought kept going round my head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. After looking up what ingredients are in Sriracha (sugar, for one), I'm surprised that it's even in the house. It's akin to putting ketchup on your dinner, only hot.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You say that like it's a bad thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sriracha is delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I will cop to adding condiments to almost every dish I am served, be it at my own house, someone else's house, or a restaurant. It may be as simple as salt and pepper, but it is often some type of hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In specific reference to the OP, I was at one of my girlfriend's parents for dinner about a week ago. They served stuffed green peppers with a tomato sauce. You better believe I added salt, pepper and Tabasco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I always taste before I season, but in reference to the dish described in the OP, I could definitely imagine myself enjoying it more with a few drops of Dave's Insanity or, yes, a few squirts of Sriracha. There are virtually no rice dishes outside of fried rice that I do not add some type of spicy sauce to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Honest question, MomMauler, that I've always wanted to ask a "hot-sauce-on-everything" person:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you think you might taste things less than some other people do? As in fewer taste buds? Is this at all a possibility?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You know, I've wondered that several times, especially after reading that proposition on these boards several times, but I'm not sure it's totally the case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For example, when I make food for others, those I've made it for have never been overwhelmed by the seasoning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On the other hand, I routinely add double the garlic that every recipe I make calls for. I often add more fat than a recipe calls for. I prefer my beef rare. All of these speak to your point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To counter the above, however, I would never add hot sauce or the like to any type of fish that isn't fried. I feel that adding soy and wasabi (or the combination) generally detracts from sushi. I would never adorn a good steak with anything more than a little extra salt and pepper (maybe). Most burgers do not improve with the addition of spicy-hot accoutrements. I do not add any spicy-hot additions to roasted chicken or pork and certainly not duck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  However, I do put hot sauce or a more reasonable accompaniment on most of the dishes I eat. Like I said, previously, though, I always taste before adding any extra seasoning and have no problem doing so. I do feel like a bit of an ass requesting hot sauce after I've tasted dishes, especially when the host (almost always says), "sure, it's over in the fridge (or the pantry)," and I have to excuse myself from the table. At the same point in time, I would never imagine requesting anything other than salt and/or pepper at a fine dining restaurant, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I guess I'm just a man of contradictions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Folks, we think pretty much everything constructive has been said in response to grapegriff's situation. The thread has devolved into something less than that, and we're locking it now.