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How can I tell you, my dear friend, I don't love your "favorite" recipe?

I have a friend who served me a savory and sweet chicken salad. She said "This is my favorite chicken salad, and now it will be yours too". She sometimes ad-libs the ingredients, but typically there is a sweet element (pineapple, grapefruit, shaved white chocolate) that I find distasteful. She often asks if I make the recipe, and nearly chastises me for not having done so. What should I do? This also applies to a "stroganoff" recipe.

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  1. THAT'S a tough one!?! Would hope if I was "bragging" about a dish and DIDN'T see that it was not being relished... that somebody would tell me. NOT right there at table, but at some other time. If something is too salty/sweet, etc., I'd like to know... especially if "everybody" had same feelings.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kseiverd

      Ooh, this reminded me of a conversation me & hubby had over the holidays. Good friend made us (& others around the 'hood) a lemon pie. But she made it w/ the ingredients only SHE can eat (due to her allergies). In other words, she was pushing her special ingredients on us, therefore making us feel bad if we didn't like it (it was HORRID).

      Can't stand it when people push things; one more bite, one more helping, try this b/c everyone loves it. Um, no...we don't.

      1. re: chloebell

        I can't stand it when people push food once I've said" no, thanks," but I think the OP's situation is a little different. He (assuming Samuel is a guy) hasn't ever said a straightforward "no, I don't really care for that," to the recipe-pusher. That's where he should start.

        If the white chocolate chicken person (and may I add my own personal BLECCHH here?) doesn't get it, then her social skills are on a par with her culinary skills.

        1. re: Isolda

          Isolda, I totally agree with you. Once a person has politely said "no thank you," any further attempt on the other person's part to push food is rude.

          I have found that the less I say, the better. If I say "no thank you," without elaborating, I seem to get less pushback than if I start explaining, excusing, etc.

          People are weird!

    2. I can imagine that chicken and grapefruit may conceivably work (my other half does a wonderful prawn and pink grapefruit salad ) but white chocolate, really?

      It's difficult but how about something like; you know I'm quite a traditionalist when it comes to food and like classic recipes. I'm just not as adventurous as you are.

      1. I tell them, "Sorry, but I really didn't/don't care for it". For me, being honest isn't a radical concept, especially when it comes to food.

        11 Replies
        1. re: grampart

          Plus One...

          ...or when it comes to 'dear friends'

          1. re: Uncle Bob

            Agreed! It becomes more difficult when the question is, "How do I look?"

            1. re: grampart

              Or...."Does this dress make my ass look big?? Haha!!

                1. re: grampart

                  Ha! Ha! ~~~ Out of the park Home run!!!

                  1. re: grampart

                    My ex once made the mistake of asking me "does this dress make me look fat?" she was not happy with my answer.

                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                      My friend's brother's response to her for that was, "No, those jeans don't make you look fat. It's your FAT that makes you look fat." Brothers.

                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                      LOL!!!!!along with do you like my hair cut?

                      Unke....don't go their!!!

                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                        My husband's parody of that question is: Does my ass make this hat look big?

                        1. re: Isolda

                          I thought this story was kind of cute, but then I've never been "with child".

                          "When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said, "Mommy, you are getting fat!" I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy." "I know," she replied, but what's growing in your butt?""

                2. I might have the same friend, only her recipe motto is "you can never ever EVER have too much olive oil." While I like olive oil, I also like when my pores aren't leaking the stuff.

                  Anyway, I've found that the only thing to do is either go the coward's route of a "uh, sometimes, yeah, thanks did you see the news about that completely unrelated thing that I know will interest you and change the subject?!" or the brave route of "I haven't made it, it wasn't really to my taste, but thanks for thinking of me!"

                  The brave route is recommended.

                  1. "You know, I'm not a sweet and savory person."

                    "Stroganoff just isn't my thing, I'm afraid".

                    Maybe she just wants to talk about cooking in general and this is her (admittedly, kinda awkward) lead-in?. Try a "I didn't, Friend, it's not my thing, but if YOU are looking for a great cauliflower recipe, I tried ____ last week and really liked it."

                    1. My mom tells me regularly that she doesn't like my cheesecake. Heh. I know that my cheesecake is fabulous and it is her loss if she doesn't like it!

                      I have enough confidence in it that it doesn't bother me at all. That and all the people who've eaten and loved it!

                      Say it's not really to your taste and that makes more for her.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: Violatp

                        I am assuming these other people are going back for 2nds and 3rds, otherwise, maybe your mom is the only one who is being honest :)

                        But, people do definitely have different tastes... so, the sooner you mention to someone "not really my thing" the better..

                        1. re: ylsf

                          Ha! Yes, definitely. :-)

                          She doesn't like anything made with cream cheese, which of course includes my cake. And she feels perfectly comfortable declaring this out loud (complete with an ew face) when it's being served.

                          She says it's okay, because she's old. I say, more for the rest of us! Also, 63 is too young to start using the "I'm old" card. ;-)

                          1. re: Violatp

                            So really it is cheesecake in general that she doesn't like? Most are made with cream cheese. Although I guess there is also the ricotta variety.

                            1. re: melpy

                              Yes, she doesn't like cheesecake. She's not opposed to something like a sweet blintz though, go figure. I mean, I know that's not cream cheese, but still!

                              1. re: Violatp

                                I think that's fine. It would be completely different if she loved cheesecake but hated yours!

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Right? Though, if that were the case, I still think she'd be wrong. :-D

                        2. re: Violatp

                          <Say it's not really to your taste> +1

                          I've found that "my taste" response works very well, especially when prefaced with "I'm sorry, but..."

                          Similarly, I used to tell Mom that I didn't like ____ to which she would reply "That's because you haven't tasted MY ____!" Thankfully, she grew out of that sometime in the last decade.

                          1. re: Violatp

                            Just like how my grandmother doesn't like my mither's meatloaf. Contains applesauce and she can't get over that. I love it and luckily so does my fiancé.

                            1. re: melpy

                              And I bet your mother is fine with that!

                          2. At my advanced age, I plead medical constraints, as in "you know, it's terrific, but I [food item] just doesn't agree with me any more." I'll take a white lie over hurting the friend's feelings.

                            1. You say, "Yes, it's pretty good, but I have another recipe that I like better."

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bcc

                                Ah the one up man reply always shuts them down. Now let me tell you about the pickleback. You take a shot of Jameson's ....

                              2. "Oh, I liked it so much better the way you did it last time!"

                                Every time.

                                Unless she repeats.

                                "Oh, I like it so much better when you change it up."

                                Passive aggressive gaslighting at its finest.

                                1 Reply
                                1. The only way to get this to stop is to be blunt... "I'm glad you love your chicken salad but, honestly, I don't love it. I'm not a chocolate in salads person."

                                  1. You say, "Dear friend, I don't love your favorite recipe."


                                    1. "Your xxxx is good but I'm generally not an xxxxx kind of person."

                                      1. SamuelAT...if you go back to a thread of yours in April 2009, you asked a similar question...Did you check back on the advice from then?..were the comments similar?
                                        Just wondering....

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: PHREDDY

                                          I just a quick re-read there. Very similar question, with very similar responses.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            LW....that was my point....in 4 years the same question, albeit different responders, but generally the same comments.

                                          2. re: PHREDDY

                                            I find I repeat myself on posts over time too and I just chalk it up to one my favorite sayings

                                            It is not true that life is one damn thing after another -- it's one
                                            damn thing over and over.
                                            -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                              And my favorite saying:
                                              A bird in the hand, is dinner tonight!

                                              1. re: PHREDDY

                                                For me, it's "a bird on the grill... "


                                          3. You can just say "it's not to my taste." If she pressures you as to WHY, you say "Well, everyone has different tastes. I'm just not overly fond of "sweet with meat".

                                            1. No problem. Just tell the person.

                                              My best friend hardly likes anything, and he tells me when I make something he doesn't want to eat. I'd so much rather he do that than allow me to continue making something he could only pretend to like. And let's face it, chicken salad w/white chocolate is something most of us could only pretend to like.

                                              Pineapple, OTOH, that could be good, as long as it's not too wet. I do not like liquidy chicken salad.

                                              1. If it's truly a dear friend they will understand when you say something to the effect of:

                                                I know how much you love this salad recipe, and I've been trying to develop a taste for it, but it's just never going to be my favorite.

                                                And yes, this is probably when you find out that none of her other friends like it either, and you are the only one who did, and she told all of them "but SamuelAt likes it." The longer you pretend to like it, the deeper the hole is going to be to climb out of one day.

                                                1. I would say "Yes, I tried your recipe and tweaked it to suit my tastes. Would you like my take on it?"

                                                  1. In my husbands case his family doesn't need to say a word. They eat anything not nailed down. So, a dish left untouched is understood as a flop and never appears on the food scene again. This Easter it was the SIL's tiramisu. Sat there looking for a friend....went home the same way.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: HillJ


                                                      Alllllll byyyyyy myyyyyyself, don't wanna be, allllll byyyyyy myyyyself anymore....

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        This made me laugh out loud. Good one, both of you!

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Imagine (I can't): inedible tiramisu. That is "All by Myself" personified. That, or "Bluer than Blue."

                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                            I have a feeling that these rare rejections wind up at church socials....I don't dare ask.

                                                          2. re: HillJ

                                                            Is your SIL Sandra Lee? Cause I'm imagining one of those Cool Whip and pudding mix concoctions...

                                                            1. re: Violatp

                                                              No cool whip but she somehow didn't get the recipe correct. The taste was off. The ladyfingers didn't soften in time. The after burn of too much liquor...some rookie issues I imagine. But we laughed about it later....and I guarantee she brought it to church for the volunteers to finish. It was a large tray.

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                Volunteers will eat anything! Heh - having been there myself. :-)

                                                                And I'll bet it improved for the sitting.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  I sometimes do refreshments for church and you are 100% correct that virtually anything will be consumed by the church locusts.

                                                            2. Chocolate bars in the chicken salad? I'm with you. How about a) never bringing up the subject but b) if she presses you, say you love [something about it, maybe the fruit] but you're not crazy about the chocolate---then ask her if that's an essential element or, what does she think, could you leave out the chocolate? Cushion the blow by asking her opinion.

                                                              1. Do you really have to?

                                                                We dine with great friends, quite often. The wife writes cookbooks, so there are often many new recipes. While we do discuss those in detail, she does have a few favs., that might have been around from before her first cookbook. I feel that those are sort of "off limits," and we just accept.

                                                                The same feeling goes for some of my wife's old, family recipes. That couple just accepts them, and we do not go into great detail.


                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                  Excellent point. And now that I think about it, if she ad libs her own recipes, you could too!

                                                                  Make the chicken salad, but make it to your taste, and when she asks, say you made it but with XYZ instead of ABC - following her example!

                                                                2. I'm now very very curious about this recipe. I can't get my head around the white chocolate addition.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                    i don't think there is a food known to man that someone hasn't tried to sprinkle with, dip into, or dredge with some form of chocolate.

                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                      IMHO, most do not work, though sometimes, one is greatly surprised.

                                                                      I have no aversion to chocolate, but personally feel that it has its place - a Chocolate Muffin for breakfast is not one, but is popular with many.

                                                                      I enjoy chocolate in the right dish, but do not feel that it is any form of "end-all - be-all" ingredient. Not by a long shot.


                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        agreed. considering the number of things you see people put into a chocolate fountain - but that's another thread

                                                                    2. re: tcamp

                                                                      She usually grates it over the bowl like cheese and tosses the salad again. Not so much that it is like a dessert, but it adds a sweet note.

                                                                    3. "I enjoy it more when I don't eat it as often"

                                                                      1. Thanks for the ideas everyone. I did mention this a while back in a post because the friend gets the recipe out every time the weather gets warm, and last time I mentioned it I got cold feet about saying something. This time, when she mentioned it, I got around the white chocolate issue by telling her "I'm just not nuts about white chocolate period" which is true, but shocked her. But I told her a liked her pineapple version better (also true) which thilled her. So maybe the white chocolate can be a throw in from now on - just not in mine I hope!

                                                                        1. Without the build up, we encounter similar with some great friends. However, as she writes cookbooks, we are often sampling recipes, that might, or might not, make it into the next edition. We discuss each dish, in great detail, and are totally honest. She knows our tastes, and preferences, so must weight those comments, against the built-in biases, where they exist. Still, we dissect each dish, in great detail. She almost always ends up with a better recipe, when she publishes.

                                                                          That couple also loves wines, but our collective tastes differ. We respect the differences in both the foods, and the wines.


                                                                          [Edit] Oops - seems that I have made some of those comments already. My bad!

                                                                          1. I happen to like tart fruits on a salad, but I detest white "chocolate" in all forms and the thought of it on salad greens or with citrus fruit is making me nauseated.....GROSS! I would probably have to say to my friend that I don't really like sweet things all that much (little white lie) and lie about being allergic to white chocolate or something...

                                                                            1. This thread made me think of Ambassador Peter Westmacott when he appeared on "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me!"


                                                                              (scroll down to just past halfway, where he answers some particularly delicate questions)

                                                                              1. I have gone the route whereby I bring up the issue at a neutral time (i.e., NOT when it's being served). The preamble goes something along the line of "I have to tell you something. I'm so sorry that I haven't told you sooner and I feel terrible (about this time, you have the person's sympathy and they're expecting a deep, dark secret), but I don't really care for your ______." Add that you've tried, you really have, but your palette just hasn't come around. You feel awful for leading them on for so long, but you value your friendship too much to be dishonest any longer. By the end of the conversation, the message has gotten across, you don't look like a complete a---hole, and the whole situation seems kind of funny. Ridiculous? Yes. Then again, so is white chocolate chicken salad.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Christina D

                                                                                  Christina, thank you for the advice. You actually captured the situation as it played out. The shocker? My friend knows someone who owns a restaurant, took the recipe, and now sells it in his establishment. I find this hard to believe, but apparently they use a bar and shave it table side over the salad so the customer can decide how much to have. And it's a hit! Maybe my palette is off.

                                                                                  1. re: Christina D

                                                                                    Oh and PS my friend and I had a good laugh over it. She thought it was crazy I didn't speak up sooner (note to the others reading this.)