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Sep 26, 2013 08:17 AM

How do you tell if people like your cooking?

So, I'm fairly new at cooking and don't consider myself very good at it yet. I can follow a recipe and it turns out well but when I deviate there's huge potential for disaster. I recently made a meal for my boyfriend's friends. They didn't really seem to give any reaction or say anything about the food. When I asked they said it was "good" in a very nonchalant way. But they finished all of it very quickly and even drank all of the soup.

I want to get better at cooking and I know I probably won't get the "omg, this is soooo good" reaction all the time. In a way, I want to feel good about my cooking based on people's reactions and I enjoy cooking, especially for people who seem to really enjoy my food.

I apologize if I seem childish about this, but I wanted to impress my bf's friends...

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  1. serve it to someone who doesn't have to be polite, but can be brutally honest: such as your mother or mother-in law. Yes I know you are talking about a boyfriend, so NO MIL, yet.
    Your mother won't mince words. Other close friends will give an honest opinion if you let them know up front that you are looking for honest feedback, not fluff.

    Young 20-30 something guys wilol eat all kinds of garbage and as long as it's served to them, and they aren't paying, they'll scarf it down and say it's good....more please!

    5 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      Thanks for the input. They are 25-27 and one of them said "I eat anything", so I guess you're probably right.

      1. re: bagelman01

        Exactly, they and usually SO tell it like it is or it's revealed months later and you get the point

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Exactly, fldhkybnva. My husband's best criticism is "This isn't bad, but I'm not sure I'd want to eat it again."

          1. re: Isolda

            Also if they don't request it again you usually can sense it wasn't so great.

            1. re: Isolda

              my dh says the same thing. it's a good response because you don't feel bad, but they don't have to eat it again. ;)

        2. Well if they ate everything, that's usually a good sign. How old are your BF's friends and are they CHs? My appreciation for food developed as I grew older. When I was a youngish guy in my late teens and early 20s, I would pretty much eat anything and it was all good. Guys that age don't express themselves very much. Especially to the GF of their buddy. But clean plates is a good start.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bkeats

            They're in their mid to late 20's. Neither of them can cook so definitely not chowhounds lol.

            I might be overreacting but I cooked them pho which I simmered for 12 hours... so I worked really hard on it and I thought I would get a better reaction.

            They both like pho and that's why I chose to make it.

            1. re: Momofuku

              It's pho. Pho is an evil dish to make, because you're just going to get about the same as a good restaurant.

              It's longcooked, so even "fresh ingredients" don't help.

              Try making picadillo, or stew, or something that you can actually make "awesome"

              1. re: Chowrin

                Sadly, we live in the midwest where good pho is near impossible to find.

                I'll give picadillo a try, looks very good.

              2. re: Momofuku

                Good on you for making pho! A thankless job. Maybe because they can buy a huge bowl of it for $7, they had no idea how much work you put into it.

                1. re: Momofuku

                  One good indication is the rapidity with which people accept your dinner invites.

                2. re: Bkeats

                  They're in their mid to late 20's. Neither of them can cook so definitely not chowhounds lol.

                3. Make a dish suitable for sharing at work and see how fast it goes. A true test!

                    1. re: LeoLioness

                      Or thirds or fourths. I knew my roast chicken was a success when one guy ate four servings.

                    2. First I would make sure that I liked the dish. Mainly to verify that it is correct and no blatant mistakes were made. And then I would worry about what others think. I would also listen to your boyfriend. Does he brag about your cooking to others? Are there specific dishes that he asks you to repeat?

                      I see eating it all, asking for a recipe, and asking for it to be made again, etc. as positive feedback.

                      How do I know? When I overhear BF telling him parents or grandmother how much I spoil him with my cooking. Or when his coworkers, approach me and ask when am I going to bake them more cookies or when they make requests.