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Old 09-01-2013, 07:54 PM   #1
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Dinners In The Boxes; A Question?

A classmate brought in one of the Homestyle Bake dinners in the boxes last week. She brought the samples for some of us to try and I was one of the unfortunates.

It was terrible! It was named something like the Pizza Pasta. This thing was a somewhat cross between pizza and lasagne. But it bothered me when the others told her they like it! What? I ate what was fortunately a small portion and when she asked me if I liked it, I knew I must be nice.

So, I said it was the very interesting dish. They seem to believe I liked it, so I let it go that way for the present.

What do I say if I do not like something? I do not desire to hurt the feelings of the friends. My DA told me to tell a lie and pretend to enjoy it because she worked hard to prepare the food and in our country it is considered to be rude to chastise the cook for the meal.

I believe it to be the polite thing to do, but perhaps the cook is just learning? They do not learn when given the lies. I thought, in this instance, I could relay the idea that the overall portion was not undercooked or overcooked, and suggest some of the herbs and spices to try in the next time to bring out the flavors of the ingredients. Is that rude to one who is the novice? I would be very kind and polite to her.

What should I do?
~Cat

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Old 09-01-2013, 08:05 PM   #2
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Never hurts to tell the truth. Not everyone likes the same food. Its OK to step out of the "box".
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatPat View Post
A classmate brought in one of the Homestyle Bake dinners in the boxes last week. She brought the samples for some of us to try and I was one of the unfortunates.

It was terrible! It was named something like the Pizza Pasta. This thing was a somewhat cross between pizza and lasagne. But it bothered me when the others told her they like it! What? I ate what was fortunately a small portion and when she asked me if I liked it, I knew I must be nice.

So, I said it was the very interesting dish. They seem to believe I liked it, so I let it go that way for the present.

What do I say if I do not like something? I do not desire to hurt the feelings of the friends. My DA told me to tell a lie and pretend to enjoy it because she worked hard to prepare the food and in our country it is considered to be rude to chastise the cook for the meal.

I believe it to be the polite thing to do, but perhaps the cook is just learning? They do not learn when given the lies. I thought, in this instance, I could relay the idea that the overall portion was not undercooked or overcooked, and suggest some of the herbs and spices to try in the next time to bring out the flavors of the ingredients. Is that rude to one who is the novice? I would be very kind and polite to her.

What should I do?

~Cat
I think the "interesting" approach is the way to go. unless she's about to cook your lunch and is asking what you like to eat. Isn't there a Chinese or Italian or something curse "May you live in interesting times"?
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:13 PM   #4
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Yes, Mad Cook, it is Chinese. If she were to cook the lunch I believe I would give her the very simple recipe which I like and offer to help her with the preparation. To die of the food poisoning in my new country is not one of the goals I have set.

saltandpepper, I can do that without the hurt? If I am properly nice, would she not become hurt?

~Cat
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:20 PM   #5
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Yes, Mad Cook, it is Chinese. If she were to cook the lunch I believe I would give her the very simple recipe which I like and offer to help her with the preparation. To die of the food poisoning in my new country is not one of the goals I have set.

saltandpepper, I can do that without the hurt? If I am properly nice, would she not become hurt?

~Cat
Your too nice. Did you not say it was "terrible"?
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:25 PM   #6
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I find it best to find the most flattering thing that you can say about the dish. I have a friend that cooks out of cans and boxes almost exclusively, Sandra Lee style. This isn't my style and I don't care for the flavor of many prepared foods, but there isn't really anything gained by being rude, but sometimes feelings can be hurt by being honest.

She often emails the "recipes" to me, we both enjoy preparing food although in very different ways, so I just say a simple "thank you" for the recipes.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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I did, saltandpepper. The idea of the dish was good. Its execution resulted in nearly none of the flavors being brought out with the tomato sauce being dominant over all the else. I was in the front of her friends also and I did not want to embarrass her.

Is it possible to tell her the dish needs much help nicely? Perhaps I could call her and tell her these things privately when no one can hear? She is new to cooking and she is proud.

~Cat
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:28 PM   #8
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Yes, Mad Cook, it is Chinese. If she were to cook the lunch I believe I would give her the very simple recipe which I like and offer to help her with the preparation. To die of the food poisoning in my new country is not one of the goals I have set.

saltandpepper, I can do that without the hurt? If I am properly nice, would she not become hurt?

~Cat
I think it depends on how well you know her. I have friends who would appreciate it if I said "It's absolutely disgusting" and would probably laugh but I have other friends who would be really upset.

Probably if I was new to the country and was a little bit unsure, I would probably be as non-committal as possible.

In all cultures food is very important and the offering of food has underlying currents. In some countries to refuse an offer of food is to mortally insult the person offering it, in others it's considered bad manners to comment either positively or negatively on what you are eating.... perhaps you could claim that's part of the culture of the country of your birth.

Unless she actually asked how she could improve it I don't think I would start in on the cookery lesson. I wouldn't mind if you did it to me but with a beginner it might be better left unsaid.

There again, I'm English and sometimes there are differences in cultural nuances even between Americans and us so I might not be the best person to advise on good manners on your side of the pond.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:34 PM   #9
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I wouldn't volunteer the information that I thought it was terrible, but would tell the truth if asked. You can always say something like it isn't your taste in food.

A friend once fed me when I was having food cravings while I was pregnant. The tuna salad sandwich wasn't awful, but it wasn't very good. I could tell right off the bat that she hadn't used real mayonnaise, but had used Miracle Whip. I told her it was good. I got 10 minutes of how "Ha ha, and you think you don't like Miracle Whip. Tuna salad is so much better with Miracle Whip than with mayo. etc., etc., blah blah blah..." I couldn't even contradict her because that would be admitting that I had lied. I learned my lesson. I should have just said thank you.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:36 PM   #10
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That's a tough one. I think I might say,"Now that's interesting. Next time, if it were me, I might cook the beans longer/add more cheese/ shred the meat/add more pepper/ etc."

I think it's a disservice to the original cook to tell them that you like their dish, when you don't.
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