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Etiquette

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Recently I was invited to dinner at the home of a couple of friends I'd not seen in for a couple of years. Because of some medical problems, Roger has not been working, and Alison has had her job cut back substantially. That's just a little background - they are still doing OK financially, butit's clear that they've cut back in many areas.

Now, here's the question: I had problems with what they served for dinner. They served grilled chicken drumsticks and corn on the cob. The chicken was inexpensive,low-quality supermarket chicken and the corn was not very fresh nor was it organic. I wouldn't buy or eat these items if I were preparing them for myself. However, I ate the corn and a couple of small drumsticks mainly to be polite, which seemed like the right thing to do.

However, the question still lingers: when served something you'd not eat, for whatever reason (in this case it was mostly philosophical, although taste and quality were issues as well), do you just grin and bear it, or do you say something? In this case there weren't other choices, so it was not possible to choose something else to eat. I was complimentary ....

What would you do or suggest doing in similar circumstances?

scb
post #2 of 17
Unless it will kill you (allergies), religious reasons (kosher, no pork for Muslims, etc), or if you are slap up a vegan/vegetarian (I don’t know what the difference between the two are, just that there is supposed to be one) or if it is so disgusting that you can’t contain the gag reflex no matter how hard you try, proper etiquette is that you eat what you are served when you are a guest.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t push the food around your plate, pretend to eat or pretend to not be all that hungry, or eat a mess of bread. I’m a picky eater, very picky eater, so I have mastered the fine art of appearing to eat at someone’s house when the food was something I wouldn’t feed to the cat.

Since you are here at Chef Talk I assume that, like the majority of us, you are probably known as a good cook/foodie amongst your friends. Some of them are more than likely a little nervous about presenting you with food, some who consider themselves good cooks might not appreciate your comments.
Years ago at an office party for my DH I noticed that one lady had made the classic mistake of under cooking/opening the oven door too soon on her pate a choux for the cream puffs she made. They were flat and gooey and resembled sea urchins. As politely as I could I told her that I had recently conquered pate a choux and that for years I had done the same thing and that she would get a much better shape and rise if she cooked it a little longer and how much easier I found using a pastry bag to be instead of dropping them by spoon. Well, she about came unglued and insisted that that wasn’t what she had made at all. She had never heard of pate a choux and that was not what she had made and they were perfect. Oh, okay, my bad.

Unless asked for culinary tips, it is best to keep your mouth shut. And in the case you are describing, it sounds like personal economics could play into the situation as well, a beyond touchy subject.
post #3 of 17
People first, always.
post #4 of 17
I have friends who are in the same predicament. When they invite me over I often volunteer to buy the meat course and prepare it. I will eat whatever they cook except liver and they know I hate liver :lol: They always appreciate me supplying the protein though and don't argue.
post #5 of 17
I know I would be grateful they thought enough of my company and friendship to invite into their home for dinner. I would use my heart as my guideline. Everything should be easy after that.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #6 of 17
some people just aren't like "us" when it comes to food....

on another note, we've invited friends over for dinner a couple of times, and they have come over, loved our food, but never ever invite us over....because of this...they don't "eat" or "cook" like us...heck, I just love a good time/game night.....i'm happy with anything they cook organic or not...i may not "love it" but who cares its good company. so far 3 couples our age (25yrs) have not invited us over because they think we wouldn't like what they cook :(
post #7 of 17



As a society and/or culture, have we really digressed so much that...................................?
post #8 of 17
You people disappoint me. As a human being, I will humbly eat anything you present me, knowing that you took the time and put in the effort to cook for me, for it is care for your fellow human, and not the food, that defines us. I remember when my friend Ann S (may she RIP) had cancer. We took turns cooking for her, but one day she decided she wanted to make some of her fruit cake oatmeal cookies. They were terrible. I think she put in twice the amount of salt. We ate them, watched some junk TV, and enjoyed our time together as friends.

People first. People first, always.
post #9 of 17
Surely you eat what is provided...End of story.

Standards we set ourselves cannot be applied to our hosts.

If in doubt eat before you leave home, or leave a sandwich in the glove box just in case.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #10 of 17
Here's your answer in a nutshell-
You grin and bear it, keep your mouth shut, forget the whole matter and move on.

Ditto, Old School and Kuan

When a person or couple offers you the generosity of their home, company and food for the mere pleasure of sharing it with you, they are to be heartily thanked and appreciated for their efforts-whatever they may be.

It's entirely ungracious to turn up your nose at the food, scrutinize its quality and then report about it here using their names and other identifying circumstances. There could be other friends of theirs that peruse these forums. They might also visit here. If that's the case, you've lost some friends over an ear of corn and a drumstick.

If you were served this food at a restaurant, it's an entirely different matter, but you weren't-you were invited into their home and dined at their effort and expense.
Find a copy of Emily Post-PRONTO! and read it cover to cover.

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Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #11 of 17
Well sometimes being a good cook you can`t critizies others people work, because you never knows what the background story of the people, for example your friend might had some kind of health problem so that they can`t have the food too salty or strong in flavour. So they just cook it simple and easy.
Second they might not cook as well as you do and if you said , you haven`t saw them in ages, your friends even don`t know what kind of food you like.
Third an invitation is always an invitation you always need to respect however how worst the food is you never say anythings infront of them, or even not a comment , if they ask you if the food are alright, you just said yes.
Fourth if they invite you again next time, better you invite them back into your house and show them what sor of food you like or if you don`t want to border just say you are busy .
post #12 of 17
I'm surprised the question even bears asking. I would say the modest fare has more meaning than the most elaborate spread considering the circumstances.

As far as etiquette goes? .

1) Never step in another player's putting line to the hole.
2) Stay still and silent when someone is about to swing.
3) First or second person in the hole should replace the pin.
4) Park your cart or place your clubs near the route to the next hole and mark your score when you're away from the green.
5) Always be ready to hit when you're away. It really speeds up play.

Following these simple but universal rules will make you a pleasant and welcome playing partner whether you're playing with friends or strangers.

IMNSHO.

Kevin

He's now a NY Jet.
post #13 of 17
i would be appreciative of the fact that somebody else cooked forme and took the time and love to do . I think people would be highly offended if you refused their food, and you can bet you wouldnt get invited back and word would soon spread amongst your circle of freinds.
its a gift from them to you, appreciate it, appreciate them and go with the flow
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

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when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
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post #14 of 17
I went to an amish celebration a few years ago ,my son is amish, and all they
had there to eat was chinese cabbabage raw, bread,butter and honey. Not one attendee complained,everyone was friendly and cheerful. I learn one the greatest lessons of life. Be greatful for what you have and not what you could have. Friendship is worth more than all the five star dinners you will ever eat.
post #15 of 17
You yourself have said that they do not have much money, in which case perhaps free-range chicken and organic corn on the cob isn't on their priority list. Or perhaps they aren't major foodies and don't know the difference between the tastes.

They obviously see you as a good friend and are comfortable with inviting you into their own home, so you should be grateful and if they serve you (god FORBID ) an un-organic sandwich on wonder bread and canned asparagus with burnt box brownies for dessert, you smile and bear it.

I had a friend that forgot to put eggs in a boxed cake she was making so she cracked them on top and put the cake back in the oven, thinking the cake would absorb it. The texture and flavor was bad but I smiled and told her she did a good job and it was very yummy. Since then, we have baked together and knows what she did wrong.

Case and point, don't be rude, smile and bear it cause as others have said here, appreciate it.
It's a wonderful thing to be spoiled in the way of food.
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It's a wonderful thing to be spoiled in the way of food.
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post #16 of 17
amen. Shel, your "philosophical" reasons are snobby. Miss Manners would tell you to get off your high horse.
post #17 of 17
This should not even be a question. Sorry I don't want to hurt your feelings but it shouldn't. Take Kuan's advice and eat and enjoy the time (which might be your last) with your friends.

Two experiences I once had.

1.) I offered some friends some tea that came for a visit and we had probably 20 different kinds of flavored teas and they ask "Do you have anything else? Do you just have Lipton". I told them what I offered you is what I have and I told them that I thought their question was offensive.

2.) A friend cooked me dinner once and accidentally used vinegar instead of wine (a mistake nothing more). I ate the dinner which was so sour and said that I enjoyed it and thanked them for taking time to make me dinner.

Someone I respect highly once told me the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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