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To Thank or Not To Thank

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello and thank you in advance for  your advice or your feedback here.  I am a cook at a Monastery for 20 nuns.  They range in age from 19 to 90. They are cloistered, however, they do talk.  I can make what I think are some pretty good dinners for them.  I understand we all have our own tastes, however, does anyone out there ever cook their heart out and use all the best ingredients, cook and bake everything with perfection, make meals super presentable, and no one gets a "thank you" or "it was good" or "delicious"?  I am so frustrated.  My hands are killing me from all the chopping and dropping. They're numb and tingly. I have a few burn marks and steam burns.  I just want things to be right and I do try to get everything done on time so everything's all hot at the same time to serve at once.  I'm just a cook, by no means a Chef.  I just love to cook and am grateful for the opportunity to cook for 20 people daily.  I've been there for 2 years now and I have learned a lot on my own and from the Food Network.  Does anyone experience people not saying a simple "thank you" or make any comment if they liked the food or not?  I'm perplexed as ever.  I'm told it's the nun's way not to talk about food, etc., (I don't understand that) but whenever I see them, they're all yacking about something or another. Why can't people compliment the cook???  Now, when I go into a restaurant, I make sure I compliment the Chef.  I've tipped the Chef too.  It's a hard job.  Now I understand what it's like.  Thank you all for your comments, I hope you all chime in.  Ciao, Italia 

post #2 of 16

How about popping up while they are eating and simply ask them if they enjoy their meal? I'm sure it will show some mutual respect.

If not possible while they're eating, how about if you told them it would be nice to get a little feed-back so you can adjust your cooking if necessary (let's call that a minor white lie)? But in general, let's be honest; how much social skills can we expect from nuns?

post #3 of 16

What an interesting predicament.  It's human nature to expect feedback from your job, isn't it?  I would not approach the nuns about this but I would have a word with the... head nun?  Explain to her that you feel you work very hard but that you would like to hear some feedback about the dishes you serve, and ask her if she thinks the nuns like the food you prepare.  

 

It's hard to ask for someone to say thank you from a place of employment but if all else fails just say "you're welcome,"  that's what I do when I expect and haven't received a thank you.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 16

I am also very driven by feedback, and a kind word or positive expression goes a long way. I don't need people to swoon, but with anything if you put your heart into it, you don't want that to be neglected.

 

What you could do, is provide them with a "feedback" card. Something that they can write their honest thoughts on anonymously. If they aren't willing to take just a moment to do that then it is safe to say they are taking your efforts for granted. But if it were me, even if only 2 or 3 gave me feedback that was positive I would know someone appreciates it and feel better.

post #5 of 16

To compliment the cook and/or the food may be considered an atachement to mundane affections. Even if they are enjoying your food.

Let me recommend a movie: Babette's fest.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #6 of 16

Some employers think that your salary is enough. If they  did not like what you do, you would not be there . All jobs have there frustrations. I know some guys that as long as you tell them they are doing good job that that's enough for them and they will never get a raise or ask for it. Could it be Ego?? I am not a shrink?

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 16
My first thought was, "ungrateful nuns... how could that be?"... but it may not be that they are ungrateful, just that they aren't letting you know how thankful they really are. I cook for my family, primarily, and rarely hear a compliment. Sonetimes they will eat, go back for seconds, wipe the plates with bread until they shine again... and MAYBE will say something nice to me. Sometimes it is as mundane a muttered comment, "yummy" (which, actually is a huge compliment in my family), and other times as annoying as "I liked the way you put parsley on the plate" wit h no mention of the rest of the meal that I spent 98% of the time preparing. Ha ha ha. Maybe I'm being dramatic... but it is close to that sometimes - teenage kids and a busy mom. My satisfaction as a cook comes from the look on their faces and the amount of leftovers remaining. If their forks are moving and they are enjoying the family meal then I figure I did good. If there are few leftovers and the plates are clean, I know I did good. You might want to adopt that kind of attitude. But to be sure, maybe if you casually stroll the dining room when the nuns aren't in prayer or chowing down... then maybe they'll say something nice to you... especially if you ask if they are enjoying the meal you prepared for them. I would not hesitate to ask!
post #8 of 16

Good for you on the 20 years of dedication and hard work !!!

 

 

As you discreetly remove the plate , simply whisper "Was everything to your satisfaction ?" They won't lie, be prepared for the answer.

 

In any event , they do not put importance on food (in my opinion) their thoughts and attention is obviously elsewhere. As women, you can be sure their palates welcome food profiles , textures,  and the  wonderful things that light up the taste buds. They have very few enjoyments in life, food must be at the top .

 

Your probably the talk of the town among them. Stay positive.

 

1) No feedback is also good news.

2) We are expected to produce good food.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #9 of 16

That's a pretty special situation, isn't it? If they took their vows early, they might not even have any significant frame of reference when it come to food.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneMachine View Post

That's a pretty special situation, isn't it? If they took their vows early, they might not even have any significant frame of reference when it come to food.

 

Could serve them some bread and water just to get them back on track! biggrin.gif

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

 

Could serve them some bread and water just to get them back on track! biggrin.gif

Better yet: serve them some top wines and see what happens.

 

 
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

My first thought was, "ungrateful nuns... how could that be?"... but it may not be that they are ungrateful, just that they aren't letting you know how thankful they really are. I cook for my family, primarily, and rarely hear a compliment. Sonetimes they will eat, go back for seconds, wipe the plates with bread until they shine again... and MAYBE will say something nice to me. Sometimes it is as mundane a muttered comment, "yummy" (which, actually is a huge compliment in my family), and other times as annoying as "I liked the way you put parsley on the plate" wit h no mention of the rest of the meal that I spent 98% of the time preparing. Ha ha ha. Maybe I'm being dramatic... but it is close to that sometimes - teenage kids and a busy mom. My satisfaction as a cook comes from the look on their faces and the amount of leftovers remaining. If their forks are moving and they are enjoying the family meal then I figure I did good. If there are few leftovers and the plates are clean, I know I did good. You might want to adopt that kind of attitude. But to be sure, maybe if you casually stroll the dining room when the nuns aren't in prayer or chowing down... then maybe they'll say something nice to you... especially if you ask if they are enjoying the meal you prepared for them. I would not hesitate to ask!

 

Ah, cooking for the family!  When I first got married my husband said he liked everything I made.  I happen to be very critical of my cooking and I rarely say something is good.  I usually find fault, even if it's a little fault.  But hubby always marveled "this is the best salad I ever ate, blah blah blah."  It took me a couple of years to figure out he was not always truthful.  He was just appreciative of what I made even if he didn't always love it.  So I found other ways to gauge whether he like it or not.  If he really likes a dish he has seconds and thirds, and then he gobbles up the left overs.  If he doesn't do that then I know, he wasn't thrilled.  He'll never come out and say he didn't like a dish though.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

 

Could serve them some bread and water just to get them back on track! biggrin.gif

smile.gif

I agree.  Not thanking, not being appreciative, that's just plain rude. 

I worked for some nuns once in a school and the head of the school was famous for never, i mean NEVER, expressing gratitude for anything.  Many bosses are like that, but their goal is to exploit you out of greed so what do you expect. But it was the  hypocrisy that bothered me most.  . 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #14 of 16

Old, OLD, joke:

 

A young girl applied to a convent to become a Nun, in an interview with the Mother Superior, the Mother Superior explained the rules:

  • It takes three years of study and hard work
  • No talking permitted, except to accomplish the tasks
  • No leaving the convent during training

 

The girl agrees and joins.

 

After a year of tough lessons, hard work, and very few amenities, she is called into the Mother Superior's office for a review.

 

The Mother Superior congratulates her on adhering to the rules, doing her work, and, as a reward, offers her the opportunity to speak one complete sentence about anything she wants to.

 

The girl pauses and thinks, finally saying, "The food here is really bad!".

 

Mother Superior then dismisses her back to the tasks at hand.

 

After another year of tough lessons, hard work, and very few amenities, she is called into the Mother Superior's office for a review.

 

The Mother Superior congratulates her on adhering to the rules, doing her work, and, as a reward, offers her the opportunity to speak one complete sentence about anything she wants to.

 

The girl pauses and thinks, finally saying, "The food here is still inedible!".

 

After the third year of tough lessons, hard work, and very few amenities, she is called into the Mother Superior's office for a review and an opportunity to take her final vows.

 

The Mother Superior congratulates her on adhering to the rules, doing her work, and, as a reward, offers her the opportunity to speak one complete sentence about anything she wants to before she takes her vows.

 

The girl pauses and thinks, finally saying, "The food here is absolutely intolerable!".

 

The Mother Superior frowns, closes the folder on her desk, stand up and says: "I'm sorry my dear, but I cannot allow you to take your final vows. You've been here three whole years and all it has ever been is complain, complain, complain!

 

(I replaced the "B" word with complain to be politically correct crazy.gif)

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #15 of 16

i worked for nuns 35 years ago in S E London...The sisters of reparation were set up during WW2 to help those left destitute due to the bombings and then forgotten about once they weren't needed any more...They were a house of 9 or 10 ancient ladies who still begged at the local shops every day for their food. I learned a great deal about making do there. I never ever got a thank you and cant say i ever expected one. I dont think they do "thank you". I guess ur doing it for god in their eyes. 

 

Just as a BTW, I like to whistle. Along to the radio or just whistling . I whistle like a man I'm told, but thats btw too. Anyway I was asked by the mother superior not to do it any more as its the devils music

 

As another huge BTW I'd like to acknowledge the enormous help those old ladies gave me on my culinary travels.

"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 #16 of 16
I vote for Petals whisper

mimi
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