Sunday, April 29, 2012

Soup Night Disclaimer

So two lovely friends gave me some feedback tonite at soup night.
Mel said "you always say you are disappointed about how your food turned out" (or something like that). Will said I always explain what I made, but then also explain how I feel about what I made. Which, for people who know me well, is very standard me-ness.

I realized two things. First disclaimer - I am still learning to cook, be forewarned. Becuase really, I have had some bad meals with friends (none of you readers of course). It was still a lovely evening, but the food was not very good. And that's always sort of akward because you want to be appreciative of the hospitality, but you are still hungry because you don't like what is on the plate. And inevitably, I have cooked bad meals for my friends. And I don't want them to be in that akward place (is no one akward about this but me? Maybe its a foodie thing?) So, when people come over to our house, I want them to know, if its bad, I hope next time it will taste better. My son and husband think I cook weird food - I need to know "less cumin, more tuna helper" from them and you. I also get totally obsessed with flavors, which leads to me trying to cook things that are over my head, or trying to alter things that turn out badly (I am learning not to do this pre-culinary just doesn't turn out well). So, my cooking is a work in progress. Feedback is helpful and appreciated.

Second, I remembered that my mom always used to ask us, about every meal she cooked, if we liked the food. She wasn't really asking if we liked it, she was asking if the time and effort and love she put into it were reaching us. Which is tricky, because sometimes we felt very loved but also really didn't like what she made - and there was no safe way to speak to the bad wilted green beans without saying "I hate you". So, my second disclaimer is, I won't take it personally if you don't like it. I give you permission to not like it, and to tell me so, because I don't want to make a giant pot of something none of us want to eat.

The final disclaimer is, you soup niters are really my guinea pigs. The kid and husband get sick of trying out new stuff, and I have this "I already made that I want to try something new" thing that is really annoying but I can't give up. So, I invite people over to taste weird new soup. I try to have one safe soup and one weird soup each night - so no one starves. But I want to hear back about which ones work so that eventually, we can always have yum soup. So you can really appreciate the hospitality, and not be starving afterwards. (Ty just pointed out that I won't want to cook the good soups more than once - but I am working on that).

So, that is what I mean when i say "the lentil soup really needs lemon, and the ham and barley soup isn't as good as this other recipe we have...."
(written in 2008 sometime and never published. We don't even do soup night anymore - but in case we ever pick it up again...)

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