[Sca-cooks] food likes and dislikes and ettiquette

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Fri Aug 28 05:29:30 PDT 2009

On Aug 27, 2009, at 6:31 PM, Lisa wrote:

> I do feel that this discussion is getting a bit emotional, but I  
> also feel
> that much of the issue is related to cultural differences.  My  
> impression is
> that to Judith, food is a labor of love and very much a part of her  
> life and
> culture.  For most of the rest of us, food is a way to satisfy an  
> empty gut,
> as much as we love the process of getting it to the table.  To my  
> husband's
> grandmother, who moved to the US from Sicily to marry his grandfather,
> refusing to eat something she cooked was the greatest insult you  
> could give
> her.
> Elizabeta

Yes. And likewise, to serve something without making sure a guest  
could eat it is the biggest insult that a host could offer. It seems  
very weird and foreign to me -- not saying invalid, just very alien to  
my personal mindset -- that making sure NOT to offer insult could wind  
up creating offense to those who don't like being "grilled."

Also, maybe I'm just spoiled thanks to being in a very food-minded  
family and having access to Food TV, but in my family, everything we  
cook gets evaluated. "How's the soup? I noticed you didn't eat much;  
was it too salty? I thought it might be." Then that gives my family/ 
friend/guest the opportunity to say "Actually, the soup is perfectly  
seasoned, but it's a little hot right now. I'm waiting until it  
cools," or else "Yes, it's a bit salty. But the balance of the other  
spices is very well managed." It's just an opportunity to make a  
constructive comment and help the cook be a better cook for next time.  
It really never occurred to me, until conversing on this list turned  
into such a minefield, that this could be taken in any other way.

In my shock at this revelation, I probably got short with a good  
number of people, for which I apologize profusely, but truly I'm just  
still flatfooted with surprise.


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