How to cook to please all

One member of the family detests saltiness, one loves salt. Of course salt cooked into food tastes better then added afterwords.

the one who hates salt loves fresh herbs the more the better, the one who loves salt hates green things in their food and swears sometimes spinach must be basil cause it is green.

Should I try to find a medium where no one is picking at the food but all are happy?
how does one cope with the different likes/ dislikes at one table meal night after night?



flgal August 11, 2012
After just trying to feed three Grandchildren ages 12, 11 and 7 I have given up. Nothing seems to please them so I will let their mother feed them. Just not worth the hassle plus all the work it takes to cook a nice meal. It's truly amazing that I make exactly what I have had at their house,that their mother has made,yet they turn up their little nose's at my house. As you can tell I am really not a happy camper at the moment!
Linn July 11, 2012
This is how I managed the problem. I always cooked a single meal, but I kept in the back of my head who liked what. Everyone was required to take one bite of everything, but after that bite you could eat what ever you want and negative opionions about other people's choice were not allowed. My kids are grown up now and both will try anything once and are respectful of other people's choices. I think it is harder today with "health" concerns about fat, salt, or animal protein on one hand and idiocyncratric allergies on the other. I still stick to the one meal for all approach and if one of my guests has an honest concern I will do my best to honor it. But I confess to having less and less patience with the lunatic fringe.
pierino July 9, 2012
I'm completely content with Amanda's response and the notion of "filtering". I guess my question is more technical; it seems as though there is an algorithm that causes the banner to turn on after three "excellent answer" clicks. What happens if another answer later receives eight or twelve?
creamtea July 11, 2012
So, this thread has branched off into two (worthwhile) discussions. Just my $.02: I agree with what Pierino seems to be saying about the "best answer" algorithm switching on after just a few responses. When that happens, later responses can be overlooked. A case in point that I think was significant was a recent discussion about what kind hummus could be served to a preschool child with severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to beans. Hey, wait a minute. Not the popular "fantasy allergies" apparently, which P. and others have often criticized. I don't think that's within our purview here. Best answer banner was given to some well-meaning advice that came from a pure cooking standpoint but overlooked the most important issue.
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 9, 2012
bugbitten - are you serious? LOL.
BoulderGalinTokyo July 9, 2012
AMANDA SAID "The designation of best answer is really for questions where there are lots of answers, so that someone new to the question (as well as the person who asks it) can quickly get a sense of which answer earned the majority of agreement."

This is my first time reading the question. At the bottom of your answer it says "10 People think this is an excellent answer." I'm not too dumb, so I can assume 10 people liked your answer and it will probably be the answer that has the most "likes." I don't need the yellow banner to slap it into my eyeballs. This question is of concern to many cooks, maybe 100 cooks will respond, and someone will get 11 likes this answer. IT SHOULDN'T BE A CONTEST, but LOVINGLY shared answers.
ellenl July 7, 2012
Just do it! Make something you are wanting to make and something else where people can add their own salt and their own herbs sprinkled on to --or not, as they choose. I have friends, a family, where there is one picky and limited eater, 1 diabetic, one vegetarian, one kosher,one teenage girl who doesn't eat, and one cook/eater who has limited exposure bec. of his family! Pasta seems to work--whew. I also have a professional relationship who is allergic to all aliums and vinegar. Somehow, it's doable, if a bit aggravating.
bugbitten July 7, 2012
With all respect to Pecan-Ann may I offer:


Well, you won "Voted the Best Answer" and thus the question is done. This is crazy, since once this award is given, should we all just stifle? While many of us have come to love the site as a place to learn, it's my own opinion that making every single thing into a contest is just wrong and unhelpful.

Sorry Pecan-Ann, but your honest question was just the stuff of a game.
Amanda H. July 8, 2012
Someone raised this issue in another recent thread. We didn't add this feature to turn everything into a contest, but to allow more participation in the filtering of info on the site. Here's how I answered the other question:
The designation of best answer is really for questions where there are lots of answers, so that someone new to the question (as well as the person who asks it) can quickly get a sense of which answer earned the majority of agreement. This is especially helpful when answers strongly differ. We don't think of the answer voting as a contest, but a way for the community to help filter answers so the most helpful ones stand out. Our goal is always to provide the best info in the most efficient way, and we feel collaborative filtering is the best way to accomplish this -- it allows everyone in the community to participate in what content gets highlighted, whether it's a recipe or an answer.
bugbitten, this doesn't mean our current system couldn't use refinement. We're about to dive in and make some changes on Hotline, so Merrill and I will make sure we think about this and address it in some way.
inpatskitchen July 7, 2012
When we were raising our kids (3 of them), I'd let each choose a meal they liked once per week and the other four days were my choice and everyone had to eat those meals whether they liked them or not.
Pecan-Ann July 7, 2012
Thanks, I need to make a stand for better food for all whether they like it or not. I think kids now a days are so lucky as the chance to be raised in a more gourmet /international food home. Most adults I know who don't cook or don't experiment are so narrow minded but then again that is what keeps the Mc Donalds crowded at lunch time!
SeaJambon July 6, 2012
For family meals, our approach has always been that the chef (usually me) gets to make what they want and everyone else eats it. Period. Don't like it, there's yogurt in the fridge -- otherwise, you go hungry. Having said that, I ALWAYS take into account food sensitivities/allergies (and we have ALL of them in my greater family -- including both celiac and a less intensive, but still unpleasant, gluten intolerance) and find the overlap of what everyone can eat safely and that provides the flavor I'm interested in. My children learned to cook, and there is now turn-about -- my oldest just returned home from college for the summer with a desire to take over some evening meals which I'm happy to allow. Unfortunately, her taste buds and mine don't fully overlap, and some of the things she was hankering to cook/eat are things I'm not particularly fond of ... but there is always yogurt, even for Mom!
pierino July 6, 2012
I try prepare the best food I possibly can, period. I'll adjust to people's religious observances but it stops there. Last week I dined at a community meal where I live. We have them twice a week. The meal was supposedly "pasta primavera". It was terrible. The lead cook for this one steadfastly refuses to use salt. The salt shaker didn't improve it. Want to know why restaurant food tastes better than most home cooked meals? They use tons of butter and generous amounts of salt. And don't get me started on the gluten free narcissists again.
chefsusie July 6, 2012
Best test I've done. Make pasta with and without salt. Bleh! Then a person bows how worthy salt is at the stove. Not just at the plate.
Pecan-Ann July 6, 2012
My first time on this website, and I love all the information, as another one of many aspiring "chef" type cook, I want to expand my meals to include never tried before with out worrying about if anyone will eat it.

Do you think other people simply try recipes with out serving to others or is it not fair to say you've cooked such and such and not really served it up?
Benny July 6, 2012
Make a "put it together yourself" meal. Make the individual components and let them pick and choose the things they like.

Grilled pizzas, pitas or wraps with different filling options, etc...
Pecan-Ann July 6, 2012
That is my problem! I cater too much! Instead of perfecting the recipe and letting it stand for itself, I'm trying to degrade it down to a level where everyone is happy and no one is really happy in the end!

I tend to let go of my instincts for flavor and creativity to be boring cause people don't like change!
I need to take charge more and place with confidence the dishes before them.

Voted the Best Reply!

Amanda H. July 6, 2012
I take a macro view. Happy families aren't about everyone getting what they want, but about making compromises for the greater whole -- which, in this case, is sharing a meal together. Maybe sometimes there are herbs in the dish, other times salt, often both. I would be thoughtful and caring but I wouldn't cater or limit.
Recommended by Food52