My husband and I love having people over for dinner because we both love to cook. We've been asking this one woman over a lot recently because she's come back to our neck of the woods to be with her ailing father. She thinks it's wonderful to get out of the house and hang out with old friends, but she has been critical of everything I've cooked. We don't go out to eat because we just can't afford to, so we can't just meet her at a restaurant. We've tried to get her to tell us what she'd like to have, and she says, "I'm game to try anything." Then she tears it apart. I've explained to her that this is bad manners, and that I really don't enjoy her negativity, and she always apologizes, but in a backhanded sort of way. The last time was the worst, though. While we were eating spicy pork chops with caramelized apples, she said, "Oh, what kind of apples did you use?" I said I used Fuji's because they're the favorite in our family. We just can't get the kids to eat Granny Smiths. She then said, "Oh, that explains it. I just adore Granny Smiths. I've never heard of anyone cooking with anything else. I don't know about Fuji's. I just love Granny Smiths." Then later, after my husband had left the room, she said, "I guess I need to apologize yet again. I'm just not used to your kind of cooking. You're a good cook, don't get me wrong, but you're not a excellent cook. I dated a certified chef, and he just spoiled me to gourmet food. But you really are a good cook." I wanted to escort her out of my house right then and there because she's cooked for us, and it was nothing impressive. It was canned soup and chicken thrown into a pot with some scorched broccoli on the side. So on one hand I'm thinking, well, you obviously didn't learn anything from him, and on the other hand I'm thinking, you really are a jealous little witch. When she brought her food over to our house, I was just as nice as I could be. I raved over the chicken, which was pretty good, but it didn't have the time and fresh ingredients that go into my food. My husband, once I told him what she'd said, told me that he is so fed up with her crap that he will never invite her over again, and she's more his friend than mine. I'm just so irritated. I don't know whether to keep my mouth shut and let her figure out that she's never getting invited again or give her a taste of her own brutally honest medicine and also let her know that while I'm not certified, I have been trained by some of the best bakers and chefs in our area, but it was more out of friendship and family ties than culinary discipline.
(Oh, and $10 off your order of $50 or more in the Food52 Shop, too.)