Why the ‘who cooked this’ guest needs to stay home
Outsmarting the food critic in your family
Easter is coming, and we know she’ll be there. It’s the same house guest who comes to every holiday event, birthday party, baby shower and family reunion. She’s the lady who examines all the food on the table and demands to know who cooked what because she only eats food cooked a certain way. She rarely if ever brings a dish, and when she does, it’s just never all it’s cracked up to be. But she damn sure better like your food or you’ll hear all about it.
She won’t be as obvious as Gordon Ramsay and call you an “idiot sandwich” for making hot water cornbread instead of Jiffy. Your collard greens or cabbage will probably be too bland for her overly salty needs. She definitely won’t give you any credit for making something good or shout out “nailed it” if you do. But you do have to give her credit for being the shadiest guest there.
She’s the type who will easily slide your cooking failures into conversation, sorta like Michael Jackson did when he notified Brad (his music director) that his job was gone or when Beyonce sang to the stage hands that someone was getting fired. Onlookers will be too entertained by how ballsy she is to bother feeling sorry for you. In fact, she’ll mention her critique so fast that you thought it was your imagination, all while she’s got a forkful of your dish on her plate. Somehow she always cleans her piled-high plate, while crooning about how much everybody’s cooking sucks.
What is it with this lady? Why does she hate everybody’s food but keeps inviting herself to all the party events? She could just stay at home and make her most spectacular meals from the comfort of her own kitchen. The sugar-free lemonade is a disaster (even if she’s diabetic). The meat needs to be seasoned more (even if she has high-blood pressure). The desserts aren’t moist enough (even though she’s lactose intolerant). The bread rolls are too crunchy (even though her doctor told her she’s allergic to gluten). She prefers red wine over white wine (and just left an AA meeting). And if she eats your protein-rich baked beans, it’s your fault that she blew up the bathroom (but no one made her get a soup spoon full).
You could tell her to go home, but then you’ll get the lecture from your parents about how you were “raised better than this” and to “just ignore her.” So you sit there and scowl, hoping the cooking fairies will just make her disappear. But she’s not going anywhere. She’s got way more pots and pans to examine, so she can tell everybody at the table what she’s absolutely not going to eat and why such-n-such shouldn’t have made that dish anyway.
You may ponder on why you didn’t just buy takeout so she can complain about the fast food restaurant or catering instead. But somehow she’s managed to be delighted by unknown chefs and restaurants with suspicious health code violations. It’s your kitchen she has the problem with.
However, you know the best way to outsmart her, and you do it well. You simply turn to her husband/boyfriend/significant other, who is usually munching away on your meal and doesn’t have a single complaint. And you smile at him and ask if he’s enjoying it. If he’s not prepared for the glare she’ll give him, you can innocently ask, “Hey, what do you think of that _______________?” Wait for the compliment to come. And then you lean over and say, “I’m so glad that hit the spot. I’ll teach her how to make it correctly so you can enjoy my dish at home.”
Anybody want seconds?
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