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helena1's picture

We did it again. Once again, we managed to invite people over for dinner who apparantly hardly eat a thing. It's one of MArco's coworkers and his wife, and the wife eats (and I quote) 'very little, few things, she likes salmon, spaghetti and linguine. She will eat sauce but only if it's served on the side and has no suspicious ingredients'. Heeeeellllp!! What in the world do we cook now? I'd prefer to make a linguine with a creamy sauce that includes the salmon, but of course, I have searched all the books I have and there's no such thing. Can anyone help me out please?

collwen's picture

(post #33983, reply #6 of 93)

Why not do a simple roast salmon, toss pasta in butter or oil, and serve a cream sauce in a gravy boat for everyone else.


Edited 3/2/2007 4:10 pm ET by collwen

Edited 3/2/2007 4:10 pm ET by collwen

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #12 of 93)

Thank you, I now have some better directions on how to at least cook something she will eat :o). I'll try to incorporate the salmon in the pasta someway, but if that doesn't work, your suggestion sounds excellent.

ashleyd's picture

(post #33983, reply #18 of 93)

Cancel the dinner. Fall ill the night before and call them, express your profound regrets and say you'll have to reschedule. But don't. I'll cater (albeit reluctantly) for just about anybody that can tell me what they will and will not eat, but people who won't eat 'suspicious' ingredients but will eat Chicken Tonight sauce are just not worth the stress. They won't enjoy it, you won't enjoy it so what is the point?

Am I sounding a little hostile here?

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

TracyK's picture

(post #33983, reply #19 of 93)

Gotta say, I'm with you on this one.

Or, you could claim your oven is broken and could you meet at a modestly priced local restaurant instead? That way she can pick out whatever she'll eat (likely from the kid's menu) and you don't have to cater to her every whim.

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #33983, reply #22 of 93)

I'm w/ Ashley & Tracy. I happen to be very tired & more than a little cranky right now from some very long commutes, so I will be even meaner.

Call her & tell her you are allergic to salmon. Cancel this dinner!!!

Or else serve her something w/ many, many suspicious ingredients, LOL.

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #31 of 93)

I totally see your point. And I am a person that will eat whatever a host puts on the table when I'm invited for dinner, even if it's just small quantities. And I will complement the host on the dish too.

However, in this case, my husband really likes the coworker who has already profoundly apologized in advance, and even told us to not consider his wife's picky-ness at all. He said he'd love to come, and that his wife is just difficult and please just leave it at that. But Marco kept asking him anyway about what his wife *would* eat, trying to make her comfortable as well. I think we'll just try it out, and see if it's a good idea *at all*. If not, we'll probably meet up for drinks or coffee the next time ;o) 

ashleyd's picture

(post #33983, reply #38 of 93)

The reason I don't think it's a good idea is that the pleasure of having a meal with friends is sharing the enjoyment of food. If you are going to worry about serving the right thing and she is not going to enjoy it anyway then the pleasure (and point) really isn't there. But if it's the colleague that you're entertaining, not the picky wife, then you have to do what you have to do, whatever it is make it in separate components (carb/protein/sauce/sides) so that most of you can enjoy the whole thing and Mvrw Picky can "pik'n'mix" as she wishes.

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #39 of 93)

Very good point. We did invite them because we find sharing a meal means enjoying food together, and that plan obviously won't work. I guess we'll have to see how we 'click' to know how we can build a friendship based on other commonalities. I'm really curious myself how this particular dinner is going to turn out. I must say that we do seem to attract people like this (don't ask me why!). But then, I have plenty experience with my MIL who is even worse than Mrs. picky when it comes to food :o)

assibams's picture

(post #33983, reply #32 of 93)

Excellent advice, Ashley!

Helena, invite them over, have a nice evening, but do not cook. Serve some chips and dips. Or (if it's just the wife) make a nice meal that includes some things she might eat and let her pick out whatever her dislikes are.

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Herm Albright

JillElise's picture

(post #33983, reply #74 of 93)


Jill Elise Vancouver BC

butterscotch's picture

(post #33983, reply #20 of 93)

I once made this for an improvised, clean-out-the-refrigerator, kind of meal. It's tasty and easy.

  Toss in  a large and deep saute pan: +1 lb. cooked linguine with: creme fraiche, finely grated zest of 2 lemons, 1/2 cup finely chopped chives, 1/2 cup snipped fresh dill, 2 cups chopped hot-smoked salmon (i.e., the flaky kind of smoked salmon, not lox), juice of one lemon, salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Heat until all ingredients are heated through.  Something green--peas or asparagus tips--is also pretty here.

You can omit any of the ingredients mentioned above that your guest considers "suspicious". But if you omit the creme fraiche, some other fat (e.g., butter or olive oil) should be substituted to hold the dish together.

Good luck! Don't bake these people a beautiful dessert. They don't deserve one.

soupereasy's picture

(post #33983, reply #21 of 93)

I'm with the "don't waste good food on these people" group. If she was a child would you turn yourself inside out and upside down for her? As your guest she should sit herself down smile and say thank you even if she has to hit Dennys on the way home!
Allergies one thing. Being picky to the extreme is something else!
I shall smile and quietly leave the room now, thank you for your attention.

MadMom's picture

(post #33983, reply #23 of 93)

I'm the world's pickiest eater, but if I were served a fried turd at someone's house, I would try to take a bite.  Seriously, the woman has said there are things she doesn't like, but she has hardly given any specifics (other than chicken helper without the chicken.)  She needs to grow up, and I agree, she might have to hit Denny's on the way home, but what the hey, it's the company and the conversation she's there for, right?

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Jean's picture

(post #33983, reply #24 of 93)

I know, fix what you love for yourself and the others, but serve a big bowl of Chicken Tonight just for her!

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helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #35 of 93)

Ha, that would be a hoot!! So I gather, you have the "chicken tonight" in a dozen variations over there as well? I really, really, detest the stuff. It tastes chemical to me.

soupereasy's picture

(post #33983, reply #25 of 93)

Good company, nice conversation all she has to do is politely move food around a little bit. Good grief, we have all been served food we didn't care for and  still get up from the table with a smile and said thank you. What is so hard about that?

debe5t's picture

(post #33983, reply #84 of 93)

I'm with you! I have always considered it the ultimate compliment if someone wanted to cook for me.I have always expressed love and affection with feeding people.I would cook what i wanted for this woman and to heck with it.

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #34 of 93)

You don't have to leave. I'm glad you (and others) brought up this point, because it makes me more confident, in a way of knowing that it really is *her* problem, and not our cooking :o). I just got two new dessert books, so I'll probably try something out anyway, just for fun :o)

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #33 of 93)

That sounds great as well!! I'm really thankful all of you are coming to my rescue. I'm not the greatest chef, still learning, and thinkg like this might throw me into slight panic mode if I'm having a bad day ;o) 

whatscooking's picture

(post #33983, reply #26 of 93)

I'm sorry I have no suggestions to offer.  But your post did give me laugh ("suspicious igredients").  Dinner guests like that are a nightmare.  If you wanted to be mean, you could give her plain salmon and plain noodles; and then whip up a fab pasta with cream sauce for the rest of you.  That's sort of the approach I take with my 3-year old who also is suspicious of ingredients (nothing green, no visible onions etc...)

Then all around from far away across the world
he smelled good things to eat
so he gave up being king of where the wild things are.
                                                            -Maurice Sendak

Chicago-style deep-dish:  "Pizza for people who just aren't fat enough"
Anthony Bourdain

Philter's picture

(post #33983, reply #27 of 93)

I believe Purina makes chicken "flavored"/ no mystery dinners,,, May I suggest braised?....!!!




"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #36 of 93)

Now you're making me smile also, leaving me with a picture of a three-year old sitting at the table, hunting for suspicious green food parts ;o). I guess I'm just taking up the challenge, prepared to not be alarmed when she's not eating :o)

Syrah's picture

(post #33983, reply #28 of 93)

I agree with Tracy, Ashley, and Marie Louise..

Bugger her. Seriously. If you really want to continue the friendship, you have to go out somewhere. Otherwise I think I'd take it as a sign. Being picky is one thing (I don't quite get it, but still..), however being ungracious is quite another.

"god, I'd love to turn this little blue world upside down", Tori Amos

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #37 of 93)

pamilyn's picture

(post #33983, reply #57 of 93)

Will she eat smoked salmon? Smoked salmon with cream sauce and an acid is yummy. Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #62 of 93)

I really don't know! We'll have to see what she'll eat (or not) :o)

JillElise's picture

(post #33983, reply #73 of 93)

Sometimes I think I'm not a nice person.

When I invite someone to my home, when I invite them to share my table, I expect them to eat what's there, within reason.

I happily respect likes and dislikes, but again, within reason. If my guest is a diabetic, has allergies, and can't eat many foods, I have been known to suggest they bring whatever they'd like to eat. I've also cooked a separate meal, something super-simple, just for them.

A friend's husband once brought a meal from Wendy's because he knew I was serving fish, which he doesn't eat. And I didn't mind a bit!

It really really bugs me when a person with special dietary needs makes a point of it. Instead of saying, listen, I'd love to come to dinner, I'd love to see you and your family, but I'm having some health problems tha keep me from eating what I'd like, so would you be offended if I brought a dish, too, just in case? 

There is such pleasure in cooking for people. We get an audience for our hard-won skills, maybe we get the pleasure of nurturing, maybe we get some admiration, and also, we get to cook a special meal, try some new recipes. I love all of those things!

This is a bit of a sore point for me, as you can probably tell. Food can be the source of power struggles.


Jill Elise Vancouver BC
helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #79 of 93)

You've explained that very well, and have given me food for thought (no pun intended). Thanks for sharing your opinion, and I realize how much I agree with you.

My sister, BIL and their son come over for dinner somewhat regularly as well, and thinking about what you said, I realize that the fact that they are open to new things, and are very appreciative of our efforts every time, makes those evenings more special and dear to me than they already are because of their company. Don't know where I'm going here, just wanted to say I understand and thanks :o)

JillElise's picture

(post #33983, reply #81 of 93)

I'm so glad! I am ashamed of myself for the power struggle stuff, so it really does make me glad that this fault could bring you insight.

We should celebrate our omnivorous friends and family!

Fifteen years or so ago, a good friend was dating a woman who was vegan and had food allergies. I very much wanted to meet her, loved the idea of the challenge, so invited them to dinner. I made possibly the worst meal I have ever made. Today it would be easier - I have access to more recipes, have a better food imagination, and know more about veganism. But as it was - ugh!!!

Jill Elise Vancouver BC
helena1's picture

(post #33983, reply #82 of 93)

Well, you tried, and I'm sure that meant a lot :o). It would have to me.

Don't be ashamed of your power struggles. We all have them. In fact, this is such a timely thing to discuss for me. I've been seeing a coach for the last 4 weeks (I was having some troubles at work and HRM referred me to her) and I've learned more about myself, my power struggles and everything else in 4 weeks than I did in the 5 years before.