I get asked this question quite a bit by friends and family who invite me over to their houses for a meal and I actually find it quite amusing, although I understand why people would ask me this. I think it might be a little like having that artist friend who you make a homemade Birthday card and get nervous handing it over cause, well, you know, you’re no Picasso or anything! And for me my answer is No and Yes I am, now before I freak people out let me explain.
As with anything that someone invites you to spend time with them doing, you can never be anything but appreciative unless you’re a total asshole. So no I am not judging your cooking just because it is not your forte or what you get paid to do. Instead I am loving the fact that you thought enough of me to invite me into your home and have gone through the trouble of creating not just a beautiful spread but the creation of a memory. You see for me meals are not just about sustenance they are about relationships, breaking bread to me it quite literally means that we are sharing intimate and meaningful time together. Think of it this way; you don’t invite just anyone into your home (at least I don’t) because that level of openness requires a certain amount of closeness in a relationship.
I’m a firm believer that people have a natural energy that they carry around with them and that energy is what determines whether or not you’ll like each other, be friends, just acquaintances or whether or not you will have a sexual or platonic relationship. It is based on that energy that the decision to invite someone into your life and to what extent is made. And so it can never be taken for granted that you are welcome in someone’s home and that they will go to any trouble for you. So it follows that when you are too busy appreciating the affirmation of this there really is no time for judgement and it doesn’t matter that the meal before you is not Michelin star quality, truth is I’m just happy you put in the effort and thought to make the gesture to begin with.
Now we get to the yes part which is is what i’m sure most people wanna know about. So, a big thing of mine is effort, i’m really big on people putting effort into the things they do and produce particularly if done for other people. So having said that I can usually tell when people haven’t put much effort into their cooking and have simply slapped something together just because they could not be bothered. This doesn’t happen often because people generally pour a lot of themselves into occasions where they will be hosting their nearest and dearest. So thank goodness for that, but on the odd occasion that it does occur its one thing I am unable to be moved on. I really do take it personally, and as a personal affront that I am not worthy of your time and effort whereas I would do the same for you. In that case I would just as well not be invited round for a meal. So going on my theory above that cooking for someone is an extension of how you feel about them, it only follows that I would be taken aback, because you see, even beans of toast when made with love can be like a gastronomic treat!
So there you have it, you could be the world’s worst cook but if you have really tried and gone out of your way to prepare something for little old me you can be sure that that meal will go up on my ‘Best Meals Hall of Fame’ (because all cooks have that). In short its really not about the food its about this: