Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Conflict

My friend telephoned me yesterday with an interesting conflict.

Scene 1 -- his house, one evening a few weeks ago. The cast included myself and another couple (the principal actors) and 4 other people who don't figure into the story. He served salmon fresh from the grill, with a marvelous sauce. My friend loves to cook; loves to invent new foods; loves to entertain friends. I commented on the sauce, something like, "what is in this? it is sooooo good." He smiled and mumbled something about, "old family recipe." Both of the other couple also commented, something like, "I must have this recipe, it is marvelous." Again, the smile, and a conversational deflection into politics.

Scene 2 -- he came home yesterday to find a message on his voice mail: "I am having a birthday party for [husband] and he has asked me to make grilled salmon with your sauce. Please call or email me the recipe. Thanks."

Scene 3 -- my friend calls me, wondering what to do. In his mind, the dilemma is that they are having a party and want his sauce but don't think enough of him to invite him to the party. He asks me how to get out of telling her how to make "his" sauce.

I ask, first, does he indeed have a recipe? I've seen him cook and have *never* seen him refer to a book or even a scrap of paper with notes. He tastes and adjusts and finally pronounces it "done" and then serves it. NO ONE else ever gets to taste during the process; only the final product.

My solution for him -- call and tell her there is no recipe. If she insists, and if he feels so inclined, explain his method of creating wonderful tasting stuff; tell her he can't remember all the ingredients he used that night, let alone the quantities and proportions. Tell her he cooks by taste and smell, rather than written recipes.

And, because his feelings are still hurt because of not being invited, say, "And please wish [husband] a Happy Birthday for me."

What is your solution?

2 comments:

  1. Don't know if it would help if I knew the players dynamics:likes you but not him, small party of two...social gathering crowd, business associates, etc.

    I'd simply say, "The recipe...a family secret...But, I'll be more than happy to be your chef for the party."

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  2. I disagree with Seamus. If the people don't want the salmon sauce wizard at their party enough to invite him, then that's that. It's their party and they can invite whom they will.

    But for them to insist he provide them with his recipe for a party they didn't care to invite him to, is boorish.

    Had they invited him, he might have yielded up the recipe just to be a gracious guest. Since they didn't, he is under no social obligation to provide it.

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