Sunday, September 5, 2010

Good Housekeeping Not-Approved

I love to try out new recipes. When I cook for my family, I retrieve recipes from a variety of sources: Favorites include Cooking Light magazine or Meal Makeover Moms for their healthy but yummy and fun-to-try selections; and for especially seasonal cooking in the summer and fall from our weekly farmer’s market bounty, I go to Relish Magazine. When I entertain, I also have favorite recipe receptacles – but I match the source to the character of the guests. For foodie friends, I go to: Epicurious or Food52 for trendy, conversation-starting fare; for relatives from the Michigan or Montana country: Tried-and-true Mark Bittman or Betty Crocker or the spiral-bound community/church cookbooks fit the bill; and for new friends (or for folks yet-unknown whom my husband invites over after church,) I have a stack of recipes-to-try that are a little modern but “triple-tested with the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.” I assume they have mass-appeal and they are from Good Housekeeping magazine. Well, unfortunately, today, Good Housekeeping failed me.

Leftovers- actually quite delicious!
My husband invited four fresh young undergrad students home for lunch after church today. (He met them on Wednesday but forgot to tell me they were coming over for lunch today until last night.) No worries – I’d planned to make Chilled Corn & Bacon Soup for dinner tonight anyway, so I just rushed around before church to prepare it a couple hours early. We had lots of fresh corn in the house and we always have bacon.

So around noon, as the young scholars were sitting in the other room chatting with my husband and daughters, I was struck with a bit of horror while dishing up the soup. I had known that “chilled” soup was possibly a stretch for college students – but it was a Good Housekeeping recipe – tested to appeal to the masses, right? However, the appearance of the cold soup may have escaped the Good Housekeeping testers. You see, there are two sorts of guests for whom you should probably not serve any soup with the look of, well, throw-up: College students and mothers of preschoolers. (This was especially top of mind since my 2 ½ year-old threw up on her dress not FIVE minutes before we were supposed to walk out the door to church this morning. In true inexplicable two-year-old fashion, she was fine 10 minutes after her mishap. We were late for church.)

Well, as the poor co-eds sat down to our table, I announced the menu: Warm sourdough bread with our own Ginger Pear Preserves, lettuce salad with red peppers and chick peas and home-made basil vinaigrette, and Chilled Corn & Bacon Soup. Silence.

In the end, I surmised that two of the dear guests liked it (seriously!) One guy was just really hungry and ate the soup and lots of bread. And one poor invitee choked down as much as was polite to do in the home of a strangers. My own little girl was familiar with her mother’s cooking style and her mother’s fondness for chilled soups this past summer; she asked for a second helping. Her father promptly emptied his soup into her bowl. (By the way, here is a recent success in the cold soup department, with my families' own seal of approval: Chilled Thai Squash Soup.)

I feel badly for the person who finds themself in a situation in which they feel obligated to eat something they detest, especially when the detested item came from my kitchen. So luckily, I served large pieces of dense chocolate cake for dessert. I did not tell my guests it was Chocolate Zucchini Cake. They ate every bite.

1 comment:

Melrose said...

this post made me laugh out loud the entire way through...because this same thing has happened in my own home far too many times (minus the college students add in poor unsuspecting neighbors/extended family/little brothers-in-law, etc :) Thanks for the chuckle and please, where on earth did you get such an amazing looking chocolate zucchini cake recipe?!