Do You Practice Safe Cooking?

- Advertisement -

Irene Field


This topic of conversation came up recently with friends. They were staying overnight at our humble abode, and needless to say dinner was required.  I happened to mention the meal that I enjoyed when they last cooked, and was advised it was the only time it had been attempted and hadn’t been attempted again. Yet it was a beautiful Pork fillet, cooked to perfection.

 I then confessed that when I have guests I stick to the tried and true. Boring – yes.  At least I can relax, safe in the knowledge that my meal is edible. My friend advised that he is the exact opposite. He sticks to the tried and true for everyday meals, but when cooking for guests, the opposite applies. The recipe books come out and with a flourish and a flick of an apron and a whisk of an egg, wooden spoon or what have you, a new culinary dish is attempted.

 I really have to try and dip my toes into unknown waters where guests are concerned. If it is just us, I have no qualms and will devise concoctions of my own. Leading my dear husband to ask, is this an Irene recipe? If it is, can you please save it and remember what you did, so we can have it again.

 Possibly my reluctance to test a new recipe with guests harkens back to my young, flatting days (ie last month. OK I confess a couple of decades ago!). I was in a new country and attempting to make new friends. The dinner invitation went out to acquaintances. We sat down with our new friends to feast on the roast vegetables, the obligatory greens, and Corned Brisket – which I had roasted! Ha, can you imagine the chew fest that evolved. How was I to know that nice looking piece of beef had to be boiled? Fortunately we were flatting in the inner city. KFC made people salivate and they were conveniently located across the road – to where my partner was promptly dispensed to purchase some edible chicken. The embarrassment of that may have unknowingly scarred me for life, and hence my reluctance to treat guests with an untried recipe.

 Although not only us culinary scaredy-cats get it wrong. I happened to spy a recipe for a Risotto in a current popular woman’s magazine. The recipe calls for 750g of rice – to serve four people. Now I may be bottle blonde and I am no Nigella in the kitchen. Even I know that raw rice once cooked, triples in size. Imagine feeding dinner guests 2.25kgs of rice. Divide that by four, and you would require platters and not plates for the servings.

 It then occurred to me. Imagine if I attempted that recipe back in my young, innocent days.  

 Maybe it is safer to stick to the tried and true? What do you do when cooking for guests at home, and I am not talking BBQs or finger food here. I mean a sit down meal.  Will you attempt  a new recipe or play it safe?

 In case you were wondering. For that recent meal with our overnight guests, I decided to stick with an Italian theme. My lasagna, which I am a dab hand at. A green salad. Tiramisu (authentic recipe from scratch given to me by a lovely Italian friend) for dessert, washed down with Chianti. Background music provided by a mix of Dean Martin and Pavarotti for added intensity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “Do You Practice Safe Cooking?

  1. I have a rule of never experimenting on people with new recipes and not wasting great ingredients on people who wont appreciate them. But I’ve also learned that well lubricated guests tend not to notice your mistakes, so if in doubt keep their glasses full from the get-go. Teetotallers can be a right nuisance in this regard.

  2. I try out new recipes on guests. It is fun and gives us something to talk about. Who cares if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, I am not a 5 star chef and I am sure even they have flops.

  3. I am one of those people that will try a new recipe on visitors. Fortunately they generally work out, and everyone is happy. I don’t have any amusing anecdotes of real disasters – but reading about yours and Helen’s is enough to make me grateful for that!

    I think it is probably that I have in my mind that I should be doing something special for visitors and therefore something that we eat regularly is immediately shelved as “ordinary”. I am pretty sure however that not everyone would consider Salmon with Green Pea risotto to be ordinary, and yet it is a regular offering in our house. I think I should look at what we eat from a different point of view?

  4. One of my often repeated but very true stories is of an evening that I invited people for dinner – both in the food industry and one who was a chef at a top notch Sydney restaurant. I fancied one of them and got a bit flustered with dinner.
    I ended up putting red wine in the freezer as it wasn’t cold when it arrived and I didn’t look at the colour of it – duh.
    The worst thing was the risotto – had hardly ever made one before and I made it in a le creuset frying pan that wasn’t big enough and as more stock was added and the grains swelled it overflowed all over the stove top and it was just awful!
    I think I ended up drinking way too much and embarrassing myself even more – cringe….

    These days I play it safe!