I grew up with feedback on my cooking. Some might be startled to hear a father gravely tell his eleven year old that her chocolate cake was too dry and the frosting excellent, but that’s exactly the kind of feedback I got from my dad. His evaluation was trustworthy. When he said my banana cake was better than grandma’s, I knew he wasn’t just saying that because he was a proud dad. I grew up treasuring this kind of honest feedback, even though I’m sometimes disappointed that something doesn’t turn out as I’d hoped.
My husband has caught on. I want him to tell me what he thinks of the sauce: was it too thick, or too bland? Did he like it better with tarragon or without? He enjoys giving feedback, and I enjoy receiving it. Especially with day-to-day cooking, figuring out what he likes helps me the next time I make the meal (or motivates me to omit it from any future menus).
There’s only one trouble. Children.
Our pleasant dinner conversation of the merits and demerits of the meal is being imitated by our children, and I’m realizing that what gives me pleasure might not be welcomed in other houses. Last night, my son told me that the sauce was too bland and asked for some pepper.
That got me thinking. This poor child is going to grow up thinking that his wife is going to like his evaluation of a meal, and chances are, she’s not going to welcome the kind of feedback his daddy gives to mommy. And I surely hope that he doesn’t critique the meal when he is a guest at someone’s house!
What should I do?
- This could be a good discussion about how a husband loves his wife, according to knowledge. It might be a good time to break the news to the children that their mommy is a little weird.
- Or I could simply say that mommy likes to hear critique, but others probably don’t.
- We could talk about the difference between a child critiquing and a husband critiquing.
- I could ask Lee about the meal after the kids are in bed.
For the time being, Lee’s been more careful to praise what I make, and he’s been telling the children that they may not critique. We’ll see what dinner conversation ensues…