How to Pretend You’re Enjoying your Meal when you Aren’t

Even the most unfussy eater can sometimes be trapped in the situation when the meal on one’s plate is not to one’s taste. This is less likely to be the case in a restaurant where one has had the option of choice. If it is bad then one can simply have a quiet word with the waiter and suffer whatever consequences the chef deigns fit after you have insulted his masterpiece. As a dinner guest, though, it is not quite so easy.

I have on occasion been a guest where the food was not only not to my taste, but truly vile. A prime example is at Easter when the traditional mayeritsa soup, made from goats innards and lemon is served. No Greek can believe that anyone else does not think this is the most wonderful food on earth.  If you don’t share this opinion I would recommend sitting by a plant, to pour the contents in. Never effuse and say how much you enjoyed it after feeding it to the plant or you could end up with seconds. This should be avoided at all costs.

Another way to deal with unspeakably disgusting food without offending your hosts is to distract them whilst wrapping it into paper napkins. It is always advisable to have small plastic bags on your person or in a bag, to stuff these napkins into and carry away to the nearest bin. Again, if you can achieve this without being detected you will avoid any awkwardness with your hosts.

More likely the food isn’t going to be of the three days locked in the bathroom with the toilet for company type. It could just be that you don’t enjoy it. The best way of dealing with this situation is to say how good it is and insist on passing a large share of it to one of your companions. Men are handy for this as they tend to be less fussy about what they eat. As you do this ask for the recipe.

Make excuses if you must for picking at the food, but don’t make a meal about your alleged allergies. You could plead lack of appetite and say you were force fed some choice morsel just before you left home by a desperate neighbour who needed her own dinner party food testing out in advance. Your hosts will be sure to understand that one as have probably been worrying about their own offerings.

You could try discreetly knocking your water glass into the food and making a simple assurance that you really don’t mind, not to worry, then point out the large imaginary spider across the room to take attention away from yourself.

Smile and focus on the conversation throughout the meal, whilst piling as much of the food under the rest of it as you can, so it looks as if there is less of it than there really is. This technique can be improved by watching children who hate what is on their plate.

Remember that the company is more important than the food, and people probably aren’t paying that much attention to what is on your plate; after all everyone else may be thinking the exact same thoughts. Praise the food in a subtle way by saying it is the same as your grandma used to make. After all no one else knows she was a terrible.  Ask for the recipe, even though you never intend to replicate it.

Above all don’t let the food detract from the enjoyment of your evening. If you followed the plastic bag tip do remember to discard them as soon as possible before your clothes or bag begin to smell rather odd.