Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile…then the cook must simple grit her teeth and bear it with a smile – and learn from her mistakes.
We ate the lunch with painful politeness and avoided discussing its taste. I made sure never to apologize for it. This was a rule of mine.I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make. When one’s hostess starts into self-deprecations such as ‘Oh, I don’t know how to cook…,’ or ‘poor little me…,’ or ‘this may taste awful…,’ it is so dreadful to have to reassure her that everything is delicious and fine, whether it is or not. Such admissions only draw attention to one’s shortcomings (or self-perceived shortcomings) and make the other person think ‘Yes, you’re right, this really is an awful meal!’ Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed—eh bien, tant pis!
-Julia Child, My Life in France