I can see an ethical dilemma approaching

Based on the discussion here: What’s your secret ingredient you add to cooking , or baking ? we ordered a bag of Chinese Mushroom Powder from Amazon. I’m madly pacing the house waiting for it to be delivered.

Ah, but here’s the rub (sorry–couldn’t resist), son number three who still lives with us, despises mushrooms in every way.

I’m going to sprint to the store to buy steaks to grill, the very day the mushroom powder arrives. Do I tell our son that the steak he is eating has been seasoned with mushroom powder? I’m not a fan of deception, but…

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Sure, tell him, and also tell him he probably won’t identify the flavor as “mushroom.” And certainly not the texture, which is what most of my mushroom-hating acquaintances find most objectionable. There are occasions when I think it’s okay to lie, and most of them are in the “Does this make my ass look fat?” category. This instance doesn’t qualify.


If he’s not interested in trying it, leave it off of his.


I wouldn’t lie about it, but I also wouldn’t bring it up unless he asked what you used. Let him try it first so he doesn’t automatically write it off before he eats it.


Some hates are mental. Experiment. Does it taste like mushrooms when used in a dish or does it just give it a umami boost? He’s not deathly allergic so no harm done if he doesn’t like it. I say keep it as a secret ingredient just to see. The worst thing is he will not like it but he mind like it just fine. I’m sensitive to true allergies but this isn’t one of them

I’m sure many will will disagree


Based on the modifier “who still lives with us,” I’m assuming that son #3 is an adult and needs to start cooking his own food if he doesn’t like what his parents put in front of him. Tell him the mushroom powder is going in, and if he wants his steak without it, he should make it himself.


First “Tough Love” response! Like this!

I fed a vegetarian lard by mistake . I didn’t tell her . She’s still alive and kicking .


Ha ha ha.

Considering that his objection of the mushroom has nothing to do with moral/religious standing and certainly not critical health reasons, I think you are free to tell him or not. He probably dislikes mushroom because of the taste or texture which may not exist in the powder form. It will actually be quiet interesting if you feed him mushroom infused steak (without telling him) and he loves it, then you can reveal the spoiler. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Look, I really think you are free to withhold that information if you wish. His future girlfriend/wife will feed him all kind of “surprises” without tell him in the first place. You will not be the first or the last person doing this.


I abhor people who try to convince me that I would just love x if I had it their way.

There aren’t very many things that I simply won’t eat – but I eat a very wide range of other things, and I just don’t grasp why it is I should need to justify to someone else why I don’t want to put something in MY mouth.

If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like it. Leave it off.

(ask yourself how you’d feel if he took the liberty of dusting something you liked with a powdered version of something you abhor…)


My husband hates mushrooms but anytime I’ve used mushroom powder there is nary a peep about the taste. He also hated beets and peas when we first met until I prepared them fresh…so tastes do change.


IMO, questions about your ethics come into play if your motives – which only you can know – involve violating your son, in some way. I’m not seeing you wanting to put one over on him, prove to him that he does like something he says he doesn’t, endangering his health, etc. What you sound like is a home cook who’s excited about a new ingredient. And who happens to be nice enough to be doing the cooking for other adults. I don’t think that necessarily obligates you to fret over ingredient disclosures. If he doesn’t like what you’ve cooked, that’s ok. And of course you shouldn’t fuss if he makes himself something else to eat. The worse that happens is you have a leftover-steak lunch the next day.

Caveat: I honestly don’t see dried mushroom powder as being the same as “mushrooms.” They’re a seasoning here, much as they would be in any number of processed foods and sauces. Would he notice or care if dried mushroom powder were somewhere on an ingredient list between magnesium sulfate crystalates #4876 and “other natural flavorings”? If he’s that anti-mushroom, then I’d tell him.


Terrific reply, and good advice. Thank you, Heavysnaxx!

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Thanks, RedJim!

If you ever invent a food-teleporter, I’m available to finish your son’s steaks.


I often come to group bbqs with a dish to share with everyone because i am the only vegetarian in my group. At no point do i say “hey, want to try my vegan gluten free organic side dish?” Shen asked i describe it as “a crunchy thai salad with fresh cilantro and peanuts” or whatever.
They are literally the same dish.
I never go home with leftovers.

So something along the lines of “i’m so excited to try a new recipe tonight!” certainly isn’t lying.

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I can’t see any reason to tell your son. I don’t list my ingredients to my family and friends when I cook. Shake a little of this and that and serve it. If somebody was allergic to an ingredient then of course, but a dislike of mushrooms wouldn’t stop me from using mushroom powder, a dislike of coffee wouldnt stop me using a coffee rub on steak.

My dad professed to hating garlic. My mum used lots of garlic and he adored her cooking. She never told him she used it.


I love this!

Is this one of those “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound” statements?