When your friend is a lousy cook

Have you been invited to friend’s for the evening and they insist on cooking rather than going out so it will be “more relaxed” but they are lousy cooks? We have two such friends. Both are very old friends - one of mine and one of my husband’s. My friend invited us for dinner and made a brisket. It has to be the worst thing I have ever eaten - almost. The gravy was grease,the meat had a peculiar glow and the smell. Oh my. And the platter was placed right in front of me. I politely at a piece and some of the lesser repulsive sides, but I now am able to do a “meet in the middle” thing when we get together since they live about an hour away. My husband’s friend makes his special Italian gravy. We walked into the house and smelled this unidentifiable odor - i still don’t know what it was - maybe the quality of the sausages. But it was just terrible. And they added some of those frozen meatballs and used two different types of short pasta. Now every time we get together I remind my husband that we insist on going out. I won’t cook either - just in case they feel the need to reciprocate! Anyone else have any of these friends?


A couple of bad meals aren’t likely to kill you, having good friends is more important.


The two kinds of pasta reminded me of a long-ago dinner party at a friend’s house. She boiled a pot of water, threw in some linguine, threw in some shrimp and scallops, and then about five minutes later decided that wasn’t enough linguine and threw some more in. Not the best meal I’ve ever had.


Absolutely! But we can eat out too!!!


Friends? I’m married to the worlds worst cook!! lol My wife cooked for me when we were first married she tried to make sloppy joe’s with hamburger helper, my response; “That needs a lot more helper”.

Yes I do have friends who can’t cook, but luckily they have a couple dishes that they can pull off so they are fairly realistic with their abilities and stick to a few of their better meals, like prime rib. They did make a bay scallops in cheese casserole that was honestly a bit bizarre and I didn’t care for at all. The husband likes the dish and his wife will still make it from time to time but I kindly decline.


I know folks who’ve tried forever to perfect their brisket. Certainly not something I’d entertain with as the chance of screwing it up and having no alternative is too great.

1 Like

Funny, that’s one of my go to dishes for entertaining. I love that it’s made ahead and just needs heating. I braise mine and it comes out great. I thank my grandma!!!

1 Like

I’m sure yours is delicious. I’d eat it gladly.

Haha, oooh, boy the stories I could tell. Here are the 3 categories of friend/cooks I have in my circle:

  1. Likes good tasty food and has foodie aspirations, but completely inexperienced cook. Ahh…she always has such good intentions, but the food will come out just average. She has a terrible kitchen (so cramped), and makes do with a lot toaster oven or reheating stuff but to dressed it up. I guess kind of like the semi-homemade concept. Her attempt at grilled cheese was to sandwich a few slices of bread and then put it in the toaster oven on toast. This wasn’t a short-cut route – she genuinely thought this was the only way she could make grilled cheese.

  2. The health nut. Ok, this is actually my sister, and she tries every latest diet and then always brings the worst food to family pot lucks. Yes, it’s all natural, and organic, but half to most of the time it’s dry and tasteless. It’s like eating Weetabix every meal, and yes she likes Weetabix. Every so often she does bring a good and healthy dish but most of the time anything flavorful has been substituted out for something gross.

  3. Thin-as-a-rail girl. She’s naturally skinny, and generally tells me food is for sustenance only. She doesn’t really “enjoy” eating the way some of us do. She thinks a really fantastic salad is a iceberg and tomatoes. Hey I like it fresh too, but dang if that I would never make myself a salad of that unless there is no other food. If you give her good food she’ll eat it and agree it’s good, but she just doesn’t think about food otherwise, nor does she spend anytime preparing anything beyond simple and quick.

There’s a lot of friends who just don’t cook period, so not including them of course.


I think you just summed up why all the women in my life have been lusty busty amazons!

1 Like

You’re invited!!!

1 Like

We have a bunch of friends like that. But in most cases the food they cook is not repulsive, just not very good. And we can’t even drown it in wine, since we have to drive home!


This is why family holiday gatherings are at our house.


Where to start? I guess it will be with my BFF, sweet and kind that she is.

I had thrown my back out and was totally out of commission for a couple days and a big storm was coming in. She called and said she was bringing dinner and did we like pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza & I said we could eat it occasionally. So,I thought she was going to p/u a take n bake pizza & that would have been good on a dark and stormy night.

Instead she brought this huge casserole dish filled mostly with quinoa, rawish onion and November hot house tomatoes that weren’t ripe. It was all topped with that cheep pre shredded mozzarella that has no flavor. I popped it in the oven fearing the power would soon go out, which it did.

We talked for awhile & enjoyed a glass or 2 of wine while it cooked. She then took off and we were left with dinner. It was perfectly vile and particularly bland. Meant to add that she put a tiny bit of chopped ham in there which was barely discernible. We each had a small dish and all I can say is that it was warm and filling and you only needed about 3 forks full! The dogs looked on with horror as we were throwing it away.

By the time she got home her several children told her how bad it was, so it still comes up in conversation how she cooked a terrible meal for us. So I just accent the positive and tell her it was a nice thing to do.


The missing pineapple would have tied everything together!


So often, when you ask yourself, what does this dish need? The answer is pineapple.


On looking at the amusing posts here, I think this topic could provide a premise for a movie. Imagine all the scenes and characters navigating food versus personal connections.

There is an entertaining scene in the film Notting Hill with a husband fouling up some roast chicken or the like. You know, the kind of person who treats the smoke alarm as a cooking timer. (I did that once: high-heat turkey roast sets off smoke alarm, and I announce the turkey’s apparently done.)


Fabulous screen plays aside, we all bring different food experiences to our kitchens and dining rooms. Different senses of what makes a good menu, what makes a good dish, how much time we are willing to spend on planning and execution, how we evaluate what we eventually put on the table.

We accept dinner invitations from close friends, we all enjoy each other, and kind of leave it at that. We can snack before we go if we feel it absolutely necessary, but, hey, in the larger scheme of things, it’s only a dinner… And tomorrow, the sun also rises.


I remember being invited to dinner at a friends house when I was in grammar school, her parents were poor. I literally had to eat while trying to not breath in or out through my nose as to not taste the food … one unbearable mouthful after another of a huge bowl of very bad borscht, which I despise to begin with, I vomited on my way home … I will never subject myself to that again, friends or not… this is my " just say no" thanks but no thanks. I hope you can recover and love brisket again soon.