6 "Polite" Things You Say When Someone Cooks for You That Are Actually Rude

People having lunch together
Getty Images
There are things that are better left unsaid. For example, complimenting someone on their weight loss is never a good idea and often leads to more negative than positive implications. But sometimes it's the delivery of a comment that's where things go wrong. Tone of voice, timing, and body language all contribute to how remarks are perceived. When it comes to a personal endeavor like cooking, it's especially important to approach comments gently. Read on for six sentences to avoid having someone cook for you next time — and how to rephrase it to make your host feel vindicated in their efforts.
ADVERTISEMENT
Also See: 5 "Polite" Things You Do at the Farmers Market That Are Actually Rude
1. It *actually* tastes good!
The keyword in this sneaky compliment is "actually," implying that you didn't expect the food your host prepared to taste good. Throwing in filler words like "actually" or "surprisingly" tends to disqualify your compliment, even if you meant well. It's always a win to compliment your host on the food they worked hard to prepare. Just be sure to stay away from passive-aggressive language and unnecessary words that could be potentially offensive.
2. What's the secret?
Asking for a recipe is a huge compliment to your host (most won't mind sharing) because it means you liked the food enough to bring it into your own kitchen. But before you inquire about a secret ingredient or imitation of a specialty, make sure they don't mind sharing. Much like a treasured wooden salad bowl or an heirloom Dutch oven passed down through the generations, certain recipes are nostalgic, have special meaning and may well be a best-kept family secret! Making a recipe request when you are unsure of the context of the recipe can create an awkward moment.

Instead of asking directly for the recipe or secret, ask about the story behind the dish. A good question might be, "Where or from whom did you learn this recipe?" It is delicious!"
ADVERTISEMENT
3. This looks interesting.
It's the equivalent of calling your mom's new haircut "different." It's not the most reassuring feeling. By definition, the word interesting has no negative connotation, but when it comes to complimenting a chef, it should be used sparingly. If you say that a dish looks "interesting" or "adventurous," your host will wonder what you meant and may be unsettled. Even if the remark rings true, try to choose more supportive language. Applaud the complexity of the dish or thank them for the time they spent putting it together. "Interesting" isn't a bad word, but when applied to home cooking it can be offensive regardless of your intent.
Also See: 6 "Polite" Dinner Party Habits You Didn't Know Are Actually Rude
4. I'm not hungry.
Sometimes it's inevitable. You lost track of time and ate a late lunch at work, which means you're far from hungry when dinner comes around. But after your host has worked hard to prepare a meal for you, it's important to explain the situation to defuse false assumptions your host may be making. Refusing food when you're not hungry feels awkward, but there are ways to make your host feel valued, regardless of your lack of appetite. Try making a small plate of side dishes or grab a plate to save for later.
ADVERTISEMENT
Related: How to Politely Refuse Food, According to an Expert
5. Use more [insert ingredient here] next time.
So you're a kitchen connoisseur and the friend everyone calls on with questions about roast turkey and feeding sourdough appetizers. Despite your pro status, it's best not to give your host unsolicited cooking tips that could potentially make them wonder if their culinary skills are being questioned. If they ask for feedback, be sure to offer your best constructive criticism! But balance your requested criticism with compliments and consider your host's disposition. Maybe they're asking for your honest feedback, but really just want confirmation - right!?
6. Is this healthy?
Clay makes or breaks this. Depending on your approach, this could be perceived as either a supplementary question or a passive-aggressive remark. Vaguely asking your host if a meal they're cooking is healthy can make them nervous or feed unsafe thoughts that it's not up to par. However, if you are on a diet or have specific food preferences, let your host know in advance so they can prepare something you're sure to enjoy. Or offer to bring your own dish. But bluntly asking if a meal is healthy is unclear and can put your host in an awkward position.
The final result
It's always a good idea to compliment your host on a meal they've worked hard to prepare. But there are some comments that are just better left unsaid, plain and simple. Even when backed up with good intentions, blunt remarks and questions can put your host in an awkward position that could be averted with softer, more polite language.
See Also: 6 "Polite" Things You Do at Trader Joe's That Are Actually Rude, According to a Former Employee

Last News

Dallas Asian community advocate ID’d as driver shot to death after Fort Worth car accident

Dallas Asian community advocate ID’d as driver shot to death after Fort Worth car accident

Taylor Lautner Is Getting Married, And His Wife's Name Could Be Super Awkward

Alex Jones turns on Donald Trump and backs Ron DeSantis, a sign that Trump is losing his grip on the far-right

Alex Jones turns on Donald Trump and backs Ron DeSantis, a sign that Trump is losing his grip on the far-right

Not your grandma’s stove…how can you buy stuff that doesn’t break right away?