I’ll tell you my bit of a story and then perhaps you will offer me some advice.
Hub and I were invited out for supper the other night. That same afternoon I made some buns, so I brought a dozen for our hostess. She was pleased to have them and I was pleased to bring them.
I sampled one of the buns before taking them and it was very good. But during our meal, we each took a bun. And when eating that bun, I noticed an odd taste that was rather disagreeable.
I was really dismayed and confused because there are only a few ingredients in buns, and nothing in mine could have been off. All ingredients were fresh. I said nothing as I began to think it was my imagination and wondered if anyone else noticed.
I thought perhaps they had, because no one ate more than one.
Of course if anything was off I couldn’t depend on Hub to notice. But I was pretty sure our hostess would. And perhaps she did, but of course good manners would have prevented her from saying so.
So we had supper and an enjoyable visit with no remarks made about the buns.
Now the next morning, I ate another of that same batch of buns. And no, it was not my imagination. Something in those buns was not right.
And only then did it come to me that when mixing those buns, rather than using regular cooking oil, which is what I normally use, I substituted olive oil.
And why shouldn’t I? It is the lighter taste of olive oil that makes it the preferred oil for salads and other things that are too delicate for heavy cooking oil.
Now I know olive oil does not keep well but the olive oil I used was fresh. At least it certainly should have been as I only bought the stuff last week. At a healthy price, I might add, because I am always sceptical about the trustworthiness of no name and bargain food products – especially when it comes to baking ingredients that don’t keep well.
But with nothing in those buns untoward except the olive oil, that’s what it had to have been. (You want me to go taste my olive oil off a spoon? Nah, I don’t want to do that. But in sniffing it, it has no stale odour, and surprisingly enough, in a salad it tastes fine.)
So now, I feel so bad that I took those buns to a special supper given by friends. Especially because in this neighbourhood I have a reputation for being a good cook and that reputation is important to me.
My friend, too, has a reputation for being a fine cook and I know that reputation is very important to her as well. Between us, this cooking reputation thing is like a silent challenge each time we eat at the other’s home.
So now, do I tell her what led to my buns tasting off? Do I just stay quiet and hope she didn’t notice? She is one of those cooks that under no circumstances would substitute one type of oil for another as I am wont to do.
Telling her, seems to me like a shaky thing to do, because perhaps she didn’t notice, but guaranteed, if she did, she is not above telling everyone that I brought buns to her house that tasted bloody ‘gawd-awful’.
And that is a crisis situation. Cause you know you just can’t have a reputation for being a good cook and then you go and make something ‘gawd-awful’.
What to do, what to do.