Chickpea and Herb Salad; It was Lovely! (or not)

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Don’t you hate it when you feed people and they don’t acknowledge it?

It really doesn’t make any difference whether you spend the entire day in the kitchen or not, when one prepares food for someone else, a complimentary  word or two, and/or thanks, is always appreciated.

“The salad is lovely”

“Wonderful crust on the lamb, what herbs did you use?”

“Mmmm, delicious!”

Nothing complicated here, no lengthy dissertations required, just a quietly mumbled ‘phrase of praise’.

“That was absolutely the best meal I’ve ever had in my entire life!”

Closed eyes while wearing a beatific smile and moaning “mmm, mmmm, mmmmm”.

Both are nice, but only if one’s efforts truly excelled.

If the dinner was abysmal, a catastrophe, a total failure, well, you shouldn’t serve it (duh!) ….take’em out for dinner….
But, if it’s still edible, and it’s snowing out so you eat it anyway, a proper guest should still find something nice to say.
But no lies.  Lies are not good; as cooks, we may pretend it’s good, but we DO know better.

“Interesting flavors”  (They don’t necessarily belong together, but they are interesting.)

“I love a creamy sauce” (I’m not saying yours is good, just that it is creamy, and I like that aspect of it)

There is a large empty void created by guests who say nothing.  Conversation may be animated, wine flowing and everyone having a marvelous time, but the cook feels invisible.  All the work, all the planning, all the creativity, was for nothing; no one noticed, no one cared… or so we feel.

I will admit that there have been occasions when, the morning after I have been a guest, I wonder if I was properly appreciative.  Sometimes we get carried away by whatever argument we are provoking at the time and forget our manners (Notice the use of the ‘Royal We’).  While not as good, the lapse can still be fixed during the obligatory ‘morning after Thank You call’.

You do make one, don’t you?  At a reasonable hour (please), the following morning you call to say thank you.  (More properly one should hand write and mail, snail mail, a thank you note but… get real!)  At that time a quick run-through of which dishes you particularly liked, a request for a recipe (not a demand), etc. can correct any lack from the night before.  Not as good, mind you, but better than nothing.

What brought this all up?  Our friend from Spain (who, with his 3 dogs, has been here all week) has never, ever, complimented me on my cooking.  I know he likes the food I serve… he always eats lots and often will call (months later) to ask for a recipe or preparation technique, but never a compliment.  In all fairness, if you looked up ‘curmudgeon’ in the dictionary you would see his picture…. and yet, we like him, he’s been a friend for years… still…

While I’m at it, here are the two things a dinner guest can say/do that I hate most:

“I had a huge, late lunch so I’m not very hungry.”  Come on, I invited you over a week ago, so why pick today to have your ‘huge, late lunch’ ?  Worried that I wouldn’t feed you properly?   And even if you did, do you have to tell me about it?

Apply salt, liberally, to everything on the plate before tasting it.  Or after tasting it, for that matter….

It’s one meal, shut-up, behave and eat it…and don’t forget the praise…lavish praise….

Aaweekendherbblogging Now, let’s hear it for Weekend Herb Blogging!   Yaaaayyyyyy!

Started by the lovely Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen and hosted this week by the talented Katerina, of Daily Unadventures in Cooking, WHB is now in it’s 100th week.  Be warned: there will be a big ‘2nd Anniversary Celebration’ in just 2 4 more weeks.  (Try to control yourselves!)

Chickpeas. Garbanzo beans.  Ceci beans.  They have a lot of names, but then, humans have been growing them for the last 11,000 years and eating them for a few thousand  years before that! The domesticated chickpea is more nutritious than the wild and is a good source of amino acid tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin. In other words, eating chickpeas made our ancestors feel good, so they started growing them!  Scientists think that they were a major contributor to the rise of civilization in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia. They are also high in protein, fiber and minerals.  And they’re delicious.

Chickpea, Egg and Herb Salad with Parmesan Crisps

2 eggs, hard boiledChickpeasalad
7 oz (220gr) chickpeas, garbanzo beans
2 tbs freshly snipped parsley
2 tbs freshly snipped chives
4 tsp green or black olive tapenade
1 tbs good olive oil

Boil eggs. Drain and rinse chick peas.  Snip the herbs.  Put chickpeas and herbs in a small bowl.  Add tapenade, olive oil and mix well.  When eggs are done, rinse with cold water, peel and chop. Add to bowl and mix lightly. Divide between 2 small plates, garnish with Parmesan Crisps and serve, remaining Crisps on a plate for further munching.

Parmesan Crisps  What to do with leftover scraps of puff pastry… 

puff pastry sheet, roughly 10 X 6 (25 X 15cm)
1 – 2 tsp olive oil
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese I used the stuff in the can rather than fresh for this

Lightly drizzle 1 – 2 tsp olive oil over the pastry. Sprinkle 2 tbs of Parmesan evenly over the top. Make a mental note (or mark it) of where the middle of the pastry is. Starting at the short ends, roll the puff pastry to the middle until the two rolls meet. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate until used. It should be chilled at least an hour and can be made 2 days ahead. Remove from fridge and slice 1/4″ thick (.6cm). Lay on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 8 – 12 minutes, until pastry is golden and cheese is a bit darker. Remove and serve immediately or allow to cool and store in airtight container.

If you have a 15oz (450gr) can of chickpeas, use the other half in the pasta recipe, along with the rest of the tapenade, that I gave in my PPN post (2 posts ago).

Check in with Katerina,  Daily Unadventures in Cooking, on Monday for the complete round-up!

And remember, even if the food is atrocious, suck it up, tuck in, eat, swallow with copious amounts of wine if needed, force a smile and say something nice.  You can throw up later; but your hosts will be happy and invite you back…That is what you want, isn’t it?

32 thoughts on “Chickpea and Herb Salad; It was Lovely! (or not)”

  1. Oh how I agree! After slaving in the kitchen it your damned right to get some praise! Not too much but at least some appreciation of the effort put into the meal. After all, they are eating for free/gratis!

  2. I know exactly what you mean and I’ve never quite understood why I’ll feel that way. Like it might just be dinner, but some times, you put a lot more of yourself into it beyond that hour (or so) of cooking time. Sort of as if Its you, all out there on a plate…
    Anyways, that’s a very nice looking dish. I especially like the pasties!

  3. Katie, I am forwarding this post to a particularly annoying cousin of mine, who always devours whatever I put on his plate, but rarely, if ever, says anything nice about it. Maybe he will get the hint!!!

  4. I agree completely. People who don’t comment about the food drive me crazy. Love the sound of this and the parmesan crisps sound especially wonderful.
    BTW, the WHB anniversary is in four weeks, not two! I’m still trying to decide just what to do, but I will be announcing it soon. Nothing too far afield from the normal WHB, just a slightly different twist I think.

  5. Old Chinese saying: May you live in interesting times…
    My own husband salts everything liberally before tasting – it drives me nuts.

  6. I was brought up to believe that it’s rude to mention the food, but that was a long time ago – and it’s wrong, anyway. Much ruder not to mention it … even if it is only “I love a creamy sauce”. This post sounds good
    Joanna
    joannasfood.blogspot.com

  7. Thanks, Anh, your’re sweet!
    Ilva, and, if not praise, at the very least a thank you!
    Thanks, Mike, – you’re right, we ARE putting ourselves out there…
    Lydia, I’ve got some of those in my family, too! – Oh, but they WILL say if they don’t like it!
    Kalyn, Good math skills, eh? I fixed it. Can’t wait to find out what it is!
    Maggie, it would me, too! I’d hide the
    shaker…’ Do you read Pratchett?
    Joanna, how interesting, I’ve never heard of that… I wonder why?!?!
    Ulrike, you are a saint! He is very lucky, indeed!

  8. Katie, that salad and the crisps were delicious! Thank you! I’ll say it even though I didn’t get to eat any. 🙂
    Really, it’s unacceptable to say nothing to your host(ess) about the food. I don’t understand people like that. No manners! There is so much effort and love that goes into cooking something for someone (or many someones). It’s so disappointing to feel unappreciated.
    Your suggested “praise” for when you haven’t especially liked the food reminds me of a Dear Abby letter I read years ago. The letter writer asked, what do I do when people show me photos of their children and I think they’re just homely? It’s so hard to think of something to say. And Abby suggested this line: “You must be very proud!”

  9. Ahhh….these too are my pet peeves.
    My Mr Stickyfingers came from a family where no compliments about anything are ever made and the food is heavily seasoned by the diner with table condiments without prior tasting. His family are critical fuss-pots too. Thankfully for me my beloved has now been re-educated – LOL – otherwise he would have been a dead man after the huge efforts required to feed 16 finicky relatives who insist on “sitting down to a proper 3 course hot meal” on scorching hot Christmas days.
    For me cooking is one of the ways I show my love and appreciation of my nearest and dearest. I cook very well too. But when no acknowledgment is made of my erstwhile efforts I feel like a deflated balloon that has skirted giddily around the ceiling only to collapse in a heap on the dining table.
    Another peeve: people who have to have their food and beverage at scalding temperatures to the extent that they will leave the table to nuke the meal/coffee/tea in the microwave to the point of core meltdown. Do these people have tastebuds? I think not.

  10. Good grief, you say it so sweetly with all those delightful compliments! Too funny but then it’s not funny. I mean say something that tells me you know I made an effort.
    Those crisps look pretty fantastic to me and a perfect “compliment” to the chickpea salad. I’d have no problem praising the cook!

  11. Katie! Hahahaha! You had me laughing at your post. I agree so wholeheartedly!!! 😀 I am very blessed that I have a big mouth though! 😀 So it rarely happens at my table. If I don’t hear any appreciable moans and mmm mmmm mmmm’s of delight suitable to me I will just flat out say it. It’s almost a ritual at our table…the voting that is. I say, “Ok, time to vote, diners. On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate dinner?” LOL, this continues through each dish. That usually prompts them to give their numeric value and have to support it with the appropriate banter :D. Schmart eh?
    Oh in answer to what do you say to someone with ugly babies? You say, “Oh what a sweet baby!!” 😉

  12. P.S. Your salad and the palmiers look fantastic!!! I think I’m going to go in and make Julia’s quick puff pastry today and make them for appetizers tonight with our salad. I wish I had garbanzo’s but they didn’t make the grocery list yesterday… 🙁

  13. I know how you feel. Even if it’s only my husband eating the meal I have prepared, a little; “Mmmm, this is good”, does wonders to my mood!

  14. Chickpeas chickpeas…I always know that as chickpeas until I came to US and found them as garbanzo :p
    Love your salad and with those crisps…makes it complete for me 🙂

  15. Jeni, It always amazes me how oblivious some people can be!
    Cityfarmer, Well done, train’em while they’re young! He’ll make a good husband some day!
    Lisa, Dear Abby! I haven’t read her in years! I think I remember that one… When no one says anything I think…I could have just opened a can….
    Stickyfingers, no taste buds and no manners. Good thing you trained your husband quickly. My b-i-l is often done eating before the rest of the family starts – no waiting until everyone is served at his house…
    Blue Zebra, what a marvelous idea! Make them all vote! I’ll remember that one..
    Meredith, exactly! Not much, just a word or two… mon mari is very good at this!
    JennDZ, dinner’s at 10:00 most nights… we’ll leave the light on!
    Tigerfish, and now I look for ceci!
    Katerina, yeah, 11,000 – amazing, I thought.
    I just read a blurb that the U.K. is looking for the oldest recipe…wonder if it will be chickpeas…

  16. Katie, you are so right! (I almost fell off as I laughed too hard, esp at the end of your post) Although I don’t mind (some of) they not acknowlege…male and kids usually brutally honest…, I take it as they have a wierd taste, not my food tastes wierd. BTW, I am so happy olive tapanede is soooooo cheap here, these two recipes are so easy yet delicious, got to try!

  17. I’d like to have a plate, please. I think garbanzos are lovely. I first ate garbanzos when my parents went to pilgrimage to Mecca and they brought them home, roast. They tasted dry but they have this distinct flavour we can’t find in any other legumes (or nuts?). Looks lovely in a salad!

  18. We all need praise in everything we do from day to day. Even for the simplest things. It makes our days so much more enjoyable when we are acknowledged. If we are not getting the compliments then we need to dish them out and then we would still be happy!!!It’s a win win situation!!

  19. Gattina, careful, don’t hurt yourself.. You’re right, there are wonderful olives in Barcelona… and tapenade!
    Arfi, I like all of them, each a flavor all their own. Stop by any time 😉
    Valli, you are so right – toss out what you want to come back 🙂
    Thank you Christine, you are so kind!

  20. Katie, I am definitely not one to lie when I feel that I have to make a comment or compliment (food or not), so I actually do what you mentioned, focus on aspects of the thing/food that I liked, so that way i am not lying. For e.g. my friend had a hair cut that made her look like a female platoon commander. So what did I say? “Wow, that haircuts makes you look so sporty!” See, I didn’t lie.
    As for your friend from Spain, is he generally appreciative of other things, for e.g. since he stayed with you, did he at least thank you for that and perhaps brought a gift? If he is overall oblivious to basic courtesy, it would be hard for me to continue to be around someone like him. I had a friend like that and we gave her the benefit of the doubt for so long but after awhile, we found the friendship unfulfilling because it was a one-way street. But I never had the guts to say anything, so I just lowered my expectations, that way I never get disappointed again.
    p.s.: your crisps look great! I’m going to do that next time I have left over pastry.

  21. aarrggh, i wrote a long comment and it’s gone!!! anyway, I’ll just keep it short this time. i truly emphatise with your situation.
    p/s; yr crisps look awesome! I’m going to do that next time i have left over puff pastry. normally i sprinkle some sugar on it.

  22. What a great post, Katie – you’ve hit so many ways to ‘annoy’ a host who cooks! In my family, we end breakfast, lunch and dinner with the same (grinned) thanks, “Thank you for the lovely lunch,” — which translated means, sure supper was a little skimpy and the meat was underdone but the effort is appreciated’ and somehow, works just as well when breakfast (or lunch or supper) was GREAT. I’ve always thought that if I started a “general purpose food blog”, this would be its title! And when we say grace and bless the food, there’s always this, “Bless the hands of its preparation”. Hmm. Another good blog name!

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