In response to the questions from the blog this week, I am answering questions on the etiquette of meal swapping.
Jessica says: I’m anxious to hear about what to do if you can’t stomach someone else’s food Maybe you could give those to someone in need…a new mom or new neighbor or something? They’re still being put to good use, and it’s something you would have (or should have!) done anyways.
And Jillian in Canada says: My question is: What do you do with a casserole that turns out great, but your family doesn’t love. I would be happy to give it to another family, but it seems rude! What are your thoughts?
Wendy G says: Looking forward to the next post…I’m wondering what to do with the meal swapping idea if you don’t like the meals that are being made from one or more of your friends! Could get touchy…
There seems to be great concern re: what to do if someone else’s food, well… isn’t something that your family would enjoy.
This happened when we did our exchange. Here were a couple of solutions that worked to keep things running smoothly:
- Pick your people carefully. If your best friend at church is, let’s gently say, high maintenance, you may want to save the friendship and skip the meal swap.
You need to swap with people who can roll with it. You can make the occasional adjustment to a recipe (leave out the mushrooms for one family, etc.) But if one family wants to only eat organic, another is vegan, and another is trying to keep their grocery bill at below $3 a meal, it is not going to work. BUT, if you can find other families who are willing to have open discussions, it can work wonderfully. We had a waiting list of people who wanted to join.
- Share the recipes ahead of time. If you choose the recipes that you want to do, then send them out by e-mail, you will have a chance to ask for accommodations (see the mushrooms above), or, if it gets a thumbs down from more than half of the group, it would be best to choose another recipe. It is a bit easier to say no to a recipe before someone has gone to all the trouble to make it. Remember, this is not the time to bring out your exotic recipes of citrus-infused venison. Make some family basics that everyone would enjoy and you will be successful in the swap.
- You swap – and you hate what your friend made. One of the things we did was before we did the next swap, we would send out the list and give a thumbs up to the recipes that we wanted to repeat. (So, if you don’t get at least three thumbs up from a group of five other people, then it would be wise not to repeat it.)
- Do a trial, and then reevaluate. When you organize a meal swap, agree to try it out for two swap trial, and then decide if you a) want to keep doing the swap b)make some changes to how you are doing things c) bow out without any hurt feelings. Remember –it is just food.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.