Q. I took this casserole dish to a recent potluck event. One of the ladies there liked it so much that she asked me for the recipe. I emailed it to her. She called me the next week all upset because she made it for her family and they didn’t like it. She basically accused me of leaving out something in the recipe I gave her. I told her I wasn’t sure what happened and offered to get the recipe out of my box and go over it with her and she said no and hung up.
I feel bad because I don’t know what could have happened. I went over the email I sent her and matched it to the recipe in my box and nothing was missing. Maybe she decided to use some canned vegetables instead of fresh? Or frozen, and I have never substituted. Should I call her back and offer to go over the recipe with her? Should I send a note apologizing — for...what I don’t know? Or should I just forget about it, which is hard to do. I’ll probably run into her again in a few months at the same type event and I’m not looking forward to that.
A. Gee whiz. I wish Suzanne Boyle (former BND food editor) were here to help me with this one. This is her area of expertise, that’s for sure, but I will take a stab at what I think you should and should not do.
1) I do not think you need to call her and apologize for anything. If anyone needs to be apologizing, it is her, for being so rude to you on the phone, including hanging up on you. Chances are she is not going to be very nice over the phone, so why subject yourself to more possible rudeness.
2) You could be the “bigger person” here and write her a note and tell her you are sorry her family did not like the casserole. If you do not, it sounds like you will not be able to get it off your mind. Be certain to tell her you reviewed the email recipe you sent her with the original recipe in your box and you definitely typed it exactly as it was on your recipe card.
3) You might add: I have always used fresh vegetables like the recipe calls for, so maybe if you decided to use canned vegetables or frozen vegetables, that may have made a difference.
4) The next time you see her, just smile and say hello just as you always do. Hopefully, she will come up to you and apologize to you, and if she does not, do not let it bother you. You will have done the right thing by writing her a note and you need not feel as though you should do anything else.
5) I would not make the same casserole for a event to which you know she is attending. Try a dessert instead.
Q. I think this is rude. Please tell me if you see it differently. We have invited one of our new single (widowed) neighbors to join us for Easter dinner because her family isn’t coming. When I asked her, she asked me what I was having to eat. I gave her my proposed menu and told her it wasn’t in concrete yet, but. ... She replied with an unusual response, like, ‘Well, I’m glad you aren’t having duck or some weird thing like that or I would say no.’
A. Yes, I agree with you. It was a rude response. If the day does not go well, and if you feel obligated to invite her again, just tell her you are having duck or octopus or something “weird” like that so she says no.
Dianne Isbell: email@example.com