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Beware of Casserole Critiques

Dear Kitchen Therapist,

I recently delivered a casserole to a neighbor who had gotten a knee replacement.  It was a tasty Iranian dish of ground lamb, sliced eggplant, tomato sauce and pine nuts with a hint of cinnamon.  My neighbor kindly called to thank me and said she enjoyed it.  But then she made an intriguing comment on which I’d like your advice.  

She offered that “Unlike most casseroles, this one didn’t taste better the next day”.  Should I be pleased or offended by this critique?  I’d like to know, as I’m wondering if it’s the kind of thing I should say if anyone ever makes me a casserole.   

Sincerely yours,

Confused by a Compliment? 

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Dear Confused,

How nice of you to think of your neighbor’s needs and offer a homemade meal!  I personally think it sounds delicious, but am puzzled as well by the feedback.  On the one hand, she may have meant that your casserole was remarkably fresh.  On the other hand, it apparently wasn’t the gift that keeps on giving.  

Whatever she meant, please don’t overlook the positives.  You gave her something tasty, even if only for a day.  And if she pitches the leftovers, you’ve saved her valuable refrigerator or freezer space.  As importantly, you may have helped her grow into a better person.  She may be more inclined to be grateful for today’s meal without taking tomorrow’s meal for granted.   

I’m not sure I’d repeat your neighbor’s assessment, however, should someone ever give you a casserole.  A simple “Thank you—it was delicious!” is clearer and probably enough.

My very best regards,