Recipe Guinea Pigs

Ever seen a recipe that grabs your interest but also carries the potential to be a culinary disaster?  You can hear the adventurous part of yourself egging you on, “Go on!  Try it!  How bad can it be?”  But the practical side of yourself usually comes back with, “But what if it’s dreadful?  With all those starving children in China, you can’t just throw it out and you’ll be stuck eating it for at least a week.  Besides, you don’t want to serve this to your family or or friends if doesn’t work out.”

If you’re like me, no matter how loud your adventurous voice is, your practical voice is always louder and has more to say.  So you’re left either throwing caution to the wind and hoping for the best or never trying something new.  That is unless you find a way to experiment without the usual consequences……

My mom was a master at this.  She’d find a recipe in a magazine or cookbook that looked exciting but iffy and just go for it.  The key was she never made it for us or for a dinner party.  She’d wait until the next potluck and sneak it in.  The Methodist church we belonged to had lots of potlucks, so she had lots of opportunities to test new recipes.

The obvious question you might have is, “Didn’t she worry about what people would think if the recipe turned out bad?”  I asked her that myself.  She smiled at me and told me that she didn’t really worry about it.  She never wrote her name on the dish, so if it didn’t turn out, no one had to know.  She only fessed up to bringing the mystery dish if people raved about it.  Either way, we were spared from ghastly left overs.

If you’re not Methodist, fear not, there are lots of other ways to have other people try out risky recipes.  If your office has a break-room or lounge, you can leave the dish in the middle of the table marked as “Open game” or “Please eat me” and it will probably disappear, especially if you are a teacher, social worker or nurse.


About reginasewell

I am a counselor, psychodramatist, writer, healing practitioner and college professor. I have a monthly column, "InsightOut" in Outlook (, an essay, "Sliding Away" in "Knowing Pains" and a book out "We're Here! We're Here! We're Queer! Get Used to Us!" My goal, through my writing, counseling and teaching is to help people heal from the emotional wounds and limiting beliefs that keep them from living engaging and meaningful lives.
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