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Silent Compliments

The greatest compliment for a cook is when everyone falls silent while they are eating. The food is so good they just don’t want to stop eating to say anything.

The first time this happened to me, that I remember, is when I made a meatloaf dinner for a friend’s family. The conversation was going loud and quickly before I served the meal. I put the food out, everyone passed the dishes and filled their plates and then…quiet. Not a word was said. The contrast between before the meal and during was dramatic. What a great compliment! No one felt the need to talk. They just wanted to enjoy the food. Granted this may have happened with other meals I had prepared but the volume level before the meal and during the meal was particularly dramatic this time.

This happened today at the monthly free lunch. We served a breakfast for lunch in the form of French-toast casserole, sausages and fruit salad. We had coffee and juice to drink and syrup to pour over the sumptuous casserole. The hall was filled with almost 50 members of the public and nine volunteers. Everyone went through the line and received a plate with the casserole and sausage and a bowl of fruit salad. As we, the volunteers, sat to eat we realized that the hall had gone silent. The conversations before the meal had been loud and louder still as people endeavored to hear each other above the din. I had a hard time quieting them to lead the prayer before the meal. To have the hall be that quiet with that many people eating was remarkable.

We usually serve pretty good meals at church (not to brag but in honesty they are delicious). But this one really struck a chord with the crowd and they all throughly enjoyed it.

People did express their gratitude and complimented us after they ate. And that was appreciated. But the silence spoke volumes.

One of the great joys of my life (and for the others preparing the meals at church) is preparing food. It is entirely satisfying to take raw ingredients, put them together a certain way and create a wonderful dish or baked good to serve to people. The joy of doing this is enough but it is icing on the cake (so to speak) to receive a great compliment when done. Either said a loud or silently. Anyway it comes, it makes the effort so worth while!

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