Thursday, September 1, 2011

Compliments to the Chef

One summer when the children were small we visited Aunt Jessie and Uncle Joel and learned some wonderful tips. Aunt Jessie taught me to serve watermelon first – then while you do the cooking let the melon digest. A slice of watermelon is better digested before you eat anything else.

I suppose you could substitute other fruit as well, but Aunt Jessie and I are partial to watermelon.

If there is one thing that I learned from my Uncle Joel, it was this: At the end of every meal, Joel would say, “Jessie, that meal was outstanding; my complements to the cook.” Jessie would blush, but this was their blissful ritual every time they broke bread together.

The chef at our house is my husband. I always was the cook when the children were growing up and then some.

However things changed. His body would not cooperate when he wanted to work at his job. It became necessary for us to move from the big city to a rural area where we now live.  Another big adjustment that was essential - - I needed to return to the work force.

“I feel so helpless” was his lament.

“Listen,” I told him, if I must work, there is one very important thing that you can do, and that is to fix dinner and have it ready when I get home. He has always loved to cook, so this became his portion of sharing the load.

If I truly learned Uncle Joel's lesson well, then what do I say each time my husband cooks for me? I tell him this, “Thank you sweetie that was a great meal.” “My complements to the chef.” Those tender expressions are words of love and approval, and I am truly grateful.

You probably have a question - - and that is - - what if the meal is not that remarkable?

I don’t lie, because repeating those words of gratitude is also showing a Big “E” for effort.

He might fuss and say, I messed up that dish, and I always say, “I thought it was good.”

I have heard some say; you might need to “Eat Your Words.” Well in a sense I suppose that is what we do when we speak a genuine “Thank you” to those who serve us in small and in large ways. Showing our appreciation with words is tremendously important!!

To encourage the cook at your house here is my simple recipe.

At the end of your meal; Say with great feeling - - - “My Complements to the Chef.”

Linked up today with Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus

images courtesy


  1. Enjoyed the story-telling and the lesson on encouraging and appreciating what our spouse does for us. Having a meal ready when one comes home from work is a precious gift.
    Lately, my hubby was preparing meals on the BBQ after his knee healed from his surgery. What a treat to come home from work and not worry about cooking. But I have lost my cook. He returned to the real world and his work today.
    I will have to tell him, though, "My complements to the chef," for all those good meals he made.


  2. I love family traditions, especially the ones that lift up others. I have one similar, but I never have to stretch the avoid anything, my wife cooks like nobody's business! I've made dinner a few times... Unfortunately no one hides the truth!

    What a wonderful heart, I'll keep this in mind, I don't think in this context, there is such a thing as too much.

  3. It does make such a difference, doesn't it? To be complimented on our efforts in the kitchen? Even if the meal doesn't turn out great, I like people to recognize that I did spend time thinking it through, purchasing the ingredients, preparing it, serving it...even if it's sort of blah, I didn't intend for it to be! And of course if it is delicious, I'd like to know so that I can make it again.

    You are a great wife, a wonderful encourager, and you remind us how we can do the same.

  4. I'm with Ann. I think it's nice for the family to at least recognize that some time and effort when through the preparation and planning. I think it's a delightful way to end every meal ... with the words you use here!

    Thank you for linking in community!


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