Cooking for others, do you take the best or the worst piece?

Spinoff of that steak thread. Let’s say you’re cooking the meal of your choice for a group of a few people. All items are of equal quality ingredients. You pull everything off the grill/stove/oven/etc. One is absolutely perfectly done, the rest look great, and one is just every so slightly overcooked or burnt or overseasoned. Not to the point that anyone eating it thinks it’s bad, but noticeable to you, the chef, looking at all of them at once.

Which piece do you take?

I ALWAYS take the worst looking/made one, I’m a show off! Also, I know everything tastes good. Also, I get to eat the ‘chef’s pieces’ while I cook. That’s what I call the pieces that fall on the stove or the very fatty end I cut off or the crunchy piece that doesn’t belong. . . you know what I mean.

The worst. It’s a mom thing. Plus, I want people to be maximally impressed with what I have produced!

Oh absolutely, cook gets the “imperfect” serving, and without drawing any attention to it, either.

Also, if for some reason there’s not enough to go around, the cook/host suddenly develops a dietary restriction where the most they can have is a tiny little taste.

I’d take the best bit.
(the one that’s overdone !)

My fave will get the best one.

If I’m cooking for family though, I’ll probably take the best one. LOL

I’d probably reserve the worst one and see if I could do something with it the next day. I often don’t eat what I cook for others, so it wouldn’t seem that odd.

Neither. I let my guests have the first pick, and after all the guests have taken what they want, then I take whichever piece I consider best of those that are left. I do this because not everyone has the same standards of what’s “best”: Some people like light meat poultry, some like dark. Some people like things cooked more or less than others. Some might put a higher priority on the sauce than others, etc. If I start by taking what I consider the worst piece for myself, that might be the piece one of my guests would consider the best piece, and now we’re both unhappy.

If I broke one, or whatever, I’ll usually take that one. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, as half the broken one just goes to the person that was going only take half in the first place.

If one is a bit overdone, then that one can go to those who prefer it on the medium-well side.

If one falls on the floor, then I’ll shuffle them so I don’t know who gets it (after taking mine, of course).

I’ll always take the worst one, because guests at my house are always people that I care about.

So do I, but it’s often not practical to serve things that way. Sometimes you pretty much have to plate things in the kitchen, restaurant-style.

When Momma baked cookies that she planned to give to somebody, my sister and I would beg and plead for some of the cookies to stay at home with us.

“Eat the ugly ones,” we were always told.


If there’s one that looks off from the others, I take it. Don’t want my guests thinking I’m a terrible cook. On the other hand, I may buy a special cut of meat for myself when I’m cooking, too. Not sure if I’ve ever actually done so, but I’d have no qualms buying a dry aged piece of meat to enjoy for myself and regular wet aged stuff for guests. Nobody would know.

That’s the key. In terms of etiquette it is technically very incorrect to have “A-list” and “B-list” menus reserving special or superior foods for an elite subset of the attendees, but if nobody knows you’re doing it then the rule doesn’t apply.

My wife and I are retired, with no children living at home. She does 60% of the cooking…and 95% of the healthy, delicious cooking. I’m a 6’2" male at a reasonable weight, while she is 5’ and a bit heavy.

I usually plate up dinner, serve, and then wash and clean up. If she makes an entree with two pieces (chops, fish, or whatever), I automatically give her the bigger piece. If it’s a stir-fry, she’ll get a larger portion, though, to be fair, she usually asks for “no rice.” It’s a noticeable habit and she sometimes reminds me as I head to the kitchen to “give [her] the smaller piece.” I never do.

As a kid, I was in a family of six and my mother always got the chicken neck or back. As an adult, I go out of my way to make sure that my wife and/or guests get the better piece or bigger portion. And the urge to do this is very powerful.

I’ll just talk about my family because 99% of the time I’m just cooking for them. And then I’m really just talking about my wife and me, since our kids are barbarians who will either eat whatever I give them or make their own dinner.

If I’m plating something fancy, let’s say crab cakes, I’ll give my wife the perfect one and I’ll take the one that falls apart. If I’m grilling steaks and I accidentally commit the crime of cooking one to medium (shudder) I’ll take that one and give my wife the perfect medium-rare steak. But when it comes to portion sizes, all else being equal, I’ll take the largest steak because I have the bigger appetite.

Is this a test for “Are you sociopathic?”

I’d take the inferior item every time. For example, say I smoked a batch of cream cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapenos to bring to a party. It’s a fact of life that some will be better than others, maybe one had its bacon pull through the skewer and is flopping, maybe one was too close to the heat and overcooked a bit. I’ll be eating those.

At our house it was, “Eat the rusty ones.” Where ‘rusty’ was anywhere from slightly too brown to just shy of charcoal.


I’ve heard that in some households, the kids were told the burnt ones were “golden brown” and to just eat it!


If we are talking family. . … I’m not sure if this counts but when my kids were elementary school aged they did not like steak. They did not like chewing it, they said. So every now and again I’d get me and my husband a nice, expensive steak and give them hot dogs. This made them happier then when I made a chuck steak and they had to eat it.