When do you experiment with food?

Years ago, I remember my mom being horrified when she found out I made a dessert for a dinner party that I had never made before. That’s just crazy. “Never try a new recipe when you are having guests! What if it doesn’t turn out?”

And she was right the time I trying one of those “easy no-knead” breads one night and my husband had to run out at the last minute for a loaf when mine failed to rise.

Despite the bread flop, I will often experiment with something when having guests or taking a dish to a party. If I am dying to try a decadent chocolate pudding or lemony bundt cake recipe, I am certainly not going to make it for only the two of us. And I hardly ever make appetizers unless entertaining — so when to try all the new ideas for them?

I generally do not, however, experiment with main courses. I will usually make something I have made before, something well-tested. And if I am cooking for omnivores, it will be somethng (perhaps heavy-ish) that I think they will like and not “miss the meat.”

Lately, I am thinking I might want to change my practice. Some of the best meals I have made in the last year were, I think, completely random, quite veggie-centric experimental dinners. Of course, there are things that don’t turn out (and wouldn’t that be a bummer for guests?!). But mostly, the experiments and first-trys are delicious.

If you are an upcoming guest at our house, consider yourself warned.