"It is too bad to eat."
This was our family's cue to eat some and proclaim it the best she had ever made. But before we could be so diplomatic, Rich said, "You know, all it needs is a little soy sauce." And he proceeded to pour a riverful of the salty black stuff on the china plate, right before my mother's shocked eyes.
And even though I was hopeful throughout the dinner that my mother would somehow see Rich's kindness, his sense of humor and charm, I knew he had failed miserably in her eyes.
Rich obviously had had a different opinion on how the evening had gone. When we got home that night, after we put Shoshana to bed, he said modestly, "Well, I think we hit it off A-OK."