When Your Meal is a Flop & Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

The salad didn’t turn out like I had wanted it to. At the last minute, I boiled the eggs for the delicious Spinach Salad I had planned on serving, and I did serve it, but as I started eating, I realized I had made a mistake.

Spinach salad needs to be made with cold, hard-boiled eggs, not warm ones.

The salad looked beautiful, but it just wasn’t right. It was mushy and the spinach leaves were wilting before my very eyes. (By the way, The Pioneer Woman even says it’s true: Cold eggs are the best. Check out her amazing recipe for The Best Spinach Salad.)

But … no one complained.

There was plenty of other good food on the plate — fresh barbecued salmon, roasted peppers, hot bread from the oven, melt-in-your-mouth sweet potatoes.

There is one thing I’ve learned about hostessing.

You don’t say a word, you don’t apologize. You don’t draw attention to what you think is wrong, which others may not even notice.

-Let it go.

-Don’t be hard on yourself.

-Give yourself a break.

I often give myself this pep talk when something doesn’t turn out the way I want.

I’ve learned that by acknowledging my errors (keeping them to myself), I’ve become a more merciful person when I go to someone else’s house for dinner. Less of a perfectionist. If there is something that isn’t quite right, I understand. Not a word is said, but I understand.

I have compassion, especially for a new hostess.

What’s your attitude when it comes to messing up in the kitchen? Do you let it go and press on?

Here’s my recipe for the Perfect Peelable Egg. I promise, it works like a charm!

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
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Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

You can also replace the cucumbers with mushrooms. Here’s my recipe for the Perfect Peelable Egg.
Prep Time20 mins
Servings: 4


  • 8 ounces baby spinach washed, dried, stems removed
  • 3 boiled eggs cold, peeled, quartered
  • 7 slices bacon
  • 3 Tablespoons reserved bacon grease
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cucumbers chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half


  • Remove the stems from spinach. Place spinach in a large bowl.
  • Fry bacon until crispy/chewy. Place on a paper towel to remove the grease. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
  • Transfer the 3 tablespoons of bacon grease to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Add the onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine.
  • Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls and evenly arrange eggs over the top and serve immediately.

16 comments on “When Your Meal is a Flop & Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing”

  1. Pingback: Give Yourself a Pep Talk When Your Meal is a Flop | Living better at 50+| Online Womens Magazine

  2. Ah! Good advice! I’m going to try that instead of falling over myself with excuses. Let it go…press on.

  3. I’m one of those who apologizes for what isn’t just so. Thanks for the reminder that there’s a better way.

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  5. Pingback: Spinach Salad « Jelly Blu

  6. BTW I love your blog!

  7. This reminds me of the time when my son had a friend over and my husband made blueberry pancakes. We were in a hurry to get the boys to a ballgame so the pancakes didn’t cook as long as they should have and the middle was uncooked. The little boy said to my husband “Mr. B how’d you get the cream in the middle of these pancakes?” My husband and I still laugh about that. That little boy thought they were the best pancakes he’d ever eaten. We never did tell him the real reason for the cream in the middle:)

  8. I usually laugh it off, tell them “that’s the way it’s supposed to be” and move on to the next course. There’s usually so much food when I entertain that nobody notices one little mess up.

  9. Is this just natural for us gals or what?! I always have a hard time NOT focusing on what could be better. But I try to keep it to myself. If I bring it up, it’s awkward for everyone involved! If I just tuck it away of how I could do it differently next time, then everyone can stay happy. Ignorance is bliss, right?

    I think we get really good at beating ourselves up over every little thing. Hosting shouldn’t be one of those things as we get to open our homes to others. What a treat!

    Love your blog, by the way. I read it every day!

  10. For the most part, I don’t say anything…unless it’s a major error (like the time my noodles were turning to mush and I was frantically trying to make new ones, sauces were on the table and golf girls were hungry…they ate the noodles anyways and laughed)

  11. I really need to learn to do this. I don’t really entertain but I find myself doing this with my husband. He always says everything is great. Thank you for sharing your story and bringing it to my attention Sandy. :)

  12. I just finished reading Julia’s Childs My Life in France and she lived by this mantra as well. She hosted a luncheon for a friend where the dish came out terrible and she put on a stiff upper lip and did not say one word and neither did her guest! Julia Childs said she refused to ever apologize for something that didn’t turn out just so.

    By the way, I just wanted to say keep up the good work on this blog because I absolutely love it. It’s a joy to read!

  13. Hi Sandy,

    I have been out of town (with week Internet connection), and am just now catching up on all your recent blog posts. What a treat!!! Love this post especially. I used to be such an “apologizer” for things I thought hadn’t went right in my kitchen. After I got married, I noticed that what I thought wasn’t very good…my husband (who doesn’t know how to cook) was inhaling right down to the last bite! He never noticed! :-)…good man! There and then, I realized never to say anything. As you said, most people may never notice. And besides, if you do mention anything, it just makes your guests feel uncomfortable and puts the focus on yourself, not them…and that violates the whole spirit of entertaining…to make your guests feel comfortable and welcome in your home.

    Thanks for all these wonderful, gentle reminders. Love you!


  14. “Never complain and never explain.”
    Benjamin Disraeli

    A quote I try to live by, not just at dinner. Your attitude is wise Sandy. Why would anyone apologize for their cooking or call attention to something they don’t feel they did as well as they might?


  15. As a bit of a perfectionist myself :~) I loathe it when a meal goes wrong, but I realized that unless you draw attention to it…most people don’t even notice. They are guests having a good time, not Michelin guide inspectors determining whether or not you deserve a star!!

    Great advice Sandy, as always.

    – Nan

    • Thanks, Nan. I like what you said about them not being inspectors. They are friends! :)

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