I am cooking pasta and was reminded of the very first time I cooked it. My very dear Italian friend (let me call her Hilary) was mortified when she tasted it "You killed the poor pasta. Oh... all of you non-Italians like to overcook it, pasta has to be aldente". I could never eat her version of the pasta for several months together. But probably because I worked late in the library and came home ravenous (and by then Hilary usually had food ready and was only happy to share it yours truly), I soon developed a taste for her pasta.
Hilary and I got along so famously that even our college tutor/law Prof. commented on it:-) I was very much the small town girl and she was much more cosmopolitan than me. But there was something about Hilary's personality, which was so transparently genuine and sincere. Our friendship is testament to the fact that friendship is indeed a meeting of hearts and culture, language and religion are only marginal in a friendship.