Anyone remember the commercial where the woman makes an entire dinner out of boxes and then fluffs flour on her face and spritzes herself with water to look tired as she carries the food out to the family?
I hate that commercial.
A totally amazing dinner, especially one for an occasion, should be presented as if it was totally effortless to produce. I don't want people focusing on how hard I worked on it. I want them focusing on how damn awesome the food is! I think it ruins part of the enjoyment if people think you worked like a one armed carpenter to make them happy. If it's a group cooking effort I think different rules apply, but one or two cooks and several guests? They should be oblivious.
I don't want my guests feeling like they owe it to me to like the food because I worked so hard to make it. If it sucks, I want to know. I'll know as soon as I take a bite anyway, so why not tell me? Now; just after dinner (or at least the first round of eating), or the next day, I'll talk about how hard it was to catch and kill all those jalepeno peppers, and how much the steak was fighting me on the grill. I want your opinion on my food, not your opinion of my work ethic.
One other thing I still do that I need to try to stop, is apologize for my food. Almost every time I make something for company I apologize for something. I cooked the steaks too long, the asparagus isn't quite done yet, the ham is too clovey. It's begging for compliments before anyone even takes a bite, or trying to manage expectations so people are impressed when they nervously bite something and it actually tastes halfway decent.
So, work like a rented mule, but look like someone else made it, and don't apologize for your food...... unless you can't eat it either. (Then just don't put it on the table and surprise everyone with pizza!)