[Sca-cooks] on saying "no thanks" Re: Re: P B & J

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Mon Aug 24 15:55:39 PDT 2009

On Aug 24, 2009, at 5:41 PM, Anne-Marie Rousseau wrote:

> food offered is so wrapped up in hospitality and nurturing and  
> social mores that to refuse it for any reason  has to be justified  
> or be seen as rude.

And you see that as a bad thing, I know. But here's the thing. If I  
invite someone over for dinner, I ask them in advance: "What are your  
food restrictions?" I don't bother asking about ONLY allergies or  
religious issues. I ask about food restrictions, which means that if  
there's anything you can't eat OR won't eat, tell me when I invite you  
over. Even if all you are is just a picky eater, tell me what you  
can't eat!

That way when you get to my house, you'll be having something that not  
only is very well cooked (false modesty is akin to lying, so I'm not  
going to bother), but will also be something you are able to eat. If  
you come to my house, you can always count on the food to be made of  
ingredients that have been cleared -- because if you can't stand  
beets, and you TELL ME that you can't stand beets, I'm not going to  
serve beets.

I have a very good friend whom I love like a sister. At least, I  
assume I do -- I don't have any natural siblings, but I love her more  
than I love my stepsiblings, so I'm assuming that's what a sisterly  
love is like. But she does have a flaw, as all human beings do, and  
hers is that she won't tell me what she can't eat. She and I both keep  
strictly kosher, so I know all the things she can't eat for religious  
reasons; I happen to know she's got Celiac disease and therefore can't  
tolerate glutens. But I didn't know that she HATES the taste of curry  
until I'd served it three times when she came over. Why? She never  
told me she didn't like curry. I fed her curry chicken, curry rice,  
and pumpkin curry soup (three different occasions -- I love curry)  
before she finally told me why she always left so much food on her  
plate even after announcing how hungry she was and how good everything  

Again, I want to emphasis that I love this friend, and I respect her  
to the utmost -- but that's just rude. If someone asks you over, and  
has the courtesy to ask you what your restrictions are, TELL THEM.  
That way you won't have to say "no thank you, I don't eat XYZ." You'll  
be able to enjoy your meal, and your host won't get hurt feelings,  
thinking that you're refusing hospitality or that you don't like their  


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