[Sca-cooks] P B & J

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Wed Aug 26 14:03:21 PDT 2009

> Judith Epstein wrote:
>> But when friends come over and someone says "No, thank you" to a  
>> dishI know they CAN eat, I can't help but think "How rude."

On Aug 26, 2009, at 3:35 PM, Lisa wrote:
> *sigh* on occasion there are other issues than just "don't like it",  
> and it's not always possible to alert the cook ahead of time of  
> personal issues. I am personally an extremely picky eater, although  
> I am willing to try most things at least once.  There are, though,  
> certain textures that I absolutely cannot handle, and onions are a  
> major NO for me.

The thing is, to me, if you CAN'T eat something, then you CAN'T eat  
it. That means whether it's an allergy, a medical intolerance (often  
mistermed 'allergy'), a religious restriction, an ideological  
restriction (like veganism), or some issue that makes you feel bad  
when you eat it (I can't eat anything with the texture of snot --  
aspic, pudding, Jell-O, runny oatmeal, hot fudge, and yes, I do  
actually vomit when I try, and therefore it is a "can't" rather than a  
"won't"). That's valid. You don't even have to tell me why, just say  
"I can't eat onions," and that's that.

But a simple "No, thank you..." Well, it's surface-polite, but it  
doesn't tell me anything that's useful. Give me something I can use.  
"No thank you, I can't eat onions." You don't have to tell me whether  
you're allergic or you just dislike them enough to make the dining  
experience entirely unpleasant. At least, not at the table. When I  
invite you over, that's the time to tell me, "I'd love to come, but I  
should tell you that I can't eat onions." Okay, then, that helps me!  
For that, I will go out of my way to give you an amazing meal that  
doesn't involve onions. Or blueberries, or whatever it is that you  
can't eat for any reason whatsoever.

I may press for more information. "Is it an allergy, a texture issue,  
a taste issue?" I need to know those things because I need to know  
whether to just use the powder (which gives taste but not texture); to  
avoid onions, but garlic is okay, even though they're in the same  
family and an allergy to one is an allergy to the other; or if it's an  
allergy or chemical intolerance, in which case I need to avoid  
everything in the entire onion family. I need to know, in order to be  
a better hostess and give you a meal that you'll be able to eat and  
enjoy and not suffer ill effects.

But if you don't tell me your dietary needs until we get to the actual  
table? Yeah, THEN a simple "no thank you" is infuriating.

However, because my mama raised a lady, I will smile and say, "That's  
all right, not everyone likes every dish."


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