[Sca-cooks] No means no

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Wed Aug 26 15:22:28 PDT 2009

On Aug 26, 2009, at 5:10 PM, Gretchen Beck wrote:

> Some things are worth the fight and hurt feelings. Others are best  
> addressed with "no, thank you, that's fine thank you." As you yourself
> noted, to continue pushing it is rude. Why would I want to dine at  
> someones house who insisted on "why" for my every food decision at  
> their table -- who pushed me into a level of intimacy that, perhaps,  
> I'm not comfortable with?  I'm happy to share some things, others  
> (even including why I do certain things during interactions with  
> others), I'm not. Somehow, I don't think that would be something we  
> could work around...
> toodles, margaret

On the other hand, how does one reach the point of friendship at which  
one is able to discuss intimate matters, without ever sharing a meal?

A person invites you over in the spirit of friendship. You say no  
thank you, without giving me a clue as to why -- well, all right, that  
tells me that you don't desire my friendship.

But if we're already friends, and I invite you, and then I say "I just  
want to make sure that you're able to get a meal you can enjoy -- do  
you have any dietary restrictions I need to be aware of?" That's not  
asking for intimate information, for the love of Good Sweet Mike!  
That's me being a good host. If you have texture problems with, say,  
noodles... just say "I really can't eat noodles." Now, I don't know if  
that's because of the way they taste, the texture issues, a gluten  
intolerance... But I am jolly well going to make sure you don't get  
anything that looks, feels, tastes, or smells like noodles, nor  
anything with gluten in it. Like I said before, I will go completely  
out of my way to make absolutely certain that a guest is able to eat  
comfortably in my home. That is part of being a good, responsible  
host. That way, you won't get all the way to the dinner table before I  
learn that nothing I've made is appealing and safe for you. Answering  
the questions -- in whatever way you feel comfortable answering --  
BEFORE you get to my house is being a good and responsible guest.  
That's the social contract that host and guest undertake together.


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