[Sca-cooks] food dislikes, cultural mores and being polite. was Re: Re: P B & J

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Thu Aug 27 05:29:31 PDT 2009

On Aug 26, 2009, at 10:10 PM, Antonia Calvo wrote:

> ... but my food issues are very slight, and I don't expect to be  
> catered to regardless. I'm yet to go to a dinner of any kind at  
> anyone's home and not eat the vast majority of what's served.  If  
> there's something I don't care for, it's pretty well always a single  
> side dish.  Don't get me wrong-- with people I know well, I'd be  
> pleased and flattered if they chose to make something that they know  
> I like, and, we do tend to be somewhat aware of each other's  
> preferences.  I just can't imagine making a fuss over it for my own  
> sake. (and being quizzed at the table about why I'm not eating  
> something would be *mortifying*).

I would never quiz someone once they got to my table. All my questions  
take place long before a person arrives at my home. Once they get  
there, they should be able to just relax, eat, chat, and go home  

Also, I'm used to working with people with *severe* restrictions. I  
have a friend whose digestive system will be pained for a couple of  
days if she gets the tiniest amount of gluten; a friend who will have  
to go to the hospital if he eats anything in the pepper family (can't  
even use my cast-iron with him, since I've used peppers in that); a  
friend who will experience gastric and social distress from dairy  
foods; one who keeps halal and so I can't use vanilla extract (which  
is extracted with alcohol) in her desserts; vegan friends who can't  
use anything remotely derived from an animal source; one who vomits  
from even the smell of mint (that would be my mother); people who keep  
a different variety of kosher from myself, who will need paper plates  
instead of using my glass plates.

A mild dislike? I can work with it, but if you don't feel like telling  
me about it, it's your own problem. Or if a person shows up at my  
table and looks at the meal and won't try it at all -- not because  
they suspect it contains a health hazard or it contains something they  
already know they dislike, but because they never tried that  
ingredient and THINK they won't like it -- again, that's their own beef.

The only thing that gets me really fired up (inwardly -- I'm a lot  
more expressive of this in text than I would ever be with a guest  
right in person in my home) is when I say "Since you're coming for  
dinner next week, I thought I'd ask if there are any dietary  
restrictions you have, or things that you really love or hate," and  
someone says "No, anything you cook will be fine," and THEN get to my  
home and say "Oh, I don't care for lamb/onions/curry/fish." I would  
never quiz/push/prod someone at my table, but if I bring up the  
subject so as to make it okay for someone to say "You're right,  
mushrooms are anathema to me, and I'm so glad you asked," and then  
they don't mention it, and I happen to serve mushrooms... Grr.


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