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Was I wrong to not order anything?


MargyB
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On a personal level, I do not feel you were wrong in declining to order. I will not have *anyone* dictate my behaviour concerning food (or much else, for that matter). But I expect the stares, rude comments and name-calling (such as snob). Bring it.

I'm always curious because I'm as much a food snob as anyone, yet I get by without rude comments and name calling. The occasional "ewwww" but you, know that's going to happen if you order tripe. Perhaps going along brings about a little getting along, as the saying goes. And the making an issue of the whole "I will not have *anyone* dictate my behaviour concerning food" thing when the "anyone" in question is an elderly relative who asks little more than that you join her in lunching seems a little...I don't know...

Rude? Inflexible? Food is where I, personally, draw the line. I won't waste it by ordering it and not eating it and I certainly won't order it and pick at it at an attempt to appease others. What's the problem? I.don't.want.the.food. I'd love to sit and talk to my dear grandmother but without.the.food. Big deal. -shrugs-

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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If that makes me rude than so be it.

I think the statement above is more important than if someone is or isn't being rude. The most important thing is whether one cares if one is perceived as rude or not. I'm guessing the op does care, or she would not have asked. And yes, most people (in most cultures, I would guess) would perceive her as being rude.

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Wow, I think you're all being really hard on the topic starter. 

I don't drink and ppl are always trying to push booze on me.  I also don't eat red meat and whenever I go to a BBQ, its the same, someone will say " eat a hotdog", its not red meat.   Am I rude? 

Everyone is entitled to turn down food if they don't feel comfortable eating it.  When I first moved to rural Ontario, my gf( at the time, now my spouse) would take me to places where I found nothing acceptable to my palate.  I'd rather eat nothing than eat crap food.

I totally agree. It is ruder to foist unwanted food or drink upon someone - whatever the reason. For god's sake, I know people who would practically hurl if asked to eat a tomato! It may sound odd to you or I but it's no less valid for them.

I don't as a rule care for sweets and it really puts me off to have someone yammer away about how 'one tiny bite' won't hurt me. No, thank you, I don't care for any. That is not rude. Insisting that someone eat something they have politely declined, however, is. And the argument that you eat something to be polite or to make someone else feel better is quite often the root cause of any of a variety of eating disorders.

But they werent trying to "foist" anything ut was supposed to be a happy family lunch one, i suspect the in laws were looking forward to and the refusal to eat when she didn't get her own way spoiled the occasion and no doubt made everyone ioncluding the poster very uncomfortable - whats the point in that

" :laugh:

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I'm interested in the opinions of the board. I was visiting my in-laws with my husband and the 4 of us went out to lunch at an "Arizona Family Restaurant" in a senior community south of Tuscon. The menu consisted of very standard sandwiches, breakfast all day, hamburgers and a few salads. As I've gotten older and more "into" food, I've found that I have become more selective as to what foods I will or will not eat. There wasn't anything on the menu that appealed to me....I really did try to find something!   I did ask if I could order 1/2 of a cobb salad (although the picture did NOT look appetizing) and was told no. So....I chose not to order anything.

My mother-in-law made it pretty clear that my not ordering anything was not acceptable and that there were "plenty of things" to choose from on the menu.

So was I wrong? When you're with a group at a restaurant that doesn't have food choices you like, do you order something you don't want just to be polite?

Thanks,

Margy

I don't know why and I beg for antibodies to be developed soon so I can be immunized, but mothers-in-law in general have a thing about feeding people especially their family, especially thier sons. You may think you are all going out to eat but no, there's more to it. Much more. I'm not sure I can find words to explain this phenomonon but it surely exists.

My Mom-in-law had Parkinson's with the huge un-controlled body movements. When her boys came over damnit she was gonna fire up the stove come what may. Back away from the gyrating little lady holding high the spatula.

So that is what you encountered there, Margy. It's a force of nature. World's collided, Girlfriend! A Mom-in-law is gonna see that food is prepared and that it gets eaten. Lightening is darkness by comparison to this force.

Reminds me of a line from an ancient Gary Cooper movie. He converted to being a Quaker, who are non-violent, because he wanted to marry one. The bad guys were on his ranch and he aimed his rifle at them, his wife gasps or something, he cocks the gun and peering down the barrel at the intruders states, "Thou are standing where I'm about to shoot."

No there's nothing wrong with not eating if you don't want to. Unless your Mom-in-law has you in her sites. Puts a whole new spin on BAM!

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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On a personal level, I do not feel you were wrong in declining to order. I will not have *anyone* dictate my behaviour concerning food (or much else, for that matter). But I expect the stares, rude comments and name-calling (such as snob). Bring it.

I'm always curious because I'm as much a food snob as anyone, yet I get by without rude comments and name calling. The occasional "ewwww" but you, know that's going to happen if you order tripe. Perhaps going along brings about a little getting along, as the saying goes. And the making an issue of the whole "I will not have *anyone* dictate my behaviour concerning food" thing when the "anyone" in question is an elderly relative who asks little more than that you join her in lunching seems a little...I don't know...

Rude? Inflexible? Food is where I, personally, draw the line. I won't waste it by ordering it and not eating it and I certainly won't order it and pick at it at an attempt to appease others. What's the problem? I.don't.want.the.food. I'd love to sit and talk to my dear grandmother but without.the.food. Big deal. -shrugs-

So don't eat. Again, you can say the heat got you, you're tired, blah blah. What's the point of hurting her feelings? Do you need to teach mother a lesson?

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Lying isn't my bag, either. No, I do not want to hurt her feelings or teach her a "lesson." A cup of tea or coffee in front of me is always welcome. A beverage, my undying devotion and scintillating conversation will just have to do. :rolleyes:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Lying isn't my bag, either. No, I do not want to hurt her feelings or teach her a "lesson." A cup of tea or coffee in front of me is always welcome. A beverage, my undying devotion and scintillating conversation will just have to do.  :rolleyes:

Exactly. She didn't jump up and run out of the place OR refuse to go. Since when does eating food you don't want to eat equate with love, manners or anything else? Have a cuppa, relax, visit. If spending time together is the whole point, that should do it. I find it more telling (and egregious) that someone is interested in controlling someone else to the point of insisting they eat something.

Edited to make some sense (one would hope).

Edited by moosnsqrl (log)

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Just for the sake of argument, why is it rude to refuse food on the one hand, but not rude to force food upon people, by not consulting your guests on the restaurant choice, for instance.

Irrelevant, your honor. The guest had already accepted the invition. Further, expecting to negotiate the place at which your host choses to dine with you is presumptive in the extreme. It is a social occasion, not a business deal.

On a personal level, I do not feel you were wrong in declining to order. I will not have *anyone* dictate my behaviour concerning food (or much else, for that matter). But I expect the stares, rude comments and name-calling (such as snob). Bring it.

I'm always curious because I'm as much a food snob as anyone, yet I get by without rude comments and name calling. The occasional "ewwww" but you, know that's going to happen if you order tripe. Perhaps going along brings about a little getting along, as the saying goes. And the making an issue of the whole "I will not have *anyone* dictate my behaviour concerning food" thing when the "anyone" in question is an elderly relative who asks little more than that you join her in lunching seems a little...I don't know...

I don't drink and ppl are always trying to push booze on me. I also don't eat red meat and whenever I go to a BBQ, its the same, someone will say " eat a hotdog", its not red meat. Am I rude?

Everyone is entitled to turn down food if they don't feel comfortable eating it. When I first moved to rural Ontario, my gf( at the time, now my spouse) would take me to places where I found nothing acceptable to my palate. I'd rather eat nothing than eat crap food.

I agree with you 90% and have even entertained non-drinking vegetarians in my own home (HAH -- a joke of course, she drinks like a fish). Forcing something which someone doesn't consume "on principle" is unacceptable. But, if you eat fish, for example, they are allowed to try to get you to try a new and ickier version of fish -- like for a moment or two.

But...

It is ruder to foist unwanted food or drink upon someone - whatever the reason.
The original poster accepted a invitation to lunch. "Foisting" did not occur. It was a voluntary decision and once entered into certain obligations follow, like being polite.

Let me be clear. It's not a federal case. On the scale of rudeness it's less than elbowing an old lady out of the way so you can grab a taxi on a rainy afternoon, but more than picking your teeth at the table.

(Actually, I think we should all draw electronic straws and everyone write to a different advice columnist and see what they say. :laugh: )

I had a whole reply thought out and then I got to this post. All I need to say now is:

WORD.

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Lying isn't my bag, either. No, I do not want to hurt her feelings or teach her a "lesson." A cup of tea or coffee in front of me is always welcome. A beverage, my undying devotion and scintillating conversation will just have to do.  :rolleyes:

But if you accept an invitation to go to lunch doesn't that mean the person asking is asking you to join them in eating? Most people enjoy eating with others. To accept an invitation and then turn around and decide the food wasn't good enough imo is rude. One caveat being that you inform the person that you weren't hungry prior to going to the restaurant but would like to join them simply to enjoy their company. In this situation I've STILL ordered something. An appetizer, a salad, and/or a dessert with coffee. Oftentimes people are uncomfortable eating when someone with them is not. I'm sorry friend or not I really feel wierd if you are just watching me eat. It would make me uncomfortable and make me feel if I were the one being ungracious.

*shrug* then again I'm Thai. Food is REALLY important to us. IF you visit a Thai home you are always asked if you are hungry or thirsty and people WILL foist food onto you no matter. To not do so is inhospitable on the hosts part. To no eat is to give the impression that the hospitality is unwelcome or inferior.

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Lying isn't my bag, either. No, I do not want to hurt her feelings or teach her a "lesson." A cup of tea or coffee in front of me is always welcome. A beverage, my undying devotion and scintillating conversation will just have to do.  :rolleyes:

But if you accept an invitation to go to lunch doesn't that mean the person asking is asking you to join them in eating? Most people enjoy eating with others. To accept an invitation and then turn around and decide the food wasn't good enough imo is rude. One caveat being that you inform the person that you weren't hungry prior to going to the restaurant but would like to join them simply to enjoy their company. In this situation I've STILL ordered something. An appetizer, a salad, and/or a dessert with coffee. Oftentimes people are uncomfortable eating when someone with them is not. I'm sorry friend or not I really feel wierd if you are just watching me eat. It would make me uncomfortable and make me feel if I were the one being ungracious.

*shrug* then again I'm Thai. Food is REALLY important to us. IF you visit a Thai home you are always asked if you are hungry or thirsty and people WILL foist food onto you no matter. To not do so is inhospitable on the hosts part. To no eat is to give the impression that the hospitality is unwelcome or inferior.

This is more true in Thai culture than American culture, but it is still true in the latter. It's certainly rude to accept a restaurant invitation and not eat anything. From the other person's point of view, it's like you're saying you're better than her because you won't eat the crap she eats. Even if the other person accepts without insult the fact that you're a finicky foodie, it likely makes her uncomfortable to be eating something while you just sit there, because normal people want their dining companions to be having a good time. I just think some of the people on here aren't normal :wacko:.

Not that I'm normal. To avoid situations like this, I just refuse to socialize altogether :biggrin:.

Edited by eipi10 (log)
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And it actually does happen in life sometimes that you can sit down to eat with someone who is a royal controlling bitch.

And by the same token, it happens in life that you can get what you want and the other person can get what they want with a little thought, tact and consideration.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Lying isn't my bag, either. No, I do not want to hurt her feelings or teach her a "lesson." A cup of tea or coffee in front of me is always welcome. A beverage, my undying devotion and scintillating conversation will just have to do.  :rolleyes:

But if you accept an invitation to go to lunch doesn't that mean the person asking is asking you to join them in eating? Most people enjoy eating with others. To accept an invitation and then turn around and decide the food wasn't good enough imo is rude. One caveat being that you inform the person that you weren't hungry prior to going to the restaurant but would like to join them simply to enjoy their company. In this situation I've STILL ordered something. An appetizer, a salad, and/or a dessert with coffee. Oftentimes people are uncomfortable eating when someone with them is not. I'm sorry friend or not I really feel wierd if you are just watching me eat. It would make me uncomfortable and make me feel if I were the one being ungracious.

*shrug* then again I'm Thai. Food is REALLY important to us. IF you visit a Thai home you are always asked if you are hungry or thirsty and people WILL foist food onto you no matter. To not do so is inhospitable on the hosts part. To no eat is to give the impression that the hospitality is unwelcome or inferior.

I would hope that the inviter was more interested in my company than wether I had a plate in front of me or not. Is it about the food or my company? OnigiriFB, I enjoy eating with others. When I'm hungry. When there's something that I want on the menu. Not because of social or familial obligations. If folks get upset over me not drinking or eating, well, hopefully they'll consider me an otherwise respectful, delightful woman to be around and will forgive me. :laugh:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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I can't imagine that this would be considered anything but rude. Or a power play in the very least.

I was visiting my in-laws with my husband and the 4 of us went out to lunch at an "Arizona Family Restaurant" in a senior community south of Tuscon.

Key words to me are "visiting in-laws", "the 4 of us went out to lunch" and "senior community"

As I've gotten older and more "into" food, I've found that I have become more selective as to what foods I will or will not eat.

More key words "will or will not eat".

I did ask if I could order 1/2 of a cobb salad

Ah, then there was something that you would eat! Polite company would have ordered the full cobb salad and eaten only the half you originally wanted.

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Ah, then there was something that you would eat! Polite company would have ordered the full cobb salad and eaten only the half you originally wanted.

Rather she was just trying to waste less money and food and the opportunity was denied her. Honestly, I would FAR rather enjoy the company of anyone (family, friends, even the apparently-dreaded MIL) than to get in a snit about:

a) if I am hungry at the moment

b) if the restaurant of their choosing is amenable to me (either because if my taste, religion, dietary preference, or physical limitations)

I really think this compulsion (discounting cultural issues, as raised upthread) to insist one eat is unhealthy and absurd. There could be SO MANY reasons for someone not to order food at any given time (diet/weight-loss program), fasting (for medical or religious reasons), taste, preference, socio-economic, politico/economic), simple lack of appetite due to timing that it is absurd to insist someone eat something.

While the orginal poster (who is probably in a witness protection program somewhere by now) did say that her decision not to order was based on a relatively recently more-cultivated palate, the social implications at the table at that time were no different than if she had been recently found to be allergic to something or converted to (fill in the blank) or simply discovered that transfats, or processed grains or whatever were to be avoided. Why is that anyone else's decision but hers? What can possibly be more of a basic human right that to indulge - or not - in something?

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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And it actually does happen in life sometimes that you can sit down to eat with someone who is a royal controlling bitch.

And by the same token, it happens in life that you can get what you want and the other person can get what they want with a little thought, tact and consideration.

Usually. And I am all for that.

But not always, and then one must decide whether to eat it or not, to throw it back or not.

And in those situations sometimes an alliance can be made (rather than a sickly endless ongoing submission to the power plays) by not accepting what is being thrown at you. For sometimes, strangely enough, those who like to throw things only respect those who can and will throw them back.

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My sister's MIL knows she likes to cook and eat and that she has an extremely discriminating palate. :rolleyes: Thus, she is always trying to impress her with her terrible cooking and by taking my sister out to the (gross) local joints she likes. My sister HAS in the past choked it down with the most sincere smile she could muster, tactfully suggested a different restaurant, picked at her food and snuck out later for a snack, or flat out declined to order (with excuses). NOTHING will please this woman other than complete and total glowing approval that her choice of meal (be it home cooked or ordered) was the best and most satisfying choice, and she's pounced on my sister more than once for not showing enough appreciation for the meal.

Some people you just can't please, and when you try to politely sidestep the issue, they call you out. All the manners in the world can't cure having to eat with a psycho hosebeast.

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Lying isn't my bag, either. No, I do not want to hurt her feelings or teach her a "lesson." A cup of tea or coffee in front of me is always welcome. A beverage, my undying devotion and scintillating conversation will just have to do.  :rolleyes:

But if you accept an invitation to go to lunch doesn't that mean the person asking is asking you to join them in eating? Most people enjoy eating with others. To accept an invitation and then turn around and decide the food wasn't good enough imo is rude. One caveat being that you inform the person that you weren't hungry prior to going to the restaurant but would like to join them simply to enjoy their company. In this situation I've STILL ordered something. An appetizer, a salad, and/or a dessert with coffee. Oftentimes people are uncomfortable eating when someone with them is not. I'm sorry friend or not I really feel wierd if you are just watching me eat. It would make me uncomfortable and make me feel if I were the one being ungracious.

*shrug* then again I'm Thai. Food is REALLY important to us. IF you visit a Thai home you are always asked if you are hungry or thirsty and people WILL foist food onto you no matter. To not do so is inhospitable on the hosts part. To no eat is to give the impression that the hospitality is unwelcome or inferior.

I would hope that the inviter was more interested in my company than wether I had a plate in front of me or not. Is it about the food or my company? OnigiriFB, I enjoy eating with others. When I'm hungry. When there's something that I want on the menu. Not because of social or familial obligations. If folks get upset over me not drinking or eating, well, hopefully they'll consider me an otherwise respectful, delightful woman to be around and will forgive me. :laugh:

Is going out to eat just for company? Is it not also the food, the atmosphere, the act of eating together, etc etc etc? I'm sure you are an engaging diner companion whether or not you eat it. However, I would still be uncomfortable to be eating alone and the whole dinner whatever would have lost its charm. I've had this happen to me ONCE. My friend did tell me she wasn't hungry but would go and socialize. I didn't like it and I'd rather not do it again. Now if someone tells me that I make arrangements for another night or try to eat something before hand. If the case were you show up and then decide you don't want something I would still be uncomfortable and less likely to ask you to dine out again. Go grab coffee and dessert with or a glass of wine with sure.

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I'm interested in the opinions of the board. I was visiting my in-laws with my husband and the 4 of us went out to lunch at an "Arizona Family Restaurant" in a senior community south of Tuscon. The menu consisted of very standard sandwiches, breakfast all day, hamburgers and a few salads. As I've gotten older and more "into" food, I've found that I have become more selective as to what foods I will or will not eat. There wasn't anything on the menu that appealed to me....I really did try to find something!  I did ask if I could order 1/2 of a cobb salad (although the picture did NOT look appetizing) and was told no. So....I chose not to order anything.

My mother-in-law made it pretty clear that my not ordering anything was not acceptable and that there were "plenty of things" to choose from on the menu.

So was I wrong? When you're with a group at a restaurant that doesn't have food choices you like, do you order something you don't want just to be polite?

Thanks,

Margy

Congratulations! In one fell swoop, you managed to:

1. Make yourself feel superior about your food tastes

2. Make your in-laws feel INFERIOR about theirs

3. Place your husband in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between defending your, yes, rudeness, or your mother-in-law's (which doesn't make yours ok, by the way).

My, that's a damned good day's work for about 30 seconds. Don't you feel better now?

Yes, you were rude. People are more important than food, in this lifetime or any other, and given the choice of being remembered as "gosh, she was a nice person" or "gosh, she only ate the very best of the best," I'll take the nice person moniker any day of the week. But maybe that's just me? :hmmm:

Now imagine this scenario: you go to the restaurant with your in-laws, nothing looks inviting, but there's a Cobb salad you might eat half of. You say "gosh...I'm just not terribly hungry...tell you what, honey (to husband), if I get the Cobb salad and can't finish it, will you help me out? Or maybe we can take it home?"

Problem solved, no one's feelings ruffled, you proceed to enjoy a nice lunch with your in-laws.

Sorry, but I cannot understand or sympathize with someone who would rather be rude (and, I'm guessing, knowingly pick a fight, but that's just a guess) than make nice during what, one weekend? with the in-laws, fachrissake.

K

P.S. I agree with Genny. WWBD? Even though now I have to go wipe Coke Zero off my keyboard, thanks.

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Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

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Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

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My sister's MIL knows she likes to cook and eat and that she has an extremely discriminating palate.  :rolleyes:  Thus, she is always trying to impress her with her terrible cooking and by taking my sister out to the (gross) local joints she likes.  My sister HAS in the past choked it down with the most sincere smile she could muster, tactfully suggested a different restaurant, picked at her food and snuck out later for a snack, or flat out declined to order (with excuses).  NOTHING will please this woman other than complete and total glowing approval that her choice of meal (be it home cooked or ordered) was the best and most satisfying choice, and she's pounced on my sister more than once for not showing enough appreciation for the meal. 

Some people you just can't please, and when you try to politely sidestep the issue, they call you out.  All the manners in the world can't cure having to eat with a psycho hosebeast.

I honestly think the MIL is the normal person in this example. The vast majority of people are not foodies and don't even understand the concept. America loves Applebees. If a person isn't particularly bright, the fact that you prefer Per Se to Applebees suggests not that you have some discriminating palate, but rather that you're pompous. Just like if you drink Belgian beer from a glass rather than Bud Lite from a bottle, many, maybe most, people will think you're a snob rather than a beer connoisseur, because such a concept is foreign to their imaginations.

Edited by eipi10 (log)
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Forget the question of social niceties & family interactions & all that. Whatever group you're with, how do you walk into a restaurant & occupy a chair & not order anything? I can't conceive of that; it's simply not done, no matter what the circumstances. You have to order something, even if it's just a cup of poorly made tea.

Brngng the family back into it, the post below caught & held my eye, remindng me very much of my visits with my mom, who turned 90 this year. I won't add more because it'd just be redundant.

Also, she says that they were visiting a "retirement community."  Restaurants in retirement communities have to cater to an elderly clientele that often has various dietary requirements that necessitate blander menus.  My own father, now 86, has probably eaten a meal in every country on the planet.  He used to love "gourmet" food.  Now he's reduced to a bland, low-salt, low-sugar diet. 

Is the Senior Citizen Early-Bird Special at Golden Corral my favorite dining experience?

Uh, no.

But the day my father is no longer available for me to take him there, will be a sad day for me, indeed.

In fact, so sad that I can barely manage to contemplate it.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Lying isn't my bag, either. No, I do not want to hurt her feelings or teach her a "lesson." A cup of tea or coffee in front of me is always welcome. A beverage, my undying devotion and scintillating conversation will just have to do.  :rolleyes:

But if you accept an invitation to go to lunch doesn't that mean the person asking is asking you to join them in eating? Most people enjoy eating with others. To accept an invitation and then turn around and decide the food wasn't good enough imo is rude. One caveat being that you inform the person that you weren't hungry prior to going to the restaurant but would like to join them simply to enjoy their company. In this situation I've STILL ordered something. An appetizer, a salad, and/or a dessert with coffee. Oftentimes people are uncomfortable eating when someone with them is not. I'm sorry friend or not I really feel wierd if you are just watching me eat. It would make me uncomfortable and make me feel if I were the one being ungracious.

*shrug* then again I'm Thai. Food is REALLY important to us. IF you visit a Thai home you are always asked if you are hungry or thirsty and people WILL foist food onto you no matter. To not do so is inhospitable on the hosts part. To no eat is to give the impression that the hospitality is unwelcome or inferior.

I would hope that the inviter was more interested in my company than wether I had a plate in front of me or not. Is it about the food or my company? OnigiriFB, I enjoy eating with others. When I'm hungry. When there's something that I want on the menu. Not because of social or familial obligations. If folks get upset over me not drinking or eating, well, hopefully they'll consider me an otherwise respectful, delightful woman to be around and will forgive me. :laugh:

Is going out to eat just for company? Is it not also the food, the atmosphere, the act of eating together, etc etc etc? I'm sure you are an engaging diner companion whether or not you eat it. However, I would still be uncomfortable to be eating alone and the whole dinner whatever would have lost its charm. I've had this happen to me ONCE. My friend did tell me she wasn't hungry but would go and socialize. I didn't like it and I'd rather not do it again. Now if someone tells me that I make arrangements for another night or try to eat something before hand. If the case were you show up and then decide you don't want something I would still be uncomfortable and less likely to ask you to dine out again. Go grab coffee and dessert with or a glass of wine with sure.

True. Being invited to dine is usually done with multiple reasons in mind. Yet, it seems a shame that if I didn't eat with you that your whole dinner "would have lost it's charm" and I will now be less likely to enjoy your company over a dinner table again. Each to their own, of course.

moosnsqrl, you were able to put into words what I, a college ne'er-do-well, am incapable of.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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I honestly think the MIL is the normal person in this example. The vast majority of people are not foodies and don't even understand the concept. America loves Applebees. If a person isn't particularly bright, the fact that you prefer Per Se to Applebees suggests not that you have some discriminating palate, but rather that you're pompous.

So, I choose to "spend" my calories and appetite NOT at Applebees, while I am willing to sit there with you, converse and have a cup of tea, makes me rude and pompous? I am there, ready able and willing to socialize with you, but the fact I choose (again, for any multitude of reasons) not to actually eat, makes me rude and/or pompous? Mon dieu, I hope no member of your family or inner circle ever hooks-up with anyone "different" than you.

One of the primary rules of any behavior-modification programs is that you are empowered to choose what you ingest and it is OK to (need I say it again?) politely but firmly decline to eat anything. A club sandwich or a cobb salad may appear innocuous to the majority but they are far from desirable from many dietary standpoints.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I honestly think the MIL is the normal person in this example. The vast majority of people are not foodies and don't even understand the concept. America loves Applebees. If a person isn't particularly bright, the fact that you prefer Per Se to Applebees suggests not that you have some discriminating palate, but rather that you're pompous. Just like if you drink Belgian beer from a glass rather than Bud Lite from a bottle, many, maybe most, people will think you're a snob rather than a beer connoisseur, because such a concept is foreign to their imaginations.

Point taken, but one of my sister's favorite restaurants is Taco Bell, and she has been known to drink beer out of a can ON PURPOSE. One time, the MIL-zilla offered sis a slice of toast from her favorite kind of health bread. Sis tasted it, discovered it was awful to the point of inedible, discreetly wrapped it in a napkin and deposited it in the trash without being noticed. Only later, when MIL was digging around in the trash (why???) was the offending slice of toast discovered, paraded out in front of the group, and it was demanded of my sister why she didn't eat the toast. True story.

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