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Was I wrong to not order anything?


MargyB
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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.

OMFG!!! And then what happened????

See, I have a MILzilla too and I'd still break bread with her. Because I belong the the cult...WWBD?

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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.

I think we're all forgetting that, to the OP, a half of a cobb salad would have been okay. What each of us chooses to eat and not eat is beside the point.

Now, I may have decided to do the same thing as the OP if I had a MIL-zilla (trust me, I can be very passive/aggressive) but I'd know that my actions were rude :biggrin:

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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It was a social situation. Everyone breaks bread together. Doesn't matter if the food is good or not. It's FOOD. And lots of people all over the world would be happy to have it. Respect it. Since the beginning of time, people have gathered to celebrate having enough so that they don't go to bed hungry. What a wonderful privilege.

Take part in the celebration. Doesn't matter if it's Cheese Whiz and crackers. Enjoy.

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It was a social situation. Everyone breaks bread together. Doesn't matter if the food is good or not. It's FOOD. And lots of people all over the world would be happy to have it. Respect it. Since the beginning of time, people have gathered to celebrate having enough so that they don't go to bed hungry. What a wonderful privilege.

Take part in the celebration. Doesn't matter if it's Cheese Whiz and crackers. Enjoy.

With all due respect, the fact that others in the world haven't enough to eat, or any choice of what they eat, is not a reason to eat bad, nutritionally questionable or distasteful food. In fact, quite the contrary. That "there are people starving in . . ." mentality is, ironically and sadly, the reason many people in the US develop eating disorders. Really.

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.

Is the beer out of a can thing not a bit sexist?

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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.

OMFG!!! And then what happened????

See, I have a MILzilla too and I'd still break bread with her. Because I belong the the cult...WWBD?

You won't believe it: her husband snatched the toast out of his mother's hand and crammed it into his mouth, which made everyone laugh and defused the situation. He'd thrown his toast away, too, but in the garage where it wouldn't be found.

We grew up with a criminally polite mother who would rather die than hurt someone else's feelings, so my sister and I are well aware of the importance of being gracious and enjoyable. However, after a long holiday weekend of suffering meal after meal of dreck in suffocatingly close quarters, I'd forgive anyone for passing over another narsty meal.

ETA: Sexist?? My apologies! I was just riffing on the post to which I replied.

Edited by Blanche Davidian (log)
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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.

OMFG!!! And then what happened????

See, I have a MILzilla too and I'd still break bread with her. Because I belong the the cult...WWBD?

You won't believe it: her husband snatched the toast out of his mother's hand and crammed it into his mouth, which made everyone laugh and defused the situation. He'd thrown his toast away, too, but in the garage where it wouldn't be found.

We grew up with a criminally polite mother who would rather die than hurt someone else's feelings, so my sister and I are well aware of the importance of being gracious and enjoyable. However, after a long holiday weekend of suffering meal after meal of dreck in suffocatingly close quarters, I'd forgive anyone for passing over another narsty meal.

ETA: Sexist?? My apologies! I was just riffing on the post to which I replied.

I should have added a smiley, for I was primarily ribbing you. My apologies, actually. :smile:

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It was a social situation. Everyone breaks bread together. Doesn't matter if the food is good or not. It's FOOD. And lots of people all over the world would be happy to have it. Respect it. Since the beginning of time, people have gathered to celebrate having enough so that they don't go to bed hungry. What a wonderful privilege.

Take part in the celebration. Doesn't matter if it's Cheese Whiz and crackers. Enjoy.

With all due respect, the fact that others in the world haven't enough to eat, or any choice of what they eat, is not a reason to eat bad, nutritionally questionable or distasteful food. In fact, quite the contrary. That "there are people starving in . . ." mentality is, ironically and sadly, the reason many people in the US develop eating disorders. Really.

Excuse me. That's NOT what I said. I'm trying to SAY that food is to be respected. It's got nothing to do with obesity issues. If you've traveled at all anywhere in the world, you would realize that. People get together to share food. Even if it's a freaking cricket roasted over an open fire. Obviously this family wanted to eat together and one person tilted their universe. Was it necessary? Just grow up and suck it up. Sometimes we have to do things we don't particularly enjoy. I've sat through dozens of junior high band concerts, not because I anticipated excellent music, but because SOMEONE I LOVE was in the band. And I enjoyed them!

Get the analogy?

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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.

OMFG!!! And then what happened????

See, I have a MILzilla too and I'd still break bread with her. Because I belong the the cult...WWBD?

If I join this cult can I too make as much money as B does for each bite taken? :smile:

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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.

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?

With the possible exception of the original poster, it is absurd to think that anyone one on this board believes that to be true. We all know that dining socially is always freighted with meanings -- some deep and some not so deep. We also know that there are some dietary restrictions that are beyond our control-- allergies, religious laws or the fact that seafood makes you want gag or you're trying to lose ten pounds -- but that most food decisions are a matter of choice. Choices are made with a clear understanding of what etiquette is in play, what taboos or imperatives are involved, and who is going to be hurt or pleased. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but there are many times when a Cobb Salad is not just a Cobb Salad and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

Interesting choices of words: "basic human right," "behavior modification programs." "Food is where I, personally, draw the line." "I really think this compulsion (discounting cultural issues, as raised upthread) to insist one eat is unhealthy and absurd." Freighted indeed.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Busboy,Mar 1 2007, 04:45 PM

ust 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.
menon1971,Mar 1 2007, 02:48 PM

I respectfully disagree. A proper host, in my opinion, always asks if a restaurant choice is acceptable to would be guests, e.g., "would it be alright if we ate at X."

(This may be fodder for a different thread), but suppose I said -- "I'm feeling like a little Italian today. Let me buy you lunch over at Luigi's Famous." Would you feel OK saying "you know, I hate Luigi's, why don't you buy me lunch at Sette Osteria instead?"

Or: "Mom would really love to see us today. I know its a little bland, but she really loves The Rusty Spoon." "No, I'm only going to see your mom if we get to go to The Frying Dutchman."

Or: "There's a hot new restaurant I'm dying to try, we're making reservations at Cafe Boeuf. You want in" "No, but I'll go along if you change your mind and go to the V-Note."

What I'm suggesting is that in many situations, there's a place for "is this OK with you. (Whatta you wanna do?" "I don't know, what do you wanna do?" :laugh: ) But there are many where not to accept an offer as offered would be to place -- somewhat ostentationsly -- putting your taste above the fellowship of the would-be host.

And hosting entails both privileges and resposnsibilities, as does guesting (is that a word?). Host gets first choice. Guest gets to graciously decline.

I state the following with a light hearted spirit: You live in DC, so how about some diplomacy (and honesty - I use to live there and always thought it to be in short supply, I am afraid) like saying actually I have had some bad experiences at X, could I buy you lunch at Y, or, say, suggesting that the person in question ask Mom if another restaurant would be acceptable (you are assuming that ol' Mom is inflexible - maybe she is really sick of the Rusty Spoon), and if not perhaps that is the time to "suck it up" as you proffered previously, or pursuant to the third example, simply telling the friend that you are not interested in Restaurant Beef - he or she is a friend so there should be some reciprocity, equality, and honesty.

Well, as a diplomatic Washingtonian, were I able to avail myself of your Southern hospitality (my mother was from Alabama and, with my father [a damn Yankee] lives in Atlanta, which is still partially Southern, so I use that phrase with respect), it would never occur to me to question your choice of restaurant were you to invite me to dine with you.

Of course, were we ever to meet, between the diplomacy that leaks into my office like encrypted microwave intelligence reports from the nearby embassies, and the gentility that grows in southern soil like kudzu after a summer rain, we'd probably spend so much time trying to figure out where the other one wanted to dine that we'd end up sending out for Chinese. :wink:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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For God's sake, the point of this entire ridiculous discussion is this:

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.

SENIOR community. Limited resources. Different food choices than when they were young.

This was probably a big deal to them, an opportunity to "take the kids out for a bite".

WHY deprive them of that joy?

It has nothing to do with whether you (and your highly developed palate) like the food being served. It wasn't being FORCED on you---

don't you get it?

YOU WERE BEING TREATED !

Geez. :angry:

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For God's sake, the point of this entire ridiculous discussion is this:
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.

SENIOR community. Limited resources. Different food choices than when they were young.

This was probably a big deal to them, an opportunity to "take the kids out for a bite".

WHY deprive them of that joy?

It has nothing to do with whether you (and your highly developed palate) like the food being served. It wasn't being FORCED on you---

don't you get it?

YOU WERE BEING TREATED !

Geez. :angry:

I was gonna stay out of this, or say I'd just order scrambled eggs, but then I read this and have to say the obligatory WORD to you! Plus, I love me some Grey's Anatomy! :wub:

Cheers,

Carolyn

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

J.R.R. Tolkien

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Busboy,Mar 1 2007, 04:45 PM

ust 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.
menon1971,Mar 1 2007, 02:48 PM

I respectfully disagree. A proper host, in my opinion, always asks if a restaurant choice is acceptable to would be guests, e.g., "would it be alright if we ate at X."

(This may be fodder for a different thread), but suppose I said -- "I'm feeling like a little Italian today. Let me buy you lunch over at Luigi's Famous." Would you feel OK saying "you know, I hate Luigi's, why don't you buy me lunch at Sette Osteria instead?"

Or: "Mom would really love to see us today. I know its a little bland, but she really loves The Rusty Spoon." "No, I'm only going to see your mom if we get to go to The Frying Dutchman."

Or: "There's a hot new restaurant I'm dying to try, we're making reservations at Cafe Boeuf. You want in" "No, but I'll go along if you change your mind and go to the V-Note."

What I'm suggesting is that in many situations, there's a place for "is this OK with you. (Whatta you wanna do?" "I don't know, what do you wanna do?" :laugh: ) But there are many where not to accept an offer as offered would be to place -- somewhat ostentationsly -- putting your taste above the fellowship of the would-be host.

And hosting entails both privileges and resposnsibilities, as does guesting (is that a word?). Host gets first choice. Guest gets to graciously decline.

I state the following with a light hearted spirit: You live in DC, so how about some diplomacy (and honesty - I use to live there and always thought it to be in short supply, I am afraid) like saying actually I have had some bad experiences at X, could I buy you lunch at Y, or, say, suggesting that the person in question ask Mom if another restaurant would be acceptable (you are assuming that ol' Mom is inflexible - maybe she is really sick of the Rusty Spoon), and if not perhaps that is the time to "suck it up" as you proffered previously, or pursuant to the third example, simply telling the friend that you are not interested in Restaurant Beef - he or she is a friend so there should be some reciprocity, equality, and honesty.

Well, as a diplomatic Washingtonian, were I able to avail myself of your Southern hospitality (my mother was from Alabama and, with my father [a damn Yankee] still lives in Atlanta, which is still partially Southern, so I use that phrase with respect), it would never occur to me to question your choice of restaurant were you to invite me to dine with you.

Of course, were we ever to meet, between the diplomacy that leaks into my office like encrypted microwave intelligence reports from the nearby embassies, and the gentility that grows in southern soil like kudzu after a summer rain, we'd probably spend so much time trying to figure out where the other one wanted to dine that we'd end up sending out for Chinese. :wink:

Well said. However, I suspect that we could settle on something via an honest attempt at consensus - when two people venture forth with a lust for good and interesting food it is a far cry than dinning with those less inclined. I am not that picky, but do have my opinions, and half a cobb salad is out of the question. :smile:

In the spirit of full disclosure, I live in the Deep South, but am from VA and three quarter of my grandparents had Yankee origins (MI and MN). I am more mid-Atlantic than Southern, but I do like many aspects of the culture down here, especially the food (I moved here for a job, but have liked it so far). Were you to venture down this way I would provide you with many informed options as to render your choice pleasant and accurate, but I would prefer you to order something, although I would not shun you if you did not. :wink:

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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.

OMG, who is being rude now?

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Whether intentional or not, by refusing to eat anything MargyB sent a message of rejection to her in-laws. And her MIL, by criticizing her for not ordering something, returned the favor. Ah, the communicative power of food.

Seriously, though, in a family situation like this, you have to order something, and you have to eat some of it and pretend to like it. Otherwise you risk hurt feelings. Remember, this was an invitation to a meal, so you're expected to come hungry and eat. And MargyB did not refuse one or two dishes or any particular food (which would have been OK), but the whole menu.

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Honestly, I am a little tired of this topic. And I think that it's interesting that on a thread about manners some of us (on both sides of the issue) are showing so few of them. Reading many of these posts I keep wondering if the people who defend the OP's right to not eat anything and feel ok about that would have felt the same if this situation had taken place in another country. In other words: if MargyB had been an American and her in laws had been Thai - would you have all said that she wasn't being rude to refuse to eat? Sometimes I think that "culture" has to be foreign in order to be legitimate. Different groups/generations/religions in America have 'cultures', too - and I think that, as long as doing so doesn't violate truly important values, we can be as respectful of those 'cultures' as we would in other countries.

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Gotta weigh in on the side of "Rude," for most of the reasons stated by other posters with a similar opinion. The apologentsia minority misses the point that, in the setting described, it did not have to be about "me" and "I". We aren't talking about throwing ourselves on a grenade here, or other grand issues of self determination. It was a meal with family.

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Honestly, I am a little tired of this topic.  And I think that it's interesting that on a thread about manners some of us (on both sides of the issue) are showing so few of them. 

I completely agree. I'm rather appalled, actually, at the angry and sometimes self-righteous invective directed at the OP. I understand if you disagree, but there have been at least three posts which directly and viciously attack the OP; for posts about not being rude, they certainly seem hypocritical. It's easy to censure someone on the internet, without having to see them face to face, but the same rules of etiquette and decency apply.

Can't we all play nice?

Edited by enurmi (log)

I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet, so who am I to judge?

The Guide is definitive. Reality is often inaccurate.

Government Created Killer Nano Robot Infection Epidemic 06.

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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.

But in this situation, who would be the "royal controlling bitch"? The person who insists the other eats, or the person who refuses to eat? In my opinion, they both have control issues.

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Honestly, I am a little tired of this topic.  And I think that it's interesting that on a thread about manners some of us (on both sides of the issue) are showing so few of them.  Reading many of these posts I keep wondering if the people who defend the OP's right to not eat anything and feel ok about that would have felt the same if this situation had taken place in another country.  In other words: if MargyB had been an American and her in laws had been Thai - would you have all said that she wasn't being rude to refuse to eat?  Sometimes I think that "culture" has to be foreign in order to be legitimate.  Different groups/generations/religions in America have 'cultures', too - and I think that, as long as doing so doesn't violate truly important values, we can be as respectful of those 'cultures' as we would in other countries.

I would ask of the righteousness of being forced/compelled to respect any food culture. On the other hand what are the truly important values we should observe? This is an honest question and not a slight.

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I appreciate everyone's opinions...and I am trying to take them as opinions, not petty criticisms. In my original posting, I didn't give all of the details of the situation in interest of keeping the posting short, but in retrospect that was obviously a mistake.

My husband and I are the ones who paid for the lunch...we were not guests of our in-laws. We hadn't planned on going out for a meal, but as we were driving by the restaurant at 3 PM (after eating a very late breakfast at 11:30), my father-in-law suggested stopping to have a "cup of soup". That was fine....but by the time the ordering was finished, all 3 of them (FIL, MIL and husband) ordered full meals.

However, now after reading all of your comments, I agree I should have ordered something, if perhaps only some toast. I'll definately do that next time.

Margy

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