The Clean Plate Club At Parties

by admin on December 28, 2011

I dislike foods that come with mold, and bleu cheese is one of my strongest dislikes. Some years ago when my first husband was in the Navy I was invited to attend a luncheon with a group of officer’s wives. One of the chief party snacks consisted of bleu cheese on crackers — a large amount of bleu cheese heaped on some kind of large gourmet crackers. To be polite, I took a few of the horrible things and chowed down, pretending I liked them. I was patting myself on the back for being such an obliging guest when the hostess, seeing my snack plate was empty, reached over and plopped two more of those gigantic crackers onto it! I could have cried, but I manned up and ate those as well. This time, however, I realized what I had done wrong, and left half of the last cracker on the plate to indicate I was full. No “clean plate club” for me any more! If I’m invited somewhere and I dislike the food they serve, I’ll leave a bit left on my mostly clean (and mannerly) plate.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Angeldrac December 28, 2011 at 4:53 am

In a lot of cultures, it’s considered rude to clean your entire plate – it implies one hasn’t been fed enough. It’s mainly in the English speaking world that people feel compelled to eat everything they’re served – it comes from the whole “finish your dinner or no dessert” thing the mothers in the 50’s and 60’s did (also coincided with the rising incidence of obesity and heart disease).
Perfectly responsible AND polite management strategy, though, OP – bravo!


joy December 28, 2011 at 5:04 am

She saw you eating them, so she assumed you liked them.

There was absolutely no need to take them. There is no compulsion to try everything at a buffet. I don’t like blue cheese either, and I just don’t take it. If someone offers it to me, I say “No thank you, I don’t like blue cheese.” Simple, easy, and completely polite.

If I were the hostess, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t waste my food by forcing yourself to eat something you didn’t like, not to mention leaving part of a dish on your plate to be thrown in the garbage. Leave it for guests who enjoy it.


Edhla December 28, 2011 at 5:45 am

I guess this might be the part where I reveal myself to be the world’s biggest boor, but whatever happened to a pleasant smile and cheerful “no, thank you”? I don’t think it’s a breach of etiquette to politely refuse food you don’t actually like… and you don’t (in my opinion) need to justify why you’ve said no, either. I can’t wrap my head around eating several helpings of something I find nauseating in the name of being polite- and if, as host, I later found out I’d foisted disliked food on someone because they gave me no indication that they disliked it, I’d be a tiny bit mortified.


Soph December 28, 2011 at 6:46 am

I have had a few of these instances. I’m not really sure where the line is – maybe someone can help me out here?

I’m a vegetarian, and make sure people are aware of this before I go out to dinner/over to their places and I don’t expect people to accommodate me (I can cook/bring my own food and I’m not fussy with what I eat as long as it doesn’t involve meat). When I was 17 or 18 I went to a BBQ party for one of my friends, and she had informed the hostess that I was vegetarian and that the hostess was happy to provide veggie burgers as there were going to be a few vegetarians there. When she served them up though, she served them on the same plate as the (very raw) steaks, and they were swimming in blood. I thought it rude to refuse so I ate mine, even though I felt like I wanted to throw up.

Another story is when my parents went to a dinner party and black pudding was served as one of the mains. Many people enjoy black pudding, but it’s quite a taste that you either love or you hate, and most people don’t enjoy it. My parents can’t stand it, and it turned out neither did most of the people there, but everyone stayed quiet and ate it anyway.

Is it always impolite to refuse food? Where is the line in this instance? Would it have been correct for anyone to speak up? Also, what if the black pudding was presumed to be enjoyed and was then served at future dinner parties? I know I’ve gone a bit off-topic but I was wondering about this sort of etiquette. Some insight would be helpful here – thanks.


Missmolly December 28, 2011 at 6:58 am

It’s not rude or impolite to refuse a dish that you know you won’t enjoy. You certainly don’t have to go into detail about how a particular ingredient makes you gag or whatever, but a simple: “No thankyou” is perfectly fine.


coralreef December 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

It irks me to no end when someone shoves food at me, even well intentioned. Kudos to OP for eating something she really disliked, I know I would not have been able to. Hostess should have left the empty plate empty. The OP is an adult and if she wants to eat more, she can get herself more food, as this particular function appears to be “self-serve”.

Even when it’s not buffet type, unless someone asks for seconds (if they are available/offered), don’t force feed your guests.


NooraK December 28, 2011 at 8:09 am

My mom’s rule was that if you served yourself, you needed to eat what you took. If someone else prepared your plate, you did not need to eat everything. Personally, I wouldn’t have served myself something I did not like, especially if the food was served buffet-style.


Jen a December 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

Or you could, you know, not eat something you find disgusting, thereby leaving more for people like me who love bleu cheese. I don’t think there’s any etiquette rule that states you have to eat all the hors d’oevres offered at a party.


DDP December 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

My understanding of etiquette is that if you don’t care for an hors d’oeuvre that it is polite to decline it. There’s no need to take one. Forcing additional ones on someone seems rude to me, as the host should have just offered. Now if you are plated a meal, my understanding is that you don’t need to clean the plate, but I do always try to make a good show of eating the meal. Maybe I’m the one off, but I think the writer’s thoughts on etiquette are slightly off.


Lythande December 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

I’m just wondering, is it rude to say “no thank you”? If you don’t like it, why aren’t you allowed to say so? It’s no insult to someone’s home cooking to say that you don’t eat bleu cheese, for example. It’s just a fact, and shouldn’t give offense. Are you obligated to eat something just because it’s offered or given to you?


Zhoen December 28, 2011 at 9:55 am

Since when does politeness force us to put anything in our mouths? One can be perfectly polite and still have enough spine to decline food one finds revolting, leaving more for those who like it as well.

Anything put on my plate by someone else can be ignored, without giving anyone else the right to be offended.


Virg December 28, 2011 at 10:16 am

Honestly, what you did wrong was eat something you don’t like just to be polite. There’s nothing wrong with sampling something and then stopping if you don’t enjoy it, and it’s not rude not to clean your plate (or close to it). Next time, if you don’t like what you’re served, don’t eat it.



Kimstu December 28, 2011 at 10:16 am

I think what you did was rather above and beyond the call of duty throughout, although I applaud your courteous determination to show the hosts a positive reaction to the hospitality they provided. You didn’t have to take any of the bleu cheese crackers in the first place if you didn’t care for them, and you didn’t have to eat any of the additional ones the hostess gave you unasked (although once you had done so, forestalling the possible threat of additional helpings by leaving a bit uneaten was a smart move).

There’s nothing impolite about avoiding foods that for whatever reason you would prefer not to eat; it’s only impolite if you complain about what’s available, or bore people with why you can’t/won’t/would rather not eat whatever it is, or request special service of something that’s not being offered. Polite people don’t pay close attention to what other people are or aren’t choosing to eat and don’t make a big deal out of it. Which is ultimately much pleasanter than having to scrutinize other people’s plates trying to deduce their preferences from the remnants of their half-eaten food, anyway!

Meanwhile, helpful hostesses take note: this is (one of the reasons) why it’s not a good idea to overdo your hospitable impulses by “plopping” unsought food selections on your guests’ plates rather than letting them choose for themselves. Admittedly, the guest in this situation had definitely sent a misleading signal by voluntarily eating some of the crackers already, so it was reasonable for the hostess to suppose she would welcome some more. But never forget that some people might be eating a particular dish more out of politeness than out of enjoyment, or might have dietary issues that allow them to consume a small amount of whatever it is but not to come back for seconds, so it’s never a safe bet to push food on them.

In short, never mind the Clean Plate Club: what all polite adults need to belong to is the Your Plate Is None Of My Business Club.


Cat December 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

I would not have taken anything that I truly disliked and would have tried the other alternatives since other snacks were being offered.

The woman who put things on your plate was wrong to do so. An adult is able to make his or her own food choices; and you should have been asked if you would like to have more of the pro-offered snacks.


Margaret December 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

Too funny! My mom told me once that when she first married my dad, her MIL and FIL would constantly try to feed her. “Eat, eat, eat!” is something I remember hearing every time we visited them — we could arrive at 10 pm, and two minutes later the table would be covered with food. Anyway, she said she finally figured out that if she left a little bit of food on her plate, they wouldn’t push anymore on her.


Kiki December 28, 2011 at 10:47 am

I don’t think there is any expectation for a guest to actually be forced to eat something they don’t like or want. No one threatened the OP with bodily harm if she did not eat the crackers. How did this even qualify to be on etiquette hell? It has nothing to do with etiquette. I entertain regularly, and I have never forced a guest to eat my food.


Lola December 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

Oh no! Not the FOOD POLICE! You know who I’m talking about — that person watching your plate like a hawk and taking the first opportunity to fill it up without even giving you the first right of refusal.


Jennifer December 28, 2011 at 10:59 am

You know, I don’t think you should have to clean your plate anymore. For instance, I am lactose intolerant and can only eat a certain amount of dairy. If someone plopped extra cheese on my plate, I really couldn’t eat it without feeling sick later. Or if I ate something and discovered melon in it, I shouldn’t eat any more of it due to mild allergies (mostly mouth itching, but the more I eat, the worse it is).

Not to mention people might be watching their weight. Take only what you can eat BUT hosts should not pressure people to eat more.


Redblues December 28, 2011 at 11:06 am

Something I can’t do in the name of etiquette is to choke down food I just don’t like. Admitedly that list is quite short. I will probably never encounter a snack table full of nothing but cooked carrots (raw are just fine). But I wouldn’t eat them if I did. Nor would I ever expect my guests to eat food they dislike. Either way, I wouldn’t make a show of it. One can always politely decline any food, without explanation. It would be impolite to badger a guest as to why that person will or will not eat a certain food either. One is not required to offer an excuse. One should never put a guest in the position of having to announce food intolerances, allergies, or diets to anybody. (Does anyone want to announce that milk products give them terrible gas?!? Does anybody else want to know that? Does anyone want to argue about his/her relative need to lose weight, lower cholesterol, or avoid gluten with anyone but his/hear health care provider?!) When I have a party, I try to find out about allergies, or dietary restrictions ahead of time and to make sure I have something for everybody, whether vegetarian, kosher, halal, gluten free, salt free, low calorie, or whatever, but that’s about it. And I would NEVER take it upon myself to plunk food on anyone’s plate. Aaack! That is the opposite of a considerate hostess! I still remember attending a party many years ago where my hostesses followed me around badgering me to eat, despite the fact that I just wasn’t hungry. (I won’t eat until I’m stuffed. Just can’t, I find it horribly uncomfortable.) I finally lost my temper, which was also not polite,(and yes I did feel bad about it) but I was also very young and really couldn’t figure out how to convince them to leave me alone. I was enjoying myself, mingling and talking, just not eating. To this day, I can’t figure out what I could have done, besides just leaving the party, to avoid being repeatedly cornered and badgered. This has left me very sensitive to avoiding putting anyone else in such a position. You were a trooper OP. Hope you didn’t have to spend too much time at that particular base!


Heather December 28, 2011 at 11:09 am

If hors d’ouvres are being passed, there’s no rule saying you have to take one, or explain to the host why you chose not to. You could have lactose intolerance or a mold allergy; the host doesn’t know and it isn’t any of their business, frankly.

I think the lesson you should learn here is not to take foods you don’t like in hors d’ouvres situations, particularly if you have other choices available.


Serenity S. December 28, 2011 at 11:23 am

I think that is good advice about leaving a small amount of food on your plate to signal that you are full. Thanks. I also think it was rude that the hostess touched the food with her fingers to put it on OP’s plate, because of germs.


Elle December 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

If you don’t like the food, especially the appetizers, then don’t eat it. Poke it around your plate briefly and then become so engaged in conversation that it completely slips your mind the food is there. Choking down something you hate just for an empty or near-empty plate is dumb, not polite.


Jojo December 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

Why would you eat party snacks that you don’t like? I’ve eaten plenty enough at dinner parties to please my host, eating buffet items that don’t appeal is a step too far.
If you can’t get away with refusing the proffered food then I believe it’s best to lie – outrageously. Failing that my stand-by lines are usually variations on the truth.
In this day of allergies for all occasions, and I am a genuine allergy sufferer, I feel it’s always acceptable to say: ” It looks delicious but I must decline, you know what it’s like when you’re allergic”, and then bean dip. I also get cracking headaches if I eat too much cheese and alcohol tends to trigger my asthma, so the ‘I’m off it while I work out what’s triggering these blasted migraines” also works a treat. Or there’s always the classic; ” Confidentially,between you and I, my period is late this month and I don’t want to risk eating mouldy cheese until I know either way”.


Gracie C. December 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I’m not sure what would have been wrong with, “No thank you, I don’t like blue cheese.” But to each their own. Of course, I LOVE blue cheese (though hated it until I was in my 30’s), so I definitely would have eaten the OP’s share. 🙂

As for the clean plate club, yes, in some places finishing your food is taken as a sign that you are not full, so you get fed more. LOL. That stinks when you don’t like the food, so yes, leaving a little behind is always good.


Kate December 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I don’t think there is anything wrong with politely declining a food item that you know you won’t like. To me, tasting an unknown item is the right thing to do, but if you already know beforehand that won’t enjoy something, I think you have every right to pass. Make it clear that it’s because of the ingredient itself, not because of the way it’s prepared to avoid insulting the cook. And if possible, turn the attention to something else. “I’m sorry, I just don’t like blue cheese, but the bean dip over there looks wonderful!” is perfectly acceptable to me.


Ashley December 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I come from a large family so I’m quite used to being asked to eat things I don’t have room for. So I’m used to leaving a bite or two on the plate to indicate fullness. It’s a pretty good trick!


Angie December 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I think it was rather rude of the hostess to put more on your plate without asking!


Cat Whisperer December 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm

A good host/hostess wants guests to enjoy themselves at a social function. Guests obviously cannot enjoy themselves if they feel obligated to eat (or attempt to eat) food that they do not like. So a good host/hostess never would put a guest in the position of feeling obligated to eat food they wouldn’t enjoy.

FWIW, when confronted with a situation where a host/hostess is pushing me to eat food that I don’t like, don’t want to eat, I find it useful to invoke health issues. “I’m sorry, but I’m allergic to certain kinds of cheese,” said with an apologetic smile, should get you off the hook. (FWIW, people who have an allergy to penicillin-type antibiotics frequently are violently allergic to blue cheeses because of the mold.)

My worst-case scenario involved an in-law family member who seemed determined to get me to eat lots of the Italian old family recipe delicacies she prepared for a meal. I’m diabetic and there are limits to the pasta and carbohydrate foods I can eat in one meal. I actually had to pull out my glucose meter and do a test there at the table to convince her that I was not snubbing her food, there REALLY was a valid reason for not stuffing myself. I don’t think a guest should ever be forced to resort to such extremes to refuse offered food!


Kat December 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

As a hostess, I wouldn’t have been offended if you bypassed one of the snacks on offer. I don’t think you needed to eat it if you didn’t like it.

The hostess was overstepping a bit by refilling your plate, but you can see why she mistakenly thought you liked the crackers.


Carla E. December 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Wha…? Hostess or not, I find it EXTREMELY rude to refill someone else’s plate without that person’s consent. The presence of an empty plate is NOT an invitation to add food! Believe me, you’re a better person than I would’ve been to eat the snacks in the first place, since I, too, hate bleu cheese. I’d never have been able to gag down a second helping!


Ergala December 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I see two things wrong with this picture. First being eating something you detest at a party. I’m sure there were other things to eat correct? I’ve never been offended when someone didn’t eat something I served at a party. I only become offended if every single thing I offered was not to their liking. I’m allergic to seafood, specifically shellfish. At parties people have tried to thrust shrimp cocktail at me and usually when they don’t quite accept that I am saying No Thank You I explain in as few words as possible “I’m sorry but I’m allergic to seafood so I must really decline.”. If they continue to insist I try it thinking I merely don’t like seafood I walk away.

Second rude thing I saw….the hostess putting more food on your plate without even asking you. That right there did not obligate you to eat the two extra crackers. I would have simply said “Oh my goodness thank you but I must decline!”. I would never just plop more food on a guest’s plate unless they asked me for more. And if they do, I present them with the platter/plate and let them choose the ones they want themselves.


Dunii December 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Is it really rude to say you don’t care for a particular food? I like to think that I am a polite person, but I would have no problem passing up the tray with the blue cheese, and even saying “No thanks, I have had enough.” if someone went to refill my plate for me. Surely forcing food on someone would be more rude?


MeganAmy December 28, 2011 at 4:16 pm

If there’s something I don’t like, I don’t take any at all. No one loves all foods. I just wouldn’t have taken any in the first place. But the hostess should not have been placing food on other people’s plates without asking first. I’ve never heard of that.


Allie December 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I think it’s rude to put food on someone else’s plate, especially food that you pick up with your hand, without asking and giving them the opportunity to decline politely. While I normally make an effort to go a bit outside my comfort zone when I’m a guest and offered strange food or food I don’t really like, I think you can politely decline and just say that you are allergic or have some other dietary restriction.


Kiz December 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I disagree. I can not and will not eat blue cheese. I would politely refuse the offered food. If i attend a party and they are serving food i do not like, i just won’t eat any and i am not afraid to politely say “I’m sorry, but i dont like Blue Cheese, but those mushroom vol a vonts are lovely”


Jelaza December 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Maybe I’m rude, but I would neither have taken food that I know I don’t like, nor eaten food that someone else put on my plate.

I wonder if the hostess thought you liked them but, even so, I think it was rude of her to put food on your plate like that.


--Lia December 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm

It’s hard to find a better example of how attitudes towards what constitutes good manners change than this one. I have an Emily Post book from the 1940s in which she suggests that one may turn down food with the excuse that one has “allergies.” I nearly spit when I saw that. “Allergies” is a real medical condition. To blame allergies when you don’t have them is a lie that will doubtless get you in trouble. For one thing, you might change your mind. You might not want the tomato on the salad but have no trouble with the tomato sauce on the pasta. Or you might think that you don’t like brussels sprouts but want to try one at a later date.

Nowadays, I can’t imagine eating something I didn’t care for just to be polite. It’s no one’s business what I eat and what I don’t. As hostess, I can’t imagine being offended if someone chose to eat these appetizers and not those, or to eat a little of this and nothing else. It’s not up to me to be offended if they only accept water or not even that. It’s not my business to want to know why they’re not eating– unless it’s to very discretely find out what they’d like so it can magically be available next time. (If I’m serving a few people, I ask if there are any foods that my guests can’t eat– so I don’t have a meat filled meal for vegetarians or peanut oil in everything when they’re allergic. If I’m serving many people, I try to have enough variety that something will appeal to everyone, maybe not every single dish, but something.) I would never leave a little on my plate to indicate that I was no longer hungry. I’d leave the whole thing if didn’t want it! And the hostess that puts something on your plate without asking has made the etiquette faux pas, not the guest!

I even question the idea of having large crackers already loaded with blue cheese. A smarter way to do it is to serve everything as a kit. For dessert, I usually have fresh fruit with whipped cream or something equally rich on the side. If you’re watching your weight, you have the fresh fruit. If you’re not, you add the cream– in whatever quantity suits you. For the appetizers, I’d have the dips in bowls in the center and a few different sized crackers on the side. That way my guests could try what they liked and go back for more of the ones that appealed to them.


Rap December 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I don’t know how anybody else was raised (and I was raised by a friendly pack of wolves so I am easily wrong) but since when do you HAVE to clean your plate at a party? As a hostess, I always try to make sure I have a good assortment of stuff so people don’t have to choke down something unpalatable, but unless *everyone* is avoiding a particular snack, I usually assume someone who isn’t snacking on the bleu cheese crackers is either not hungry, or doesn’t particularly care for them. And if someone puts something on my plate, unless its my elderly grandma, if I don’t like it, I don’t eat the entire thing to be polite. It’s also totally ok to say no to seconds – I’d just say I was watching my weight.


Wendy December 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm

You could have just said “No, thank you.” Lots of people have aversions or allergies or are vegetarian. The polite ones just eat what they can from what’s available and say a quiet “No, thank you” to things they can’t eat. You can decline without making a big deal out of it.


VorpalBunny December 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Although it’s certainly a good solution to prevent “helpful” people from re-filling your plate, and one I employ myself around some of my more * persistent* relatives, I’m a little confused as to why the OP felt obligated to eat one, let alone “a few of the horrible things”. Surely, there were other, more palatable options available; even if there weren’t, you have the option of not eating anything.

As long as you’re not going “Ewwww, mold!” or something, it’s not impolite to not put on your plate (or in your mouth) something that repulses you.


magicdomino December 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Isn’t there an old tradition about “leaving some for Miss Manners” (although I understand the current Miss Manners has stated that she can is willing to pass on the table scraps)? Also, I seem to recall that in China, cleaning your plate means that your hosts haven’t fed you enough. So, again, you leave a bite or two in order to indicate that you are full.


Missy December 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

You’re not obligated to sample all the appetizers, so why did you take the bleu cheese if you dislike it? It’s not a matter of being polite here.

The hostess shouldn’t have put the crackers on your plate, but instead have offered you more.


--Lia December 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

One more thing that no one has mentioned: There are a handful of foods that are known to go in the love-or-hate category. A hostess would do well to learn what these are and avoid serving them at any but the smallest of gatherings. Garlic goes in that category. I adore it. If I were inviting over a couple that I knew also adores garlic, I’d serve it in everything, and we’d have a grand time eating garlic together. But I’d leave it off the menu entirely if I were having several people over. Blue cheese in another in that category. Others are very hot and spicy foods as from habenero peppers, cilantro, cumin, and turmeric (taste like soap or mud to some people), extremely rich foods as very creamy soups or desserts, miso, lamb, anything that might be considered slimy such as okra or headcheese, sushi, and organ meats such as heart, kidney, lung, or sweetbreads.

Granted anyone can dislike anything. You don’t have to have a “good” reason. (And frankly, I’d rather not know what symptoms a particular food gives you.) But it’s good policy to stay away from the ones on the above list when entertaining an unknown element. If your hostess does ask ahead of time, be honest. There’s no more shame in saying that you don’t want raw fish than there is in saying that you don’t drink. (And there’s another place where there’s no need to go into detail. Maybe you don’t drink because you’re a recovering alcoholic. Maybe you don’t drink because you’re on a medicine just this week that doesn’t mix with alcohol. Maybe red wine triggers your migraines. Either way, I don’t want to know.)

My point is just that the hostess, if she were really gracious, wouldn’t have had so much blue cheese for the hors d’oeuvres in the first place. (Unless she was having me over. In that case, I’d have loved the stuff.)


ciotog December 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I am horribly allergic to bleu cheese. You have my sympathies.


majuba December 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm

The hostess who keeps pushing food at you is just as rude as the hostess (or guest) that feels they have the right to make loud, verbal judgements on what you chose to put on your plate or how much of a serving. The person who is hassling you about your allergies/intollerances/medical conditions that prevent you from certain foods is the same one making snarky comments to the chubby person about their plate and its contents.
If I have a large serving on my plate its becuase I like that food. Take it as a compliment and quit bugging me about my weight/health. If you are concerned about my weight/health talk to me in private. Don’t try and make it the topic of the dinner party discussions.


SS December 29, 2011 at 8:28 am

I was always taught it was rude and childish to announce “I don’t like XXX”. If you truly don’t wish to eat it, you say “No thank you” or “I’ll have to pass, thank you”. If it is truly lifethreatening, then you might clarify with “Unfortunately I cannot eat that though it looks delicious.” This way you are not outwardly offending the host/hostess by snubbing their offering with a verbal insult of their food choices.


Raven December 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

As someone with a serious food allergy, I beg you all please to not LIE about having a food allergy. When you get caught in your lie, it throws suspicion on the rest of us, putting us at risk for serious illness. Be an adult and say, “No, thank you.” Don’t be a child and fib, or co-opt someone else’s legitimate illness to ease a moment of social discomfort.

To the poster who recommended commenting about a (ficticious) late period – that has got to be the worst, most immature thing I’ve ever heard. There’s no need to be dramatic, and there’s certainly no need to get everyone’s tongues wagging about your maybe-baby over distasteful food. Please stop attending adult functions until you actually become one.


Gracie C. December 29, 2011 at 10:42 am

SS – I don’t view a personal dislike for something (particularly when it is one of many foods offered) offensive to the host as long is it’s said without turning one’s nose or making faces. But I’ll concede that you are right that no explanation need be offered. Unfortunately, I think many of us offer the explanation as a defense mechanism to avoid the follow up of, “Oh no, you simply MUST try one, they are SO good and EVERYONE loves them.”


Gracie C. December 29, 2011 at 10:46 am

Lia – I agree with your assessment for a fixed menu. A blue cheese appetizer as part of a five course meal when it is the only appetizer offered is likely not a good choice if you don’t know your crowd. But as long as you serve variety, I think you are covered. In this case, the OP was at a luncheon and describes the crackers as a “snack” – so my guess is before lunch while standing around mingling – doesn’t seem like she would have stood out if she didn’t have any. And she could have always gone with the, “Oh, I’m saving my appetite for lunch.”


Shalamar December 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

The trouble with trying to be polite by eating something you don’t like is that some hosts have long memories. My mother often speaks of being served vegetable marrow by her MIL and, wanting to be polite, she ate a big helping even though she hated it. MIL thereupon served it at every meal. The kicker was when MIL said offhandedly “I don’t care for vegetable marrow myself; I only serve it because I know YOU like it.”


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