Meatless Ingratitude?

by admin on January 15, 2013

A few years ago my friend, Gloria, had a new baby with her fiance, Red. Gloria and I were close; Red was not very friendly and I didn’t know him very well, except to know that he was a traditional meat-and-potatoes type guy. He worked at a job that required him to be away from home for several days at a time.

Because Red was out of town not long after the baby was born, Gloria was stuck at home with the baby by herself and had begged me to visit her, I went gladly. I brought her some coffee from her favorite take-0ut place. I also decided to make up some food for her to keep in the freezer since I knew she probably didn’t want to spend a bunch of time cooking. I didn’t have a lot of money so I couldn’t afford many ingredients; I lived mostly on non-meat dishes myself, due to this budget limitation, so I made the same types of meals for Gloria. I reasoned that she could always add meat to them, and the dishes were tasty either way – a spinach lasagna, a cheese and veggie soup, etc. etc.

When I brought the food to her we had a nice visit and she thanked me. But while I was there, Red called and said he would be home that evening, unexpectedly early. He apparently asked what was in the house for dinner. Gloria told him that I’d brought over food, but then said to him, looking at me as she said it, “I’m not sure if it’s anything you’d want, I did notice it’s all vegetarian-type food.” She said it disparagingly and almost like she was asking a question, making it sound like I’d been too cheap or something to bring meat dishes. I thought I’d been trying to be kind by bringing food at all. I haven’t done anything similar since. Maybe I’m bitter but that really hurt my feelings since I’d worked really hard on all of it and there was enough food there for several weeks. Sorry it didn’t meet Red’s meat-eating expectations, and sorrier still that my good friend Gloria was rude about it to me on his behalf. 0114-13

{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

June First January 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I believe this line is misinterpreted by the OP and other commenters:

“He apparently asked what was in the house for dinner.”

We don’t know what he actually said, or how he said it. He could have told her he was stopping at McDonalds on the way home, unless she wanted to cook dinner. He could have been thinking of getting his favorite meat-laden pizza, and did she think that was a good plan for dinner?

Gloria definitely stuck her foot in her mouth. You don’t need to eat FREEZABLE meals right away. A simple, “Yes, Red, that sounds lovely” and the OP wouldn’t have known they were discussing food at all.

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nk January 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I think you might be reading a little too much into this. After all, isn’t “vegetarian-type food” an accurate description of the food you prepared? And if Gloria knew that it wasn’t the type of food Red would want to eat, I see no reason for her not to inform him so he could stop somewhere and get something else to eat if he wanted.

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hakayama January 15, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Oooops! Correction.
@Moo: OP did not say that Red had NOT been there for the BIRTH.

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Elizabeth January 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Lex, much too much conjecture. We have no input for these theories.

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Shannon January 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I think the OP’s friend just phrased things awkwardly, probably because she was tired and overwhelmed caring for a baby alone, and therefore grumpy and out of sorts. The OP is being a mite oversensitive. Clearly, the OP cares a lot about Gloria to go to that much trouble, and it seems silly to discard a friendship over one transgression.

Bint – I think, between the new baby and the husband traveling frequently, that Gloria deserves a little slack. Unless you’ve never in your life said something a bit rude or grumpy while over-tired, in which case, you deserve a standing ovation.

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Hemi January 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Without knowing Red’s exact words or Gloria’s tone of voice, all we can do is guess. Gloria’s comment appears to be ungracious. She could have replied like many commenters suggested- letting Red know that friend had brought over spinach lasagna and cheese & veggie soup, would he like to pick up something to go with it. That way, he knew what was there and could pick up something different or extra to go with it.

Ganging up on Red for not being home with Gloria and the new baby 24/7 is unfair. Some people are lucky enough to get paid maternity/paternity leave and some have to do with unpaid leave or no leave at all. Without knowing Gloria and Red’s financial/employment situation, I would cut him a little slack. It appears he was *there for the birth* but had to go out of town not long after. Babies come with financial responsibilities and the bills don’t stop because Gloria had a baby and wants Red to stay home with her. The OP doesn’t say if Gloria was upset about Red not being home or if she needed help with the baby. Some women are able to resume normal duties fairly quickly after birth and then some women have a difficult birth, fussy baby or other extenuating circumstances and are not able to bounce back as quickly as others. OP said Gloria “begged” her to come over so maybe Gloria was just lonely. OP tried to be a good friend and bring over a present and some meals for Gloria. When Gloria made a comment that could be misinterpreted, it upset friend.

As for Red being abusive- I see no indication in the post that friend thinks Red is abusive. She said he was not very friendly and she didn’t know him well. Maybe he doesn’t warm up to others quickly or he senses friend’s disapproval and that causes him to be cool with her. Or maybe he just doesn’t like the OP. It happens. I think most of us know at least one person we just don’t care for. Just because he is meat and potatoes type of guy doesn’t make him an abuser. A vegetarian type guy could be abusive. The point is we don’t know.

OP- if this was a one time occurence, try to get past it. You said Gloria was all alone with the baby and maybe she was tired or hormonal or whatever. If it happens on a regular basis, then maybe it’s time to decide if you want to continue being friends with someone who does not appreciate and value your friendship. I think the extra effort you put in for your friend was very thoughtful and generous.

Did the friend ever properly thank you for the food and coffee?

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Andie Green January 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm

There are other ways Gloria could have handled the conversation with Red. If you are looking to give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe Gloria was dealing with the postpartum haze and a tricky relationship with Red? Love the site!

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Rachel January 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I really don’t get the big deal. My husband is a picky eater, and if I knew he wouldn’t like a food, I would tell him he wouldn’t like the food. If the friend gladly ate the food, the OP has no right to be upset.

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Rob aka Mediancat January 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

This clearly depends on Gloria’s tone. I could easily see someone saying exactly Gloria’s words to someone else and having it mean, “Hey, I know you’re a meat-loving person, so it might not be something you (personally) would like.” The tone could indicate that, or it could indicate, “I can’t believe she brought this garbage over.”

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Mer January 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I’m also with those who think that we don’t have enough info to really know if Gloria was being rude here. We know that she thanked OP for the food (OP states this in the post).

Nothing much can be said about Red here, we know that he was actually coming earlier home to his wife and child, be it work coming to end earlier or he asking if he could leave bit earlier, we do not know. In my relationship I’m the one doing work which requires me to be most of the week in different city. Now should I be coming home earlier than I’ve said, I would most definitely call and ask if there is something for me to eat or is there only enough for one or some food that I cannot eat. (Which is actually a fair guess that food would be inedible for me as of course my bf uses these days as possibilities to cook himself something we cannot eat together.) So asking that is not rude and answering truthfully for it isn’t. Actually I think it would be very rude to say for a spouse/etc that there is food while knowing that the food is something that s/he is not going to eat.

The only thing that actually can be rude here is the tone, I think the words actually weren’t. As somebody stated, should the meals been meat dishes and Red been vegan, saying “I’m not sure if it’s anything you’d want, I did notice it’s all meat-type food.” But as cooking is often expression of love and caring, one should be very careful when talking about others’ cookings. If the tone really was meant to insult OP’s food, it was very rude and inconsiderate. But tones are very easy to misread, especially when subject is something dear. For all we know, it is possible that tone really was a question for OP to confirm that meals were vegetarian so Gloria could answer properly to her husband. Or it might have been eye rolling aimed for friend “Oh OP, Red can be sometimes such a meat lover…”

This is something we don’t know so it’s really hard to say if rudeness happened or not. Foot in the mouth maybe and poorly chosen wording but was it rude? And is this one sentence and tone something to throw away a close friendship, as we do know that the food was thanked for. Of course if there was other incidents, case is again very different.

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TylerBelle January 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I’ll agree it was a tacky, hurtful comment, although it sounds a bit more like Gloria’s trying to please Red and make sure he’s placated above all else. If it’s a rare incident with her, then I’d try to let it pass.

@Melissa – Gotta say your game spread sounds completely and indescribably yummy, and I’m an omnivore myself. I’d be sure the friend’s boyfriend didn’t know what he was missing.

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Ashley January 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Without having been there, it is all conjecture of course. I agree with those who think it is possible that the OP is perhaps being too sensitive over this issue if it is an isolated issue of rudeness. I agree with those who think that the husband might have been asking if there was dinner or if he should pick up some food, and Gloria just phrased it badly.

“He worked at a job that required him to be away from home for several days at a time.” —– This seems to indicate that his absence from his wife and baby was not of his choice and not able to be changed. No need to vilify him for this.

“When I brought the food to her we had a nice visit and she thanked me.” ——– Because of this, it seems like Gloria was at least a little appreciative of her friend’s effort. It is not like she was rude upon receiving the food.

“looking at me as she said it, “I’m not sure if it’s anything you’d want, I did notice it’s all vegetarian-type food.” She said it disparagingly and almost like she was asking a question” —- —Perhaps this is just me, but when I try to say this, it is harder to be disparaging when asking it like a question. The fact that Gloria was looking at the OP and asking it like a question indicates to me that she was checking with the OP that the food was indeed vegetarian. An unsure tone can easily be confused with a rude one, because it can sound a little dismissive sometimes.

I think Gloria could have worded it better and could have apologized if she noticed her friend was upset, but we all have out foot-in-mouth incidents. If this is the rudest she has been in the course of a “close” friendship, I think some grace is in order.

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Mer January 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm

And to add one more thing, I do think that better wording could have made the situation totally different. If Gloria would have said something like “OP brought us some spinach lasagna and soup, they are vegetarian meals so if you want to have some meat with that, pick something from store”, I would think OP would not get hurt and we would not be having this discussion. Again good reminder to be careful with words. But in this case I would avoid throwing stones as none of us is perfect and something that in your own head sounds just basic fact without any hidden agenda, sounds totally different for somebody else.

I know I have tendency to hear more things that really are there (does sound bad doesn’t it…). After a time I found it very tiring to frequently feel being insulted or otherwise mistreated and I started to methodically observe these thoughts to see, if there really was something to be upset about. Basically asking myself questions like “did he really mean it so” or “is this really something so important that I have to spoil my mood over this”, of course depending on the case. Often I end up to decision that it was trivial on non-existent problem. Might be that I’m overlooking insults but at least I feel bit happier as I can put most things away from my mind faster.

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Carnation January 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm

People are strange. When my FIL died suddenly, my husband and I stayed with his mom for a while. Many kind people brought us food – including my own mother, who brought some things that she knew I’d specially like during that difficult time. I’ll always remember my MIL disparaging most of the food for being “too starchy” and “not healthy enough,” particularly the rice dish my mom brought. I know she was grieving and her filter was off, but it was unpleasant to hear. Naturally, I did not share that comment with my mom.

And I was mystified at the critiques, as I was just so grateful for the ready meals.

My MIL and your friend probably didn’t mean to be rude, but it’s better to have those unfiltered reactions to gifts away from the giver.

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Kate January 15, 2013 at 5:55 pm

On the face of it, Gloria’s comment was a bit tactless, but I think it’s hard to read too much into this. We don’t know that Red was demanding dinner on the table when he got home. Most likely he rang up and asked if he needed to pick up anything for dinner on the way home, and Gloria’s comment was to tell him that she had been catered for by OP, but that Red might wish to get his own food.
OP, both of the dishes you mention in your post contain cheese. It could be that Red isn’t anti-vegetarian, he just doesn’t eat cheese or dairy for whatever reason. I know if someone provided me with those dishes, I’d happily eat them, but my fiance would have to eat something else as he does not touch cheese if he can help it due to gastric issues.

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--Lia January 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm

“I also decided to make up some food for her to keep in the freezer since I knew she probably didn’t want to spend a bunch of time cooking.”

I’m going to go against the tide here and note that the OP put Gloria in an awkward position from the start. Remember the letter a little while back about the hostess who put food on a guest’s plate without checking if it was something she wanted to eat? This person essentially put food in Gloria’s freezer without checking if the gift would be appreciated, without checking if it was something she wanted to eat, without even checking if there was enough space. There was enough food for several weeks! Can you imagine someone showing up out of the blue and basically dictating what you’re going to eat for dinner for the next 28 nights?

When you give a gift, you have to leave it open for the recipient to do whatever she wants with it. Food is a tremendously individual thing. People have all sorts of likes and dislikes that go way beyond just being vegetarian or not. Also consider that cravings and yuckies extend beyond pregnancy, and mothers may also take into account what upsets the baby’s digestion if she’s breastfeeding. When you buy someone clothes that aren’t the recipient’s style, she can discretely regift them or return them to the store. Gloria couldn’t even do that.

Granted, she might have been a little more discreet in insulting the food, but she was on the spot. Then consider something else. Gloria was in a private conversation with Red. Yes, her end of the conversation could be overheard, but I thought the basic etiquette rule when you can overhear a private conversation is to prevent you can’t. You give the person the illusion of privacy in her own home. She excuses herself to talk on the phone. You look the other way.

So I’d cut Gloria some slack. I surely wouldn’t bring her food again, but I wouldn’t give up on the friendship either. This was just one of those things, an awkward moment, nothing worse.

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Amethyst Ribbons January 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm

OP- is this the first incident of Gloria being rude or ungrateul for something you have given/done for her? If so, chalk it up to being a new mother and probably tired and lonely since she is caring for the baby on her own while Red is working. If this is a regular routine with her, decide how much you really need her friendship

Do you think Red’s unfriendliness is an attempt to isolate Gloria? Is he unfriendly to all of Gloria’s friends? Have you ever observed any sketchy behavior?

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Daphne January 15, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I totally understand what the OP is saying. I adopted a strict vegetarian diet for about 2 years right after I quit smoking because I did not like the strong taste of meat (and many other foods/drinks) after my taste buds were no longer anesthetized by all the nicotine. And I can tell you from experience that people are downright belligerent toward vegetarians. Many meat eaters are personally and profoundly offended by someone who doesn’t eat meat and they have absolutely no qualms on letting that person know it. So I would say to the OP, go with your gut. Your friend probably was trying to “diss” you, and IMO you have every right to feel offended.

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ItsyBitsy January 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm

No, we don’t know the back story or what Red and Gloria are like or what he said on the phone or what her tone was in reply BUT the OP does and she was there so, if she was hurt, I’m inclined to believe her and that Gloria was indeed rude.

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Ergala January 16, 2013 at 12:15 am

@Daphne that is a pretty bold statement. And honestly, it’s not just meat eaters who make comments. I’ve had vegetarians/vegans make comments on my meals as well. Or if I wasn’t feeling good I’d get comments like “well if you hadn’t of eaten a dead cow for lunch you probably wouldn’t be sick.”. It goes both ways.

I don’t think Gloria meant harm. The OP knew that Red is a meat eater and still brought vegetarian meals. She knew he probably wouldn’t eat them or would be less inclined to do so. Gloria was probably verifying that they were indeed meatless.

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OP January 16, 2013 at 3:50 am

OP here – thank you all for the feedback! I guess to clarify in terms of Gloria’s tone (I didn’t explain it very well)… the best way to describe it is that it came across as being 1) critical of the food, not just observational about it; and 2) directed almost as a question to me, though she was talking to Red, if that makes sense. Her tone made it sound like she was saying, “I noticed there’s no meat in it, yeah, what’s up with that, anyways?” She said it while raising an eyebrow at me. I didn’t respond, of course, because she was talking to him, not me, but it definitely struck me; I felt like apologizing, which was a good cue to me that it was rude, because I’d just done something that I’d meant to be nice and was made to feel bad about it. I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, of course, with her situation (and with the fact that Red is not the nicest of guys – they are no longer together, whether or not that factors in here). Regardless, the POV of others is helpful in putting this in perspective!

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Emmy January 16, 2013 at 5:24 am

I got a different perspective when I read the story than many others. I imagine Red was calling not because he expected Gloria to fix him a meal, but because he wanted to know what food was around the house and wanted to plan dinner for himself. I also am having a little trouble imagining Gloria’s tone. Another poster mentioned ‘disparaging’ and ‘sounding like she was asking a question’ of sound like they don’t go together. I imagine Gloria knew her husband would want meat for dinner and wouldn’t be pleased with an all vegetarian meal and some thing like this is an awkward thing to phrase in front of the person who kindly made all the vegetarian meals. I picture her looking at OP apologetically, like she felt awkward having the conversation in front of her. I can see why something like this might feel awkward to the OP and hurt her feelings, but I don’t see hard evidence that Gloria was insulting the OP’s meals. I imagine Red might complain to Gloria if she didn’t inform him that there was no meat with dinner because that’s his expectation.

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Margo January 16, 2013 at 6:31 am

OP said ” He apparently asked what was in the house for dinner” – why is the assumoption that he was asking what she was making for him? He could equally have been asking whether he needed to stop off any buy either a meal or ingredients. Gloria’s answer was a factual one – there’s lots of food, but its veggie, you might not like it.

Gloria could have phrased this better, “OP just brought us some great looking home made meals as a gift -we could have some of those. They’re veggie so if you’d like meat as well you may want to pick up something to add” but on the basis that she’d already thanked OP I don’t think that there’s any evidence that she was deliberately rude or disparaging the OP’s generous gift. In a spontaneous conversation we don’t always phrase things as elegantly as we might if we were writing dialogue, and if Gloria wasn’t intending to be rude or disparaging she probably wouldn’t realise that her (overheard) comment might be taken that way.

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Lo January 16, 2013 at 8:33 am

I think that Gloria was rude about it but I just want to offer my own perspective, as someone with a husband who is definitely the “meat and potatoes” sort.

She may have been unconciously falling into an apologetic tone with him, not realizing that this was huge dis on your gracious offerings.

I eat everything under the sun. I would definitely appreciate what was brought; meat doesn’t make it a meal and it sounds delicious. I would also appreciate the cost-concious factor because the only thing more wonderful than good filling homemade food is knowing that the host/gifter didn’t break the bank to make it for me.

Furthermore I was raised to always eat what was put in front of me. I have one food allergy and other than that anything goes. I consider myself an ethical omnivore but I’ll never refuse a dish when I’m a guest. I cannot imagine ever objecting to free food that was gifted to me. Food is food.

My husband was not raised this way and is one of the pickiest eaters I know. If it’s not meat it has to be carbs and dairy. Heaven forbid a vegetable end up on his plate. He will suffer a meal with vegetable ingredients out of politeness to the hosts but that’s what it is for him– suffering. He has what I have no qualms calling an underdeveloped palate and I don’t hold out any hope that his taste buds will ever refine to the point where he can eat a balanced meal. So I always get apologetic when we go to dinner somewhere, even at his own parents house where he’ll serve himself a plate of meat with nothing to go with it. I feel bad that he will miss out on most of dinner and so I could definitely see myself saying “Oh, it’s all vegetarian,” and having it come off as disparaging without meaning to.

To save the friendship maybe you should mention something to her. I would have said something like “Oh, I’m sorry it’s all vegetarian, is that going to be a problem?”, but honestly and without any trace of sarcasm. Always assume the best when people respond to your offerings.

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The Elf January 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

Lia, I don’t think most people would see it that way. Bringing over food for a sick person, a grieving person, or a new mom is a pretty common practice. The host is not under any obligation to actually eat or serve the food. I’m sure the cook hopes they will – they brought it over for a reason! But I think everyone understands that food preferences might not be in line with the gift, or there might be medical intolerances or allergies the cook didn’t know about. If there’s absolutely no one in the house that will/can eat it, and no way to re-gift (i.e. bring it into the office to share), then it’s wasted. Them’s the breaks.

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Michellepri January 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

@Lia, I have to respectfully disagree with most of your post. OP did not “show up out of the blue”, she was invited. What on earth can you find to criticise in a friend giving a gift of extra food? “Dictating what you’re going to eat for 28 days”??? Dictating? There was nothing the OP could do to avoid hearing what Gloria said, if Gloria didn’t want to be overheard she should have excused herself. She was not “put on the spot” in any way.

I hope you’re more appreciative of gifts your friends give you then you sound. If someone had done that for me when my daughter was a newborn, I would have been ecstatic.

If Gloria can’t keep the food for whatever reason, there was nothing stopping her from giving it away later. Many places will gladly take homemade frozen meals.

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Slartibartfast January 16, 2013 at 11:58 am

A much better response eould have been if Gloria had said “Yes, my friend brought some dinners over! They look great, but I don’t know if you’d like them – I think they’re all vegetarian.”

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Calli Arcale January 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

To vegetarians who encounter boorish meat-lovers (I am myself a meat-lover, but hopefully not a boorish one), perhaps humor is the best weapon. You could paraphrase this quote:

“I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals. I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.” — A. Whitney Brown

Or, you could always go with the diplomatic conversation-stopper of a deadpan “Oh, how interesting,” and then bean-dip.

Oftentimes, the boors are presupposing that you hold a position which they have been offended by in the past and are making a pre-emptive strike. In particular, they may be assuming that because you are eating veggies, you must be a fur-coat-splashing animal-liberating PETA protester. It’s a knee-jerk response, IOW. This is not a good thing that they are doing, but understanding this may help in developing strategies for when you encounter it.

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Library Diva January 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Like so many of these things, it’s all in the wording and tone. I don’t blame OP for being stung by Gloria’s words, but it’s possible that she didn’t mean anything by them, for the wide variety of reasons suggested in the comments.

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Jason January 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I had a situation exactly like this; in fact, word-for-word. I almost thought it was my wife writing this letter. We took some food over to a friend’s house, after she had her baby, and it was the best food ever. We know everyone has personal preferences, but we also didn’t have money for expensive meat-based plates and being health conscious ourselves, we only cook with the best ingredients. We are not vegeterian, but not every dish has to have meat. I get so annoyed by these kinds of people who roll their eyes whenever someone prepares something that’s even slightly healthy. Like, you can’t even try it? Anyway, the issue in our case was that they never once even said thanks after my wife and I slaved away in the kitchen and prepared a week’s worth of food. It was practically a Thanksgiving feast. They looked at it all curiously. It was not fried chicken and french fries, probably their typical diet, but it was still food they would have liked if they weren’t so unwilling to try the food. I would have taken it home and eaten it all by myself if they didn’t want it. The least they could have said was “thanks.” I’ve determined that we’re never going back to their house again. They just lack manners, class, and any kind of proper training and upbringing. Low class people, is all I have to say.

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feesh January 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Marjorie Margarine,

Maybe the boorish invitee was just going on hunger strike to get into the mood for the movie :/

As someone who has gone hungry many times because there was nothing I could eat (because of allergies and ethical restrictions), I really can’t stand when people are so rudely vocal in turning down food they simply prefer not to eat.

As for the OP, it can certainly sting when you feel someone is insulting your gift (especially when it’s something you made yourself) but I think you’re wise to give her the benefit of the doubt and a second chance. FWIW, I would love for a friend to bring me that many meals, even if it wasn’t my favorite food!

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Schnickelfritz January 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

THE ELF, Lia is correct on how most people would react to someone FILLING THEIR FREEZER with weeks worth of meals, that are not the norm in that household. The OP would have been more thoughtful to bring one or two casseroles, and check back in a week or two, if more meals would be appreciated. I picture Gloria thinking “Aunt Helen is bringing beef pot pie tomorrow, and Aunt Madelyn is bringing the sausage lasagna on Friday.” What is she supposed to do with a month of meals, that her husband probably won’t enjoy. I would so appreciate the gesture, but I would be very annoyed at that amount of food, knowing the OP was aware of my husband’s food preference. And, further, even if it was his type of food, that much is overkill. I would have raised both eyebrows, and tried not to cry at the thought of “now we have to get 2/3 of this stuff down to the homeless shelter – another errand I don’t need.” You overwhelmed your friend with your “kindness”, although it was from the heart. Freezer space is precious in our home. OP assumed an awful lot by filling the freezer with her meals.

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Daphne January 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm

@Ergala, I’m not sure what you mean by “bold statement”. I was simply relaying my experience to the OP because when it happened to me, I too was shocked and surprised by the vehemence with which some people reacted to my vegetarianism. I just wanted to let the OP know that it likely wasn’t all in her head. In fact, most people don’t really give too much thought to what others eat, but some do, and I can tell you from experience that their disdain was hurtful, and made me feel oddly apologetic as well. It was surprising to me that anyone even cared what I ate, let alone that they were offended by it.
And frankly, that you felt the need to bring up the fact that you have experience with the “food police” as well sort of proves my point! ;-)

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Alexa January 17, 2013 at 5:34 am

“He apparently asked what was in the house for dinner”. This sounds to me like conversations I have with my DH (“hey, I’m on the way home. Do we have stuff for dinner or would you like me to stop off at the store?”). There’s no indication of Red expecting dinner to be on the table . We’re only viewing one biased side of the story.

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Jane January 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

A little late on this one, but I agree with the others who’ve said we really don’t know if Gloria was being rude. It sounds like she and Red were just trying to plan.

I can understand why the OPs feelings were hurt – it’s like spending loads of time making the perfect dish for a potluck and then no one eats it. Gloria should have phrased it better, for sure.

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wendykh January 19, 2013 at 12:51 am

you people saying OP was rude to bring food clearly never had a baby.

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MissRed January 19, 2013 at 2:25 am

As someone who eats a non-mainstream diet (partly by choice, partly not), and not knowing how long ago this was, I have some serious sympathy for OP’s friend. (Also, exactly what Schnickelfritz said)

While on the flip side I can see why OP felt hurt, I feel like it was extremely presumptuous of the OP to bring “several weeks” of unsolicited food. It’s a nice gesture in theory, but without knowing what their dietary preferences or requirements are, I think it’s unfair to Gloria and Red to do this. Is it fair to Red that he have things he may not enjoy (like spinach or some vegetables) pushed on him, when the OP already knew that he was a meat and potatoes kind of guy? My father grew up as a meat and potatoes kind of guy and to this day has never really learned to enjoy most vegetables.

Mostly, my thought is that at least in recent times, we all have a choice to eat what we enjoy and/or feel is healthy. And not everyone agrees on what’s “healthy” anymore.

Perhaps a better gesture would have been to offer to spend a fun afternoon with Gloria cooking some freezables or crock pot ready meals together.

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Enna January 19, 2013 at 5:27 am

@ Bint – I would say no one is perfect, yes having a new baby can make some people say bad things, but also people put their foot in it without having a baby or other source of stress at some point in their lives. We’ve all done it.

The coment Gloria made was a little insenstive but if this is rare for her to say something like that it would be a shame to terminate a firendship on something like that. Gloria didn’t say “it looks horrible” she said to Red that it may not be something that he likes. For all we know she oculd be hinting that he buys something to cook himself. As we don’t know what Red said he might be have been asking if he needs to buy anything or checking that she and the baby are okay. If she had said “there’s nothing to eat” for all we know he might have offered to get something.

He might have to travel for his work so calling to say that he will be back early is considerate. Red might not be very firendly but some people have a harder shell then others, once they get to know you they soften their shell. I don’t like to assume the worse but I don’t think the OP should write Gloria off as a firend yet.

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Adira January 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

I agree with Lia and Snicklefritz.
And wendy? I’ve had THREE babies. And no, I would not have appreciated someone bringing weeks worth of frozen food that no one is going to eat into my house and stuffing them into my (usually) overstuffed freezer. What I DID appreciate was my mom going to the grocery store for me, and stocking the house with food that I actually LIKE. What I DID appreciate was my friends coming over and cleaning my house for me. Including changing the catbox and doing laundry.

Not everyone likes or can choke down vegan/vegetarian food. Or very spicy food. Or dishes made with organ meats. Or fish. Or whatever. In our house, the spinach lasagna and the broccoli and cheese soup? Would not have gotten eaten. It would have just sat there taking up space till it went bad. Food preference is very individual, so before giving a gift of food, you really need to be certain that the recipient will like it. Otherwise, it’s not really a gift, because you’re thinking about what YOU like, not what THEY like.

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Angel January 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I can definitely see why the OP was hurt, however, I would cut Gloria some slack. If she is otherwise a gracious and caring person, why would you drop her as a friend over one incident? If it kept happening over and over again–then maybe I would let the friendship cool a bit, but certainly one time shouldn’t be the end of it. Haven’t you ever said or done something you regretted later on? This might be the case here.

I don’t think anything Red said has any bearing on the situation. We don’t even know exactly what he said. He could have been asking if he could pick up dinner on the way home, who knows? I also take issue with the posters who insinuate he’s a bad person for being away when his baby is born. If he can’t take off, he can’t take off. My brother’s wife had a baby a month ago. He was off for two days and had to go back to work. One of those days included the delivery. And that was all. Thank heavens my SIL did not need a c-section because that really would have sucked for her. But the fact that he is providing for his family is really the main thing and honestly I can’t believe that so many people replying to this post automatically make the leap that Red’s not a good person. Or that Gloria is not a good friend. One slip up does not a bad friend make.

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Ergala January 21, 2013 at 9:33 am

@Daphne what I meant by bold statement was that you came off as disgusted by omnivores, at least in my opinion. Around my area those of us who eat meat are often times given brow beatings by vegetarians/vegans. Even if you eat organic free range meat and state this comments are still made. A few times a year I go vegetarian for a few months but I never ever comment on someone else’s meal, I find it rude unless I am saying “Wow that looks great!”.

To the poster who said those of us who said we wouldn’t appreciate the meals clearly haven’t had a baby, well I’ve had 2. And with my first I stocked my freezer well before he was born. The month before he was born I bought foil pans and went gung ho making meals that only had to be popped in the oven. With my youngest I did the same. Plus my husband and oldest have texture issues so I have to be cautious when cooking certain dishes. They don’t like ricotta so when I make lasagna I have to substitute. I am the only one in our home who likes soup so I’d be the only one eating the soup. I have to say one of the best gifts we were given after my youngest was born was my mother calling the delivery pizza place one day and buying us a pizza with bread sticks. She paid for the delivery and the tip and simply called to say it would be arriving around 5pm. If someone showed up with weeks worth of food I would be perplexed as to what I was supposed to do with it since my freezer would have been full. I would have probably given it to a neighbor.

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The Elf January 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

So you already have a freezer full of food? Or you don’t like that particular kind of food? So what? You accept the gift graciously, and if you don’t want it you pass it on to someone else or you throw it out after the gift giver leaves. I don’t like to waste food either, but a gift is a gift. The thought was coming from the right place.

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VR518 April 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Where does it say that Gloria has an overstuffed freezer? It doesn’t, and if she did the OP would not have been able to get the food she made inside.

@Adira and Angel, you both sound like ungrateful people. Adira, if a person doesn’t like vegetarian, that doesn’t mean a friend who can only afford vegetarian food and makes such meals for that veggie hater is committing an etiquette faux pas, or have done anything wrong by making such dishes. It’s not going to kill someone to eat a dish without meat in it once in a while, and this is coming from a non-vegetarian.

Adira: ” In our house, the spinach lasagna and the broccoli and cheese soup? Would not have gotten eaten. It would have just sat there taking up space till it went bad. ”

That really makes you and everyone in your household so noble. Unless any of you are unable to eat any of those foods for health reasons, there is no excuse to let it go to waste. It wouldn’t kill you to try these things. If you really can’t stand the sight of these foods, then call a local food shelter and give it them, or find a neighbor or friend who likes these things and give it to them. The person who would have given you these foods committed no error. Unless they prepared food that violates your religious beliefs or health restrictions, there is no reason to waste it.

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