Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: oopsie on April 18, 2014, 08:29:47 PM

Title: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: oopsie on April 18, 2014, 08:29:47 PM
So we just returned from my in-laws for Easter dinner. FIL asked me to bring some cupcakes so I went all out and made some really cute Easter themed cupcakes. Everyone complimented how cute they were and FIL seemed pleased that I went to the effort.

Half of the cupcakes were decorated like Easter baskets with sour licorice "handles". Dessert had been set out but before my MIL gave the green light to her grandchildren to dig in, one of my BIL's took one of the licorice handles off one of the cupcakes to eat. He left the rest of the cupcake on the tray. I saw him do it and, feeling annoyed, I admonished him but tried to keep it lighthearted so I didn't come across as a witch. I replaced the licorice handle with another (I had brought the leftover candies I used to decorate the cupcakes with me for the kids to share afterwards).

The grandkids were then told by MIL they could dig in and so they did. About 20 minutes later, I looked over at the cupcakes and noticed that all the licorice handles on the remaining cupcakes save for one were gone, with just the toothpicks used to hold them in place shoved back in. I asked the kids who had done this and they told me BIL.

Now, I'm feeling pretty ticked. I turned, looked over at BIL and icily said "if you just wanted more licorice, I had extras I could have given you." He looked over at DH and said "uh oh, I'm in trouble." Then they laughed. I said nothing more about it and I did not bother to replace the handles on the remaining cupcakes.

I do realize that in the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty minor thing. I guess I'm just wondering if I was overreacting or if you would also have been annoyed in my place? I mean, imagine if I had made deviled eggs and he decided he just wanted to eat the middle yolk mixture leaving behind the egg white for the next person. Maybe not quite the same thing but still...


Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 18, 2014, 08:35:23 PM
I agree with you, I think this was very rude.  It's one thing to eat just the licorice handle off your *own* cupcake.  It's another to take a very small portion of every piece of food remaining.  It's like somebody had made those peanut butter cookies with Hershey's kisses in the middle, and somebody went through and ate all the chocolate but left the cookies.  Or if somebody scooped all the icing off all the remaining cupcakes and just ate that.  Rude, rude, rude.

Now, if he'd been allocated one cupcake, and all he ate was the licorice handle?  Fine.  A bit wasteful, but his own food, etc.  I do think it would have been inappropriate for him to take another cupcake, though, if all he ate was the licorice.  I think it would be impolite to take second helpings, or more, if you haven't eating the majority of your first item.  It's a fine line to draw... would eating the cupcake all *except* the licorice handle be okay to get another one?  I'd probably say so.  I guess I'd expect a person to eat "all but" something, like at least 80% of the item, in order to get another helping.  And even then, I'd keep it to two helpings.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: The TARDIS on April 18, 2014, 08:40:12 PM
Rude of him! Honestly, if it was his own cupcake as the poster above said, that is one thing. To destroy the aesthetic of the rest for the licorice? Rude and wasteful.

I remember taking a cake decorated with strawberries to a party. Less than fifteen minutes later, someone had picked most of the strawberries off the whole cake, leaving just the icing and cake. I never found out who did it, but I never took that sort of cake to a party ever again.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: blarg314 on April 18, 2014, 09:41:28 PM

Rude in a very childish way.

I think I'd have gone with incredulous sarcasm - "Oh come on now, what are you, five? Do you want me to send you to your room without supper? Kids - your uncle was being rude and ate all the licorice. If you need a new handle, bring your cupcake to me, and I'll replace it."

And next time, I'd bring the desserts, keep them in a container, and hand them out individually to protect them, and be honest about why.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: cicero on April 18, 2014, 09:43:10 PM
Not only was he rude to do what he did, but then to try and turn into some " oh no, mean oopsie caught me" joke is doubly rude. Yes, in the grand scheme of things it's not the end of the world, but it is rude.

At my sisters' bat mitzvah celebration, we had put out trays of petit fours decorated with flowers. We discovered several flower-less cakes and thought it was a mistake till we noticed a very young guest picking up a cake, licking off the flower and putting it back on the tray. But she was three. And her parents immediately took control of the situation.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Emmy on April 18, 2014, 09:56:18 PM
What he did is very rude to you and the other guests, especially after you told him not to do it after the first time.  It took away from the presentation of the cupcakes (which you put effort into making look festive) and people who would enjoy the licorice have to do without it.  I also think there is a bit of squick factor with somebody picking something off your food (even if he didn't touch the cake or icing itself).  Did he know you had extra licorice? 
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: oopsie on April 18, 2014, 10:23:17 PM
Did he know you had extra licorice?

Initially, probably not. However, since he watched me replace the first one he took, I'd have to say that more than likely he realized there were extras when he took the rest.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Rockie on April 18, 2014, 11:01:18 PM
Definitely rude (and immature), especially after you asked him not to the first time. Though somehow I get the feeling he would've done it anyway even if you did offer him the extra licorice the first time.

Have to say, I'm not impressed with your DH laughing along with him or at least not saying anything in your defense (unless I read wrong?).
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: sammycat on April 19, 2014, 12:01:41 AM
I agree with everyone else that BIL was rude and immature. There's also the hygiene issue of eating something that another person has touched in that way. I love cupcakes, and am pretty relaxed about germs, but wouldn't want to eat one that someone else has knowingly picked over.

DH doesn't come out of this looking very good either.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 19, 2014, 12:36:29 AM
Not only was he rude to do what he did, but then to try and turn into some " oh no, mean oopsie caught me" joke is doubly rude. Yes, in the grand scheme of things it's not the end of the world, but it is rude.

At my sisters' bat mitzvah celebration, we had put out trays of petit fours decorated with flowers. We discovered several flower-less cakes and thought it was a mistake till we noticed a very young guest picking up a cake, licking off the flower and putting it back on the tray. But she was three. And her parents immediately took control of the situation.

Pod.  Very rude and childish to boot.

One of DH's childhood friends sliced into one of our table cakes ahead of time at our reception then, when she got caught (I wasn't expected to do what I did, which was run around putting the cake servers on the tables to help push things along), she did the "Uh, oh, now we're in trouble" (she never apologized for what she did).  It still irritates me when I think about it, and she gets to come into our house over my dead body (if she can't be trusted to not cut into the cake of a stranger she'd met maybe one hour earlier, how do I know she won't do something equally obnoxious or worse as a "joke" in our house?  According to DH, she's been this kind of obnoxious her whole life -- done something only she thought would be funny then maybe have had remorse after the fact...maybe...).

I wouldn't leave the cupcakes unattended around BIL in the future.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: sweetonsno on April 19, 2014, 01:06:58 AM
I definitely don't think this is quite as bad as eating the yolks out of deviled eggs, as there's less of a hygiene issue. (It sounds like you could grab the garnish without touching the cupcake or frosting itself.) But eating bits of someone else's food is definitely not okay, especially if you're defacing it in doing so.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: greencat on April 19, 2014, 01:08:50 AM
I think this is beyond simply rude and into, "Who does that?!?" territory.  At least, if the perpetrator is older than about 5.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: lakey on April 19, 2014, 01:09:23 AM
This is so selfish. It didn't occur to him that others might like the candy handles, so he gobbles it all up himself? Geez, if he's that desperate for the candy, he could buy himself a bag of it on his way home.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 19, 2014, 01:22:11 AM
I definitely don't think this is quite as bad as eating the yolks out of deviled eggs, as there's less of a hygiene issue. (It sounds like you could grab the garnish without touching the cupcake or frosting itself.) But eating bits of someone else's food is definitely not okay, especially if you're defacing it in doing so.

People actually eat the yolks out of deviled eggs???
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: The TARDIS on April 19, 2014, 01:28:49 AM
^I like to eat that part first and then the rest of it, however I cannot conceive of eating just the yolk and leaving the white part for the next poor person who wants deviled eggs.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: sweetonsno on April 19, 2014, 01:34:43 AM
I definitely don't think this is quite as bad as eating the yolks out of deviled eggs, as there's less of a hygiene issue. (It sounds like you could grab the garnish without touching the cupcake or frosting itself.) But eating bits of someone else's food is definitely not okay, especially if you're defacing it in doing so.

People actually eat the yolks out of deviled eggs???

Hypothetical from the OP. I sure hope such a person does not exist.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 19, 2014, 01:36:46 AM
^I like to eat that part first and then the rest of it, however I cannot conceive of eating just the yolk and leaving the white part for the next poor person who wants deviled eggs.

I could see doing that (I used to eat everything on my fast food cheeseburgers, but the cheese and meat patty, then ate that last or everything off my Twix bars then the cookie last).  I couldn't see scooping out the insides and just leaving whites for others (besides, to me, the yolk filling alone would be a little strong after a little while).

I definitely don't think this is quite as bad as eating the yolks out of deviled eggs, as there's less of a hygiene issue. (It sounds like you could grab the garnish without touching the cupcake or frosting itself.) But eating bits of someone else's food is definitely not okay, especially if you're defacing it in doing so.

People actually eat the yolks out of deviled eggs???

Hypothetical from the OP. I sure hope such a person does not exist.

Ahhh...I missed that in the OP.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Klein Bottle on April 19, 2014, 01:52:58 AM
That is very rude and childish.  Your cupcakes sound adorable, and like you put hard work and thought into them.  Also, I don't believe it matters whether he knew if you had more licorice. The existence of replacement licorice does not entitle him to dissemble your cupcakes. 

Are there more stories about him?    >:D 
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: 123sandy on April 19, 2014, 03:20:14 AM
I think he was rude and selfish! Did it not occur to him other people might have enjoyed that part of their cupcake? And as for the "ooh naughty me" thing, childish and trying to make you look like the bad one.

I'm angry just reading about it...
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: SeptGurl on April 19, 2014, 07:30:48 AM
Another vote for rude, selfish, and childish. I'm also going to add entitled with a smidgen of PA. You asked him not to take the licorice off the cupcakes, and he did it anyway just because he could? And then he made you out to be the bad guy and laughed about it? Wow.

You're right that it's not big in the scheme of things, but I can definitely understand your annoyance about this.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 19, 2014, 07:42:40 AM
I suppose it would be rude (so you couldn't do this) but wouldn't you be so tempted, for all future gifts, to just give him packs of the sour licorice (since, obviously, he liked them so much he couldn't keep his hands off them)?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Hillia on April 19, 2014, 08:26:29 AM
The fact that he went back and did it to all of the cupcakes after you caught him the first time has a big air of 'Nyaah nyaah...you can't stop me!'.  Which just sends him further into childish, rude, and just plain unpleasant territory.  What a jerk.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 19, 2014, 08:34:41 AM
Not only was he rude to do what he did, but then to try and turn into some " oh no, mean oopsie caught me" joke is doubly rude. Yes, in the grand scheme of things it's not the end of the world, but it is rude.

At my sisters' bat mitzvah celebration, we had put out trays of petit fours decorated with flowers. We discovered several flower-less cakes and thought it was a mistake till we noticed a very young guest picking up a cake, licking off the flower and putting it back on the tray. But she was three. And her parents immediately took control of the situation.

I agree very much.

Yes, in the grand scheme of things, it's not that big a deal, but it's rude. And the second part is *really* rude.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: #borecore on April 19, 2014, 08:53:37 AM
This is one of those tough situations where the person who has the reasonable view and actually put the work into making a treat for everyone looks like the nag or sourpuss because someone else is "just having fun." I hate these situations!

I'm struggling to think of a way to make my disappointment clear without looking like I care far too much about cupcakes (in onlookers' view). I might've goofily escalated it even further and said something about how it's yours if you touch it, and now no one else could have any, and he was stealing treats from children (unless I thought he actually might take me seriously and eat a half-dozen cupcakes right there). Sort of a  'You  broke it, you buy it' philosophy.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: oopsie on April 19, 2014, 09:16:54 AM
This is one of those tough situations where the person who has the reasonable view and actually put the work into making a treat for everyone looks like the nag or sourpuss because someone else is "just having fun." I hate these situations!

Exactly! Also for the others who commented on DH laughing as well, I wasn't overly impressed with him for that either. By doing so, I feel like he just reinforced the statement above. His brother is just a mischievous little scamp (he's 42 BTW) and by taking offense, I come across as the wicked witch.

Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Mikayla on April 19, 2014, 10:08:28 AM
This is one of those tough situations where the person who has the reasonable view and actually put the work into making a treat for everyone looks like the nag or sourpuss because someone else is "just having fun." I hate these situations!

Exactly! Also for the others who commented on DH laughing as well, I wasn't overly impressed with him for that either. By doing so, I feel like he just reinforced the statement above. His brother is just a mischievous little scamp (he's 42 BTW) and by taking offense, I come across as the wicked witch.

I agree on the tough situation.  Oopsie, did you say anything to your DH  afterwards?  He's the one who had the power to point out the lack of humor in this.  It's so disrespectful of your time!

One of my pet peeves is people who think they're funny when they're just boorish.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: SamiHami on April 19, 2014, 10:14:37 AM
It reminds me of a former boss. We sometimes had evening meetings for large groups, so I would order pizzas. fBoss would stand near one of the pizzas and pick off pieces of pepperoni and eat them. He couldn't understand when I told him to stop it. So I took the slices he'd been picking at and put them on a plate for him and told him that he could have those. "Oh, I just want the pepperoni! Leave the slices where they were so someone else can eat them!"

I told him no one wanted to eat them after he'd been picking at them with his bare hands, so I took the slices and threw them in the trash, and moved the rest of the pizzas out of his reach.

He wasn't happy, but I think I got through to him.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 19, 2014, 10:38:54 AM
This is one of those tough situations where the person who has the reasonable view and actually put the work into making a treat for everyone looks like the nag or sourpuss because someone else is "just having fun." I hate these situations!

I'm struggling to think of a way to make my disappointment clear without looking like I care far too much about cupcakes (in onlookers' view). I might've goofily escalated it even further and said something about how it's yours if you touch it, and now no one else could have any, and he was stealing treats from children (unless I thought he actually might take me seriously and eat a half-dozen cupcakes right there). Sort of a  'You broke it, you buy it' philosophy.

I agree with this!

actually, I think the OP did pretty well with her, "I could give you some more licorice if you wanted it--I have a whole bag here."

I supposed you could have replaced them again, then walked over to him with the rest of the bag and said, quietly, "Here. if you want licorice, eat these. Please don't mess with my cupcakes again, it's pissing me off."
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 19, 2014, 11:50:55 AM
Well, I don't see it so much as caring far too much about cupcakes as someone diminishing/devaluing the care/effort I expended doing something that I did out of love (a little like the poster in another thread whose DH, upon being presented with a robe lovingly crafted overnight by the poster for his birthday said, "Well, it's not a real present because it's homemade").  Oopsie didn't just pick up generic cupcakes at the grocery store, she made them, and she didn't just make them, she took the time to figure out a cute design, get the supplies, execute them and then bring them to the gathering.  BIL and DH diminished all that with BIL's antics and DH brushing off what he did (I had to explain this to my own DH when he just couldn't understand why I want nothing to do with his so-called friend).

They weren't just cupcakes; to me, they were a representation of Oopsie's love (unless Oopsie made them for money, which Oopsie did not indicate she did).

Also, would it change the issue if Oopsie had spent even more money for a bakery to make them just for BIL to ruin them, which is what he did.  They were decorated to look like baskets, and he ruined the effect by picking off the handles.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: EMuir on April 19, 2014, 12:23:09 PM
If I had to deal with that kind of situation, ironically it would probably work best to cry. Say how much work you put into them, go to hubby for comfort. It's stupid and sexist and sad, but men like BIL don't respond well to angry women. Hubby would look like a real tool if he didn't comfort you. Then BIL is the cad who made you cry, rather than you being the woman who couldn't take a joke.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: doodlemor on April 19, 2014, 01:07:38 PM
Your BIL's behavior really rankles me, too, oopsie.  You need to have a talk with your DH about this, because his behavior was childish also.  Perhaps next time there is a family gathering you should stand over the goodies with a wooden spoon.

Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: m2kbug on April 19, 2014, 01:23:09 PM
The only way I would find this acceptable if it was the end of the night and everyone has had their fair share and the presentation is not important anymore.  Licorice dries up, so may as well eat them.  He was rude to go and remove all the handles.  This falls in line with punching holes in the chocolates or hogging all the frosting flowers let alone manhandling all the food. 
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Amara on April 19, 2014, 01:38:42 PM
Your husband's reaction to the situation makes me madder than the original theft. I was going to say bring an extra bag for your BIL if you do this again, but why reward the guy? That's not just thievery; it's deliberate taunting in which your husband joined. From now on keep the cupcakes away from him and hand them out individually.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Aquamarine on April 19, 2014, 01:49:05 PM
Not only rude, but I will raise it to rude and mean.  BIL knew it annoyed you and then he did it again just because he felt like it.  This makes your BIL a mean, self centered, thoughtless, bully.  As to his fake "oh I'm in trouble" reaction, he should really spare us the fake "surprise" reaction.

These are not the actions of a nice person.  He took your nice gesture and made a mockery of it.  IMHO your BIL is a jack@@s and seems to take pride in that fact.  Be thankful however because he has finally revealed his true nature to you, so now you know just who he really is.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: VorFemme on April 19, 2014, 01:58:40 PM
So, BIL has been playing off his rudeness as being something that he does because he's such a prankish jokester and the rest of the family laughs (even after the "joke" falls flat with someone who doesn't see it as funny)?

At 42, he needs to grow up and either start behaving like a grown man instead of a child.

And his family needs to be reminded that some jokes get old after 30 or so years...

The bursting into tears & turning to DH for comfort after the cupcakes were ruined might have worked for DH - although BIL would probably have gotten defensive about "it was just the LICORICE!"

My mother likes licorice.  We would pass along the black jelly beans to her.  Not everyone does - but those who do like it are used to a lot of other people putting it to one side without eating it.  But HE doesn't get to take the handles off everyone else's basket so he can eat them later...some family members obviously like licorice - BIL might not be the only one who wanted to eat a handle...or maybe his siblings' handles, too!  Until Uncle touched them all...
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: camlan on April 19, 2014, 07:49:28 PM
BIL acted like a five year old who hasn't been taught that you don't swipe fingersful of frosting off a cake. You know, you have to wait until a piece is cut and handed to you before you get the frosting.

Actually, most five year olds I know are aware of this rule of etiquette; just sometimes some of them have a hard time with self-control.

As for BIL's "I'm in trouble" comment, I'd have given him a steely look right in the eye and said, "Yes, you are. Once was unthinking; to do this again? Not good." And then I'd walk away. Mostly because I wouldn't trust myself not to lose my temper at him.

And because I think sometimes we need to show people that we are angry with them. That what they did was very much not okay.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: gmatoy on April 19, 2014, 09:58:37 PM
Well, I would never do the crying and going to my DH for comfort thing. Probably because I feel like that makes me look childish.

But I would talk to my DH about "aiding and abetting" the enemy. As in: Side with him over me on this and see where you end up!

And, seriously, have your DH read how others viewed this. One of the most important moments in my marriage was when someone else told my DH that my MIL had crossed the line. He truly did not see it because her behavior was "the way she always is" to him. It took someone else telling him that it wasn't right for him to see that I wasn't being too thin skinned. Maybe your DH needs the different viewpoint, too.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: MrsVandy on April 19, 2014, 10:22:08 PM
BIL was rude. I would be grossed out if someone randomly touched food expected to be served to others. Also how would he know that some of the kids didn't want one with the licorice?
This reminds me of when my cousin was 5 and my mom brought cupcakes to a family function. He either licked or finger swiped at all 24's icing before getting caught red handed. Mom said "Well there all yours now. No one will want them." Cousin was excited to eat all of them, until he realized his eyes were bigger then his stomach and ate himself sick. He never did that again. It was a lesson to every kid in our family, don't touch food you don't intend to eat.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Otterpop on April 19, 2014, 11:20:43 PM
I thought this thread was going to be about someone not liking a dish you'd brought and picking at their serving during dinner.  I was going to say "Don't watch them eat."  However, a grown man picking pieces off of everyone else's food is really egregious.

Something tells me BIL is a frequently obnoxious person and your DH is just used to it.  If you ever bring cupcakes again, tell BIL hands off.  Most people, and especially kids, love to receive those cute little creations intact before they tuck into them.  BIL ruined that for everyone.  He also disrespected you afterwards.  I hope you explained to DH how it made you feel.  Your feelings are valid.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: JenJay on April 19, 2014, 11:36:54 PM
Not only rude, but I will raise it to rude and mean.  BIL knew it annoyed you and then he did it again just because he felt like it.  This makes your BIL a mean, self centered, thoughtless, bully.  As to his fake "oh I'm in trouble" reaction, he should really spare us the fake "surprise" reaction.

These are not the actions of a nice person.  He took your nice gesture and made a mockery of it.  IMHO your BIL is a jack@@s and seems to take pride in that fact.  Be thankful however because he has finally revealed his true nature to you, so now you know just who he really is.

I agree. Also, a lot of people won't eat food that someone else has touched, so they wouldn't 't have been able to have a cupcake at all. My DS is like that and a couple of his friends thought it would be funny to touch his food at lunch. He threw it all away and came home starving. The  2nd time it happened I emailed his teacher and she shut it down quick because that isn't funny. A joke is funny when everyone laughs, not when all but one laugh and the one is hurt and/or angry. He's a jerk and he knows it, that's why he pulled your DH into it to back him up.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: purple on April 20, 2014, 03:24:17 AM
If I had to deal with that kind of situation, ironically it would probably work best to cry. Say how much work you put into them, go to hubby for comfort. It's stupid and sexist and sad, but men like BIL don't respond well to angry women. Hubby would look like a real tool if he didn't comfort you. Then BIL is the cad who made you cry, rather than you being the woman who couldn't take a joke.

 :o ::)
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Redsoil on April 20, 2014, 03:57:52 AM
I'd have told him just how pathetic and selfish he was for defacing the cupcakes and taking away from other people.  They were for everyone and he decided his "needs" outweighed both good manners and other's enjoyment of the cupcakes.  Rude cretin!  And as for your DH laughing it off?  I'd be having words about that, and asking how he'd feel if one of his projects that he'd put time and effort into was mutilated and partially spoiled for others...  grrrrrrr.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Twik on April 20, 2014, 09:38:58 AM
I would have picked up the defaced cupcakes and thrown them in the garbage because honestly? Who wants to eat food someone has had their fingers in.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: jaxsue on April 20, 2014, 10:34:52 AM
I'd have told him just how pathetic and selfish he was for defacing the cupcakes and taking away from other people.  They were for everyone and he decided his "needs" outweighed both good manners and other's enjoyment of the cupcakes.  Rude cretin!  And as for your DH laughing it off?  I'd be having words about that, and asking how he'd feel if one of his projects that he'd put time and effort into was mutilated and partially spoiled for others...  grrrrrrr.

ITA. I'd be very, very put out by this behavior. And DH would be in the doghouse for joining in.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: nayberry on April 20, 2014, 10:59:29 AM
I would have picked up the defaced cupcakes and thrown them in the garbage because honestly? Who wants to eat food someone has had their fingers in.

i may or may not have, (many years ago whilst still a teenager), had something similar happen and resolved it by smooshing the ruined cake in the louts face and taking some money from his wallet to go get a replacement.     it was a chocolate cake topped with mini flake bars and he took every single one off and ate them!!

pmt and parties are always a bad mix.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TeamBhakta on April 20, 2014, 11:13:22 AM
The only way I would find this acceptable if it was the end of the night and everyone has had their fair share and the presentation is not important anymore.  Licorice dries up, so may as well eat them.  He was rude to go and remove all the handles.  This falls in line with punching holes in the chocolates or hogging all the frosting flowers let alone manhandling all the food.

I'd still find that rude. What if the op had planned to take the leftover cupcakes home for herself, or she'd promised someone else "you can have any remaining cupcakes" ?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on April 20, 2014, 12:45:53 PM
This is not ehell approved under normal circumstances, but I think it's excusable when someone has behaved badly and then tried to make you look like the villain:  give the person an icy glare and ask "What's wrong with you?"
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: jaxsue on April 20, 2014, 01:05:55 PM
I would have picked up the defaced cupcakes and thrown them in the garbage because honestly? Who wants to eat food someone has had their fingers in.

i may or may not have, (many years ago whilst still a teenager), had something similar happen and resolved it by smooshing the ruined cake in the louts face and taking some money from his wallet to go get a replacement.     it was a chocolate cake topped with mini flake bars and he took every single one off and ate them!!

pmt and parties are always a bad mix.

IMHO, anyone taking a flake bar off my dessert gets the death penalty!  >:(
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: nayberry on April 20, 2014, 03:03:17 PM
I would have picked up the defaced cupcakes and thrown them in the garbage because honestly? Who wants to eat food someone has had their fingers in.

i may or may not have, (many years ago whilst still a teenager), had something similar happen and resolved it by smooshing the ruined cake in the louts face and taking some money from his wallet to go get a replacement.     it was a chocolate cake topped with mini flake bars and he took every single one off and ate them!!

pmt and parties are always a bad mix.

IMHO, anyone taking a flake bar off my dessert gets the death penalty!  >:(

exactly!
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: purple on April 20, 2014, 05:19:39 PM
I would have picked up the defaced cupcakes and thrown them in the garbage because honestly? Who wants to eat food someone has had their fingers in.

i may or may not have, (many years ago whilst still a teenager), had something similar happen and resolved it by smooshing the ruined cake in the louts face and taking some money from his wallet to go get a replacement.     it was a chocolate cake topped with mini flake bars and he took every single one off and ate them!!

pmt and parties are always a bad mix.

Nayberry, I highly doubt that your response was etiquette approved, but seriously - BRAVO!!!
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: nayberry on April 20, 2014, 05:48:33 PM
I would have picked up the defaced cupcakes and thrown them in the garbage because honestly? Who wants to eat food someone has had their fingers in.

i may or may not have, (many years ago whilst still a teenager), had something similar happen and resolved it by smooshing the ruined cake in the louts face and taking some money from his wallet to go get a replacement.     it was a chocolate cake topped with mini flake bars and he took every single one off and ate them!!

pmt and parties are always a bad mix.

Nayberry, I highly doubt that your response was etiquette approved, but seriously - BRAVO!!!

Well I was only about 14, it took ages to make and he ruined it!  Oh I mean hypothetically * whistles nonchalantly*
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Jelaza on April 20, 2014, 07:00:06 PM
I don't know if I would actually do this, but I would be seriously tempted to put all those cupcake in front of him and say "Don't touch it unless you're going to eat it.  No one else is going to want to eat food that you've put your fingers all over." and then stand over him until he did.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: sweetonsno on April 22, 2014, 02:59:05 AM
A slight aside, but did anybody see the older episode of the Simpsons wherein Homer tries to eat the decorations off of Maggie's birthday cake? Marge rebukes him sharply: "Homer, no!" and then points out: "I made another cake for you to ruin."

Would a similar tactic work here? The first time he's caught touching other people's food (that is, food that he doesn't intend to eat), tell him that the cupcakes are for the people who want to eat cupcakes, then offer him a licorice-coconut-Medusa-Langoliers thing to pick at.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Venus193 on April 22, 2014, 07:11:24 AM
Casting my vote for rude, childish, passive/aggressive, and mean-spirited.  This is a bully who never grew up.

I'd also be having harsh words with the husband.

And if this happens again, don't cry; get angry.  Your BIL was looking to make you cry.  I might have tossed them all out but not before telling him in the coldest possible tone of voice that he ruined something I spent significant time, effort, and money for the enjoyment of others.  I'd also use the children as the coup de grace on that statement.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: ladyknight1 on April 22, 2014, 08:21:32 AM
Rude.

When I was in cake decorating class, I would bring my projects home and to work to share. One day, I brought a cake with roses and rosettes of icing around the border and on the top. I noticed that just the rosettes and roses were missing an hour later, and found out our terribly unprofessional receptionist had been picking them off.

Not slicing a piece of the cake off and eating them off of that piece, but she touched every bit of the outside and the top of the cake to pick them off. I threw the rest away as she was sticking her fingers in her mouth in between. My cats have better manners.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TeamBhakta on April 22, 2014, 02:07:30 PM
A slight aside, but did anybody see the older episode of the Simpsons wherein Homer tries to eat the decorations off of Maggie's birthday cake? Marge rebukes him sharply: "Homer, no!" and then points out: "I made another cake for you to ruin."

Would a similar tactic work here? The first time he's caught touching other people's food (that is, food that he doesn't intend to eat), tell him that the cupcakes are for the people who want to eat cupcakes, then offer him a licorice-coconut-Medusa-Langoliers thing to pick at.


That's rewarding bad behavior.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: sweetonsno on April 22, 2014, 02:32:54 PM
A slight aside, but did anybody see the older episode of the Simpsons wherein Homer tries to eat the decorations off of Maggie's birthday cake? Marge rebukes him sharply: "Homer, no!" and then points out: "I made another cake for you to ruin."

Would a similar tactic work here? The first time he's caught touching other people's food (that is, food that he doesn't intend to eat), tell him that the cupcakes are for the people who want to eat cupcakes, then offer him a licorice-coconut-Medusa-Langoliers thing to pick at.

That's rewarding bad behavior.

I dunno about that. Explicitly stating that the nice cupcakes are intended for people who plan to eat the whole thing and that the weird one was for the person who just wants to pick stuff off might embarrass him.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: wyliefool on April 23, 2014, 09:28:40 AM
I would solve this problem by simply never making anything for a gathering where BIL would be again. And 'D'H who joined in the laughter? Would be getting the hairy eyeball from me all the way home until he apologized. Or he too would never get a nice yummy homemade cupcake again. It'd be Cakewrecks-style from then on out.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: wolfie on April 23, 2014, 09:35:03 AM
I get the feeling that BIL can pick off the handles without touching any of the rest of the cupcakes.

Honestly if I was a bystander here I would be rolling my eyes at the BIL for doing it, and also rolling my eyes and thinking the OP overreacted if she took all the cupcakes and threw them in the garbage. Probably more rolling for the OP then the BIL if that was the reaction. If he can pick the stuff off without touching the rest of the cupcakes then it wouldn't bother me that much - especially since I don't like licorice and would have tossed it anyway. I would think he was childish and immature but that would be that. So if the OP reacts in a grand way then I would start thinking of her as childish and immature too. I would say that a simple "don't do that" to the BIL and then dropping it would be much more effective for everyone else. Let's face it - you aren't going to change BIL - all you can do is make sure that people remember him badly and not "do you remember when OP blew up at easter that year?"
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Venus193 on April 23, 2014, 12:49:51 PM
Wolfie, I totally understand the OP's issue here.  She's justifiably upset because the BIL ruined the aesthetic of her cupcakes with malicious intent when she had already told him not to.

I would solve this problem by simply never making anything for a gathering where BIL would be again. And 'D'H who joined in the laughter? Would be getting the hairy eyeball from me all the way home until he apologized. Or he too would never get a nice yummy homemade cupcake again. It'd be Cakewrecks-style from then on out.

That's my feeling.

As to an earlier question if I had purchased them from a bakery I would still be angry because that would also have been wasteful.  Maybe a little less insulting, but not much.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: wolfie on April 23, 2014, 01:20:02 PM
Wolfie, I totally understand the OP's issue here.  She's justifiably upset because the BIL ruined the aesthetic of her cupcakes with malicious intent when she had already told him not to.

I would solve this problem by simply never making anything for a gathering where BIL would be again. And 'D'H who joined in the laughter? Would be getting the hairy eyeball from me all the way home until he apologized. Or he too would never get a nice yummy homemade cupcake again. It'd be Cakewrecks-style from then on out.

That's my feeling.

As to an earlier question if I had purchased them from a bakery I would still be angry because that would also have been wasteful.  Maybe a little less insulting, but not much.

I understand why she is upset, I am just saying that as an observer a lot of the suggestions in this thread will reflect much more badly on her then on him. If I was at an event and that happened I would understand here being upset and sympathize with her. But if she grabs all the cakes and toss them my sympathy would quickly dry up. And the same if she tried to make him eat them all because he touched them. 

Ultimately I would suggest not baking things for event he is at anymore. and then to let it go - because this has a potential to backfire on her more then it does on him.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Venus193 on April 23, 2014, 01:41:44 PM
That speaks of the future but we're Monday Morning Quarterbacking here.  What should she have done?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: wolfie on April 23, 2014, 01:44:34 PM
That speaks of the future but we're Monday Morning Quarterbacking here.  What should she have done?

Told him that he should have said something - she had extra licorice handles and please don't pick things off the cupcakes. and then dropped it. Because he isn't going to take anything else seriously and most other reaction will just make her look bad.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Girlie on April 23, 2014, 01:46:16 PM
I'm going to chime in here and say that I don't think OP overreacted by throwing them away. Some people - myself included - get the squicks if someone spends too much time hovering over my food. I'm good about making allowances for waitstaff and whatnot, but for someone to stand over a plate of cupcakes eating the licorice? No thank you. I wouldn't be having one, and I would be disappointed by the muncher's behavior.

Eating one was thoughtless - some people simply don't have the same reactions to these types of things that I and other people do. But to go back and eat most of them - when you know that there are people (especially the baker herself!) who do care, very much, about it - that's bully behavior. He was trying to get some sort of rise out of OP, and he wasn't as successful as he hoped to be.
The truth is, crying probably would have given him something to laugh about for years to come - "She was crying over cupcakes!" and fussing would have given him something to laugh about, too - "She was pitching a fit about cupcakes!" The truth is, it has little to do with the actual cupcakes and everything to do with his selfish, boorish behavior.
My favorite comeback for a situation like this is to cross my arms, lean back against something, and just stare at the offending person. I try to keep all expression off my face. I don't say anything. If I'm asked a question, I respond with monosyllabic answers. It tends to make them very uncomfortable, isn't all that rude, and keeps them from being able to say very much about my reaction. I sometimes get the reputation as being very serious and not having a good sense of humor - but I don't often get messed with, either.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 23, 2014, 03:21:35 PM
That speaks of the future but we're Monday Morning Quarterbacking here.  What should she have done?

I think she did exactly what she should have done.

And I agree w/ wolfie--from a "public relations strategy" point of view, many of the other suggested actions would have been a miscalculation.


I also think she could have a conversation with her DH to explain how disrespectful this is, and to say, "I want you to back me up. I'd actually like you to call your brother and say, 'Hey, remember the cupcakes? I've been thinking, and that wasn't cool. Not at all. My wife put a lot of time and caring into those, and you knew she didn't want you messing with them. I shouldn't have laughed, and you shouldn't have done it. Just want you to know.' "



I'm going to chime in here and say that I don't think OP overreacted by throwing them away.
(Note: She did not throw them away, FYI. She just stopped replacing the handles.)
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: padua on April 23, 2014, 03:46:39 PM
I get the feeling that BIL can pick off the handles without touching any of the rest of the cupcakes.

Honestly if I was a bystander here I would be rolling my eyes at the BIL for doing it, and also rolling my eyes and thinking the OP overreacted if she took all the cupcakes and threw them in the garbage. Probably more rolling for the OP then the BIL if that was the reaction. If he can pick the stuff off without touching the rest of the cupcakes then it wouldn't bother me that much - especially since I don't like licorice and would have tossed it anyway. I would think he was childish and immature but that would be that. So if the OP reacts in a grand way then I would start thinking of her as childish and immature too. I would say that a simple "don't do that" to the BIL and then dropping it would be much more effective for everyone else. Let's face it - you aren't going to change BIL - all you can do is make sure that people remember him badly and not "do you remember when OP blew up at easter that year?"

i'm going to agree with this and really go against the grain here. my family is equally bad with this sort of thing. my dad's way of thinking is 'we're all related anyway, so what's a few germs among family?' so he picks at food at family gatherings that he doesn't elsewhere. as a matter of fact, so does my brother. and my mom. my sister-in-law may have been weirded out by this, but then she's living with my brother. so while it may be rude and a bit gross, it also might just be family dynamics. i totally don't want to excuse this behavior (as i would have had my feelings hurt in a similar situation), but DH may be laughing because that's just what they do at family gatherings.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Hillia on April 23, 2014, 03:58:40 PM
It's not just the squick factor, which may or may not apply, but also the fact that the OP spent time and effort making cute, themed cupcakes, and he couldn't even let people enjoy them and appreciate the effort before ruining the effect by picking at them.  It's the same as if someone took a nice clean knife and smeared the frosting of a carefully decorated cake - the food may not be inedible (depending on your level of squeamishness) but the effect is ruined, and the effort wasted.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 23, 2014, 04:17:55 PM
...Everyone complimented how cute they were and FIL seemed pleased that I went to the effort.

So everyone did get to see them.

Quote
...Dessert had been set out but before my MIL gave the green light to her grandchildren to dig in, one of my BIL's took one of the licorice handles off one of the cupcakes to eat. He left the rest of the cupcake on the tray.

He first did it to only one, so everyone still had the other pretty cupcakes to look at.

Quote
The grandkids were then told by MIL they could dig in and so they did. About 20 minutes later, I looked over at the cupcakes and noticed that all the licorice handles on the remaining cupcakes save for one were gone,

He would probably argue that everyone got a chance to see them all.

(But he was still rude.)

Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: artk2002 on April 23, 2014, 04:48:08 PM
To me, it doesn't matter if everyone saw them or not. The creator, OP, asked him to not do that and he deliberately did it again. Doing once was mildly rude, any child older than about 5 should know that you don't touch a cupcake unless you are planning on eating the whole thing. Doing again simply to get a rise out of the OP was extremely rude; I know that people balk at the word, but it's approaching bullying. It shows that he has the upper hand socially and sadly, her DH went along with that.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 23, 2014, 04:51:08 PM
(I agree w/ you, Art.)
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: ladyknight1 on April 23, 2014, 05:32:45 PM
Very childish behavior from BIL and I would have taken him aside to say something after the first and put the rest away or handed them out when he went back over to them.

OP, have you talked to your DH about this?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: sammycat on April 23, 2014, 05:55:33 PM
To me, it doesn't matter if everyone saw them or not. The creator, OP, asked him to not do that and he deliberately did it again. Doing once was mildly rude, any child older than about 5 should know that you don't touch a cupcake unless you are planning on eating the whole thing. Doing again simply to get a rise out of the OP was extremely rude; I know that people balk at the word, but it's approaching bullying. It shows that he has the upper hand socially and sadly, her DH went along with that.

I agree.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 24, 2014, 02:52:50 PM
To me, it doesn't matter if everyone saw them or not. The creator, OP, asked him to not do that and he deliberately did it again. Doing once was mildly rude, any child older than about 5 should know that you don't touch a cupcake unless you are planning on eating the whole thing. Doing again simply to get a rise out of the OP was extremely rude; I know that people balk at the word, but it's approaching bullying. It shows that he has the upper hand socially and sadly, her DH went along with that.

I agree.

I also agree.

And to bring up the metaphor somebody else gave a few posts ago, would it be reasonable if somebody had brought a decorated cake, everybody got to ooh and aah over it, and then later in the evening, the BIL took a nice clean knife and swiped a big chunk of the picture off the remaining cupcakes?  Possibly to eat, possibly because he was just malicious?  It seems somewhat comparable to me.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: mime on April 24, 2014, 03:50:31 PM
OP: in this family, if a 3-year old or a 7-year old had taken the licorice off all of the cupcakes, how would the family have reacted?

Would they laugh because it's sooooo cute?
Would there be some sort of consequences?
Would the child's parent be angry, embarassed, or amused?

I'm curious to know if this is tolerated for anyone who should know better.

I think in the moment I would have reacted by saying to BIL "So you've just been picking an poking at everyone else's desserts?" and say it with a face that expresses that I think he's pretty gross. I suppose he'd probably still laugh at me, but at least I would have expressed what I thought of his behavior.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Take2 on April 28, 2014, 09:41:59 PM
Would it be rude to reply to him honestly when he said he was in trouble?

"In trouble? You are not my responsibility to parent. I am disappointed, though. I put a lot of work into those. And I wouldn't have expected an adult to steal the garnish/decoration off everyone's dessert like this."

There is no need to over-react and cry or yell. But refusing to take the rudeness as a joke, since he seemed to have the plan to do whatever he wants and then use "humor" to put the wronged party on the defensive.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: purple on April 28, 2014, 10:16:27 PM
That speaks of the future but we're Monday Morning Quarterbacking here.  What should she have done?

Love this, mind if I steal it??
I can already think of a dozen people I could say this too   ;D
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Venus193 on April 28, 2014, 11:14:53 PM
Feel free; I stole it from someone at the office once.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: spookycatlady on April 30, 2014, 07:32:45 AM
Every year at Christmas, I make a cinnamon stuffed bread/cake thing that is shaped and decorated like a Christmas tree with M&Ms and icing.  It's known that if I was overnighting over Christmas, the tannenbaum cake would make an appearance for breakfast.  It's always been a big hit and I get requests.

One year, when I went to put it out, two of the corners were cut off.  The sister of the hostess volunteered that she couldn't resist and cut them off the night before, before she went to bed.  The next year (same house), all of the M&Ms had been picked off-- this time by the hostess herself.  When saw my crestfallen face at the mutilated cake, she said, "I don't like chocolate and cinnamon together," as she smeared butter on the piece she was enjoying.I didn't say anything until the drive home, and asked the dude what he thought about it and he said, "What's the big deal? It all goes to the same place in the end."  Totally clueless.

Never brought another one to that house.  When I was asked about it's absence the next year (I brought cookies instead), I said, "I only make two every season-- this year they were already spoken for.  Here!  Enjoy the cookies!" 

What made me feel like I was maybe feeling unreasonable was the thought, "They're not treating my gift right."  But the hurt comes more from, "They aren't giving anyone else an opportunity to experience it the way I (the giver) intended."  I know that once a gift is given, it is up to the receiver to do what they wish with it.  But when it is a gift to a group, the group should all get to enjoy at an equal level."
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: nayberry on April 30, 2014, 08:25:59 AM
Every year at Christmas, I make a cinnamon stuffed bread/cake thing that is shaped and decorated like a Christmas tree with M&Ms and icing.  It's known that if I was overnighting over Christmas, the tannenbaum cake would make an appearance for breakfast.  It's always been a big hit and I get requests.

One year, when I went to put it out, two of the corners were cut off.  The sister of the hostess volunteered that she couldn't resist and cut them off the night before, before she went to bed.  The next year (same house), all of the M&Ms had been picked off-- this time by the hostess herself.  When saw my crestfallen face at the mutilated cake, she said, "I don't like chocolate and cinnamon together," as she smeared butter on the piece she was enjoying.I didn't say anything until the drive home, and asked the dude what he thought about it and he said, "What's the big deal? It all goes to the same place in the end."  Totally clueless.

Never brought another one to that house.  When I was asked about it's absence the next year (I brought cookies instead), I said, "I only make two every season-- this year they were already spoken for.  Here!  Enjoy the cookies!" 

What made me feel like I was maybe feeling unreasonable was the thought, "They're not treating my gift right."  But the hurt comes more from, "They aren't giving anyone else an opportunity to experience it the way I (the giver) intended."  I know that once a gift is given, it is up to the receiver to do what they wish with it.  But when it is a gift to a group, the group should all get to enjoy at an equal level."

if anyone else mistreats one can i get added to the "will respect and scoff" list :P

otherwise any chance of the recipe?  that sounds like all my favourite foods :D
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: wolfie on April 30, 2014, 08:29:57 AM
I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with not making the foods that other people are ruining. Seems like the right decision to me.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: spookycatlady on April 30, 2014, 09:08:04 AM
I posted it in the Recipe thread!  http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=133372.0 (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=133372.0)
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: veryfluffy on April 30, 2014, 09:12:04 AM
...Okay...does anyone else keep reading the title of this thread as "Rude to pick cat food?"

Or is it just me?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: mime on April 30, 2014, 10:03:22 AM
~snip~
What made me feel like I was maybe feeling unreasonable was the thought, "They're not treating my gift right."  But the hurt comes more from, "They aren't giving anyone else an opportunity to experience it the way I (the giver) intended."  I know that once a gift is given, it is up to the receiver to do what they wish with it.  But when it is a gift to a group, the group should all get to enjoy at an equal level."

I couldn't figure out how to express those same thoughts-- you said it so well!

There are times when someone puts effort into making a beautiful presentation and they want people to see it and enjoy it. Then someone with no appreciation for the presentation comes along and dismantles it and is perfectly clueless as to how they messed it up and 'un-did' all your labor. Then you are made to feel petty for being upset. Presentation takes time and care, and someone just discarded it like that was meaningless. You're not petty. Your efforts are valuable but treated like they aren't. If I were a guest observing this, I'd be upset on behalf of the person who put in all the love and those of us who would appreciate it didn't get the chance, thanks to someone who didn't even care. (I'd also be upset that the licorice/M&Ms/etc were gone, you know? Don't pick stuff off of my share!!! Seriously, didn't your mother teach you that when you were 3?  ::) )

I had a similar thing with an edible arrangement I made (fancy-cut fruit on skewers in a flower pot presentation made to look like a boquet of flowers). Before lunch time, someone picked off all the blueberries. It was my only dark color in the arrangement, and they were the centers of many of the "flowers". The culprit admitted it, and said (with an 'ick-face') "I don't like the other fruits, just the blueberries."  :o  :-\ >:( 

I think your response to not bringing your tree to the next gathering was very gracious. You didn't embarass the host and make yourself look childish. I probably would have said something along the lines of "I remembered that you don't like cinnamon and chocolate together so I thought you'd like these cookies better" and try to put it back on her.

Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 30, 2014, 10:51:56 AM
I think analyzing out loud might work:

"BIL, I'm finding that I'm upset when you pick at the decorations. And I wonder why you're doing it, and why my reaction is so strong. Is it a power dynamic? That you're showing that you get to do whatever you want, and you're enjoying demonstrating that you have more social power than I do?"

I can do this for hours.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: nayberry on April 30, 2014, 12:10:23 PM
thanks spooky :)
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: ydpubs on April 30, 2014, 12:18:00 PM
...Okay...does anyone else keep reading the title of this thread as "Rude to pick cat food?"

Or is it just me?

No, I wasn't. But I am now. LOL!!!
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: lakey on April 30, 2014, 05:29:25 PM
spookycatlady,

I hope the people got the message when you didn't bring your Tannenbaum cake the next year. A big part of these special desserts is the presentation. You put all that work into something special and they ruin the presentation by messing with it before anyone else gets to see it, incredibly selfish.

Yes, it IS rude to poke at food that someone else put a lot of work into. If the decorations didn't matter, they wouldn't have done the extra work to decorate it.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 30, 2014, 07:11:48 PM
I think analyzing out loud might work:

"BIL, I'm finding that I'm upset when you pick at the decorations. And I wonder why you're doing it, and why my reaction is so strong. Is it a power dynamic? That you're showing that you get to do whatever you want, and you're enjoying demonstrating that you have more social power than I do?"

I can do this for hours.

I like this idea.  It's basically calling the other person out by putting into words what they're trying to do subtly with their actions.  It works for *so* many circumstances.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Twik on May 01, 2014, 06:51:16 AM
I think analyzing out loud might work:

"BIL, I'm finding that I'm upset when you pick at the decorations. And I wonder why you're doing it, and why my reaction is so strong. Is it a power dynamic? That you're showing that you get to do whatever you want, and you're enjoying demonstrating that you have more social power than I do?"

I can do this for hours.

So, he smirks and says, "Yeah, I do." What do you do then?

Not that I don't think you're right about his motives. Just that he sounds like the sort of person who won't be abashed by having them called out.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: GratefulMaria on May 01, 2014, 07:10:56 AM
I think analyzing out loud might work:

"BIL, I'm finding that I'm upset when you pick at the decorations. And I wonder why you're doing it, and why my reaction is so strong. Is it a power dynamic? That you're showing that you get to do whatever you want, and you're enjoying demonstrating that you have more social power than I do?"

I can do this for hours.

So, he smirks and says, "Yeah, I do." What do you do then?

Not that I don't think you're right about his motives. Just that he sounds like the sort of person who won't be abashed by having them called out.

I've been around people who've bragged about using their social power on others.  I tilted my head, looked at the person a moment, and calmly said, "Hmm, I'll have to keep that in mind."  And it's harder with family, but there are civil ways to make it clear that you consider your opinion of a person much more important than their opinion of you.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Shalamar on May 02, 2014, 03:17:26 PM
This reminds me of one Thanksgiving at my in-laws' place.  MIL had made several pumpkin pies and had left them on the counter to cool.   They looked terrific.  A couple of hours later, I glanced at the pies and was dismayed to see that someone had picked off all of the crust that hangs over the edge, so they all had a very ragged appearance.

Turned out that SIL - who was in her mid-20's at the time - was the culprit.  When confronted, she said defensively "The crust is my favorite part!"  Yes, and it's MY favorite part, too!  Not to mention the fact that she'd had her grubby hands all over each pie.  Yuck.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Otterpop on May 03, 2014, 08:39:41 AM
This reminds me of one Thanksgiving at my in-laws' place.  MIL had made several pumpkin pies and had left them on the counter to cool.   They looked terrific.  A couple of hours later, I glanced at the pies and was dismayed to see that someone had picked off all of the crust that hangs over the edge, so they all had a very ragged appearance.

Turned out that SIL - who was in her mid-20's at the time - was the culprit.  When confronted, she said defensively "The crust is my favorite part!"  Yes, and it's MY favorite part, too!  Not to mention the fact that she'd had her grubby hands all over each pie.  Yuck.

Whoa, mid-20s?!  Grade schoolers know better.  Did anyone vocalize your thoughts and what was her reaction?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Shalamar on May 03, 2014, 01:08:00 PM
Her mother (my MIL) didn't say squat.   I think her sister said mildly "You picked off all the crust?", thus leading to the "it's my favorite part!" retort.   So, no, no-one gave her the heck she deserved.

That girl had always been a princess.   Her behavior that day didn't surprise me, sad to say.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: ladyknight1 on May 03, 2014, 06:52:08 PM
Why don't these "pickers" just pick on their own serving and not the whole dessert?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: TeamBhakta on May 03, 2014, 09:18:48 PM
If someone picks apart your dish, you should quietly toss it in the garbage and then announce at dessert time "Well, DH & I will be leaving now to eat ice cream sundaes at Bonnie's Ice Cream Parlor. I had brought a platter of chocolate cupcakes for everyone, but Cousin Fred stuck his finger in each cupcake & they had to be thrown out." 
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Mental Magpie on May 03, 2014, 09:38:13 PM
I think analyzing out loud might work:

"BIL, I'm finding that I'm upset when you pick at the decorations. And I wonder why you're doing it, and why my reaction is so strong. Is it a power dynamic? That you're showing that you get to do whatever you want, and you're enjoying demonstrating that you have more social power than I do?"

I can do this for hours.

So, he smirks and says, "Yeah, I do." What do you do then?

Not that I don't think you're right about his motives. Just that he sounds like the sort of person who won't be abashed by having them called out.

This is where my mastery comes in.  Sorry to chime in late, but I've been reading this thread without commenting.

"Hmmm, I thought so.  That's so sad," with a slight, pitying shake of the head.  Then bean dip.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 03, 2014, 11:58:10 PM
Why don't these "pickers" just pick on their own serving and not the whole dessert?

Because they're clueless twits who are incapable of thinking of anyone or anything beyond their lives.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: violinp on May 04, 2014, 12:28:22 AM
Why don't these "pickers" just pick on their own serving and not the whole dessert?

Because they're clueless twits who are incapable of thinking of anyone or anything beyond their lives.

My dad has a saying about people like that: "There are people who would steal dog leavings off a sidewalk if they thought it would make someone upset." It's kinda gross, but true; there will always be people who do and say mean things just for the sheer thrill of upsetting others.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 04, 2014, 01:08:30 AM
Evil!LifeOnPluto would have been tempted to pick at HIS food. Eg, swiping the pickle off his hamburger or something.

But seriously, I would have taken a tone of incredulity and disgust. I would have point blank said to him "Seriously mate? You picked the licorice off nearly all the cupcakes? Why would you choose to ruin them for everyone else?"

I'm guessing he'd probably respond defensively with something like "But licorice is my favourite!" To which I'd reply "Yes, but other people like licorice too. Why would you take that away from them? Why would you spoil things for everyone else?"

In other words, I'd put him on the spot, and make him aware that his actions were selfish.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: sammycat on May 04, 2014, 01:18:19 AM
Evil!LifeOnPluto would have been tempted to pick at HIS food. Eg, swiping the pickle off his hamburger or something.

But seriously, I would have taken a tone of incredulity and disgust. I would have point blank said to him "Seriously mate? You picked the licorice off nearly all the cupcakes? Why would you choose to ruin them for everyone else?"

I'm guessing he'd probably respond defensively with something like "But licorice is my favourite!" To which I'd reply "Yes, but other people like licorice too. Why would you take that away from them? Why would you spoil things for everyone else?"

In other words, I'd put him on the spot, and make him aware that his actions were selfish.

Sounds like something I'd say too. It's not rude, and it gets to the point.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Cheapie on May 04, 2014, 02:07:42 PM
I wanted to chime in on this one.  Just because the OP thought the BIL was taking only the licorice, doesn't mean he didn't possibly touch other parts of the cupcake(s).  I don't get too icked out by germs (in my own house with my own immediate family), but if I had been present at that gathering, I would have made a point of backing the OP up by excusing myself and my kids from having the dessert and, hopefully, would have been able to explain it her afterwards.  Sometimes the point sinks in better when there is a 'crowd' making it.

As for the DH, maybe he would understand how the OP feels if she were to (hypothetically) pick the onions and mushrooms off his steak or the yummy, crunchy crust off his baked chicken.  This behavior could be used on any number of foods, not just desserts.  Maybe using wetter foods as an example would drive the point home to the DH about how rude and unsanitary and just plain yucky it is to do such a thing.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: VorFemme on May 04, 2014, 03:34:14 PM
If the cupcakes were in the OP's home and ONLY her spouse & minor children residing in the same household were handling them (and she knew that everyone had washed their hands before handling them) - I'd say that the cupcakes were fine.  Although some minor children might be getting a short lesson in food handling for safety and to protect the work of someone who went the extra mile to make the food look REALLY good as well as delicious. 

BIL is not someone the OP is in close contact with, does not reside in the same household (and at least theoretically share more than 99% of the same microbiological flora & fauna), and she has no idea how good he is about washing his hands before handling other people's food. 

I would refuse to ever do anything fancy for an event where the host & hostess allow a "gift" to be despoiled by a spoilt brat (of any age or gender) and I would double never make anything that required extra effort for an event with BIL in attendance.  Because it sounds, to my inner Jane Goodall, as if he is trying to be the alpha primate & handle everything before anyone else gets to handle/eat it.  I'm wondering why his father puts up with it - but if it's something his mother has been letting him get away with since he was two, then his father & brother may just be burned out on trying to keep him from "touching" everything - as long as he washes his hands & doesn't LICK it.

But he's not winning friends and influencing people if he's doing it at home (bad example to any of his own kids) and at work....
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: ladyknight1 on May 04, 2014, 06:45:46 PM
My DH makes very elaborate fruit pizzas for dessert on occasion. I would be incensed if someone touched it before it was served.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: JustEstelle on May 05, 2014, 01:25:19 AM
The picking at food thing reminds me of a woman my mother once knew.  They were both members of a local women's group that met weekly to work on crafts and share a potluck lunch.  During my summers off as an undergrad, I often attended with Mom, as I knew all of the ladies (neighbors) and, for the most part, enjoyed their company.  One woman, who wasn't really good at crafts but did enjoy getting together with the other ladies for fellowship, would always give herself the task of setting out the food, preparing drinks, etc.  She had a bad habit, however, of "doctoring" food other people brought.  More than once, we'd go to the table to find the bowl of fresh cantaloupe from our garden that Mom had brought as her contribution, blackened with pepper before anyone had a chance to take any.  The reason?  Lucy "liked it that way."  Or if Mom took a fresh-baked cobbler (the kind that's more like a pie than a cobbler - crust on both top and bottom and lots of juicy, fruity goodness in the middle), we'd find it all stirred up and the top crust soggy from being mixed into the filling because Lucy "liked it that way."  Mom eventually just read Lucy the riot act about it and gave her to understand that she was free to doctor up whatever she brought in any way she liked but that not everyone (Mom, for instance) likes their cantaloupe peppered or their cobbler all mixed up before getting a serving of it.  Lucy did get a bit defensive about it, but several others besides me backed Mom up on it, and Lucy stopped messing with the food. 

Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: mime on May 05, 2014, 10:49:20 AM
Evil!LifeOnPluto would have been tempted to pick at HIS food. Eg, swiping the pickle off his hamburger or something.

But seriously, I would have taken a tone of incredulity and disgust. I would have point blank said to him "Seriously mate? You picked the licorice off nearly all the cupcakes? Why would you choose to ruin them for everyone else?"

I'm guessing he'd probably respond defensively with something like "But licorice is my favourite!" To which I'd reply "Yes, but other people like licorice too. Why would you take that away from them? Why would you spoil things for everyone else?"

In other words, I'd put him on the spot, and make him aware that his actions were selfish.

Sounds like something I'd say too. It's not rude, and it gets to the point.

I like this too. I wish something like that would come to my mind at the moment, rather than being overrun with all the sarcastic comments I could make instead.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Venus193 on May 05, 2014, 12:28:07 PM
I would also vote "jihad."  How could anyone be that clueless?
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: mime on May 05, 2014, 01:46:04 PM
I can't believe I read all 8 pages before I remembered this.
Warning:  You will be furious to the point of tears.  I know I was.

http://ask.metafilter.com/124186/Party-foul-or-reason-for-jihad

I love this part of her response: "Under what circumstances does this qualify as acceptable behaivor?" Really, it's what so many of us are thinking when we read the stories posted here. Sometimes it is satisfying to know that there are people who actually do ask that quesiton out loud to the people who gotta get a clue!
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: nayberry on May 05, 2014, 02:35:26 PM
I can't believe I read all 8 pages before I remembered this.
Warning:  You will be furious to the point of tears.  I know I was.

http://ask.metafilter.com/124186/Party-foul-or-reason-for-jihad

I love this part of her response: "Under what circumstances does this qualify as acceptable behaivor?" Really, it's what so many of us are thinking when we read the stories posted here. Sometimes it is satisfying to know that there are people who actually do ask that quesiton out loud to the people who gotta get a clue!

wow,  clueless really was clueless!
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Shalamar on May 05, 2014, 04:14:19 PM
I just remembered another one - this may not qualify, because the person in question only picked at his own portion.  My mother and I still thought it was rude, though.  See what you think.

Mum and Dad had invited a friend over for dinner, and for dessert Mum had made a coffee cake that had walnuts.   She served a piece to Friend, who promptly started picking out every single walnut.  Mum, surprised, said "Oh, I'm sorry - are you allergic?  I can give you something else."  No, he wasn't allergic, but he didn't say anything else - just "No, I'm not allergic", as he continued to pick out the walnuts.  He was left with a plate of crumbs, which he then scooped into his mouth.

Personally, if that were me and if I didn't like walnuts (which, I'm assuming, was the case with this guy), I would have said "Oh, it looks delicious, but I'm SO full - thank you anyway!"  Or, if pressed, I would have said "I'm really not a fan of walnuts, but thank you just the same." 
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: wolfie on May 05, 2014, 04:18:24 PM
I just remembered another one - this may not qualify, because the person in question only picked at his own portion.  My mother and I still thought it was rude, though.  See what you think.

Mum and Dad had invited a friend over for dinner, and for dessert Mum had made a coffee cake that had walnuts.   She served a piece to Friend, who promptly started picking out every single walnut.  Mum, surprised, said "Oh, I'm sorry - are you allergic?  I can give you something else."  No, he wasn't allergic, but he didn't say anything else - just "No, I'm not allergic", as he continued to pick out the walnuts.  He was left with a plate of crumbs, which he then scooped into his mouth.

Personally, if that were me and if I didn't like walnuts (which, I'm assuming, was the case with this guy), I would have said "Oh, it looks delicious, but I'm SO full - thank you anyway!"  Or, if pressed, I would have said "I'm really not a fan of walnuts, but thank you just the same."

I don't really think that was a big deal. He just changed what he was eating to be something he would enjoy.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Peregrine on May 05, 2014, 04:27:49 PM
I just remembered another one - this may not qualify, because the person in question only picked at his own portion.  My mother and I still thought it was rude, though.  See what you think.

Mum and Dad had invited a friend over for dinner, and for dessert Mum had made a coffee cake that had walnuts.   She served a piece to Friend, who promptly started picking out every single walnut.  Mum, surprised, said "Oh, I'm sorry - are you allergic?  I can give you something else."  No, he wasn't allergic, but he didn't say anything else - just "No, I'm not allergic", as he continued to pick out the walnuts.  He was left with a plate of crumbs, which he then scooped into his mouth.

Personally, if that were me and if I didn't like walnuts (which, I'm assuming, was the case with this guy), I would have said "Oh, it looks delicious, but I'm SO full - thank you anyway!"  Or, if pressed, I would have said "I'm really not a fan of walnuts, but thank you just the same."

I think I find this situation more tacky (gauche?) than rude.  I would venture to guess that most people eat around ingredients that they really dislike but are not allergic to....this person just did it in a much more obvious way than other people do, probably due to the nature of the dessert.  Knowing how differently people view this, he may have felt it would have been much more rude to completely turn down the dessert than try to eat it the best he could.  My mother held the view that as long as you weren't allergic to a food you had to at least eat a serving with a smile on your face....she has softened a lot over the years, and now agrees that it's permissible to pass on foods that you don't care for as long as it's done very politely.  I think the blood pudding she was served overseas might have had something to do with that  >:D
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: VorFemme on May 05, 2014, 05:31:12 PM
Nuclear jihad on the case of the Super-Twit who took a cake apart, hid parts of it, and grabbed a handful of cake out of the middle in the process.

Socially inept does not cover this.  Unless they were FILMING Candid Camera and used a staged second fake cake....

Since it seems not to have been staged and was the original, real cake...

Super-Twit and her husband the Amazing General Oblivious should expect never to be invited anywhere where there is CAKE again.  Or food that is in danger of being played with by Super-Twit...which pretty much rules out MOST if not all social situations in my experience...since they ALL involve FOOD!  Bowling?  Nachos or pizza...  Movie?  Popcorn, soda, possibly candy....  If it is a meal - they can't come.

I suppose if someone is showing a Power Point presentation of all their vacation photos but is NOT serving food, they could be invited over...but off hand, I can't think of much else...
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: ladyknight1 on May 05, 2014, 05:33:57 PM
I have a friend that does not eat beans or nuts. He doesn't like them. It is very hard for him to find things to eat at potlucks that don't have them, but since it is a choice and not an allergy, he just brings something for himself to eat.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: shhh its me on May 06, 2014, 07:06:09 AM


I suppose if someone is showing a Power Point presentation of all their vacation photos but is NOT serving food, they could be invited over...but off hand, I can't think of much else...
I think that could be stage one of her punishment.  My former BIL also has a presentation of "for insurance purposes" photos he would like to share.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: JustEstelle on May 06, 2014, 12:23:14 PM
I just remembered another one - this may not qualify, because the person in question only picked at his own portion.  My mother and I still thought it was rude, though.  See what you think.

Mum and Dad had invited a friend over for dinner, and for dessert Mum had made a coffee cake that had walnuts.   She served a piece to Friend, who promptly started picking out every single walnut.  Mum, surprised, said "Oh, I'm sorry - are you allergic?  I can give you something else."  No, he wasn't allergic, but he didn't say anything else - just "No, I'm not allergic", as he continued to pick out the walnuts.  He was left with a plate of crumbs, which he then scooped into his mouth.

Personally, if that were me and if I didn't like walnuts (which, I'm assuming, was the case with this guy), I would have said "Oh, it looks delicious, but I'm SO full - thank you anyway!"  Or, if pressed, I would have said "I'm really not a fan of walnuts, but thank you just the same."

Perhaps he was indeed telling the truth - not allergic - but unable to eat nuts due to dental problems.
Title: Re: Rude to pick at food?
Post by: Marbles on May 08, 2014, 12:56:10 AM
I just remembered another one - this may not qualify, because the person in question only picked at his own portion.  My mother and I still thought it was rude, though.  See what you think.

Mum and Dad had invited a friend over for dinner, and for dessert Mum had made a coffee cake that had walnuts.   She served a piece to Friend, who promptly started picking out every single walnut.  Mum, surprised, said "Oh, I'm sorry - are you allergic?  I can give you something else."  No, he wasn't allergic, but he didn't say anything else - just "No, I'm not allergic", as he continued to pick out the walnuts.  He was left with a plate of crumbs, which he then scooped into his mouth.

Personally, if that were me and if I didn't like walnuts (which, I'm assuming, was the case with this guy), I would have said "Oh, it looks delicious, but I'm SO full - thank you anyway!"  Or, if pressed, I would have said "I'm really not a fan of walnuts, but thank you just the same."

He was not rude to not eat the nuts. There are many non-allergy reasons not to eat nuts, ranging from just not liking them to having the tannins upset one's stomach, to dental reasons, to having other digestive issues with them. I think eating around them was his way of showing his appreciation for the rest of the dish.

The hostess should not have commented on what he was or was not eating.