Author Topic: Dessert wars  (Read 17623 times)

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MindsEye

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Dessert wars
« on: November 11, 2013, 09:36:49 AM »
This situation is playing out right now in my circle of extended friends/family.  I primarily know about it because the two main players (Tom and Tina) are both using me as a sounding board/sympathetic ear. 

BG!

Every year Tina uses the occasion of her birthday (early Dec) as an excuse to throw a party and have a lot of people over.  Typically she has a huge buffet spread of small plate items/tapas.  The piece de resistance of the meal/event is The Cake.  The Cake is a recipe that she has from her great-grandmother, and is her favorite cake, but which she only makes once a year where there are a lot of people around to help eat it because it is incredibly rich. 

Enter Tom, who has a fairly new food restriction that means he cannot partake of The Cake. Tom is rather fixated on this fact and is upset that Tina will neither alter the recipe so that he can eat The Cake nor make a different main dessert. 

(It should be noted that there will be plenty of there that Tom can eat.  Tina knows a lot of people with food restrictions and the reason that she always does tapas is so that there will be plenty for all diets.  There will also be other dessert-type items - a fruit and cheese platter and several kinds of ice cream and sorbets.)

Tina is putting her foot down about The Cake.  Her stance is that it is her birthday and she is going to have The Cake.  She contends that there are plenty of other things that Tom can eat and doesn't understand why Tom is "being such a baby" (her words) about the whole thing. She has offered to Tom that she can provide a cupcake just for him from a bakery that caters to his diet if it is that important to him to be able to have "cake" at her party. 

Tom is angry at Tina because he thinks she is being an "ungracious host" (his words) by making a main dessert that not everyone can eat, and is insulted by the idea of the special cupcake for him because "separate is not equal!" (again, his words) He thinks that she should just make The Cake some other time and should be focused on catering to the needs of her guests at the party by making a main dessert that all can enjoy.

Frankly, I want to shake them both a little bit, and I think that they both have points... however, I also think that Tina is trying to be more than accommodating to Tom (and it IS her birthday after all!) and that Tom needs to either learn how to be a gracious guest or just not go to Tina's party.

So, oh ehellions... should I say something to Tom and/or Tina?  Or should I just just smile and nod when they kvetch to me and otherwise stay well out of it?

Harriet Jones

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 09:42:12 AM »

I'd tell Tina not to change The Cake, and tell Tom to suck it up.

Curious Cat

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 09:42:56 AM »
Tom's being a jerk and should stay  home if he's so offended at the idea that his host would get him a special dessert.  Tina is being very generous in offering but would have been under no obligation to do so.

Bethalize

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2013, 09:43:14 AM »
Tom needs to be in the SS thread.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2013, 09:44:39 AM »
I'm summarizing to make sure I have it right:  Tina is throwing the party, providing all the food, including The Cake.  Tom will be able to eat a lot of the food but not The Cake.  Tina has offered to provide a cupcake that Tom can eat.  And Tom is whining because Tina is still going to serve The Cake, that he can't eat.

Tom is just a tad bit entitled, isn't he?  Tina is fine.  Accommodating doesn't mean catering to.  Tom either needs to suck it up or not attend.

As for what you should do, I'd stay out of it.  At most, I'd tell them to talk to each other and leave you out of it.
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MariaE

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2013, 09:45:22 AM »
I'm totally on Team Tina. Even if The Cake was the only dessert available, Tom still wouldn't have a leg to stand on. And as it is? SS and ungracious guest.
 
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cicero

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 09:51:15 AM »
please tell me that tom is 3 years old. please?

so no, he is way out of line. Tina sounds like a very gracious hostess. we are talking about cake - nothing will happen to him if he doesn't have a piece of cake. and he can have cake - tina is willing to get him a piece of GF cake.

My late mother had diabetes (type I). so she would make desserts *for everyone* and then something for herself. she never whined about. she never complained. every now and then she would take a crumb of real cake or a taste of ice cream but otherwise she lived with her illness with utter graciousness.

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Luci

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 10:09:32 AM »
Why do you want to shake Tina a little bit? She has said absolutely nothing wrong and will not sully her grandmother's recipe -no matter what you say, any change will make it different to someone, most probably Tina.

Agreed that Tom belongs in the Special Snowflake thread.

(I keep thinking about my lasagne recipe - The One That Will Not Be Changed. If you are allergic to eggs, I will  not change the noodles or leave the eggs out of the ricotta mix. You may have a leftover pork sandwich or don't come. Tom may have a cupcake, keep quiet, or not attend.)

Tina is a lot nicer than I, who would laugh Tom out of the room. Well, not really. But I would want to.

FoxPaws

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 10:33:21 AM »
Accommodating doesn't mean catering to. 
This needs to become one of ehell's go-to phrases if it isn't already.

Tom can't have The Cake, so no one gets The Cake? Tina's right - he is being a baby. And who exactly is going to determine what dessert "all can enjoy"? Tom? Come to think of it, that might be a good learning experience for him - giving him Tina's guest list and letting him find The One Dessert that satisfies everybody's preferences and restrictions.
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lowspark

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 10:36:40 AM »
Probably the best thing is to just stay out of it. However, depending on my relationship with Tom, I'd probably just tell him to quit being a whiny baby and graciously accept the cupcake or else make do with the other (ample!) offerings. Tina's right. Tom's being an SS. He needs to completely back off.

And I'd tell Tina to tell Tom that if he has a better menu in mind, he is perfectly welcome to throw his own party complete with all his own favorites. And that if/when he does, she'll attend and not utter one complaint.

By the way, does Tom ever host a party where he feeds his guests so lavishly? It's always been my experience that the loudest complaints come from people who never actually do the hosting/work/paying/whatever that they are complaining about.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 10:45:22 AM »
Tine is fine, Tom is being a big, whiny baby. It's her birthday, her celebration, and SHE is providing all of the food. Including OTHER dessert items that Tom can have. So as someone else pointed out, he can suck it up, or stay home. Esp since she ONLY makes it once a year for HER birthday.

I was recently at a reunion of my mom' college friends, and one had a milestone birthday coming up, so the last night, they had cake for her. Carrot cake which I don't like, but I kept my yap shut, and politely declined it. I didn't make a fuss about not having ANY dessert for ME. it wasn't my day, and it wasn't the end of the world that I didn't get to have cake.

My mom, every year, including into college, made me the same cake for my birthday. Nothing fancy, but just a really rich, yummy choclate cake, that only got better wiht time. And to cut some of the sweetness, the frosting was choc. chips an sour cream. How I miss that cake. She even made it, wrapped it up tight, and mailed it to me for 4 years of college.  It  was tradition! 

MindsEye

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 10:58:57 AM »
Why do you want to shake Tina a little bit?

Mostly for her tone, I suppose... She is not being very nice about Tom right now ... I suppose that it is one of those "you really had to be there things" as tone doesn't come across well when typed out.  But Tom is really rubbing her the wrong way, and the offer of a special cupcake was a very grudging, very major concession on her part... 

I suppose that this is actually a symptom of a larger issue of restricted (both medically and by choice) diets... Tom has celiac's and has always had wheat gluten issues, but in the past has also had no problems with the occasional "indulgence".  Now, however, he is also a newly fledged vegan and is deep in the "righteous" phase of that conversion...   And he is really alienating a lot of people with it, including Tina.  (And why he is fixated totally on The Cake and is ignoring the other dishes there that will also contain animal products I have no idea...)

What is the best (most etiquette approved) way of talking to Tom about the way he is behaving?  In general and about Tina's party?

Much as I would love to, I don't think telling him "Suck it up, buttercup! This party is not about you, so either go and be gracious or don't go." would work, and it isn't terribly polite either!   :-\

The party is Dec 7 so plenty of time for additional drama between now and then.

(Tina's milestone is turning 40, and Tom is only a year or two younger then her.)

(Edited to add that Tom and Tina are cousins but grew up in an almost brother/sister relationship)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 11:02:07 AM by MindsEye »

mime

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 11:01:22 AM »
Accommodating doesn't mean catering to. 
This needs to become one of ehell's go-to phrases if it isn't already.

Tom can't have The Cake, so no one gets The Cake? Tina's right - he is being a baby. And who exactly is going to determine what dessert "all can enjoy"? Tom? Come to think of it, that might be a good learning experience for him - giving him Tina's guest list and letting him find The One Dessert that satisfies everybody's preferences and restrictions.

This is what I was thinking too... I assume Tina's Cake might be nut-free, but is unlikely to be dairy free, gluten free and egg free. There are probably several people who won't be able to eat it for a variety of reasons. Why does Tom think he's so special that the recipie needs to be changed now, for him?

Tina sounds like a thoughtful host for making Tapas that meet a variety of restrictions. The *only* place I can fault her is for calling Tom a big baby (although she has a good point).

I suggest:
Tell Tina to take a higher road with "that won't be possible", and enjoy her cake.
Tell Tom that, upon receiving an invitation, he can accept the hospitality that Tina has extended or reject it, but he doesn't get to make demands of someone else's party.

cwm

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2013, 11:14:22 AM »
I suggest:
Tell Tina to take a higher road with "that won't be possible", and enjoy her cake.
Tell Tom that, upon receiving an invitation, he can accept the hospitality that Tina has extended or reject it, but he doesn't get to make demands of someone else's party.

I second this, and add a further suggestion. Make sure they know that you will not be taking sides in this, and you prefer not to hear about it any more. If they can't act like adults and handle their own problems like adults, then you're not going to be the fill-in adult and solve things for them.

That is, of course, if you mind being in the middle.

Bethalize

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Re: Dessert wars
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 11:20:30 AM »
Much as I would love to, I don't think telling him "Suck it up, buttercup! This party is not about you, so either go and be gracious or don't go." would work, and it isn't terribly polite either!   :-\

I think you could say: "Tom, this is Tina's party and Tina gets to choose what is served. Your needs are being accommodated; that is as much as you can reasonably expect."