There are two types of annoying guests at dinner: those who harp on excessively about their food preferences, allergies, restrictions etc, and those who wallow in their denial and feel the need to defend their position on eating crap by insisting others do too. I admit I have been on both sides of the fence at one time or another. Here are my tips on how not to make your fellow guests want to vomit whenever you open your mouth at dinner.
If you are on a “diet” or “program” or have some kind of food restriction
Maybe you feel you’re allergic to gluten. Maybe you believe that sugar is evil, or red meat kills you. Maybe you avoid dairy because you believe it’s sent from the Devil to give us all ADHD, autism and cancer. Maybe (like me) you’ve been told to eat less saturated fat because your cholesterol is high. All this may be fair and true, and if you’re truly allergic to something you do need to make this explicit before your throat closes up. But there’s no need to become the High Priest/ess of Annoying Eating Habits, especially if someone else has lovingly prepared the food for you. Here are some do’s and don’ts.
Did you know that olive oil cooked to high temperatures, as in this beautifully roasted potato, kills you by giving you heart disease?
No thanks, I don’t eat pesticides. (as I did when once offered strawberries that were not organic. I know! I know!!!!!)
My naturopath told me to eat organic cold-pressed coconut oil, I don’t eat dairy, because humans are not made to digest cow’s milk.
Wow, there’s a lot of free radicals in this lovely roast beef here. No thanks.
Gluten is evil. We don’t need gluten. It destroys our guts and gives us cancer. No bread thanks. I only eat gluten-free bread. I get it from this beautiful artisan bakery that specialises in gluten-free bread. It’s amazing. It costs $20 a loaf. You should go there.
Noodles have no nutritional value whatsoever. (A true fact, but one that I am ashamed to have repeated at dinner in front of steaming plates of delicious noodles all covered with exquisite sauces of lard and MSG).
That cake looks amazing! I’ll just have a tiny piece, thanks. Yum!
I’d really love to, but my doctor said I have to avoid red meat. I do miss my steak!
Thank you. Would you like some too?
I won’t, not today, thanks. (Sincere smile). Here you go. (Firmly zips lips).
If you’re living in denial
You feel insecure when someone starts tooting on about their diet, because you eat crap. Or it annoys you because you simply want to dig into the mashed potatoes and get to dessert. You believe that all this nutrition stuff is rubbish and humans should eat whatever the hell they want because life is short (well, it will be for you, that’s for sure).
My grandmother lived til 90 and she smoked every single day of her life and ate lard. (My personal favourite. I bet Granny had her legs amputated from diabetic gangrene).
Everything in moderation!! (Another favourite of mine – usually said by someone who has their plate loaded with french fries).
Come on, eat this burnt bit of cow!!!! It won’t kill you!! One piece won’t kill you! One piece of cake won’t kill you!! (Starts vigorously shoving food at people).
Nothing at all. Just keep eating, smiling and nodding!
You can choose to eat your way, without making it public. Just eat less of what you don’t want to eat, or avoid it altogether. And please, do not force someone to eat something they don’t want to. Mutual respect goes a long way at dinner! Perhaps this will pave the way for mature discussions about diet and nutrition instead of creating polarity.