In Good Taste: When No Means No Second Helpings
Dear Etta Kate: I'm an accomplished cook. My brunch and dinner guests are often reluctant to take second portions of the dishes I'm serving, even once they've happily devoured everything on their plates. Aren't they just being polite? I want to insist they eat more.
Dear Miss Generosity: Thank heavens for people like you: You are the antithesis of the stingy host/ess. You may invite your guests to enjoy the literal fruits of your labor, and if refused, you can mildly pout that your feelings will be hurt if no one takes another portion. Your boundary of correctness is set to one extra “ask,” with a plaintive, “Now are you sure I cannot talk you into one more tiny spoonful of “insert delightful concoction here?”
Hint for guests on a diet: This is a wonderful chance to segue into a chorus of “No, I could not eat another bite, but it was so wonderful I hope you would consider sharing your recipe with me; that is, if it’s not a treasured family secret!” Host/ess might respond, “I’d love to and will send you home with a bit of it for later.” If this happens more than once per recipe, you might retire it – there is a world of difference between a hit and a bomb. Get a new signature dish people rave over, one they eagerly accept for second helpings.
Etta Kate is the nom de plume of a business consultant who maintains anonymity to protect her clients’ privacy. If you have a question about food and dining etiquette, Etta Kate will be happy to help. You can post your messages in the comments section of this page.