CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Judging from the e-mails I received after Thanksgiving, some of you experienced a very rude holiday, or as one reader coined it, a "Thankless-giving."
@rag:She wrote about the first visit of her son's new girlfriend, in which he failed to inform her that the girlfriend was a vegetarian. The reader didn't mind that the girlfriend did not eat meat. However, she did mind that the girlfriend kept referring to the turkey, which the reader had spent hours preparing, as the "carcass."
Additionally, before the girlfriend would put something on her plate, she would first ask if it had been prepared with anything from a dead animal. Needless to say, the Thanksgiving dinner did not go well.
If you are a vegetarian (or have any other dietary restrictions) and have been invited to dinner, a quick phone call to your host beforehand would help to avoid any sticky situations that may occur. Saying something as simple as; "Thank you so much for the kind invitation to dinner, I am really looking forward to the evening. Since I am a vegetarian [or whatever], may I please bring a dish or casserole to help?"
If you are a host and discover during dinner that a guest is a vegetarian, then it is best not to make a big deal out of the situation. Just offer the guest what they can eat.
If you are a vegetarian guest and are offered meat, a good response would be: "No thank you, but I would love the broccoli [or whatever else is available]. It looks delicious." It is best to avoid belaboring your dietary borders.
Another reader wants to know how to defuse an argument. "Uncle Joe and Cousin Sam have been squabbling since 1949. Their rude and constant bickering during family gatherings gives us all indigestion and makes us miserable. We've discussed this with both of them to no avail. Any suggestions?"
Yes: Come prepared. Before any family gathering, come up with a few "change-the-subject" topics. If and when the conversation becomes heated between the two, break in with the change-the-subject topic you thought of beforehand.