Setting: You’re at the home of an acquaintance – not the home of a close friend, an acquaintance whom you’d rather not offend. It’s a dinner party. As you take a place at the beautifully set table, your host begins bringing out piping hot dishes. As luck would have it she sets the Brussels sprouts right in front of you. Seeing the look of trepidation in your eyes, she assures you that even though you may not be a fan of these little green balls of evil, you’ve not had them prepared like this before.
Knowing now that your host is a maniac, you begin pondering how to end the evening as early as possible. However in the meantime a decision must be made regarding the horrendous spheres sitting mere inches from your plate. There are 3 clear options; which is the appropriate course of action?
1. Refuse to Eat it
“Have you lost your mind? I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to leave!”
Considering the example above is Brussels Sprouts, in the opinion of the author, this is a perfectly acceptable answer. However, it may not always be the prudent course. Oftentimes dinner is the framework for an assortment of business negotiations, romantic scenes, and a myriad of other settings.
As mentioned above, the host has insisted you “Haven’t had them like this before.” To flatly refuse to try the aforementioned repugnant green balls is likely to offend the host – a course of action we are trying to avoid.
From a parenting standpoint, it’s also a poor choice to teach youth. Teaching one’s offspring creative ways to deal with difficult situations would be preferable.
2. Brace Yourself and Chow Down
Let’s say you were taking a scenic drive through the Appalachian Mountains when miles from civilization your car breaks down. You’ve sat idly beside the road – with nary a sign of humanity – long enough for concern to creep into your mind. As luck would have it, you spy a worn pickup coming your direction in the distance. The truck slows and eventually stops next to you. Reaching across to roll down the window an overall wearing man with not nearly enough teeth offers you a ride to town; and town is easily 30 minutes away.
As you ride in silence, your new host stretches a bit, reaches behind the seat, and just as you’re about to jump from the moving automobile into the ditch, he pulls forth a jar of Pickled Pigs Feet. He says you look famished and insists you have some. Images of Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty in the movie “Deliverance” are coming to mind.
As your host twists off the lid and stretches his arm your direction, you decide against offending him and plunge two fingers into the jar. Knowing you’re going to have a serious bout with your gag-reflex, you decide eating a bit of pig is better than “squealing like one.”
3. The “No Thank You” Bite
Setting: You’re on your first trip to Asia, and your host insists on taking you to the “Best Restaurant Around.” Being the courteous gentleman he is, he insists on ordering for the two of you.
The meal is set to arrive in multiple courses. After some soup that may or may not have been the recipe from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, round two is coming across the restaurant in your direction. When the waitress is a solid twenty feet away, you detect a scent so putrid you’re sure a patron has lost control of their bowels. The smell of death and disease.
You have an instant moment of dread, combined with a desire to immediately flee. You’ve realized the fetid fragrance is coming from the platter now heading your direction. Your beaming host is so proud to present you with an Asian delicacy known as Stinky Tofu.
Having set a platter of perhaps one of the world’s most aptly named dishes in front of you, the waitress smiles, bows ever so slightly, and leaves you with your host. Smiling broadly, he beacons you toward the platter.
If the host were anyone else – a friend, relative, even mild acquaintance – you’d simply refuse the horrendous dish. However, in this instance imagine there were a multi-million dollar deal at stake. Knowing you simply cannot offend said host, the best course of action is to take the “No Thank You” bite.
Take a small amount of the proffered dish; get enough to assure one’s host that you’ll be able to ascertain it’s true essence, and eat it. We’re not talking about the transaction which takes place when a five year old is forced to try a vegetable -no touching the tip of the tongue, wrinkling one’s nose and uttering “gross.” Consume the bite in a manner which shows respect to the host, and politely decline more.
This method is great for adults whom may find themselves in a scenario where offending the host might be regrettable. It’s also a great way to teach children as a method to respect others, while not being forced to consume something “yucky” like Brussels Sprouts!