Polite Food

Posted: September 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Another small group meeting at church meant another dinner of combined forces…aka (mostly) free food.


Our group has started doing a salad bar dinner when we meet for our “Grow Group” study mid-week. It fits perfectly because everyone brings different salad toppings, dressings, etc to contribute to the salad bar, so it ends up being a good spread of items without breaking the bank. Or making anyone cook. Both of which I greatly appreciate. Winking smile

I loaded up my plate with some mixed lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives, and garbanzo beans. Then, I topped it all off with a light, yet creamy, Sweet Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette. That’s what I’m talking about, baby.


I went back to pile my veggie mountain with a bit more olives, cucumbers, and garbanzo beans mid-way through digging in. So delicious. I can certainly get used to this! And we’re even thinking of starting a different themed salad every week we meet – Santa Fe, Fruit & Nuts, Goat Cheese & Beets! Okay, I threw that last one in there. I don’t know how well that combo would go over. Sadly. Either way, I love that our group has come together to make sharing a meal not only cheap and easy, but healthy too!

In addition to our salad bar, my friend Danielle brought a small glazed chocolate cake she picked up to share.

bundt cake
kind of like this one [source]

Despite my friend’s kindness in bringing a dessert, I had to pass. You all know I only love cake if it includes gobs of frosting, so I knew I wouldn’t feel this cake. Sometimes it’s hard because I want to extend the courtesy of eating what someone contributed at a meal, but I also stand by eating what satisfies me and not eating just because something is there. Luckily Danielle and I are *likethis* so I knew she wouldn’t take offense when I politely declined a slice. And even though she knows I would go grab myself a serving of ice cream when I got home instead. Winking smile

  • Any good salad theme recommendations you have for our group?
  • Do you ever feel the pressure to be polite with food? How do you handle it?

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36 Comments to “Polite Food”
  1. i dealt w that all the time in africa! certain healthy decisions just didn’t translate. it was super hard there, but luckily easier here 🙂

  2. Lately, I have had to be polite with food because I am upping my protein and cutting sugar! I’m trying to loose a little bit of weight/mostly fat because I haven’t just felt like I’m at my happy weight recently.

    Should be interesting trying to pass up game day treat this Saturday!

  3. Kelly says:

    So something similar happened to me last week. We had company staying with us for one night and they brought a homemade caramel apple cheesecake for us. So much work and effort went into it and they were SO excited for us to try it. Small problem…I literally depise cheesecake because I hate ricotta. But I didn’t have the heart to tell them that so I cut a small sliver and sucked one up for the team. I am not kidding when I say I had to choke that down. Keith was so sweet and kept giving me these encouraging looks across the table.

    • Tina says:

      Yea…I would have had to give in to that too. I can imagine how hard it would be though since its something you really don’t like. No fun! But I’m sure it brought a smile to your guests. 🙂

  4. Lenae says:

    A fun salad theme might be Taco salad, everyone has to bring something that would be good on a taco or the ABC Salad. Everyone takes a letter and they have to bring something that starts with that letter.

  5. Yes I feel food pressure with Jason’s side of the family — they will literally put food into your mouth. I know they mean well and they are just trying to share but I can’t stand it.

  6. Love it. LOVE IT. Free food = I’m there. Healthy free food and CAKE?! Even better.
    I do feel obligated to try out someone’s dessert, but if I’m not feeling it, I’ll pass, and I would encourage anyone to do the same on a dessert that I brought.

  7. That salad looks great! I totally know what you mean about being polite with food. Don’t apologize for listening to what is best for YOU! Yeah, maybe some people will take it personally, but the ones who are important will understand.

  8. Helen says:

    It is wonderful that your group provides a healthy meal. I love that idea! Oh and the cake, I’ll take your piece if you don’t mind…lol!

  9. Lauren says:

    I often feel the same, especially when someone tries to offer me meat. Since I don’t eat meat, I usually have a good excuse, but I fear that if I turn down a dessert, people assume I don’t eat desserts and I’m above them. I DEFINITELY don’t usually turn down dessert but if I don’t like something, I hate to force myself to eat it. It’s just not my style.

  10. I love the salad idea! How about grain salads or colour themes? 🙂

  11. Crystal says:

    I ALWAYS feel pressure to accept food out of politeness. I even agree to restaurants everyone else wants because I don’t want to be the one person to say, “What about something else…” This is definitely something I can work on. I’m sure there is a way to decline something while still being polite about it.

  12. Jess says:

    I used to ALWAYS eat stuff I normally wouldn’t eat because I felt obligated in group settings and didn’t want to “cause a fuss.” I’ve since learned that it’s ok to politely decline and that doing so isn’t rude or selfish, it’s what feels right be me and fits my eating style so I go with it now. I wish I learned that sooner though, lots of empty, not all that tasty, calories consumed out of obligation over the years!

  13. The salad bar is such a great idea! Love it! I would do an Italian theme or Greek theme. 🙂
    If I don’t want to consume the calories than I’m not going to eat something. If a person insists, I may try a bite or two and put the plate down when they’re not looking.

  14. Katheryn says:

    I definitely feel the pressure to eat food just to be polite, but I almost always decline, and I don’t think I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings.

  15. Haley says:

    What about a pasta salad bar: same toppings for greens based salad, but diversity of pastas, sauces & dressings, different types of cheeses, etc…

  16. jobo says:

    Ugh, I hate food pressure too. It can be awkward and you feel like you have to. I tend to feel that way sometimes with M’s parents, as they just want to pour pour pour the wine and food but don’t ralize I need and want to be a little more restrained than that sometimes 😉 I politely decline too, but wish it were easier sometimes, or that people understood a little more I guess?

  17. Fall Harvest!!! cubed roasted butternut squash, apple, craisins, peppers, onion, blue cheese!! YUMMMMM. It’s all going to be in season and cheap!! also a maple vinaigrette. Just don’t use all evoo, it will overpower the squash!
    I generally just tell them I am post partum and watching my cals.

  18. lindsay says:

    sometimes that happends to us at a group gathering/bible study. I like to ask for some to go and then either dress it up at home (aka with frosting, haha) or give it to the hubs, kids, etc. Sharing the love i guess.

  19. I would’ve responded the same exact way to the cake for the same exact reasons! I am only a cake lover if it has gobs of buttercream frosting (ok, so maybe I’m only a frosting lover?). I also would’ve definitely gone home to a bowl of ice cream though! 🙂

  20. Coco says:

    That salad looks great! The only thing I can think of to add is jimica. I don’t believe that you should have to eat anything to be polite, but I understand the pressure to do so. I try to stay away from store-bought baked goods, and save my calories for homemade.

  21. Morgan says:

    What about different cultural themes? Or focusing on grains, seasonal produce or interest dressing ideas (rather than salad dressing-salsa, hummus, etc).
    I agree about cake needing frosting-it’s about useless to me without frosting too! I might have a taste if someone is really excited about a food and I’m not into, but generally I don’t feel bad passing. I wouldn’t be offended if someone passed on something I made, so I guess I’m not too worried about offending anyone.

  22. Mexican salad is a favorite of mine! Also soft cheese paired with fruit is always another winner!

    And good for you for passing on the cake that wouldn’t satisfy you. I do this all the time. Unless something looks out of this world tasty, I just rather pass and indulge in something I truly want!

  23. Emily says:

    I definitely can relate about feeling like your need to eat the treats people offer you. A big part of why I can’t is because of my lactose and gluten-intolerance, but sometimes the treats would just be mindless eating and not what I really want or need. I passed up ordering sorbet the other night at work for this reason and it was a hard, but good choice 🙂

  24. Khushboo says:

    I love the idea of a salad bar! Goat cheese and beets are a fab combo- especially in risotto!

    Because I stayed off desserts for so long in attempts to lose weight, I get the feeling that people think that I’m saying no because of that and hence ‘need’ to eat a bite to prove myself- sometimes I’m genuinely too full/not in the mood!

  25. I love this topic and have wanted to write about it before. I have such a hard time in always wanting to be polite with food and feel bad if I ever say no, so most of the time I just give in. In fact, it just happened to me a couple weeks ago, a coworker brought in a cake for another coworkers birthday and I was going to say no but she said, “And Shayla, I made it especially with you in mind – I made it healthy with egg whites!” Sooo after that I really felt like I couldn’t say no! It’s hard, at work they like to give me a bad time when I eat healthy and say no because they assume I’m just trying to stay thin when really I don’t feel like having unhealthy food – they can’t understand the fact that I actually really enjoy healthy food! But my family and friends always support me and it’s nice to see that your friend does too 🙂

    And I would love your goat cheese and beets salad combo, that’s one of my favs! Another fav of mine is apples, feta/goat cheese, and candied nuts!

  26. Heather says:

    I agree that being polite with food seems to be more important in other cultures. I do feel pressure always though! Good for you!

  27. Sarah says:

    I love the salad group idea! Maybe I can convince the bible study group I’m joining in a couple weeks to do the same:-).

    If something’s being served that I don’t want (like a specific dessert), I just say “no, thank you” and that usually does the trick. I know that there have been a lot of situations where I thought it would be a big deal to say no and it really wasn’t.

    Now, when I’m dealing with food-pushers? I might take some to get them off my back and save it for later. (They don’t need to know that means that later, I’ll offer it to my husband or throw it away.)

  28. I always feel obligated to try dishes if someone brought them. I think it’s a southern thing! I always try a tiny bit, just so I can tell them how great it is.

    Y’all should have mediterranean night….tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, chickpeas, roasted eggplant, olives, feta, fresh herbs. YUM!

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