Your diet, my dinner party

What do dieters and recently converted fanatics have in common? They don’t get invited to dinner parties anymore.

Not to mine anyway. It would appear that recent enlightenment with regards to the bowels or the soul serves the function of shutting off all other parts of the brain. Or all interest in anything else between the top and the bottom, so to speak.

Three typical conversations to end the possibility of any future invitations would go something like this:

Conversation 1
Diner 1: Please pass me the salt.
Diner 2: I have stopped eating salt since I found out what it does to my blood pressure.
Diner 3: We must learn to be the salt of the earth.

Conversation 2
Diner 1: Anyone for a lamb chop?
Diner 2: Have you got any idea how they slaughter these poor lambs?
Diner 3: I have recently become acquainted with the Good Shepherd.

Conversation 3
Diner 1: Oh, excellent! I just love malva pudding.
Diner 2: You wouldn’t if you knew how many kilojoules it contained.
Diner 3: This is indeed the land of milk and honey.

Strike one – off the A-list. Strike 2 – off the B-list. Strike 3 – off any list.

If you have recently found out that red meat does not agree with your blood type, or that white bread makes you bloated, or that you have a dairy allergy – well, bully for you. I hope you feel better now you can cut these things out. But please keep it to yourself once you are in my house.

The chore of cooking
I feel that as a hostess I have done my duty to enquire about eating preferences when issuing the invitation. That’s the time to tell me you’ve become a vegan, or that you’re allergic to wheat, or tomatoes, or whatever. Not when I triumphantly put the roast chicken, Portuguese rolls or tomato soup on the table. And believe you me, for me it is a triumph.

Not only are my cooking skills rather limited (I am a bit like a baboon with a banjo – I hit one tune and carry on in the same vein), but the sheer effort of getting my house to look presentable for public consumption is enormous. I must really want to see you. Badly.

Point is, by the time I present the food, I am usually so stressed out by the preparations and by drinking red wine on an empty stomach while I wait for the chicken to lose its pink inside bits, I am not accountable for my actions.

Sharp knives and blunt trauma
A sentence such as, “I’m sorry, I don’t eat that”, is simply enough to push me over the edge. Especially if it is followed up by a lecture on how this specific dish will lead to the premature death of everyone around the table. Don’t go there. After all, I am in a place where there are several sharp kitchen knives and a few iron pots that could be the cause of blunt trauma.

Funny how self-absorbed all recent converts become. Me, me, me seems to be the new mantra whether you have learnt to read auras, been to an evangelical session in a tent, or discovered an unexpected allergy to all green vegetables. Or lost five kilos on some new diet. My digestion, my health, my soul. All about me.

We all hope to find enlightenment – whether of the soul or the colon. But unless you want to spend the rest of your life watching TV and looking at a phone that never rings, keep your latest enthusiasms to yourself at dinner parties. Unless asked about them.

And oh yes, should the elusive invitation come, offer to bring food that you can eat. Quietly, and without comment. (And lots of wine – whether you drink it or not). But at least it will be in company, which should make for a nice change.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, April 2007)

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