Etiquette Questions, Answered: Entertaining and Guests
Should You Buy Special Food for Houseguests?
Q. Should you stock up your refrigerator to accommodate the tastes of a houseguest? My husband says his mom should bring her
own soy milk and multigrain cereal when she visits our house.
Name withheld by request
A. As a picky eater myself, I appreciate your being so conscientious about a guest’s food quirks. And it’s always nice to make someone feel that her needs have been considered. That’s why, as a general rule, I advise hosts to ask their visitors—whether they’re coming for dinner or the entire weekend—about any allergies or strong food aversions ahead of time.
Now, when it comes to your specific situation, your husband clearly thinks his mother is high-maintenance and should bring her own darn fiber to your house. Theoretically he may be right, but in practice, stocking the pantry with her favorites costs you little and pays major goodwill dividends. So I say, sure, go ahead and buy that pint of vegan ice cream and the weird probiotic powder she swears by. Their very presence in your kitchen will endear you to her (hello, Daughter-in-Law of the Year!).
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