Expert Q&A

Q. My mother is a terrible cook, but she still insists on bringing a dish when we have the whole family over for dinner. Is there a polite way to get her to stop?

I can really relate to this.

When I have the whole family over, I’m always hoping they’ll be wowed by the food, and I don’t want one bad dish to spoil it.

But in this situation, don’t take the chance of hurting your mother’s feelings.

Instead, try to gently direct her.

If she asks what she can bring, tell her that you don’t really need another casserole, but you could use flowers or bread.

Or, if her pot roast is awful but her pie is a little better, ask her to bake one of those.

Then put whatever she cooks on a beautiful platter and thank her in front of everyone.

You might have to eat some less-than-fabulous food, but you’ll feel good knowing that you’re a truly fabulous daughter.

-- Sue Fox, author of Etiquette for Dummies and Business Etiquette for Dummies

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