DEAR MISS MANNERS: A December tradition in my husband’s family was to make and consume oyster stew with canned, squiggly, yucky, nasty-tasting oysters. I thought we were past that, and I would not have to endure this for the next 40 years.
Now he has brought home canned oysters and clam chowder, which he will be serving on the 24th. He is so happy, and assumes I am, as well. Do I have to? What can I do? What should I say? Help!
GENTLE READER: Is it possible that you don’t like oysters? Miss Manners has that impression, but can hardly believe it. But if that is true, you are fortunate to be living now, and not a century ago, when oysters were standard fare for the rich and poor alike.
How nice that your husband is happy. As you do not indicate that he forces you to eat this, Miss Manners’ only suggestion is that the family move their custom to a month when oysters are in season so they can have fresh, squiggly, delicious-tasting ones.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it OK to eat the little celery sprig in a bloody mary?
GENTLE READER: Sure. You’re not going to get any other healthful fiber from that glass.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Every December, our family hosts a caroling party. We gather at our home and then roam our neighborhood, attempting to serenade our neighbors.
My husband and I always have a heated discussion about the propriety of ringing doorbells to encourage people to come out and listen. He thinks it’s rude, self-serving and intrusive to knock on doors.
I fear he might be right, but when we’ve tried not ringing doorbells, we find that people don’t realize we’re out there, as they don’t hear us through insulated windows and over the volume of the TV. (At least I think they don’t hear us … Maybe they just don’t want to come out!)
I know that carolers of centuries past were essentially begging for booze and figgy pudding. I like to think we’re different – just corny people who want a bit of an audience. Maybe you can tell us if I’m deluding myself. We’re planning to hit the streets soon.
GENTLE READER: Do you have time to slip a note under the targeted doors, announcing your plans in advance? Even if not, Miss Manners does not find your ringing doorbells objectionable. You are not selling anything, but offering a charming treat.
Still, advance notice would allow grateful listeners to prepare some mulled wine or hot chocolate – and to look up the recipe for figgy pudding.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Trays such as Invisalign have become quite popular with older adults to correct teeth alignment. How best to remove them after entering a restaurant or preparing to dine at home? And how to replace them politely when a meal is completed?
GENTLE READER: Either the tray-wearer should head to the bathroom, or everyone else within sight will do so. Need Miss Manners point out that seeing a diner reach in and remove a tooth tray is unappetizing?
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.
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