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  #41  
Old 01.01.2015, 21:17
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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Sorry, but I never consult with guests before deciding what to prepare,

Tom
Whenever I have guests over, be it family or friends, I ask them if there is anything they won't eat or if they have any food allergies. Apart from the fact that I would never eat horse and therefore would never dream of serving it to my guests, I want my guests to be comfortable and enjoy their meal. It'just a small effort to tell them what will be served and 99% of the guests I've had just said "oh, I eat everything and anything"
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  #42  
Old 01.01.2015, 21:49
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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Tom, I thought you were talking about your sister here- you must have been aware that she is fond of horses in a different way to you, and that horse meat is not the 'norm' where you and she come from, surely?
Actually, of my three sisters, only one has owned horses, and she is happy to eat them.

We have owned rabbits, but we eat those as well, just not the pets.

Tom
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  #43  
Old 01.01.2015, 22:21
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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Tom, I thought you were talking about your sister here- you must have been aware that she is fond of horses in a different way to you, and that horse meat is not the 'norm' where you and she come from, surely?
Not necessarily. I was in my late twenties before I discovered that my own mother wouldn't eat rabbit. We had been invited to our French neighbour's in Lyon for ( a rather elaborate) lunch and the main course was rabbit. My mother recoiled in horror but fortunately she didn't have a big appetite and having eaten a generous portion of the canapés for aperitif and the quenelles starter it just meant she had room for the dessert.
It was because she'd been asked to look after her older brother's rabbits when he went in the Air Force during the war and when she came home from school one day discovered the hutch empty and one of them simmering in a pot. ( the others having been sold to the coal man also for meat). She never ever ate rabbit in all her life but I wasn't aware of it until that day.

We have had pet rabbits but we still eat rabbit meat but like Tom we never eat the pet ones.

We always cook take our guests preferences into consideration, cook something simple and conservative on the first day and then discuss the options for subsequent days.
I would never knowingly eat horse but that's just a cultural thing, I know lots of oeople who do.
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  #44  
Old 01.01.2015, 23:05
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

I would be very angry if someone served me pork without telling me.
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  #45  
Old 02.01.2015, 00:04
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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I would be very angry if someone served me pork without telling me.
That's actually a bit different: it's a religious thing.
Same as serving a Hindu a T-Bone steak.
Though it's a grey area - some Vegetarians/Vegans act as if their eating-habit was a religion...

Not eating certain animals out of sentimental reasons is - IMO - a bit childish (bordering the irrational).
A chicken is an animal in the same sense as a calf or an ox or a pig. Or a rabbit.
Just because one looks more "cute" than the other while alive should not influence the decision whether to eat it or not.

I do agree that it would probably feel strange to kill and eat my favorite dog (if I had one). But I could probably rationalize these feelings, for the above reasons.

Of course, if you cook for guests, it's probably best to be as blunt as possible up-front. Including sending a list of ingredients, so that nobody can complain afterwards.
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  #46  
Old 02.01.2015, 00:40
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

But it's not about our feelings or choices- and their relevance, or not. And btw, I am not sure that any choice of mine, for whatever reason, would be less important because it is not religious based.

My comment is about respect and sensitivity towards guests in my home- and my belief that I should make very effort to make them feel comfortable- and that includes not imposing any kind of food on them- and some foods are clearly more controversial than others, rightly or wrongly. Would you serve snails or cockles, jellied eels or sows ears to people you don't know?
I wouldn't. Respect and all that.

You'd have to be pretty uncouth, if British or American, not to know that horse meat or rabbit, is controversial for many people (whether logical or not is irrelevant)- whereas it would not be for an Italian or French.

Last edited by Odile; 02.01.2015 at 00:59.
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  #47  
Old 02.01.2015, 00:46
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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So, my eighth Christmas here in lovely, snowy Switzerland with my husband's parents...and...

my kids get "too many" presents (which are opened on Christmas morning, and the husband's parents sleep well past present opening time).

The Christmas music is too loud.

There's no traditional meal, baking, or anything else (and, we cooked Christmas dinner ourselves, thank you, and I've tried taking over the kitchen for baking before...bad idea). So food is basically out as well.

I'm all for integrating, but no presents, music or food? Aren't there any traditions that my Swiss in-laws might embrace?

Anyway, a rather useless rant because (1) I've had eight years to figure out that there really is nothing that can be done (I've tried!) and (2) last Swiss Christmas.
Anyone else have some good Christmas stories to share? I could use some cheering up!

Getting back to the original post, I truly understand the OP's frustrations. For 27 years, my very elegant French MIL put on 5-6 course Black Tie event at their home in Switzerland with loads of traditions, just not mine. ( she is now elderly and the baton has been passed on to the sons and DILs..which is another set of personalities and expectations....)

Mainly, it seems we are constantly reminded of what takes place at " home", what takes place locally or expected by our local families and what we have imagined for our families.

Personally, I feel a lot of pressure to CREATE MAGIC. But, I imagine, if we knew the TRUTH, our mothers ( and Fathers?) also had such pressures. They may not have been EXPATS, but they certainly had in-laws, financial pressures, and limited energy and time. It is a juggling game, for sure.

My children and husband gave me a gift this year. They awoke early to attend a mass service at the Einsiedeln Monastery, though they are practically non believers. It was very sweet and a wonderful event, even if only for a cultural perspective. It was very kind of them.

I guess it is all about giving heartfelt experiences, learning to be sensitive to others and finding ways to incorporate our traditions into our multi national families. It does get better, though you may need to understand their needs.
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  #48  
Old 02.01.2015, 09:29
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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Would you serve snails or cockles, jellied eels or sows ears to people you don't know?
Yes.

Tom
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Old 02.01.2015, 09:35
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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That's actually a bit different: it's a religious thing.
Same as serving a Hindu a T-Bone steak.
Though it's a grey area - some Vegetarians/Vegans act as if their eating-habit was a religion...

Not eating certain animals out of sentimental reasons is - IMO - a bit childish
I have no religious thing. I don't eat pork since 17 years. Now, I just have a better argument for not eating it. Before, I was stuck arguing with people about my reasons.

My point was that you have to respect your guests. You want to have them over, you are cooking for them, not for you. It's like a friend of mine who was invited to someone's home for dinner and the host kept bitching about all the work she had to do for that dinner. They canceled, I would have too. Why would I go to someone who doesn't really want me there?
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Old 02.01.2015, 12:00
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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You got me there. I spend the whole 2 weeks like this, with short visits to Coop and bathroom breaks...
I want your life! Wanna swap?
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  #51  
Old 02.01.2015, 12:34
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

Reminds me of something that happened to me in London when I first lived there (1970). Future OH and I were invited to friends of his for dinner- and when we got there, and went for a drink in the kitchen- she said 'I've got a bun in the oven'- and future OH said 'oh, I am not sure if Odile will eat rabbit'. Now as a furiner, I didn't know the expression- but he should have cottoned on! She laughed and repeated, patting her belly 'don't be so stupid- we would never eat rabbit either- but 'I'VE GOT A BUN IN THE OVEN'. Perhaps the first colloquial expression I learnt during my first stay there.

Marsalforn- why the groan to NIL??? Isn't she entitled to choose what she does, or does not eat, for whatever reasons- without you groaning???

Last edited by Odile; 02.01.2015 at 13:47.
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Old 02.01.2015, 13:13
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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I want your life! Wanna swap?
You have kids, don't you.

NOOOOOO thanks

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  #53  
Old 02.01.2015, 22:24
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Re: ugh, bah humbug

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You have kids, don't you.

NOOOOOO thanks

I've managed to claim the two weeks for myself, at least thrice, have 2 kids and an OH who loves celebrating xmas and NYE. They have soooo much more fun without me, and I w/o them on these calendar dates...get so much more pleasure out of making "insignificant" days memorable.
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