Q: Our son’s girlfriend will be joining us this year for Thanksgiving. She is a lovely person who also has celiac disease. I have modified the menu to avoid gluten (simple enough with a spread of vegetables and turkey – stuffing has never been a huge seller on our table).
The meal will be gluten-free … with one exception. I want to keep the traditional gravy made with flour. Thanksgiving is the one time of year I eat gravy, and it is my favorite part of the meal. I purchased a gluten-free gravy mix that I plan to prepare and serve with the meal so the young woman may have some of that if she likes.
My husband feels this is terribly rude because the alternative gravy will be inferior to the other. He thinks the appropriate thing would be for me to make one gluten-free gravy by modifying my recipe to use a non-gluten thickener (not a simple task).
Is my plan rude?
A: No. If your son’s girlfriend is as lovely as you say she is, then she will appreciate the gesture of making her a second gravy – and not require that it be the only option for everyone.
Miss Manners certainly acknowledges real health and moral issues that require guests to have special culinary needs. But she only requires of their hosts that they make a valiant effort to give those guests something to eat, not that they adjust the entire menu to accommodate only them. She further entreats the guests to appreciate those efforts, smile politely and eat what they can.
Q: What is the best way to respond to a good friend/pal when they ask, “Did you think of me today?” A friend responded on Facebook to one of his friends, “No, I did not,” and the individual was very angry with that response. Is there a better way to respond?
A: It seems to Miss Manners that if the friend did not want to receive one of only two possible answers to his question, that he should not have posed it. Not responding at all would have been the more accurate — and telling — answer.
Q: I work at the front desk of a prestigious office. Often we get the same visitors and they greet me by name, but usually my only responsibility to them is a friendly greeting as they pass my desk.
After a neck injury, I’ve taken to wearing a headset for the telephone, and I haven’t yet figured out the correct way to handle visitors who can’t tell if I am on the phone or not. Should I hang up the telephone or put the caller on hold just to say hello to someone who comes in regularly and is just giving pleasantries?
It seems strange to do that just to say hello. It was easy when I had a regular receiver, as those coming in would just wave and I’d wave back. What do you recommend?
A: That you continue to wave. But now that you have another hand freed up, Miss Manners suggests you use it to add a gesture – something that indicates that the headset is replacing the receiver, like pointing to it with an apologetic, almost bewildered smile.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.