Miss Manners: ‘I know you’re vegan, so I made you a bacon salad’

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I enjoy the company of another couple we’ve known for years. I’ve had them over for dinner many times.

I eat only plant-based (vegan) foods; however, I make both vegan and meat-based dishes for everyone else. I don’t ask them to bring anything, as they are our guests.

A few years ago, we invited them to meet us for dinner at a restaurant, which we planned to pay for. A day before the planned dinner, they called and wanted to invite us to their house rather than eating out. I asked if I could bring anything, and their answer was no.

When dinner at their house was served, it was stew with multiple kinds of meat and no vegetables. Even the salad had bacon in it. The wife said, “I don’t think you eat meat, but I hope you can eat this.”

Miss Manners, they have known for years that I don’t eat animal products. I picked through the meal as best I could without complaint. Since the pandemic, we haven’t gotten together with them.

What are your thoughts on hosts who don’t provide any meatless dishes for a longtime friend? As a vegan, I have always made dishes with meat for my guests.

GENTLE READER: That your friends are either thoughtless, inconsiderate or perhaps just forgetful. The latter seems unlikely after all these years, but if you can believe that that is all it is, the friendship might be saved — if you think it worthwhile.

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Miss Manners suggests that next time, you could politely say in advance, “Oh, I can’t remember if I told you, but I’m afraid I don’t eat meat of any kind. I am happy to bring something, however, if it’s hard to separate it for your other guests.” And if she once again serves you bacon salad, you will know that the ruse is up.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was always under the belief that your first baby shower should also be your only one. But I have now been invited to a third baby shower for my niece.

I could understand if there was some space between the kids, since new equipment would be needed, or if this third baby were a different gender. But they are all boys, and her oldest is just 2.

This feels like a gift grab.

What do you think? Should I buy another gift and go to the shower? Or is it OK to send my regards, knowing I will still show up with a gift when the baby is born?

GENTLE READER: Showers are gift grabs. That is their sole purpose. But Miss Manners agrees that second and third ones are excessive.

Unfortunately, if you do go, a present is expected. If you do not want to be pressured into shopping from a registry, witnessing endless present-opening and playing unseemly party games, then showing up with a gift after the baby arrives is fine.

Either way, it seems, these parents will get their loot.

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Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.