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Ask Amy: When host's food isn't to guests' taste

Dear Amy: My husband and I are very friendly with a couple that we enjoy very much. We vacation with them and spend time with them in social gatherings.

Dear Amy:

My husband and I are very friendly with a couple that we enjoy very much. We vacation with them and spend time with them in social gatherings.

We love to entertain and are very good cooks.

Whenever my friend and her husband come to our home, they always eat everything, and they usually have second helpings.

My friend loves to entertain as well and does it well. You always feel very relaxed at their home.

Our problem is that she used to cook wonderful meals, but now everything she cooks is fat-free. Her menu is always tasteless. She cooks it all in the morning and reheats it before serving it.

She always makes a comment that she cooked too much because there is so much food left over.

I would love to tell her it's because no one wants second helpings. My feeling is that most of her guests feel the same way we do.

I don't want to hurt her feelings. Do we suck it up for the evening or say something? My husband said that we should just not accept invitations to her home for dinner and just go for parties, and eat before we get there.

We were invited for Thanksgiving dinner, and the dinner was awful. Once again, she was overloaded with leftovers.

How would you handle this situation?

Dear Friend:

Speaking as the world's most mediocre cook - who nonetheless keeps trying - I say you should suck it up, and if you need to visit your local fast-food drive-through on the way to or from dinner to load up on tasty high-fat goodness, then by all means do so.

Your friend might have health issues necessitating her switch to low-fat cooking, or her tastes and abilities may have changed during the time you've known her.

Please remember that the most important aspect of being a guest is to allow yourself to have a good time, partaking of the fellowship of your friends, even if you don't particularly enjoy the food.

Dear Amy: The other day I was in a lot of pain because of cramps. I was out of commission for two days. It was so bad that I could barely walk.

When my husband came home from his friend's house after watching football, he wanted to get something to eat.

When he was in the kitchen serving himself, I asked if he could get something for me. He told me to get up and do it myself!

Whenever he is sick or in pain, I make sure he is as comfortable as he can be.

I was really upset. I decided that I'd rather go to bed hungry than be up and walking. I held in my anger and gave him the silent treatment.

We never go to bed angry, but this was the first. He is normally very nice to me when I am sick. I don't ask for much, but a little would be nice.

Do I have the right to be so angry, and how should I resolve this with my husband?

Dear In Pain:

You have every right to be angry and disappointed, but the silent treatment doesn't work. (The yelling treatment also doesn't work.)

Silence is often ignored or misinterpreted. Your husband, for instance, might have thought that you were quiet because you weren't feeling well.

Silence also doesn't have any kind of satisfying resolution (you are silent for a period of time, and then eventually you aren't silent anymore).

I urge you to go back to your very sensible practice of not going to bed angry. You could start by saying, "Honey, do you understand that I was very upset the other day, and do you know why?"

After he responds, you can remind him of the "sickness and health" portion of your marriage vow and start the conversation you really need to have.

Dear Amy: My niece got a tattoo and put her picture, showing it, on the Internet. It's a dragon, right above her cleavage. I'm sending you the link.

I don't think her mother (my sister) knows about this.

Should I tell her?

Dear Nobuttinski:

If I can see your niece's tattoo (thanks for the link) and untold other strangers can see her tattoo, then by all means her mother should also see her tattoo.

After your niece and her mother have the tattoo talk, then they can have the showing-your-tattoo-on-the-Internet talk.