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All advice courtesy of guest columnist The Lawyer Formerly Known As Sarah, Now Known As The Outlier. Send her an e-mail here. Come on, you must have some kind of question you could use advice on!
The Disclaimers: Miriam usually agrees with TLFKAS, but there's always the possibility she doesn't, so opinions here in the advice section do not necessarily reflect the opinions elsewhere on this site, and vice versa! And unless you count years of giving advice to various friends, nobody here has training in any kind of counseling situation, so take all advice with the grain of salt it requires.
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I'd like your advice
on a problem I'm about to have. My boyfriend is coming home to meet my
parents for the first time. I know there are going to be some problems
- for one, I'm Korean, and he's not, and my parents always wanted me to
be with a nice Korean boy. Knowing that's going to be a problem, I'm trying
to minimize any other issues that could cause trouble, and the one I'm
most worried about is food. My boyfriend is a very picky eater, and he's
not exactly adventurous. I've only gotten him to try Korean food once,
and he was only willing to try it because it was basically barbecued beef;
anything involving vegetables or - heaven forbid! - tofu, and he'll refuse
it. He's also really picky about sauces and seasonings; he won't even
eat a hamburger if it's touched mayonnaise or mustard.
My mom, as you can
guess, is pretty into her cooking. She's a great cook, and I love her
food, but she mostly cooks Korean food. And she's going to be cooking
for us when we're there, because we're staying with them. (Staying elsewhere
is not an option!) I have seen her get offended when people don't
eat her food, and while I've tried to prepare her for my boyfriend's pickiness,
she tends to think that her food could convince him to change his mind.
(Personally, I kind of agree, because he needs to try more new things,
but I don't think that the tense situation at my parents' house is going
to be the place for that to start happening.) He's pretty stubborn when
it comes to what he eats, and while my mom's willing to modify the menu
somewhat to suit him, she's kind of stubborn about it too.
So, how do I deal
with this? I'm imagining horrible, passive-aggressive scenes at the dining
room table, and it's making my stomach turn so much I might not be able
to eat anything either! Help!
Love My Boyfriend - And My Kimchi
If things don't work out with
your boyfriend, can I come to your parents' house? [Me too, please?
please? - Miriam] Mmmmmmm . . . kimchi. In all seriousness, preparation
is key here. Let your mom know that your boyfriend is not a kimchiphile
(you can exaggerate and say that sauces often make him sick, even if they're
good), and ask her if she would mind making one dish that you know would
be okay with him, like bbq beef or one non-Korean dish. (Better yet, offer
to help her with this.) That way, he can ooh and aah about her cooking
and do his best to try a few non-saucy Korean things, and push the others
around on his plate. You could also bring a dish yourself if you think
your mother won't compromise on the menu. You might suggest to the BF
that he promise to try one new thing each time. Maybe you can offer to
try something new in return. Good luck.
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