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Discreet ways to pretend you are "eating" your food?

We've all been there before.

You know, invited over to the boss' house for a dinner party and served the most vile, dry piece of chicken breast ...

Or, out on an important lunch meeting with the big corporate account client who insisted on going to local $5 steakhouse and you're stuck with a baseball mitt for an entree ...

Or worse yet, you're at your future in-laws and "mom" has just made her special secret meatloaf that -- to you, anyway -- might as well have come out of an Alpo can ...

So what do tricks do you have up your sleeve to make it look like you're "eating" your food, when in fact you are most definitely NOT?

-- Get lots of napkins and discreetly spit out the food that you've put into your mouth?

-- Wear an old coat with lots of pockets and put the food in the pockets?

-- Chop up the food into small bits and move it to the side of the plates, creating a (false) impression of emptiness in the middle?

What is a person to do??

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  1. "Oh, I completely forgot that we were getting together for dinner, and I ate quite a bit just before I came. I'm terribly sorry." It does not matter if you are so hungry that you're ready to start gnawing on the table, this is about the only way to gracefully get out of it. Playing with one's food is only going to get you into trouble later.

    Notice that I said nothing about the food currently being served. Do not mention that it's delicious unless you absolutely HAVE to, lest you be served exactly the same thing again some time in the future.

    1. boss or client, suck it up and eat the meal, it's only one meal.
      in-laws, this is a marathon, see what you can get away with.

      6 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        Have to agree with jfood - suck it up and eat the food. If you push it around it will get cold and that just makes it nastier. As for the in-laws - take a bite and tell them how good it is and then push it around a bit - when they ask what's up say that you think you're coming down with something and hope they don't serve it again soon!

        1. re: Linda VH

          Honestly, I'm not particular. I can eat most. I may not enjoy it but when I am entertaining. Someone pushing their food around or stupid reasons and excuses would piss me off. Just eat it an move on. It won't kill you. Unless it is something you don't eat (i.e. for me liver) or something that really bothers you eating eat it or explain that you don't eat it. I grew up to eat anything regardless. I try it all and don't complain. I would never insult someone by not eating unless it was something like liver or another food I just don't eat. But just my opinion.

          1. re: kchurchill5

            I'm lucky. I'll eat anything that won't eat me first :-)

            1. re: billieboy

              Ditto that!! I've had a few attempt on my life however ... but I survived :)

        2. re: jfood

          Right there with ya jfood.

          With my FIL and his breakfast concoction I will let him eat first then go in to the kitchen, dirty up a plate and stick it in the sink when he wasn't looking. Once Mrs. Sippi was finished eating I'd Tupperware it up and put it in the fridge. He'd be none the wiser.
          I do most of the cooking when we're there which really only means that there is food there for us when we arrive. Despite repeatedly being told by Mrs. Sippi he insists on saving us some dinner. Even if we arrive at midnight.

          DT

          1. re: jfood

            great post!

            The only time I do not eat what is put before me is if I think will involuntarily barf it up at the table or I am sure it is spoiled and will vomit it up later. If it is at someone's home, I would ask for seconds of another food item and rave crazy about it. When they ask why you did not eat the dangerous stuff (see above), then you say that you made like a porker on the other thing and accidentally ran out of room.

          2. Lots of napkins and spit it out, that reminds me of an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry was eating some vile meat and was spitting it out in napkins and putting it in his pocket, that works.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cstr

              salad's got nothin' on this mutton

            2. I think if it's a restaurant there are ways to avoid that situation in the first place. If you're pretty sure the place has lousy food, stick with something small, or just order a salad. I'm convinced that you can find something tolerable on just about any menu.

              In people's homes, I've done any combination of things: push it around the plate, hide it under the lettuce, cover up by asking for more of that vegetable or side dish that actually isn't too bad. But luckily, this happens to me so rarely that it's not a real problem.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  I'd have to agree with Sam here, I would just eat it. Maybe not all of it, but most of it. I probably would not take seconds. I don't like to waste food, and I am lucky enough to have a strong stomach and can eat almost anything. I also work in places with really bad cafeterias, so I guess I am somewhat trained in knocking bad food back.

                  Occasionally, if it is really a dire situation, I guess you can fake an upset stomach. But this can only be done on occasion, or it becomes suspicious. Choose your situation carefully! Reserve this for when the food is truly inedible (like it is toxic or something). But I have eaten past upset stomachs before, so I can't use this trick.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Agreed fully. Basic graciousness should be sufficient reason to eat what's offered. (When did my delicate culinary sensibilities become more important than my host's good intentions?) If that isn't enough, then self-interest ought to be. Boss? Important corporate account client? Suck it up already. Literally and figuratively.