Life Advice



Ask Amy: Stepmother’s generous cooking leaves out the ‘love’

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I think it’s unkind to deliberately provide someone a food containing an ingredient that you know they have an adverse reaction to (or simply don’t eat), with no option on their part to remove the ingredient.

Onions can make some people ill. They tend to add a strong flavor to foods, and so if you merely hate the taste of onions, it’s not like you can just eat around them.

It would be kindest to leave them out of your cooked foods – or include two versions of these dishes. Every time your son-in-law witnessed this thoughtfulness, he would think: “She remembered me!”

Is this “catering” to someone? Yes! If your stepdaughter had a similar aversion, wouldn’t you cater to it?

You don’t want someone’s aversion to control your cooking, but another way to look at it is – if you did recognize this man’s challenge and did your best to work around it – you’d be demonstrating to this family that you are performing an act of service as a way to convey your love and respect for each of them, not just for the onion-eaters.

You should not be in charge of (or worrying about) the palettes of these young children. That’s their parents’ job.


Dear Amy: I’ve had a girlfriend of 13 years, but I am wondering if I should break up with her.

We are both in our late-30s and have lived together for about two years (the rest of the time we lived on different continents).

Because of some cultural differences, we can't get married or disclose our relationship to our friends and family.

I am wondering about this because I have recently met someone from my own culture (she likes me, and we would be able to get married and live openly).


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