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Daughter-in-law imposes her dietary fanaticism on the holiday feast

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I am in an OOD (Obsessive Organic Disagreement) with my daughter-in-law and her husband -- my son. Three families are coming to my house for the holiday. The OOD couple decided not to join us if everyone didn't contribute dishes made from foods labeled "organic."

The OOD couple have three preschool children. They buy only organic foods, and dine at cafes of all-organic grocery stores. Otherwise, they bring organic food and beverages for the children. Letting them bring their own organic-labeled foods for holidays hasn't worked well. My daughter-in-law brought so many vegetables for a cookout that she monopolized the entire grill cooking them. They proceeded to eat dinner as we had just gained access to the grill.

I was brought up that if someone invited you for dinner, you ate what you liked of what was served. You didn't order the hostess to prepare foods specific to your family nor did you bring your own dinner to the "dinner."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety hotlines say all food sold in grocery stores is safe to eat. Would it poison the OOD family to eat one holiday meal that was "regular" food?

-- OOD Grandmother

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Being right doesn't do you much good if you're answering the wrong questions.

Of course these kids could safely eat one "regular" meal, no hotline confirmation required, oh my goodness.

And yes, etiquette tilts heavily toward gracious acceptance of whatever hosts choose to serve, although allergies and other intolerances can politely factor in.

And, organic? Sure. Their prerogative, though it's an imprecise business at best.

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