DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my boyfriend, Mike, for about two years, and things are going great. During this time, I have become very close with his family. Both of his parents came to the United States from Europe, and with their culture comes his mother's traditional cooking and the need to make sure everyone's bellies are full.
I have always enjoyed her food; however, in the last six months I have become a vegetarian. Out of courtesy for her, I have been making sure to eat at home before spending time at Mike's house. I can see that his mother feels a bit put off because I have been eating less of her food, but I feel it would be rude to ask her for a separate meal to accommodate my diet. What should I do? -- NERVOUS IN NEW ENGLAND
DEAR NERVOUS: Your boyfriend's mother may be put off because she doesn't understand why you seem to be enjoying her cooking less. If you and Mike have been seeing each other for two years, you and his mother should be able to have an honest conversation with each other. Tell her you enjoy her cooking, but that you have changed your diet and no longer eat meat, etc. If she volunteers to prepare something else for you, it would be gracious of her. However, if she doesn't, I agree that it would be rude to ask her to do so.