DEAR MISS MANNERS: While staying at my boyfriend's family's cabin for a long holiday weekend, we encountered a bit of a generation gap in diet styles. His parents, in their efforts to "treat" us, prepared three meat-and-potatoes-type meals each day, like bacon, pancakes and potatoes for breakfast, and dessert at each meal.
In addition, they asked us again and again to "finish up the last serving," in many cases stuffing us to the point of indigestion. We arrived with some of our own groceries, primarily vegetables, yogurt and fruit, in an attempt to pre-empt some of this, to no avail.
How can we convey our healthier eating preferences without hurting their feelings? My boyfriend and I are both fit and active. His parents, on the other hand, have heart conditions and high cholesterol.
GENTLE READER: That makes it easier. Not on them, of course, but on you.
You should not be dealing with your appetites, but with theirs. Their son must start with an expression of serious concern about their health, and a plea that they at least try to eat more sensibly.
You must stay out of this, only jumping in enthusiastically when he asks that they let the two of you cook for them for a weekend, promising that you will both do your best to make the food enticing.
Miss Manners cautions you not to speak of this as a diet, and not to notice if they are sneaking food on the side. At the very least, you will have had a weekend to your taste, and perhaps even have benefited them.