DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a student living with an elderly lady who loves to cook. Although I appreciate her caring enough to provide me with delicious home-cooked meals, she gives me much more food than I can manage to eat.
I have tried to politely decline her food at times, or convey to her that I have other plans for lunch or dinner, but she assumes that I will “get hungry later” and eat her food. When I don’t end up eating it, she chastises me and asks me what she will do with it now, as though it is my fault she made me food without asking me (and sometimes, despite me telling her that I have already eaten/have plans).
What is a kind way to tell her to stop interfering in my meals? I understand that it is from kindness that she is looking out for me, but she tends to buy and cook more food than the two of us can consume, and expects me to deal with it. I cannot continue eating food when I am full or have already eaten. What can I do?
GENTLE READER: Develop an enthusiasm for leftovers, as in, “This looks wonderful. Thank you so much. As you know, I’ve already ordered food, but it will make a wonderful lunch tomorrow.” Miss Manners does not therefore suggest that you actually have to eat the proffered food, only that, having failed to persuade her not to prepare it, you need a way to get out of her line of sight before disposing of it.