DEAR MISS MANNERS: I underwent weight loss surgery -- gastric sleeve -- and can only consume about 1/3 cup of food at a time. In addition, my doctor has put me on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. Keeping my carbs low prevents me from being hungry and overeating. I've also been warned not to consume alcohol for at least a year after surgery, perhaps longer.
My problem is that my husband and I are planning a trip to Sicily. When we go to a nice restaurant, I won't be able to consume a regular-sized meal.
Should I share a single meal with my husband, or should I just leave most of my plate untouched? Is it OK to ask for a box to take home the rest of the meal? Should I explain the reason for my behavior to the waiter?
None of these solutions are ideal, but which one of them is the "least bad"? Or are there other solutions that I haven't thought of?
I don't want to offend the chef or the waiter, nor do I want to look like a silly American. After four years of Italian lessons, my Italian is getting pretty good.
GENTLE READER: As no level of fluency in Italian is going to save you from being considered a silly American, Miss Manners suggests you concentrate instead on what you can control.
The two things most likely to trouble your Italian waiter are the box to take home leftovers, and the unstated assumption that Italian restaurant portions are, like American portions, grotesquely large (they are not). Order dinner, eat what you can or wish to eat, compliment the meal and leave the rest alone -- both the food and the explanations.