DEAR MISS MANNERS: I host my wife's family fairly often, and enjoy our visits. I'm struggling with one dynamic that occurs every time we have her brother's family at our table.
We'll pass dishes, family style, and the parents will pile the food on their plates and the plates of their two young children. But then each of them will only eat a few forkfuls. When I do the dishes afterwards, I'm throwing away huge helpings of delicious food.
I don't know what to say about this behavior. I'm saddened that there aren't many leftovers for me and my wife and kids to enjoy. My wife just shrugs and explains that her family has eating disorders, but as I somberly carry a compost bin overflowing with six complete meals to the curb, I'm starting to see them as sociopathic.
GENTLE READER: Family service, by which the host -- not the guests -- fills individual plates from serving dishes, was not invented to keep the piggies from burying their heads in the trough, but Miss Manners notices that it does have that benefit.