DEAR HARRIETTE: My co-workers and I have decided to be healthier and bring a potluck-style lunch for everyone on Wednesdays as opposed to eating fast food. Most of these lunches have been great, and they allow us to see what our co-workers eat at home. One of my co-workers brings hongeo, a fermented skate fish dish from Korea. This dish is on lists of the smelliest foods in the world -- I did my research! No one ever eats it, and it creates a general revulsion around the entire event, which used to be pleasant. My co-worker does not seem to care that her contribution turns off everyone to the idea of eating. It seems to give her a pass to eat all of the other food while not worrying if hers will be gone. Drawing rules around this event would single her out, but this stench is impossible to be around. Should I just send out a potluck lunch email with some guidelines? -- Hating Hongeo, Syracuse, New York
DEAR HATING HONGEO: Why not start by speaking directly to your co-worker? Talk to her privately and tell her that the delicacy that she has been bringing has not been a group favorite. Thank her for her generosity as you ask her if she would consider bringing something that is less pungent. Explain that you have observed that people are not eating it and that the dish's strong smell overtakes the rest of the food.
If that does not work, you may send a group email about the potluck asking participants to vary what they bring so that the group can try other food choices that are part of their repertoire. If she continues to bring hongeo, the group may need to speak and ask her to stop.