DEAR HARRIETTE: I have decided to learn how to cook my favorite foods instead of wasting money on buying them already prepared. I make sushi for myself and was so proud that I had accomplished this on my first try. My good friend told me that this was offensive and not the authentic method of making sushi. I used riced cauliflower and had my whole confidence shattered. Am I offending an entire culture by altering an age-old recipe? -- Rollin’, Washington, D.C.
DEAR ROLLIN’: It is time to expand your friend group! Good for you that you are trying out recipes and adding your own twist to them. Please know that you can cook food however you like. If you were entering a cooking contest, that would be one thing, but learning to cook for yourself and friends should be fun. For the purists in your life, let them eat store- or restaurant-bought sushi.
Continue experimenting to see what you can prepare. Do note that there are plenty of chefs who combine elements of one cooking style with another to create their own unique dishes. It is called "fusion" cuisine. You are not alone. The thing about sushi is that you need to be precise with raw fish to ensure that you make something that is safe to eat. Go for it!
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend has gotten increasingly quirky in the bedroom. It is so embarrassing to me, considering I am much more conservative on these matters. For example, biting has occurred, and I don't like this. How should I communicate that I don't like this progression in our relationship? -- Bruised, Raleigh, North Carolina
DEAR BRUISED: You would think that it should be easy to talk about what goes on in the bedroom, considering how many couples are getting busy under the sheets. But the reality is that many couples rarely say a word about their desires or preferences and instead fumble around trying to figure out what works for them. This gets tricky when one partner wants to do something the other is not interested in.
You must speak up. As awkward as it may seem, you have to tell your boyfriend -- when you are not in the bedroom -- what you like that he does to you and with you, and where you want to draw the line. If you really don’t like biting or anything else that he does, you have to speak up, or he won’t know. People are not mind readers. This is true even if your behavior would suggest, in your mind, that it’s obvious that you don’t like something that he is doing. Speak up and tell him what you are willing to try and what you don’t want to do anymore. Be crystal clear. If he balks, be honest and let him know how this behavior makes you feel. Being subtle about your feelings won’t work here. State it bluntly so that he knows your position.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)