Tag Archives: recipes

The food chain

As you may have noticed, I pay a lot of attention to etiquette. Some might say a little too much.

Lately, I’ve found myself in uncharted etiquette territory. I wonder if you have too.

Much has been written about online etiquette, but I have found very little with regard to chain e-mails.

Thankfully, the days of chain letters coming in the U.S. mail have passed. I remember one in which I had to mail new dish towels to people while abashedly asking my friends to buy and mail dish towels to others. I also remember wondering why this odd practice seemed unique to women.

In the past year and a half or so, I have received e-mails entitled “Recipe Exchange” from more than a dozen friends. I assume these come to me because I like to cook, am known to share unsolicited recipes and especially love getting new recipes from friends. Or maybe because my friends know I am pathologically compliant.

The first time I received a request to send a recipe to Person #1 and ask two friends to send recipes to Person #2, I obliged enthusiastically. The second time, I sent it to two more friends. The third time, I found two more friends I hadn’t picked on. Then it got ridiculous. Lately I am getting them about once a week.

Some might suggest I ignore these or delete them. I can’t. Occasions are rare when I ignore an e-mail on purpose. For lack of established etiquette on the matter, I have taken to responding to the sender with a note that I’ve tapped all of my friends—some more than once—and that I am unable to keep the chain going. And then I send my recipe for pesto torte to Persons #1 and #2, just so there aren’t any hard feelings.

I haven’t consulted my copy of How to Say It, my new manual for saying the right thing in virtually every situation, because I have lent it out. I do wonder if there’s prescribed language for declining on a chain letter.

I hope my friends reading this will not think ill of me or stop exchanging recipes with me over the course of normal conversation or mutual enjoyment of a good dish.

There are a few websites out there about how to stop friends from sending chain e-mail. The advice there pertains mostly to the kind of correspondence that promises eternal life or portends eternal damnation contingent on forwarding, within eight seconds, a PowerPoint poem about butterflies. This isn’t what I’m after. I’m just looking for a nice way to say, thanks for thinking of me but I just can’t participate. Or did I just find it?


Filed under Family and Friends, Food, Technology and Social Media

Work stoppage

Here is a suggestion for office managers all over the United States. You might as well close up shop this week because little is going to get done.

I admit it has been a while since I worked in a traditional office setting. But for the 20 or so years that I did, what I remember about the week before Thanksgiving—except for the occasional harried lame-duck Congressional session—is the fervent exchange of information pertaining to food for three full days preceding the holiday.

I predict that, for the next two and a half days, the majority of office computers will be connected to Epicurious.com or the Food Network and that cookbooks will be pressed against the glass of copiers churning out recipes to be shared among staff members. Conversations normally confined to the lunch room will spill generously into working hours, as colleagues seek other’s advice for the best way to satisfy Aunt Minnie’s taste for goose liver pâté.

Just walk down the hall and you’ll hear the great debates—stuffing cooked inside the turkey or out? Roast turkey or deep fried? Giblets in the gravy or not? Pumpkin pie or pecan? How many fruits and vegetables can be slipped into stuffing without the children tightening their lips? (In my house, the answer is zero.)

More e-mail will be generated between employees and their families than within the company, so as to make expectations clear about arrival times, covered dishes and football schedules.

One person (there’s one in every office) will be attempting the latest Martha Stewart centerpiece and individual place decorations and feeling the need to draw her colleagues into the challenge.

A worker or two will try not to get caught missing of an afternoon, while dashing out to buy napery.

Okay, so the word is out. But am I wrong?


Filed under Family and Friends, Food, Holidays, Technology and Social Media