Food News

Does Anything Go When It Comes to Dinner Conversation?

Remember the cartoon strip Peanuts? Linus, one of the Peanuts characters, had a strict conversational policy: he wouldn’t talk to anyone about religion, politics, or the Great Pumpkin. We can see where the kid was coming from: he wanted to keep things cordial.

But surely we live in more enlightened times, where no topic of conversation is too sensitive to broach? Apparently not. The folks behind the Loose Ends App , a new app designed to make socialising easier, commissioned a special poll (well, okay, they walked around the office and asked people) which revealed that there are still some things you shouldn’t talk about over dinner in this day and age.

So although it’s 2016, and although they don’t advocate censorship at Loose Ends, they’ve given us a rundown of the top four most controversial topics. Raise them at your peril.

1. Your host’s children

Everybody else’s kids seem naughtier than our own, and sometimes it’s even true. But consider the wisdom of regaling your fellow diners with tales of watching little Mohan supergluing his auntie to the kitchen chair. They won’t be outraged by his behaviour, but by your failure to stop him.

And if you do try to stop him, don’t expect any thanks.  Nobody likes a grass.

2. Bodily functions, diseases, and innards

If you’re a healthcare professional or hypochondriac, take note. The rest of us are horrified, not fascinated, by your account of how sweetbreads aren’t testicles but something even worse. And if you’re asked to serve the lamb casserole, please don’t use the term ‘blunt dissection’ to describe what you’re doing.

We offer this advice with the caveat that it’s probably a safe topic if everyone else at dinner is a healthcare professional or hypochondriac. In which case, good luck getting a word in edgeways.

3. Who’s not eating (or drinking) what

We’ve all been to dinner with people who insist that everybody must try a bit of everything, and who exclaim at length when anyone refuses. This is a risky tactic for two reasons.

First of all, you don’t want to embarrass your fellow diners by outing them as pregnant, suffering from an exotic ailment, or currently undergoing religious conversion. Secondly, puncture that long-held silence and you might get to hear all about their pregnancy, exotic ailment or religious conversion. For hours.

4. How to split the bill

No wonder the human race can’t put an end to cross-border conflict and strife when it can’t even decide how to divide up the tab at the end of a meal. We beg you, for the sake of global harmony, when the bill comes, please don’t launch an inquest into who ordered the second most expensive wine and who had house plonk.

Simply grit your teeth, smile (or at least grimace) and split the bill into equal portions. We hear that’s how they do it in the UN works canteen.

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