WBEZ | etiquette http://www.wbez.org/tags/etiquette Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Claire Zulkey - Slow-motion cancel http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/calling-end-slow-motion-cancel-104901 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.6575665675742378"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/96470895_2f812e3159.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(Flickr/numberstumper)" />This weekend I had lunch with a friend of mine who lamented a strange social phenomenon she fell victim to earlier this month. She was hosting a dinner party, and one guest, instead of merely attending or canceling, began texting her in the morning to warn her that she might not be able to attend, due to a sick child. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll let you know what happens,&rdquo; the guest promised the hostess, and then, on about an hourly basis, provided updates, informing her that things weren&rsquo;t looking so good due to Junior and his cold. Eventually, exactly at dinnertime, the guest sent a text saying &ldquo;Looks like I can&rsquo;t make it after all. Have fun though!!&rdquo;*</span><br /><br />Naturally, my friend was peeved. &ldquo;Ah yes, the slow-motion cancel,&rdquo; I said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve fallen victim to it myself.&rdquo; Instead of just being told that someone can&rsquo;t show up to dinner or a party or a date, I&rsquo;ve gotten a long, slow buildup to the inevitable letdown that someone is canceling on me. Sometimes they start days in advance, as I&rsquo;ve had friends start letting me know the second they feel a cold coming on so that I can get ready to confront the possibility that I might not see them. (And just in case you think I&rsquo;m being a judgment-casting stone-thrower, I found myself doing this last week. A friend of mine was holding an event that I had earlier said I&rsquo;d attend, and I let her know early in the day that I might not be able to attend due to my husband not feeling well. And then I texted my apologies five minutes into the event. So I am absolutely guilty of this myself.)<br /><br />Why do we** do this? I have two theories. One came via a British guy friend of mine who told me recently the biggest difference between American and British girls is that at bars (and other such places), a British woman will have no trouble telling a guy who is hitting on her that she&rsquo;s not interested (&ldquo;Sod off,&rdquo; is the term everyone, probably even including the Queen, uses in this situation.) But once the guy came to the States, he&rsquo;d chat up a lady for an hour and figure he had a good chance of getting somewhere with her until he realized that she was Just Being Nice.<br /><br />There are many times when Just Being Nice is actually not so nice after all. Like talking behind someone&rsquo;s back instead of saying what you feel, like letting resentment build up instead of addressing issues head-on, like leading a person on or like wasting someone&rsquo;s time by sloooowly canceling on them instead of having the cojones to just do it. If you say &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t make it tonight, sorry,&rdquo; right off the bat, it&rsquo;s rude. But if you do it over the span of many hours or days, it&rsquo;s Nice.<br /><br />But the flip side of Just Being Nice is also feeling a like Kind of a Big Deal. When you&rsquo;re a Kind of a Big Deal, no social function can go on without you (not in any meaningful way, anyway), so you need to let people down gently and slowly. If you just say &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t make it tonight, sorry,&rdquo; right off the bat, you are tearing people&rsquo;s hearts out. But if you do it over the span of many hours or days, you can slowly, slowly get your friends used to the idea of spending time without you when they were all worked up about seeing you. It&rsquo;s like gradually entering a hot bath, only in this case instead of bubbles the tub is full of disappointment.<br /><br />In the interest in saving time and text fees, let&rsquo;s agree to relax on Just Being Nice and that we&rsquo;re not always Kind of a Big Deal. We all like seeing our friends and it&rsquo;s a bummer when plans get altered but let&rsquo;s just agree to take a note from the British gals. Say &ldquo;sod off&rdquo; to being indirect, passive aggressive or not quite honest when it comes to rearranging plans. Our friends will all survive until the next time--when you gossip about the people who didn&rsquo;t make it.<br /><br />*It&rsquo;s essential, when declining an event, to give everyone permission to have fun without you.<br /><br />**by &ldquo;we&rdquo; I mostly mean women but not all women and certainly not exclusively women, but let&rsquo;s face it, this is a girl thing.</p></p> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 09:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-01/calling-end-slow-motion-cancel-104901 Canning jar etiquette http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2011-12-01/canning-jar-etiquette-94513 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/canningjars.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" height="399" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/canningjars.jpg" title="" width="600"></p><p>Did you know you're supposed to give canning jars back?</p><p>Me neither.</p><p>With the renaissance of home canning, and imminent holiday gifting, the rules of canning jar etiquette will surely be tested—perhaps re-written—and definitely broken.</p><p>"I try not to pay attention, but it does irk me when I don't get the jar back," said my dear friend and master canner, <a href="http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=16&amp;t=17020&amp;start=300&amp;st=0&amp;sk=t&amp;sd=a">Catherine Lambrecht</a>, "But I'm not like my one friend who won't give something to someone again if the jar's not returned."</p><p>Cathy pointed out the obvious to me: canning jars are meant to be re-used—for canning—and not simply recycled.</p><p>There are exceptions to the rules, of course.</p><p>My French chef friend <a href="http://www.gourmet.com/diaryofafoodie/video/2009/01/305_farm_to_fork">Armand Arnal</a> gave me a 1 liter <a href="http://leparfait.com/">Le Parfait</a> Super Jar filled with preserved rare, red-fleshed <a href="http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/08/pche-de-vigne/">Pêche de vigne</a>. The peaches, vintage September 2007, are long-gone, and the jar kept. Armand knew he was sending it out into the world with me. It now holds my rough cut Demerara cane cubes, and a dried vanilla bean pod left over from baking.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/sugarjar.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/sugartop.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""></p><p>Also added to my kinetic collection are the four Kerr pint jars from my friends in Alaska, sent filled with their new BBQ sauce, which is especially good with wild game meat, I'm told.</p><p>Among the many jars Cathy's given me, is a wide mouth Ball quart jar of small-batch rendered lard. That I will give back, eventually. She knows it may take a while, unless I get into a crust-making kick. Please note that the lard is not preserved, per se. I do keep it refrigerated, but many generations before us simply kept lard next to the stove.</p><p>The Ball regular mouth quart jar of Bourbon preserved peaches from my chef friend <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/cheftroygraves">Troy Graves</a>? I'm trying to save those for the coldest, darkest day of winter. But after I drink the last drop of last summer's sun, I will return that jar to Troy, overflowing with gratitude.</p><p>This Sunday, my chef friend Marianne Sundquist debuts her new line of preserves, called <a href="http://messhallandco.com/">Mess Hall &amp; Co.</a>, at the <a href="http://dosemarket.com/the-holidose-december-4th/">holiday edition of Dose Market</a>. Marianne and her husband Hans are using the coveted glass-topped German <a href="http://www.weckcanning.com/">Weck</a> jars. I'm sure her apple rum butter within is wonderful, because everything I've ever had from her hands has been, but the best part about her beautiful preserves? Since I'm buying them, I can keep the jars too.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/AppleRumButter.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 407px;" title=""></p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 18:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2011-12-01/canning-jar-etiquette-94513 Squeezing by: What's the etiquette? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-29/squeezing-whats-etiquette-88502 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-29/103633886.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-29/103633886.jpg" style="width: 450px; height: 333px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; " title="These placeholders at the Emmys won't have any trouble getting past one another (Getty/Frazer Harrison)">We’ve all been there. You’ve just taken your seat in a crowded theater and arranged yourself and your belongings when someone comes along and lays siege to your comfortable little fiefdom. I’m talking about the late- (or not-so-late—just after you) comers trying to access their seats in the middle of the row. Or maybe you’re the late one. It happens.</p><p>Despite sitting in theaters for many years now, I’ve never been able to figure out the least obnoxious way to squeeze by. Or let someone else squeeze by. Do you remain seated, vainly attempting to make your legs shorter? Or stand up, thereby dumping your program on the floor, where it flies apart and scoots into the next row?</p><p>When squeezing, do you turn your back to the seated—or, worse, standing—party, perhaps brushing the heads of those sitting in front of you, possibly knocking off a hairpiece? Should you stick with doggie-style or go with the missionary position, ie, face-to-face? As a rule, both are objectionable with total strangers (just don’t look into their eyes). Yet few audience members are skinny enough to stroll to their seats, presenting a profile view.</p><p>The obstacle course of scrambling over other people’s legs and personal effects isn’t really anybody’s fault. Still, it’s hard not to feel peeved when squeezing by the long limbs and huge feet of the guy built like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (he always seems to be seated in front of me, too). And what about the lady who booby-traps you with the bag not placed under her seat? That would be me, at least when I forget.</p><p>Sometimes the polite little dances that theatergoers perform in these situations are better than the show. But best would be the all-out pratfall or hand-to-hand combat. I’m still waiting.</p></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 14:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-29/squeezing-whats-etiquette-88502