DEAR MISS MANNERS:
I reorganized my freezer and realized the saved top tier of my wedding cake is enormous! (It’s a little bit bigger than a regular cake.)
I was wondering if it is appropriate to host a small dinner party on our anniversary for family and perhaps some close friends and share it with them after dinner. I know traditionally the couple shares the cake on the anniversary, but my husband and I thought it would be fun (and less wasteful) to do something a little bit different.
GENTLE READER: Well, ah, which anniversary will you be celebrating?
You will forgive Miss Manners for asking, but regular inventories of freezers are perhaps not as traditional as they should be. In any case, it would be a good idea to taste the cake before you serve it to guests.
As wedding traditions go, defrosting leftover wedding cake on the first anniversary is not up there in a category with exchanging rings or, for that matter, even sharing the cutting of the wedding cake when it is fresh.
It has more to do with wedding cakes always being built to overestimate consumption — especially now that caterers argue that additional, superfluous desserts must be served with wedding meals — and costing a fortune. Another charming tradition would be to offer it after the wedding to those who do the serving and cleaning.
Your idea strikes Miss Manners as a sensible way to celebrate and clean out the freezer at the same time. She asks only that you confine your guest list to those who were invited to eat that cake the first time around.
DEAR MISS MANNERS:
My sister goes on expensive trips around the world with her husband, and I’m happy for her. However, she sends e-mails about her travels full of references about the money it is costing — “first class” this and that, the hotel was “$500 a night but worth every penny for a comfortable bed.”
It would be nauseating whatever my financial circumstances, but it’s particularly egregious since no one on her e-mail list can afford such trips. I think she feels like she’s sharing her pleasure, but I end up sending her e-mails to the trash without reading them. How can I gently tell her that referring to her wealth in any form or fashion is extremely rude?
GENTLE READER: You are probably not the one to do this.
Miss Manners admits that a sister ought to be able to offer protection from ridicule by saying, “Isabella, dear, I know you don’t mean it that way, but I’m afraid that when you mention the prices you pay, people might think you are bragging or even trying to show them up.”
But you are the one who feels that so mightily that you talk of nausea and throwing out your sister’s e-mails without even the interest to see where she has been and hat else she might have done besides spend money. Thus whatever you might say to her, however gently, will come with, and be taken as, annoyance that she is richer than you.
So unless you are prepared to thrash out the subtext — “You’re just jealous!” “I am not! I’m trying to help!” — Miss Manners advises letting it pass.
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