Originally Posted by Mama Mko
The people I've had push me to eat more and try their food when I clearly said no thank you have not been from other cultures. They do come from a "you should eat what's in front of you" household but I was raised in one of those households too and I still think it's rude.
That is a culture in and of itself. Just because they may be born and bred American doesnt mean a darned thing when it comes to culture. If it did we'd be one giant homogenous nation.
And like i said, your choices are tell them beforehand you don't eat XYZ, tell them at the table, put up w the food pushing or eat at home.
You seem to be fixated on the perspective of the guest and not giving any consideration to the perspective of the host. Let me give you a glimpse.
Someone has done you the kindness of inviting you to share in their food. They've gone to the (possibly great) effort of planning, shopping and preparing this food for you. And you are ungrateful enough to not only not be honest with them but then ascribe mean intentions to their attempts to be good hosts. A good host does not allow their guest to go hungry. A good host shows concern when the food is not being eaten. A good host wants interaction w their guest, whether that's "I don't care for mushrooms" or "it's a bit spicy for me". Any issue you may have w the food can be handled w tact and appreciation if you care to try. If you're not interested in being a good and considerate guest, stay home.
I start planning dinner "parties" before I ever issue an invitation. Thinking about timing, what's in season, what I know about the guest's preferences, what i've fed them in the past. If something has changed since the last time (one friend has gone paleo, one has gone vegan, etc), your chance to inform me of that is when you accept the invite. If you don't, i'm going off old knowledge and may not pick the right meal. If i serve my paleo friend an Indian feast heavy on the rice and legumes, and he doesn't touch half the dishes on the table, i'm sitting there wondering why that is. Is it too spicy? Does he not like tomatoes? I'm going over all the things i know about him in my head, stressing, rather than participating and enjoying the experience. If I offer him the rice a second time and all he says is no, i have no more information than i did before. And I will sit there and stress that i'm being a bad host. If instead he says "thank you, but i'm not eating grains", then i know what the problem is. And i can load up my plate w rice and leave more of the meat dish for him to eat. And that way I feel like I've served the needs of my guest.
And sometimes guests have different needs. DS's Poppa doesnt eat veggies. But Nana does, as do DH and I. So when they come over, i dont make mixed dishes in deference to his preferences. But I still offer the veg to him, on the off-chance that I found the one veg dish that intrigues him or he's in a mood to be adventurous. It has yet to happen, but I still try. But because I know he doesn't like them, i'm not offended when he turns them down... I ultimately didnt make them for him.
Now, if you're incapable of taking all of that into consideration when you're a guest in someone else's house, then you should probably decline future dinner invitations.
Oh, and all of that is coming from the perspective that your host cares (or else why would they be pushing the food). Not like the poster whose MIL knows she doesnt eat meat and still puts it in every dish.