Welcome to “Is It Ever Okay,” Bon Appétit’s questionable etiquette column. Have a question? Email [email protected]
I need to douse EVERYTHING my mom makes with Tapatío sauce. Is that rude? —Picante Perry
I bet she thinks you’re defective (but in a cute way) for being so sauce-obsessed, a nice stalemate to be in. She shakes her head. You hit the sauce. Everybody carries on.
How many times is too many times to reuse a cloth napkin? —Rerun Randy
Three. The first two uses are fine; the third is taking it too far. I don’t care if you can’t see any ranch dressing smudges—bacteria abound!
Am I allowed to start eating without everyone at the table? Some people choose to hit the bathroom just as the dinner bell rings. Dinner is getting cold. Where IS everyone? I’m not waiting… —Famished Fara
Usually the first person with a plate full of food sitting down to eat…didn’t cook it. Ever notice that? And the person who did cook definitely saw you burning the roof of your mouth on the enchiladas before anyone else had a chance. Wait the four minutes! The food isn’t going to get that cold.
I get that whoever didn’t cook is on dish duty, but is there an argument for leniency for someone who has been laboring away at online school all day, compared to another family member who has been, let’s say, playing video games? Or must both the workaholic and the gamer unite for dish duty? —Educated Eugene
You wish! Give your weary blue-light-ruined eyeballs a break and scrub some pans with your sib. This is your chance to ask them about their life, vent about your parents, and you might get some pretty good gossip out of it. Who knows who they’re gaming with? Could be a loooove interest.
Can a family eat in front of the TV to drown out the sound of each other’s chewing, which is very, very loud? —Audible Aurea
Yes, always. This is why Jeopardy! exists.
But seriously, how do I tell a family member that they are eating too loudly? —Again, it’s Aurea
What is a loud chewer gonna do? It’s their BODY. You need to work on coping mechanisms instead because life is full of loud chewers, jaw clickers, and people who hiss-exhale “ss-aah” after the first sip of water. Take a deep breath, make stimulating conversation, or, you know, crank the Jeopardy!