By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How does one spread cream cheese on a bagel?
Assuming the bagel is cut in half, does one spread cream cheese on an entire half of the bagel? Or is a bagel treated as, say, a dinner roll, where one only butters the pieces that one breaks off?
I’m afraid that my family didn’t come across bagels in the old country, so this has us a little mystified. (I admit I have been treating it as dinner bread – it seems less gauche than buttering an entire half-bagel.)
I await your answer with bated breath. There’s a very nice bagel shop across the street, and I will enjoy it so much more when I know how to eat bagels properly.
GENTLE READER: Either method you describe is indeed proper, depending on whether you consider it a piece of bread or a sandwich.
However, Miss Manners warns you: Before you enjoy the bagels from across the street, make sure that you specify that they be delivered to you dry and/or whole. Otherwise, the shop will generally do the spreading for you, leaving you with a warm, cream cheesy gloop that will be nearly impossible to eat neatly – or to get off of your sleeve.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A close relative had to cancel her wedding due to COVID-19. While we expect a new date to be decided soon, nothing has been announced.
Then we received a very confusing missive, which contained two announcements. The first was a note canceling the original wedding, and the second was an invitation to a shower-by-mail.
I understand the bride’s dilemma, and I sent her a gift from her registry because that’s what I would have done anyway. But my traditionalist self is troubled by what ends up being a straight-up request for gifts.
Perhaps you can come up with a way to negotiate these new timesshoals: one that will satisfy both young brides and old aunties like me.
GENTLE READER: Was there ever to be a shower in person? Or was the bride simply terrified that with the wedding canceled, presents would be forgotten.
Although Miss Manners finds your proposal to negotiate generous, there is no real way to compromise here. A shopping list is not an invitation, except to hand over one’s credit card information. If guests made the assumption that presents were no longer required, then they will presumably re-remember when new wedding invitations are sent. In the meantime, the hapless bride must buy her own mitts.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: In reading about an operetta, I discovered that a scene which took place at a wedding included a joke that virtually all the wedding presents were spaghetti scissors.
At first, I assumed the notion of spaghetti scissors was an invention of the librettist, but then I began to wonder: Were spaghetti scissors once actually sold as a piece of cutlery that one could add to one’s kitchen utensils?
GENTLE READER: It is a joke. Cutting one’s spaghetti with scissors – while certainly an amusing idea – is best left to comedians, not polite society.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website missmanners.com.