Ask Amy: My friends made a dish with mushrooms they didn’t know were safe

Dear Amy: I have a group of three friends (all men) that I spend the night with every month in a cabin in the woods.

We take turns cooking. Two of the boys recently made a spaghetti dinner for us.

The next morning they told us they had included mushrooms in the sauce they found behind the woodpile.

I was horrified. I have a degree in biology and have taught environmental science for over 30 years — neither of these guys have any background in mycology or mushroom taxonomy — nor could they even name the species of mushrooms that were used. When I expressed my dismay, they got defensive (“My wife said they’re fine!”) and eventually moved to ridicule.

The next night I asked what ingredients were included in the dish. Realizing the absurdity of this undertaking for safety, and wishing to avoid further ridicule, I began to carry my own food under the declaration that I preferred to eat later in the evening than theirs.

Amy, they still make jokes about it and have never shown remorse, much less apologized.

Two questions: Was my reaction unreasonable (I can’t imagine it was) and do you have a suggestion for resolving this through communication?

Avoidance: Your reaction was not unwarranted, but your overreaction is.

Your friends made a potentially dangerous choice; as it turned out, everyone got lucky and no one got sick. You expressed your educated and legitimate concern and you know your friends heard you because they resorted to mocking you for taking your stand.

I hope what you describe as “teasing” was more of a mild teasing.

You’re certainly allowed to bring your own food to these gatherings, but you’re not being honest about your reason (and “eating later” doesn’t necessarily make sense). And every time you do that, you’re reviving the original problem, which is that you don’t trust your friends to offer a safely prepared meal.

In my opinion, you should choose to trust your friends with cooking, but that would require you to relax about a matter that you obviously take extremely seriously.

You can turn this problem around if you more or less dive into the heart of it. Make some t-shirts for the group: “Fun Guys Forage Fungi.”

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been in a committed partnership for over 30 years.

It was only after many years together that marriage became legally available to us.

As the reality of reaffirming our long-term commitment was now possible, it still took some time to consider how we saw ourselves, our lives of shared experiences, and our intertwined families.

Marriage is not only a celebration and a beginning; it is a personal acknowledgment of our long life together.

When someone sees a ring on my finger, sometimes they’ll wonder how long we’ve been married. This is when our definition of our life together collides with what some people accept as truth.

I would prefer to answer honestly that we have been married for 30 years. When a look of incredulity inevitably follows, I might add, “… and we formalized it last year.”

But then some people might respond, “But you’ve only been married for a year…” as if to put a huge asterisk on our marriage.

Besides insulting our proud and deeply personal cornerstone, their tentative definition belittles the true story of our life together.

So – what should be our answer to the question of how long have we been married?

Married: Congratulations on your long and successful relationship. Awkward encounters with others may cause you to expect more – somewhat defensively.

You can describe your relationship however you like, including saying you’ve been married for 30 years. If someone doesn’t like this answer or disputes it, then – that’s their fault.

It would also be very easy to say, “We’ve been married in our hearts for 30 years and legally married for one — so I guess that makes us the longest-married newlyweds on the planet.”

Dear Amy: “Hurt feelings” was a guy who had suffered a sports injury but was upset when his close friend “Bart” didn’t acknowledge it.

The dude needs to get better! Many boys grew up with injuries on the sports field and were not kissed by their coaches.

Sportsman: Compassion doesn’t hurt a bit. You might try.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson, distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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