Short Answers: Staying mum on secret recipes

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Dear Short Answers >> I am a pretty good cook and I frequently have dinner parties at my home. The problem is that my husband always feels compelled to give out my "culinary" secrets. For example, if someone compliments the dessert, he'll say "Oh, Helen just bought a pound cake and dressed it up!" Or, if they like the salad, he'll say "Really? Most of that is leftover vegetables from last night's dinner!" I glare at him and sit in stony silence. But how do I make him stop without causing a big scene??

— So Annoyed

DEAR ANNOYED >> Tell him one more time that your recipes are your business and that you consider them "family secrets." If he continues to overshare, do not hesitate to out him immediately. You can start with, "Really? That was rude!" and escalate if necessary. Like with puppies, an immediate reaction may be essential.

The price of freedom

Dear Short Answers >> During the course of this election, I have discovered that my brother is a blatant racist. I guess it's something that just never came up before. I've tried to talk to him about this, but he's committed to the white supremacist philosophy. For my own sanity, my only recourse is to simply cut him out of my life. It's just much too upsetting for me to see him. My wife thinks that I am over-reacting and no matter what his beliefs, he is still my brother. That may be true, but do we really need to associate with people who disagree with our basic sense of human decency just because they are relatives?

— Our of Patience

DEAR OUT >> This is not the first time this has come up. This election tests us all. If this election is a referendum on how we treat one another in this country, that includes the right to express one's views freely. But that does not obligate you to discuss sensitive issues with your brother.

High or mighty?

Dear Short Answers >> I huff and puff and breathe very hard when I mountain bike with my wife at 9,000 feet and she is in the lead. Is it just the altitude or is it my wife?

— Signed,

DEAR ANON >> Sounds like you think it's a bit of both. Are you the guy that has to win all the time? Or can she be on top now and then? These sound like questions for the two of you, not the two of us.

Answered prayers

Dear Short Answers >> I have joked many times with my friends that I would love to get a facelift or some other kind of cosmetic work (many of them have already done this). I guess they took me seriously because they all chipped in and bought me a $1,000 gift certificate at a medical spa in town. Now I don't know what to do. I feel obligated to use it, but I'm not sure if I really want to. But if I don't, they will probably be furious because their money will be wasted. What do I do?

— Gifted

DEAR GIFTED >> It is not clear to us what procedure they think you might get for $1,000 — but certainly not a facelift. Take yourself over to the spa and see if anything interests you — Botox? Fillers? If not, get a massage series and thank them all effusively.

Unanticipated consequences

Dear Short Answers >> What were the results of the Great Depression?

— Job

DEAR JOB >> The psycho-pharmaceutical industry.

Life is complicated. Short Answers isn't.


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