Should I reveal why I won’t eat at her house?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a bosom buddy who loves to cook. Unfortunately, every time I eat her cooking, I suffer enormous intestinal distress.

For some time now, I have avoided eating at her house by scheduling my visits with her at times when I can reasonably say I have already eaten, but now she invites me over saying, “Come hungry.”

I couldn’t think of any way out of a recent invitation, so I accepted and had a meal with her. Inevitably, I got sick. What would have been the polite way to avoid eating at her house? She rarely goes to restaurants, and especially not now.

GENTLE READER: Etiquette exists to avoid confessions like, “I value our friendship, but your food makes me throw up.”

This should be relatively simple: You express disappointment that you are — for no specified reason — unavailable; your buddy accepts this answer gracefully.

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