It used to be an offense, and it still is considered impolite, to refuse dishes at the table, because your refusal implies that you do no like what is offered you.

If this is true, you should be doubly careful to take at least a little on your plate and make a pretence of eating some of it, since to refuse course after course can not fail to distress your hostess.

If you are “on a diet” and accepted the invitation with that stipulation, your not eating is excusable; but even then to sit with an emptyplate in front of you throughout a meal makes you a seemingly reproachful table companion for those of good appetite sitting next to you.

Emily Post

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