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Have Baby, Get Food

I don’t know the couple in question very well (they are friends-of-friends) but I have heard that they had a baby recently, and I just saw this facebook request from the father of the newborn (below.) The father is also a doctor and could probably afford a personal chef, if getting takeout from one of the many healthy, vegetarian-friendly restaurants in town was too much work.

We are requesting 2 weeks of dinners from our friends, and a prefect chance to stop by and see baby Fifi!

Local foods if at all possible.
Heavy on the veggies, no top carnivore fish (mercury) and light on the meats.
Feeding 4
Better be good or we will hunt you down and cook you with the love, care and dignity you should have shown the food you served us… no pressure.

The contributor of this story also included a screen shot of the Facebook event to back up the story. Due to the large amount of personal identifying information, I can’t display it so you’ll have to trust me that the story is accurate. The new father created a Facebook event called “FamilyName Food Tree”, invited 31 friends to “attend”, i.e. make a dinner for the family.

The problem with this is that food and the labor it takes to prepare it are a gift of time and money. One cannot go asking people to give you gifts, and certainly not specific gifts. It’s a lovely gesture to volunteer to serve new parents with a hot meal each day for the first few weeks after a baby’s arrival but the initiative to serve in this manner must come from the giver and not the recipient. Sorry, but having a baby is not a free pass to suspend etiquette nor does it make you entitled to being served.

Addendum by admin:  Hey, y’all, no more comment approvals from me today.  I’m off to the hospital to welcome my first grandchild into the family!

{ 102 comments… add one }
  • Jo Bleakley July 20, 2011, 5:07 am

    Sheesh! Every time one of my friends has had a baby, I’ve made them a couple of things for when they come home. Usually just a casserole and a cake, or something. I do it because I love to feed people, it’s a nice thing to do and all my friends did it for me when I had my baby. This guy though? If he was my friend he would have guaranteed that he got nothing from me. I do have to wonder if he wife knew about this though?

  • Hollanda, UK July 20, 2011, 5:44 am

    I wondered at first whether this was a joke. Sadly, I soon realised it wasn’t. The couple clearly have a sense of entitlement here, and I know if ever I were invited to such an event I would refuse it politely but firmly. The sad thing about this type of story is that it ignores all those countless really kind people who do good deeds for others, expecting no reward. People who live their lives in expectation of kindness will always be disappointed. Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself – any acts of altruistic kindness should be gratefully accepted on their own merits, and certainly not used as any kind of gauge with which to measure the future behaviour of others.

  • LeeLee88 July 20, 2011, 5:48 am

    Oh darn, and I had aaaallll this imported shark steak I was going to give them. Better luck next time! Seriously though, it doesn’t matter what the father does for a living (although I did enjoy the interesting assumption about the private chef) you just don’t do this! And especially not with so much attitude. You’re going to hunt people down if their dish isn’t to your exact specifications and utterly delectible? Dude, please, you’d be lucky if someone thought to give you a can of vienna sausages, don’t push it.

  • Jennifer July 20, 2011, 5:50 am

    They sound pretty entitled… especially when they demand what kind of food (“local”, “no top level carnivores”) should be made for them… “with love”, of course. It’s pretty disrespectful to their friends, as well.

  • bmyster July 20, 2011, 6:34 am

    Kindness is a gesture done by someone for someone else. This is the complete opposite — asking someone for a gift. In this case, a very expensive gift (due to specific food choices, plus the labor involved in making such a meal and possibly finding a recipe that meets these requirements).

    It’s like saying “Hi, we just had a baby and want everyone to chip in and spend $100, plus a few hours of time each, on us.” Granted, if someone already eats that way, it might be a fairly easy gesture. But, many people don’t—and in this economy, even people who might want to eat that way cannot afford it.

    So, I think it’s asking too much. If I were the recipient of such a request, I would reply “No.” But, then again, my close friends would never ask for something so specific. And those I know who have kids take care of raising and feeding them themselves—they don’t ask for handouts.

    Generosity is wonderful but cannot be demanded.

  • PrincessSimmi July 20, 2011, 6:35 am

    Let’s cook him… on the Etiquettehell BBQ. Or roast spit. Either will do.

  • Ista July 20, 2011, 6:47 am

    OMG really? Demanding free meals from friends, then listing what they want in those meals? I felt lucky both babies to be offered a couple of dinners. If I knew these people they would be dropped, socially and from the Christmas card list.

  • Jennifer Boozer July 20, 2011, 7:05 am

    I have never heard of such a thing. Our church will make food during the times of birth sickness and death but the people we r serving do not solicitate the food themselves.

  • Kate July 20, 2011, 7:12 am

    My biggest issue with this isn’t even that he’s asking for food. True, he’s not supposed to be asking, but I’m sure it’s safe to assume that people have offered their help for the first time post baby, and he’s just using FB to get the word out. But if you receive a gift such as food, you don’t get to make demands about what kind. Maybe if there are religious or allergy related restrictions, but that’s about it.

    As someone who fairly recently had a baby I can tell him that there comes a point somewhere in week two when you are happy to get anything in your stomach somewhat close to the point in time when it tells you that it’s hungry. And then he won’t care if it’s a tomato that was grown around the corner or a bowl of Cheerios.

  • The Elf July 20, 2011, 7:17 am


  • AMC July 20, 2011, 8:07 am

    Wow. I really hope this guy was suffering from severe sleep deprivation at the time he wrote this and that it’s not something he would ever do under normal circumstances. The last line just takes the cake. ‘It better be good OR ELSE!’

  • catwoman2965 July 20, 2011, 8:09 am

    Wow – talk about a sense of entitlement! When a close friend had her baby last year, I made a lasagne, and brought bread, salad and homemade choc chip cookies over for them….but they never asked, I just did it knowing that cooking and so on would be last on their list once they brought the little one home. If any of my friends ever posted anything like that, they would get nothing, and like it. While its nice that people bring food after a baby arrives, it’s not required that anyone do so. And then to put conditions on what will be acceptable? Um no. Just no.

  • Harley Granny July 20, 2011, 8:09 am

    I agree with Kate….if there were numerous requests of the the dreaded “what can we bring?” (I’m guilty of this myself) AND they had certain food allergies, I could kinda sorta understand the basic request….but my understanding ends there.

    This goes beyond my comprehension that someone actually thinks this is OK.

    I’ll keep my friends and leave these kind to others.

  • Mary July 20, 2011, 8:10 am

    I think a tub of taco meat, bag of doritos and a jar of nacho cheese would be dropped off by me.

  • J's Mama July 20, 2011, 8:11 am

    I would send them a Long John Silvers gift card, and call it a day. I can’t believe the audacity of some people.

  • BeachMum July 20, 2011, 8:16 am

    When I was pregnant with my second, SIL (who has no sense of etiquette and has been mentioned here far too many times) asked DH and I for a list of our friends. Why, we asked.

    She planned to contact them all to arrange a schedule of when they would bring us meals. DH and I were horrified! She doesn’t live in our city and doesn’t know our friends. In my mind, this is a gimme-fest once removed. She said that she does this among her friends — arranging a schedule of meals to be brought to the new parents — and didn’t think it was any different to call strangers (to her) to ask the same of them.

    We assured her that our friends would figure it out and, what a shock (not), they did.

    In fact, the worst meal we had with the new baby was when DH’s other family came over when she was a few days old (older daughter was nearly two). They sat at the table I set, we had take-out (i.e. no one brought food so DH and I ordered in), they ate dinner. They didn’t leave me a seat at the table, so I sat with the new baby on my lap, in the den, with my BIL who was watching TV. I made my own plate and, after everyone left, DH and I cleaned up.

  • Teapot July 20, 2011, 8:26 am

    Um, let’s see here. He’s asking for enough food for four. So he’s feeding himself, his wife, and…. who gets the other two servings? The baby and a nanny?

    I suppose he’s going for witty humor with the part about hunting down the cooks if their efforts aren’t up to his high standards, but it falls far short. I’d love to know how many ‘friends’ showed up at his door with their offerings.

  • Erica July 20, 2011, 8:31 am

    I wonder if the wife (mother) knew what the husband did. I have a small hope that she doesn’t. She could be one of those holdouts not a member on facebook or was just so busy after the baby was born that she didn’t have time to get on facebook.

    My DH can be pretty clueless when it comes to etiquette, but I don’t know if he would go that far (especially without consulting me first).

  • --Lia July 20, 2011, 8:35 am

    I’m seeing enough humor in this one not to mind. People use facebook in different ways. Some people friend everyone they’ve ever met. For others, their FBfriends are close friends and family. I see something endearing in sending out the shout amongst one’s intimates that they’re going to need some help. The line about hunting down and cooking with love clinched it for me. I think that’s funny, and I think the people who wrote it knew the people they were writing to would think it was funny.

    It’s not quite the same thing, but I have a few friends who are quite demanding about what I should cook for various get-togethers. I wouldn’t let just anyone get away with it, but when those few call to say let’s have a picnic and proceed to tell me what they’d like me to bring for the picnic, I just say it sounds like fun and do it. I’ve known them for so many years that we’re used to each other.

  • Hemi Halliwell July 20, 2011, 8:45 am

    Too tired to cook or pick up take-out but will hunt you down if the food you prepare and take to them isn’t “good” or made with “love, care and dignity”?Haha. I would love for him to show up at my house with a comment about the food I had taken the time to shop for, prepare and take to him & his family.

    My husband has a few deer leg roasts left from last year. I’ll send them his way- all lean meat, no fat and very healthy, being a free-range animal and all.

    Things like this are what keep me from joining social media sites. Family, friends and sometimes complete strangers asking, begging, telling me what I need to do for them.

  • Serenity S. July 20, 2011, 8:47 am

    I agree that asking for gifts (even if it is food) is not polite. But I don’t agree with how the OP sneaked in a snarky comment about doctor’s being able to afford personal chef’s. If the couple is young, the husband probably still owes thousands in loans for med school.

  • Kitty Lizard July 20, 2011, 8:51 am

    And I thought I had heard everything. “Hunt you down?” Really? Was he going to send you a scathing review if he didn’t like it?

    Kitty, astounded. really.

  • Hemi Halliwell July 20, 2011, 8:55 am

    Another thought- maybe he has to ask because his entitlement issues make him such a bad friend no one volunteered to bring food?

  • mediacoach July 20, 2011, 9:01 am

    When I was unemployed and had less than $100 in the bank I got a call on my answering machine from someone at church to provide a complete meal and deliver it to the home of a couple who just had a baby. Besides the cost of the food it would be an 80 mile round trip to get there.

    This couple was fairly well-off, both had jobs making low six figures, and had just bought an Escalade. I figured if they could afford an Escalade they could scrape up enough money to order a pizza, so I deleted the message.

  • Mary July 20, 2011, 9:16 am

    BeachMum, I can’t believe that they came over and didn’t even leave you a space at the table to eat! But my question is, where was your husband sitting to eat?

  • Michelle July 20, 2011, 9:24 am

    I have organized food trees to support a family who needed it (mom was undergoing very draining cancer treatments and Dad was at wit’s end with their very rambunctious brood), but this was at my instigation and with full support of only those friends who would have naturally brought food to the family anyway! In other words, I coordinated. This was an extreeme help to the family, they truly appreciated it, and upon mom’s successful course of treatment, they hosted a thank you party for all of us. Anyway, that’s how compassionate feeding should happen – most certainly NOT organized by a gimme-monster.

  • Lilybell July 20, 2011, 9:26 am

    LeeLee, your post gave me a much-needed laugh. I really hope someone makes them a vienna sausage casserole.

  • Angela July 20, 2011, 9:27 am

    The kicker is, he could have easily used Facebook in a polite way to achieve a similar end by posting “Many thanks to our friend so-and so! They brought us some delicious whatever and we really enjoyed it, especially since we’re finding it hard to cook right now”. That would probably bring some casseroles out of the woodwork. They might not be locally sourced gourmet dishes but they might actually be made with love.

  • Lucy July 20, 2011, 9:27 am

    I’m sending 36 servings of tuna chow mein, 1950’s style.

  • Etah July 20, 2011, 9:28 am

    Having not been around many families where babies were born while I was growing up, I didn’t even know that family and friends did this until I had my daughter last year. I prepared several meals ahead of time and froze them so we wouldn’t have to bother with a length preparation process or take-out as I knew we would be rather short on time and funds.

    It is so unbelievably crass not only to ask for food but to demand that people make it with more expensive foods and provide additional helpings. I assume these people could have afforded to prepare their own meals ahead of time, like we did. As the saying goes, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

    Though this is couched in pseudo-humor I am unable to read this post as anything other than the demands of an entitled gimme pig.

  • Bint July 20, 2011, 9:29 am

    I wish people would realize that the world does not stop because you have had a baby. You feed it, you raise it, you pay for it. Yes, it’s hard work. That’s life. If you’re offered help, accept with gratitude but you are NOT owed a single slice of bread for squeezing out a sprog. Honestly.

  • vanessaga July 20, 2011, 9:37 am

    I have to say that the absolute best gifts I got after having my baby were food-but I did not ask for them. And nor would I have done so. This is awful.

  • Louise July 20, 2011, 9:40 am

    “Oh, that’s too bad, my cooking is made with despair, angst and a soupcon of hope that I won’t burn it.”

  • Kat July 20, 2011, 9:42 am

    This guy’s not even asking for gifts, he’s THREATENING people who don’t give him gifts up to his standards. Good grief.

  • DGS July 20, 2011, 9:51 am

    Certainly, very entitled and inappropriate behavior. If said new father and new mother feel overwhelmed, as most new parents do, it would be a lot more appropriate to reach out to close friends personally and individually (i.e. not on Facebook) and say, “We are incredibly sleep-deprived and overwhelmed and exhausted. If you can find the time and wouldn’t mind the terrible imposition, would you be so kind as to pick up some groceries/take out for us at X place? Here is the money to cover this expense. Thank you so much!” Most friends would of course, not mind, and usually, be quite happy to help out.

    That being said, I resent the assumption that the father being a doctor, he could afford a personal chef. My husband is a doctor, and I am a psychologist, and we certainly could not afford that expense. I find the speculation about other people’s finances quite presumptious and rude.

  • Lizajane July 20, 2011, 9:55 am

    Actually, I think the fact that he’s a doctor does add something to the story. Not that a person of lesser means would be entitled to have this request fulfilled, but I would think someone with a well-paying job would have the means to pick up food or hire temporary help to come in the afternoon and cook dinner.
    I remember a couple of older women that would do such things for new moms, family with someone sick or widowed men. Gave them some extra money and everyone was happy.

  • Wink-n-Smile July 20, 2011, 10:02 am

    For the mother’s sake, and the child’s, I’d give them some healthy canned goods. Even if they look at it in disgust and say “Let’s get take-out!” it will be there later when they are both too sick and exhausted to do anything other than open a can, dump it in a bowl, and nuke it.

    And if they say I don’t give them the care I should have, I’ll just tell them I never care about people who demand things from me. Except the tiny ones, because they haven’t learned better, yet. A grown man should have learned better LONG ago.

    “What’s the magic word?” Pleeeeeease!

  • spartiechic July 20, 2011, 10:05 am

    It’s the last line that pushes him over the edge from just tacky to downright rude. I spend my time and energy making them food only to have them threaten me if it’s not up to their standards? They’d be lucky if I didn’t just delete them from my friend’s list and forget their existence. As it is, I wouldn’t bring them anything.

  • Xtina July 20, 2011, 10:09 am

    Whoa—entitled and proud of it much?

    This is pretty lame. If I had been planning on dropping food by for them, upon seeing that snarky note and DEMAND for my services, I would have changed my mind very quickly. People bring food by your house out of the goodness of their heart, not because it’s been demanded of them. And the final kick in the teeth is their list of “acceptable” foods. And I don’t find the note at the end about hunting people down very funny–I mean, I see that it is meant to be humorous, but tacked onto the end of an entitlement request, it flops.

    OK—so I have changed my mind, fellow eHellions. I will call the McDonald’s in China and have them mail a nice big bucket of fast food to the family.

  • Bint July 20, 2011, 10:25 am

    “Many thanks to our friend so-and so! They brought us some delicious whatever and we really enjoyed it, especially since we’re finding it hard to cook right now”.

    Sorry, but yuck. Veiled begging is no better. You had a baby. Cook for yourself!

  • Ashley July 20, 2011, 10:37 am

    If millions of other parents can survive cooking meals while a new baby is in the house, why can’t the parents in this story? Oh, right…because they have a bizarre sense of entitlement….

    If this request wasn’t crazy enough on it’s own, what if I know nothing about cooking anything even remotely vegetarian? Am I not allowed to see the baby because I didn’t bring you something tasty cooked with an eggplant instead of beef?

  • sj July 20, 2011, 10:41 am

    I think that the last line about hunting people down must be a joke, but in the gimme/entitlement context, it’s really not funny.

  • b-rock July 20, 2011, 10:43 am

    It doesn’t matter what the job or lifestyle is, a persons ability or lack thereof to hire a personal chef or pick up their own food in no way makes this horrible facebook post better or worse. It’s bad all around.
    And I agree with those who are annoyed at OP’s presumption about the family’s finances. As a nurse I work with many many doctors who are DEEPLY in debt, especially the younger ones. They make far less than nurses do in those early years, and often have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to pay off.

  • alex July 20, 2011, 10:48 am

    wow, that is just a case of the gimmies. I mean, I understand with a new baby not having time to cook, being tired etc. but most well meaning people will take it upon themselves to bring food without being asked. If it was me being asked it would make me not want to do it! I mean being asked by the father or mother not by another well meaning friend 🙂

  • --E July 20, 2011, 11:13 am

    I assume he’s trying to be funny. Very close friends might read a level of irony in his words that people removed from the situation might not.

    That said, he has clearly fallen victim to Scalzi’s Law regarding the failure mode of clever:

  • K July 20, 2011, 11:25 am

    Take this fella off your friend’s list. His behavior won’t get better as little Bratly gets older. Xmas and birthdays are gonna be whoppers!

  • Wink-n-Smile July 20, 2011, 11:25 am

    I’ve always thought that you weren’t supposed to ask for people to bring you food, unless you were starving, sick, AND broke. In this situation, you wait to see who asks if they can do anything. When they ask, you answer that some prepared meals would be wonderful! If they ask your preferences, then you tell them. Otherwise, you may tell them if you have any food allergies or medical requirements, or if you can’t eat a particular item for some reason. You may even, in very general terms, state a few preferences, such as “I love veggies!” or “I’m not much of a meat eater.” But that’s pretty much as far as it goes.

  • Zhoen July 20, 2011, 11:27 am

    Send them links to a local caterer, or schedule a time (via FB of course) when you can pick up the cash/credit card from them to purchase the food. Send them a gas expense form after. If he plans to use his “friends” as hired help, then it’s only appropriate to send a bill.

    Not really, of course, just imaginary justice.

  • lnelson1218 July 20, 2011, 11:29 am

    I agree with many things that other posters have stated:

    His closets friends may interpret the request in a different light.
    If he is that clueless, someone hopefully will clue him in. He is certainly clueless on how many people have access to facebook.
    Agreed if there is an allergry issue a discreet mention is not unreasonable.
    If people were previous going to do this for the new parent, they would have already co-orindated something amongst themselves.
    There certainly does seem to be an entitlement issue. Forgive the sterotype (as I make my own descent into e-hell) but I do find doctors a bit more self-absorbed and don’t see things from another person’s point of view. Some really are the absent minded professor sterotype on anything outside of medicine.

  • Wink-n-Smile July 20, 2011, 11:31 am

    The *only* way I could really be OK with this post was if he stated, “Note – my tongue is FIRMLY in my cheek here. Please feel free to come by and see the baby, and don’t feel you need to bring anything. We have the local pizza delivery on speed dial!”

    I enjoy a good laugh, after all, and would willingly offer a change from pizza.

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