My Second and Third Helpings Take Precedent Over Your First Helping

by admin on October 16, 2012

This past summer, I invited four friends to accompany me to my home country, for vacation, in the Caribbean. We are in our early twenties and were tight for money so renting a hotel room was not an option for us, however, my dear Grandfather insisted that we stay with him in his home for the week that we would be visiting there. My two South American friends decided to make a very popular dish from their home country (a shrimp ceviche) as a gesture of thanks to my Grandfather, which I found very sweet. Now, I believe that my friend underestimated the quantity of ingredients for the amount of people that made up the group including my Grandfather and my cousin because no sooner had they sat down to eat (my Grandfather is usually the last to eat by his own choosing no matter how insistent I was at that time), my friend and her boyfriend (I will call them Jack and Jill), served themselves heaping mounds of food onto their plates while everyone else took smaller portions. I did not even get a chance to serve my Grandfather, much less myself, before they took heaping seconds and thirds, by the time to fix a plate, I made sure to take a give my grandfather whatever was left of the shrimp and vegetables and rice (there was not much) and juice and rice for myself.

I believe that during this whole time, in retrospect, I should have been the first person to fix my grandfather a plate and put it to the side but I had been so busy helping to find last minute items (juice, cups, napkins, etc.) that I overlooked that aspect. I was flabbergasted at the fact that this couple would take heaping spoonfuls of this dish without even thinking to be consider that other people had not even fixed a plate for THEMSELVES. On one hand, we were all guests in my Grandfather’s home and as a host, it is important to be gracious and giving to your guests, and yes, the dish was made for everyone to eat but mostly as a gesture of thanks to my Grandfather. In my upbringing, elders are and always have been served first out of respect (as much as they are equally as insistent that everyone else eats first and they fix themselves a plate later), but as a guest in another person’s home, is there not a rule of etiquette that one waits for seconds until everyone else has had a fixed themselves a plate? If I am missing a lesson in etiquette or they changed a rule, I would really like to be updated.

What should I have done in this situation? Am I justified in feeling the way that I do? Has common decency when it comes to being a guest gone out the window? 1011-12

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca October 16, 2012 at 4:49 am

Yeesh. Jack and Jill were very greedy. Of course it sounds like they were very hungry, but they should have considered that perhaps other people were too!!!!

I think I probably would have said, in a non-confrontational tone, “Whoah, hang in there!! Grandfather and I haven’t had ANY yet, and Other Friends only got a little bit.” Then, taking control of the serving dish, “Let me fix Grandfather’s plate here. Other Friends? Would you like some more? You hardly got any.” And proceeded to spoon more food onto others’ plates.

Maybe that’s rude, but it’s probably how I would have done it.


Margo October 16, 2012 at 5:50 am

Yes, it is rude to take second helpings before eveyone has had a first helping. Also, if ack & Jill are the ones who made the dish then I would normally have expected them to wait to be serve themselves last.

The only excuse I can think of is if the group were sufficiently large (and if things were being served as a buffet) that they did not realise that not everyone had yet eaten.


Lo October 16, 2012 at 7:02 am

In my own family culture, elders get first servings, guests come before hosts, and ideally there is much more food available than will be necessary. (even in our immediate family there was always enough food for all four people to have seconds and thirds, really teaches you to learn to love leftovers!)

In this situation since the guests made the dish as a gift to the host they were were “hosting dinner”, in a manner of speaking, and were obligated to make sure there was enough for everyone before taking large helpings.

They were definitely in the wrong. Seems like they were completely clueless.


Huh October 16, 2012 at 7:37 am

I’ve seen this kind of thing at kids’ birthday parties with pizza. I’ve told my kids at parties like that you take ONE piece and that’s it. As an adult, I always hang back before I take any (figuring my youngest will never eat all of hers anyway), but I have seen adults giving their kids 2 or more slices of pizza or taking 2 or 3 for themselves!

I’ll never forget the day I baked a co-worker a cake for her birthday. I was showing it to her and getting ready to cut it as she wanted to share some with the rest of the co-workers. I was cutting small pieces so everyone could have a bit and she’d be able to get an extra piece (it’s HER birthday) and one of the male co-workers came up to get a piece, I handed him one and he said something like “No, cut me a bigger piece than that.” I handed him back the same piece and said no.


Bibianne October 16, 2012 at 7:44 am

Will be insulting barnyard animals here but…Greedy little pigs…


Sarah Paige October 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

Yes, common decency has gone out the window when it comes to be a guest. Where I grew up, hosts always were served first unless they were actually doing the serving, then children, then elders and everyone else after that.

I did not get many etiquette lessons growing up, but waiting for everyone to get a portion of a dish before going back for seconds and thirds is pretty much basic table manners. This site and personal experience has taught me that many people do not have any manners at all!


Lychii October 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

Jack and Jill should not only have waited for OP’s grandfather to serve himself, but also for OP to sit at the table and take some food, before digging in. This behavior is unacceptable.


Shalamar October 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

We had a similar thing happen during a barbeque once. My husband had made home-made burgers and was so busy cooking them, he didn’t get a chance to eat until after everyone else. When I saw one of our friends get up to help himself to a third burger, I said (probably a bit too sharply, which I regret) “Um, better hold off there – Scot hasn’t had his FIRSTS yet.”


Cherry October 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

I’ve had to deal with this a few times. The best bet is to turn it into a bit of a joke:

“Hey, hey! Save some for the rest of us!”

Said with a big smile in a jolly tone of voice. It shames greedy pigs without sounding too aggressive.


Yvaine October 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

Definitely rude!

Just to clear something up, though, I don’t think Jack and Jill made the dish. I think it was the other two of the four friends who made it.


DGS October 16, 2012 at 9:23 am

I second what all the PP’s have said; Jack and Jill were very rude. I was always raised that the guests of honor (in your case, your Grandfather, OP, was both the guest of honor and the elder) get served first, then elders, children and ailing family members (e.g. a person in a wheelchair), then, everyone else, and the hosts (in this case, Jack, Jill and OP) eat last. And of course, nobody is to get a second, much less a third helping until first helpings have been served to everyone. It is also incredibly rude to serve oneself heaping helpings from the buffet; taste a little bit of everything or a little bit of what’s to your liking, but help yourself to a small-sized portion, to make sure that there is enough left for everyone to have the same reasonable portion.

I was recently attending a work breakfast banquet that was served buffet style and was astounded at the rudeness of all attendees, and we are talking a bunch of gainfully employed, college-and-advanced degree-educated professionals who really ought to have been educated on the particulars of buffet etiquette. There was a long line, and people who happened to have gotten there first had heaped enormous plates of breakfast goodies (eggs, toast, breakfast meats, fruit) and saved spots for their friends to cut in to get more food or would even go so far as to heap massive, “family-sized” plates for the table. By the time I got to the buffet, there was nary a spoonful of eggs, some soggy bread and some bacon (which, being an observant Jew, I don’t eat) left, and there was no fruit salad or yogurt. The event organizers who were approached by me and a few other hungry attendees said, “You should have hustled to get up there; you know how these things get”, when we asked them if there was any food left for us. So, we sat in this meeting, with nothing but coffee and a few bread slices to sustain us while our co-workers got to eat heaps of food. I ended up heading to a coffee shop right after this breakfast meeting to buy myself some breakfast, as I had not gotten to eat that morning and had assumed (wrongfully, apparently) that since I was supposed to attend a 7 am breakfast meeting, I would have gotten some breakfast.


PhDeath October 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

Completely agree with above posters on the rudeness of J&J. My question, though: how the heck did they eat that quickly?! Granted, it takes me foooorrrrreeevvverrr to eat, so I can’t imagine the food inhalation necessary to be on thirds before the rest of the party was served!


Stacey Frith-Smith October 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

How could these people have had several plates before you sat down to eat? That seems like a long delay to the start of a meal if all others are assembled at the table. Also, how could they have underestimated the amount of food needed for six people but still have managed to serve themselves huge second and third helpings? It seems like there was enough and that five of six persons were at the table to eat. Two took huge helpings. Two took modest helpings. One did not serve himself. One did not seat herself. Even after the cooks’ assault on the dish, enough was left over that you scraped out a bit for your grandfather and a bit for yourself. It seems odd that you were so busy that you overlooked serving your grandfather and were unable to get to the table because of juice cups and napkins. Those items are usually pretty handy to the kitchen. Your grandfather was very kind to host all of you and it’s sad that this occasion caused some offense. Perhaps you could ask your friends to explain- they may have thought that you and your grandfather were less than enthusiastic about the entree, especially as the other two guests took some on the first offer.


LilyG October 16, 2012 at 9:56 am

When we would have unexpected guest, my mother would hiss “FHB” at us, meaning Family Hold Back. Family takes very little so guests can be adequately fed.


Cat October 16, 2012 at 10:06 am

I am shocked every time I see this. I made a large cake for a co-worker at my school. There was cake left-over and two of the women in my office proceeded to split it between themselves, leaving nothing for the man whose birthday it was to take home to his family. He straightened them out himself.
One of the same women would grab at least two pieces of a limited food dish and leave others with nothing. Her family evidently had gone by the rule, “He who gets there the fastest gets the mostest.”
Grandfather’s plate should have been set aside first-before the dish left the kitchen. I would not want to embarrass the pigs among your party now you know how they behave. Perhaps begin the serving by making an announcement that anyone wanting a second helping could now come up would be made once everyone had been served. If they come up anyway, then it’s time to remind them that second helpings were not being served until everyone had a chance to eat.
No one needs a third helping of anything. Ifyou are not full after having a normal two servings, you are over-eating.


Terri October 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

The rule in my home has always been no seconds until everyone has had firsts. And when you have guests or are a guest, you wait until everyone is seated before serving starts.


Lisa October 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

How can anyone eat that fast, so fast that they are serving themselves a 3rd helping and yet there are people who havent yet had a first serving… did I miss something? How long does it take to get juice, cups and napkins? Yes, they were greedy to have taken as much as they did but I’m still not clear on the time frame.


inNM October 16, 2012 at 10:21 am

Just curious, but how fast were these people eating? They had time to consume two full servings BEFORE the OP had a chance to serve everyone? Not that this justifies their behavior, but just something I was mentally chewing on.

Their behavior was abhorrent, and the OP (or the cook) should have taken firm, polite control of the situation: “Jack, Jill, dear, it certainly was delicious, but we should wait for the others to have a taste of this wonderful meal.” with a polite but firm grip on the serving spoon and dish and a smile.


Charlotte Vera October 16, 2012 at 10:25 am

I’ve been in similar situations before. When it comes to food, some people can’t seem to see past their own stomachs. On more than one occasion I’ve, somewhat humorously, asked people to, “save some for everyone else!” or “remember theres ___ (however many) of us!”. If it’s a case where we’re guest of a host I am sometimes more discreet, whispering that so-and-so have yet to have a serving or haven’t had much yet, and perhaps we should offer them some first?


Lyn October 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

As abhorrent as I find this story, I find it hard to believe that the hostess relied SOLELY on the dish being brought to the get together as ONLY component to the meal. If I had been hosting, I would have prepared some appetizers and side dishes as a complement to the meal. It just strikes me as odd that this was the only thing being served at a meal for six.


Mary October 16, 2012 at 10:43 am

For those asking how Jack and Jill had seconds and thirds before the others ate, I am sure that the OP was implying that the piggies helped themselves to the equivalent of three portions on their first filling of their plates.


Kay L October 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

This doesn’t make sense to me for the same reason a couple of other posters have pointed out.

How is it that they had the opportunity to serve themselves seconds and thirds before you and your grandfather got firsts?

While it is true that everyone should get a first helping before anyone gets a second helping, if someone is not going to take their first helping in a timely manner, then they are going to lose out.

I just don’t see how I am supposed to believe that these pele sat there and ate 3 plates at the same table as their host who apparently did not eat anything the entire time they were doing this.

Seems to me that there must have been other dishes and they assumed that he didn’t like it. Becasuse it also seems to me that if the dish was made special for him that he had an obligation to his guests to serve himself first and eat before or with them so that he could show appreciation for the dish.


BeachMum October 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

Although it likely seems odd, in DH’s family, everyone frequently starts eating before the host sits down. Sometimes I even need to gently chide some of the older folks to stop serving themselves until the meal is ready. When the various relatives visit, I often don’t sit down until others have completely finished because they sit down the moment any food is on the table, and immediately start eating it.

What makes it doubly strange is that my kids wait until DH and I are seated before eating unless we tell them otherwise. I’ve had a number of meals at my home with DH’s family where I ate almost nothing because I spent most of the meal serving to others and then getting up to get extras (another drink, a certain sauce that wasn’t put on the table). I would develop a polite spine, but I stopped caring a while ago and often eat after they’ve all finished, alone at the table.


Calli Arcale October 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm

For those wondering why the hostess didn’t make anything to go along — ceviche is a raw fish or shellfish dish, where the fish is more pickled than cooked. It is typically served with accompaniments designed to suit the ceviche, and from the description in the OP, the two friends who prepared it did indeed provide the side dishes as well. Rice and vegetables were mentioned. It sounds as though not only were the gimme-friends overpiling their plates, but they had a very unfair shrimp-to-accompaniment ratio as well.

As to how the friends managed to get thirds before grandfather and the OP had eaten, I can only assume they did not wait for everyone else to be seated before beginning to chow down themselves. I wonder if they even waited to be called to table before helping themselves.

In my family, we often serve parties buffet-style. In order to avoid mooching off of the buffet, I always put out a cheese and cracker tray, or possibly some pickled herring (Scandinavian ceviche, you might say!) and olives, or some combination of the above. The guests are encouraged to avail themselves of this, and then I can assemble the buffet, set the table, finish cooking, etc. without fear of poachers. 😉

And I agree that in this case, grandfather should have been served first. This is complicated by the fact that his sense of honor prevents him doing so. I can understand that; my grandfather is the same way. The solution is as others have suggested — make a plate up for him and set it aside. When the others have been served, he can receive his pre-made plate.

Usually, I wouldn’t think this much organization would be necessary for a group of just six, though. You’d think six people would be able to be aware of one another and polite to each other. For a third of the party to be totally oblivious to the needs of the other two thirds is shocking, and I can understand OP’s lack of preparedness — you don’t normally think it’s needed for a group of this size.


Shannon October 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I was raised to do family hold-back, as in, don’t be a little piggy and make sure the guests have enough to eat before fixing your own plate. I was also raised to wait until the hostess has picked up her fork before I start eating my food (which prevents guests from having three helpings before the hosts have even sat down). And, of course as hostess I try to sit down as promptly as possible instead of futzing around the kitchen while hungry people await me at the table. (That is a peeve of mine – I know if I was hungry I would be super annoyed that the OP was turning grabbing a few plates and glasses into a complex and overwhelming production. Why not set the table in advance?)

Now, my husband is the sort of person who can pack away gobs of food – he routinely eats his own entree plus half of mine when we go to restaurants (and he is not a large man, he just has a metabolism that would be worth millions if he could just bottle and sell it). I’ve learned a polite prod of, “Hey, make sure everybody gets enough before you get seconds,” or even, “leave some scraps for the proletariat,” is sufficient to help him see over his grumbling tummy.


TylerBelle October 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm

My first thought as well was as others point out – How did this Jack and Jill manage to get to second and third helpings, after apparently polishing off “heaping mounds of food” of their first portions, before some had yet to get any? Then again, if they are students, they learn to eat as fast as possible, but still doesn’t excuse the behavior.

Ah well, the main thing is again as mentioned, the Grandfather should have been taken care of first, and I’m sorry the meal was spoiled by the greediness of some.

I know most folks don’t care for the idea of having someone police the food though in some of these situations, like the one DGS told about, I wish someone would step in and (politely) tell the greedy to hold up until everyone is served. I just don’t understand how people can sit there and eat a big plate of food while the person next to them nibbles on what comes down to scraps. And to add insult to injury, sometimes the food hoarders don’t even eat half of what they took and it ends up thrown away.


Carrie October 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

My first thought to preventing something like this from happening, is to make sure the table is fully set BEFORE the food is brought out. That way there is no last minute scramble for cups and napkins, and everyone can serve themselves at the same time so there is no getting seconds before everyone has had firsts.

Second, as soon as the food is brought out, you should have taken initiative and served your grandfather first, since he was the “guest of honor”. Guests of honor always get served first.


Holly Firestorm October 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Obviously, despite what they said, Jack and Jill were not thanking your Grandfather. They made the ceviche to treat themselves. If they had just been a little more honest about it, your family would have known they were not welcome to eat any of the food. Jack and Jill are, of course, entitled to your Grandfather’s hospitality. He only exists for their benefit and they didn’t have to allow him the immense privilege of having a taste of their exclusive ceviche…after all…they’re paying good money for the hotel room he’s furnishing, why wouldn’t they demand the best service for all the money
they’re paying him. Oh, they’re not paying him for the hotel room?


Drawberry October 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

In concern to how long it may have taken the couple to eat, Boyfriend is a voracious eater and seems to be capable of inhaling food at an alarming rate. In the time it takes him to finish off a second helping of anything I am barely half way into my first. I’ve seen him go through 3 helpings of sugary milk-tea when everyone else is still on their first sips! He’s a human vacuum cleaner. That said, He does NOT extend his extremely healthy appetite to taking helpings of food that would exclude others from their fair share.

I think it’s perfectly reasonable that the couple would simply help themselves to more spoonfuls even before their current portion is finished as well.

Where they rude? Extremely. I can’t help but imagine I’d be left staring slack-jawed like a lunatic at them if this was happening in my grandfathers home.

Perhaps a friendly ‘jab’ along the lines of “Jack and Jill, leave some for the fishes!” when you realized they where going beyond what was reasonable to take. I also do not see it as being unreasonable to have pulled them aside later and informed them calmly but firmly that grandpa get’s his food first and that enough portions should be left for everyone else. It doesn’t have to be in an accusing way or done angrily, but firm and to the point.


kingsrings October 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

How ironic this should appear, as I experienced something similar just last week. For clarification: I’m a actress working sometimes as an extra on film sets. Last week I worked as an extra for an all-day shoot for a web production. And overall, it was a wonderful experience, with just one glitch. As it is with film, stuff got delayed, and we ended up going over more than an hour past our written schedule. So basically, our one meal provided as part of the deal was delayed, and we were all very hungry by the time we got to it. As is protocol, on professional productions like this one, people are served according to their pecking order. Most important people first, least important people last, to put it bluntly. Because myself and the others were extras, our pecking order position was the next to last to be served. We all understand and are perfectly fine with that – such is the nature of the job. However, 2 or 3 of the people in the groups ahead of us were taking seconds and thirds of the meal. Myself and the others who hadn’t been served yet were concerned that there wasn’t going to be enough left for the rest of us. I thought that was very inconsiderate and rude of them to do that. They knew there were quite a few people who had yet to be served. Sure, we were all starving by that point because the shooting stuff got delayed, but that doesn’t excuse them. Even though they were higher on the totem pole than we were, they could still be considerate of our needs.


ImJustSaying October 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I have an “adopted” Grandmother (grandmother of one of my closest friends) and she is of the southern cooking school where Giant pots and pans of deliciuos food are made for special occasions. So when we go over for holidays we make a point to have a small breakfast so we can enjoy to food later in the evening. BUT we know that this does not excuse us to overload our plates. As we’ve gotten older (I’ve been visiting AGma since i was little, i’m now 26) i’ve noticed she has to annouce to newcomers (new boyfriends girlfriends fiances and the like) that we should only take what we’re going to eat. There have been instances over the years where geusts will load up thier plates and not even finish all the food. Some people have no awareness of how greedy they are acting.
To Jack and Jill I think they were unfairly putting their own hunger ahead of everyone else’s. I have been victim to cooking while hungry. I’ll finish cooking something that should last me a week and half of it is gone by the time i go to bed. J&J cooked the beautiful meal and were so pleased with themselves that they took major helpings as a personal reward. Sad that they forgot they were cooking for others and as a Thank You meal at that!


ImJustSaying October 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm

My apologies for all of my typos. Fast typing is my downfall sometimes.


Andie October 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm

“For those asking how Jack and Jill had seconds and thirds before the others ate, I am sure that the OP was implying that the piggies helped themselves to the equivalent of three portions on their first filling of their plates.”

This makes sense, because I was thinking:

Isn’t it usually considered good manners to wait until everyone parks their butts in their chairs before you start eating? Is the OP one of those martyrs that makes everyone wait *forever* while they fuss-fuss-fuss with napkins, cups, and things, and then tells everyone “Oh just go on without me.” Why did her grandfather hold back that long?


acr October 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm

This always flabberghasts me. I remember when my uncle invited us to dinner once. His son is a large young man with a hearty appetite. At this time he was 18-20, so he had a VERY hearty appetite. My uncle had made 2 chickens (and other sides) to feed about 10 people. His son was first in line and immediately took 1/2 of a chicken for himself. His dad always says proudly, “He’s got a big appetite.” His sister eats like the wind, because if she didn’t clean her plate ASAP, her brother would eat his then eat hers. (BTW, his sister has lovely table manners and would never behave so greedily.)


David October 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm

When I was a child, everyone got a serving and then if there were any leftovers it was maybe a half a serving. For example everyone got 3 fish sticks, 9 tater tots and a tablespoon of corn. Leftover were a fish stick and 3-5 tater tots and maybe some corn.

The first person to finish everything was the one that got the leftovers, so we all grew up to be very fast eaters. I can easily believe that Jack and Jill could eat 3 servings before everyone else even sat down. I however was raised that guests are served first and you wait until everyone has a plate before yo go back for seconds.


Shoebox October 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I’ve never quite understood these stories where the gist is ‘I stood helplessly by and watched as my good friend committed [insert thoughtlessly henious infraction that left everyone else hugely uncomfortable]’ .

Keywords being *good friends*. I realise there’s such a thing as shock in the moment, and that some people are just less confrontational than others — but one of the great and delightful privileges of friendship is the ability to head off situations like this without worrying (as much) about being rude. A basic “Guys, you think maybe the rest of us might want to eat?” or any one of the other excellent suggestions above. It’s very very hard to continue heniousness in the face of a bright affectionate grin.


chechina October 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Yes, it was rude, but I think OP is being over sensitive. I can’t imagine her grandfather really cared that some kids he invited to his house for the week ate too much ceviche one night. Let it go; your grandfather has.


missminute October 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I would have spoken up and just said, “Hold up there! Leave enough for the rest of us”.

I find that certain friends of mine, who struggle financially, can be quite greedy when there is food to be shared. They don’t often treat themselves and overindulge when they have the rare chance to. They can also become resentful of sharing what little they have. That could have happened with your friends.

However as a host, I always make sure everyone gets an equal share by dolling out the food myself. I would not have allowed my guests to serve themselves in a situation where there could have been overly unequal distribution of food.


Jelly_Rose October 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm

It blows my mind how greedy people are, I remember at a place I used to work at whenever there was a pot luck anything, one guy would needed to be watched because he would bring nothing to contribute but takes mounds of food, giant slabs of cake and eat like three or fours plates. Boss finally got fed up with his greediness and told denied him food at the next one, telling him he had to bring something or he wasn’t allowed anything.


NostalgicGal October 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I’ve typed before in buffet thread about a roomie I had that was oblivious to anything but her own stomach, and feeding herself first…

Ten of us and enough put out for ten according to restaurant I worked at part time (and food purchased from there and brought, and known for a goodly amount of food for a meal) and putting food out and she was first and took almost half of it; and trying to take more of the main course after already piling her plate…adding that to the already filled plate, then sitting there and chowing while the rest of us tried to be polite about it and I skipped eating because of trying to make the rest go around.

Then she went back to see if there was anything left, and yes, she could eat, she scarfed the plateful like a starving wolf.

Next time I brought enough for twenty five, according to the restaurant’s usual guidelines, and because of the last showing, everyone worked on beating her to the kitchen, and the first nine took about 13 servings and after her, two servings of veggies and one of rice left. And she finished ahead of everyone else who had already gone back to the seating and began scarfing.

Her turn, she’d bring a cakepan of some hot dish or similar that she liked and nobody else could stand usually, so we’d claim some alternate last minute plans and sneak dial the pizza place and leave her to her whatever it was.

It sounds like OP had the situation, the two cooked for themselves and gorged on what they cooked…

Cook always ate last in our family. Not as disrespect but so they could make sure everything went off the way it should. I could believe that by the time a few things were located and returned to the table, someone could scarfoff a whole plateful.

It was rude and very disrespectful, the guest of honor (the grandfather) should have been served first, and I agree about a serving/plateful should have been fixed up for him first.

Another thing the cook could do in our family, was to start the food being passed around and take control of the dishes as they make the round once… and not pass it again until everyone got some… and BY passing it, a chance that everyone would get some before it got ‘seconded’ and ‘thirded’.

I am not the slowest eater but my DH can usually eat rings around me too, speed wise. If you must eat fast, have respect for those that can’t swallow the plateful that fast… and WAIT for seconds until everyone’s managed to eat. Same DH had serious weight issues and reflux, and a lot of it got cleared up by making him wait until his stomach ‘caught up’ and let him know it was truely full. !!!


Kry October 17, 2012 at 12:03 am

To those who asked how someone could eat 2 or 3 helpings before the host sat down, perhaps J & J only ate the main dish and not the sides as well. I know several people who will get a meat rice and salad dish, eat the meat (but not the salad and rice) and then serve themselves more of the meat dish. Only after 2 or 3 helpings of the meat dish will they eat any of the side dishes.


Kay October 17, 2012 at 2:48 am

Granted Jack and Jill were greedy little fiends who needed to be rapped over the knuckles with a wooden spoon, but surely grandfather hasn’t got to his ripe old age by wringing his hands helplessly and waiting for dinner to be presented to him?

Barring any major disability, I would assume he could fill a plate before Jack and Jill got thirds? Especially since it sounds like he lives independently???

As for the three servings scarfed down in no time flat, I know I could do it…… Growing up I had an obnoxious stepfather who would grab the tastiest morsels from my plate and either eat them himself or lick them and replace them on my plate. He thought he was bloody hilarious, and it was all a power play similar to a make dog marking his territory. Urgh.

I learnt very early in life to eat at a blistering pace so that I could avoid his antics. It’s taken me a long time to slow down, but even so, I am usually the first to finish and have to wait politely for others to finish, hoping they won’t notice how fast my meal disappeared. I would never hog a buffet or communal plate though, in actual fact I eat very little from a communal plate until everyone says they are full, as I’m a bit paranoid about seeming greedy.


amyasleigh October 17, 2012 at 4:24 am

Something which I feel would be good to have clarified (a wish looking not likely to be granted, unless the OP were to come back and elucidate), is: which couple were the cooks? The gluttonous Jack and Jill, or the other couple? My reading of the OP suggested that it was the other couple (and Yvaine in post 10 thinks so, too); others, though, see J & J as being the cooks.

I feel that “which couple cooked” has some bearing on the whole matter. If it WAS Jack and Jill — their behaviour is perhaps slightly understandable in a cockeyed sort of way, though not excusable. Quoting ImJustSaying, post 31: “Jack and Jill cooked the beautiful meal and were so pleased with themselves that they took major helpings as a personal reward. Sad that they forgot they were cooking for other and as a thank-you meal at that”. If Jack and Jill were not the cooks, then their conduct was IMO rude and odious beyond description.

Humans very often seem to be weird in situations of “food to be had”, especially if they are getting it free. As borne out by numerous anecdotes on eHell: many folk, in such situations, seem to become oblivious to all notions of manners and consideration, and act with amazing greed and selfishness. This often includes seemingly otherwise decent, intelligent, respected people — sometimes, individuals in the “caring professions”. Apparently, one of humanity’s most widespread blind spots.


Michele October 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

I can almost top this… My husband and I didn’t get to eat at our own wedding, because the guests took it upon themselves to clear out the buffet during what was meant to be a cocktail hour–and no one seemed to think a thing of it! During our first dance, the guests (AKA our families) made sure there was nothing “going to waste”; all my husband and I got to eat was a HALF of a bagel each. We didn’t get to eat anything beyond that bagel (and a bit of cake) until 7 p.m.–and our reception was at 11:00 in the morning!


Bibianne October 17, 2012 at 8:01 am

@amyasleigh : I also read it as 4 friends went with OP. The 2 South American friends cooked, and the other 2 ravenous piggies (J&J) ate more than their fair share. OP? Can you clarify please?


Sandra October 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

I have an aunt and uncle who, on the very, very rare occasions they host a family event, never have enough food for all in attendance. I am a chronic “over-preparer,” so when I host something, I’ll typically have enough goodies left over to feed a small army. That’s overkill (my jammed fridge would certainly agree!), but it goes the other way, too. At a holiday gathering some years ago we were all called to the table by my aunt (there were about eight or nine of us) to find one small ham, one medium sized casserole of mashed potatoes and a small dish of green beans. That was it. The real kicker was when my aunt exclaimed that they were really looking forward to having ham sandwich leftovers the next day! “With what?” I muttered to my cousin, who kept looking frantically at the contents of his plate, wondering, like we all were, whether that extra tablespoon of potatoes he took was going to leave someone else without.

And I suppose it’s all fine and well to say, oh, well, that’s just them! But them being them is just plain rude. I have no other word for making your guests fret about their dinner because you were cheap or inconsiderate, or just some horrid combination of the two.

But my aunt’s a truly terrible cook, so maybe a barren table that had already been marked for leftovers by the hosts was not a bad thing…


Cammie October 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

Okay, I’ll bite:

You “invited” 4 friends to your home country, yet you admit none of you had the money for the trip, so not much of an invitation was it? What were you planning on doing once you got there, sleep on the beach? Lucky your grandfather somehow got wind of your plans. How exactly did that happen, did you fish for a free place to stay? Tacky, tacky.

Your friends made, by your own admission, enough food for at least six people (possibly more) to have a serving, along with three each for themselves, so it doesn’t sound like there wasn’t enough food. I have never had ceviche served as a main, it’s very acidic. Usually it’s an appy or a salad course. Perhaps your friends didn’t realise you’d be relying on it to be your only food that evening, I certainly wouldn’t.

Why would you assume your friends would just know about the inner workings of your family’s hosting style? If your grandfather told them to go ahead and eat, and your cousin, who one assumes is also sitting at the table doesn’t do or say anything to the contrary, (like following your family’s “elders are and always have been served first out of respect”) why should you then berate them for following what seems to be the established protocol.

You admit you “should have been the first person to fix my grandfather a plate” but you imply that your friends should have been second. Not at all – your COUSIN should have done that. These people were your and by extension your grandfather’s guests, not his servants.

I’d suggest you owe your friends an apology, or at lest drop the animosity, and stop issuing invitations to other peoples homes.


Tallulah October 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

I wouldn’t like this, but I don’t like cheesy games played at showers in general. I hope, though, that the onsies were different sizes. Who needs so many onsies all newborn size when they will be outgrown in a month?


June First October 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

@BeachMum — your post made me sad. You need to make sure everyone has everything they need to get through the meal before everyone starts.
Isn’t there some sort of Eleanor Roosevelt quote about how no one is able to take advantage of you (make you feel inferior) without your consent?
If you’re in charge, take charge! Even if that just means saying cheerfully, “Oh–save room for dessert!”


barb October 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

@Michele – that happens A LOT when the HC is thinking “cocktail buffet” and the guests are thinking “I want me some DINNER.”

This reminds me of DH’s elderly aunt – we were visiting and she had her kids, GKS, etc over for dinner. Made a big dish of chicken, vegs, rice stir fry. Before she served anyone, she put some aside for her lunch the next day! And no, there was not that much to go around. What was left was pretty skimpy meal for the 10 guests or so.


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