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Scraping The Bottom Of The Pot

As I was reading some of the archived stories on your wonderful site, I recalled an event that happened fairly early in our marriage that still astounds me.

Shortly after my DH and I were first married a friend we had known for several years and his new wife moved in next door to us. The four of us spent quite a lot of time together. One afternoon we had all been hanging out together at the home of these friends, L and G, when I excused myself to go home and begin preparing dinner for myself and my DH. I was setting things up to begin cooking when DH came home and asked me if I minded having L and G over to have dinner with us. I was preparing spaghetti, so including two guests would only involve cooking additional noodles, so I was more than happy to include them. DH went next door and invited them to come over.

As soon as I finished cooking, I went to the living room to let everyone know that dinner was ready. As we were all very familiar with each other and this was a simple, casual occasion, DH and our guests came to the kitchen to prepare their own plates. I stepped aside to allow L and G to prepare their plates first and busied myself with finishing up the dishes I’d been washing as I went along. For some reason, L and G insisted that DH prepare his plate first and after a short protest he finally went ahead. L and G then prepared their plates and met DH in the dining area. I quickly finished up what I was doing, picked up a plate and walked over to the stove to find that there was NO food left! L and G had even gone to the effort of scraping every last bit of sauce onto their plates. I was stunned!

I should note that I was at this time pregnant and therefore also extremely emotional. I was so upset that I began to sob and not knowing what else to do, began pulling together the makings of a sandwich. DH came to check on me after several minutes, concerned that I had not joined them, and found me sobbing into my sandwich. When he realized what had happened he was furious! I asked him not to say anything as I was already so upset I couldn’t bear for there to be a scene. Just then our guests entered the kitchen to find out what was going on. When DH explained (trying his best to not raise his voice), L and G stated that they had just assumed that I had eaten while I was cooking. (To this day I still have no idea why they would have thought that.) They both then offered me their LEFTOVERS as they “couldn’t possibly finish it all”!

Not so surprising that it was a long time before we ever offered to share a meal with them again. 0109-13

If L & G had had any training in manners from their parents, they would have known that you never take the last bit of food unless you ascertain that everyone else has had at least a first serving and whether they wished to have seconds which you then divvy up according.    In a buffet line, you never scrape the serving bowl unless you are the absolute last person in line.

Suffice it to say that L & G learned a lesson in how not to be inconsiderate, thoughtless food piggies that day.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mrs. Lovett January 10, 2013, 9:36 am

    It just amazes me what people never learned or what never occurred to them regarding manners. From childhood, I learned that even in an all-you-can-eat buffet where there’s no chance of them running out of food, you don’t take more than you can possibly eat. And their defense that they thought you had eaten while you were cooking? That might work if you were making something like stir-fry that you could grab a piece of meat or a veggie out of the pan while you were cooking (although really, who fills up before the meal actually begins?). But how would one eat spaghetti while cooking? I really don’t understand their thinking.

    I’m sorry you had to go through this, especially while in such an emotional state, but I sincerely hope it taught L and G a lesson about manners and how to treat food in other people’s homes.

  • Ripple January 10, 2013, 9:37 am

    For heaven’s sake, you invited them over for dinner but they assumed (both of them, no less!) that you would have eaten while you were cooking? What a strange assumption. Especially as spaghetti is not something that can be easily nibbled on while you’re getting the rest ready. Surely you would have wanted at least a little something (if not a whole plate) to eat with them at the table?!

  • Nikki January 10, 2013, 9:43 am

    The assumption that OP had eaten while she was cooking is an odd one. I don’t know anyone who prefers to fill their bellies while standing over a hot stove when they have (or should have) the option of resting their feet and dining at a table with friends!
    The rudeness is astounding, and I’m sorry that happened to you, OP.

  • Leighanna January 10, 2013, 9:51 am

    Surely there was at least one wet noodle at the bottom of the pan for the 50 lashes they deserved.

  • Kim January 10, 2013, 9:54 am

    They “couldn’t possibly finish it all”???? So why did they take so much?

  • Cherry January 10, 2013, 9:54 am

    At least your DH stood up for you – there’s nothing I hate more than an EHell story where someone’s SO just stands by and says nothing.

    While you were pregnant too!? Unbelievable! Did it not even occur to them to CHECK that everyone had their share of food? I have never, in my entire life, even while just eating with family, finished a bowl of any shared food without asking first if anyone else wants some.

  • Shalamar January 10, 2013, 9:56 am

    That reminds me of an old “Mary Tyler Moore” episode, in which Mary has planned a dinner party and more guests show up than she’d expected. She made pork chops, and there were exactly enough for everyone to take one each. Mr. Grant, saying “Boy, am I hungry!” took three. Mary urgently whispered “Mr. Grannnt … can I see you in the kitchen for a moment, please?” She explained the situation to him, he went back to the table, said “How about that? I’m not as hungry as I thought I was”, and he put back two pork chops.

    I always thought that, for a sitcom, that was a very mature and grown-up way to handle a tricky situation. I kind of wish OP’s husband had done likewise (i.e. go back into the dining room and say “Hey, guys, we goofed – OP hasn’t had any dinner yet. Let’s give her some of what we took, eh?” Maybe he didn’t have time before the guests came into the kitchen, though.

  • Shannon January 10, 2013, 9:59 am

    That makes no sense whatsoever. When you’re self-serving a meal, etiquette is pretty straightforward: take no more than you can eat, and, in fact, take a little less than that. It’s more important that everyone gets enough than it is that one person gets their fill.

  • PhDeath January 10, 2013, 10:39 am

    I thought precisely the same thing as Mrs. Lovett and Ripple – not only is it odd to presume the cook would eat whilst preparing the meal, but uncooked pasta? Bizarre! I always laugh at my dogs when they Hoover up a piece of uncooked pasta that hits the floor when I’m cooking – it leads to endless chewing and sullen looks. 🙂

  • Anonymous January 10, 2013, 10:57 am

    How long was that “long time” before you invited them over for dinner again? I might not have given them a second chance after that, at least not at my house–maybe at a restaurant. Did they change their behaviour the second time? It seems so rude that they’d finish off all the spaghetti, and not leave you any, when you cooked it–it’s effectively treating you like hired help, good enough to prepare dinner, but not good enough to partake in it with them. It also seems like this was pre-meditated, because they told your husband to take his portion first, with the specific intention of taking the rest. I hope that the second time you invited them over, you served them yourself, and hopefully some kind of “individual portion” kind of food, like maybe a barbecue with hot dogs or hamburgers, so it’d be obvious that there were a certain number of servings, and a certain number of people, and you “did the math” so that it’d be fair.

  • Wendy B. January 10, 2013, 11:01 am

    The whole “we thought you already ate” was a very lame attempt to cover up what they knew was bad form. At that point, I think a big production of getting out more noodles and sauce, etc. to make more would have been appropriate…or going to get your purse and saying, “Enjoy yourselves, I’m going to favorite restaurant.” I also think you’re husband had every right to “make a scene” as you put it. You’re his wife, he’s to look out for you and come to your defense as needed (and you for him). They weren’t just rude, they were cruel.

  • Jelaza January 10, 2013, 11:01 am

    What really tops this story off is that they “couldn’t possibly finish it all”! They didn’t even have the excuse of “we were so hungry that we were thoughtless about taking so much” to throw themselves onto.

  • Amethyst Ribbons January 10, 2013, 11:03 am

    Why would you invite someone for dinner but eat while you were cooking? L and G have strange thought processes.

    The leftover thing kind of grosses me out. I have no problem with leftovers that have not been eaten off of, but leftover food that people have taken bites of? Yuck.

  • Abby January 10, 2013, 11:05 am

    I find that appalling, but I have to wonder if they were truly that clueless, or if that wasn’t a deliberate attack on the OP. I mean, even if they had firm reason to believe OP had already eaten, why go to the trouble of scraping the pot knowing you already have more on your plate than you could possibly eat? I understand the wish to not make a scene but I am glad your husband confronted them. What pigs.

  • Elle January 10, 2013, 11:25 am

    I laughed quite heartily. It is such an oblivious and over the top moment of “the way we do things is different” that – given the space of time and internet that separates us from it, L and G cross through irritating, rude, and tacky and straight in “Oh my gawd, they did WHAT?” comedy. Obviously it’s awful that they thought this was okay, but how often do you get sitcom level shenanigans in real life?

    And thank Crom L and G learned this lesson with close friends who (hopefully) eventually forgave them and not at a dinner party at their boss’s house.

  • Yarnspinner January 10, 2013, 11:26 am

    Nothing but sympathy from me. L and G are unbelievably dense or just. don.t care.

    This reminds me of a dinner party I had once (and only once) for coworkers. Although the recipe I had for beef bourginion would have served the number I had invited (there would be ten of us) I DOUBLED the recipe (not easy on my then budget) so to accomodate left overs.

    I had reckoned without Draco Malfoy.

    Having read a book on gracious buffet entertaining, I had set up several small tables on which to rest plates and glasses and had the kitchen table set up as a buffet. Draco (who always seemed so “up” on things at work) positioned himself as close to the front of the line as possible and served himself so much of the dish that it was dripping off the sides of the not-inconsiderable plate. A dish that should have served twenty barely served the seven people who ultimately accepted the invitation.

    What is wrong with people????

  • Kit January 10, 2013, 11:30 am

    I can suggest an answer for “To this day I still have no idea why they would have thought that.” – Could you doing dishes influence their thinking? I mean, there they went filling their plates, and their hostess, instead of standing beside and looking like she expects to join them at dinner table, turns her back and goes to wash dishes (far enough to have no idea they were scraping pots before they had left kitchen). This could be taken as a sign that “I have totally finished with this meal and don’t intend even to just sit with you at dinner table”.

  • Phoenix January 10, 2013, 11:31 am

    Sounds like the insistence that DH should serve himself before L and G served themselves was a tip-off that something was amiss. And the “we thought you already ate” explanation seems like a feeble excuse to let them get away with their bad behavior – innocence by ignorance, even if it’s an absurd assumption. A big party where the host(ess) is going to be moving among the crowd while everyone snacks on appetizers, sure, it’s reasonable that the host(ess) would eat something beforehand so that s/he’s not hovering over the snack table while guests mingle. But an impromptu dinner with friends? Short of medically NEEDING to eat before the set meal time, I just can’t see it happening.

    They certainly did a good job of proving that saying about what happens when you ‘assume’ for themselves, though!

  • MinnieMouse January 10, 2013, 11:42 am

    WHO eats what can constitute a full meal while they’re cooking? A ridiculous excuse to explain such appalling manners. All that aside, I really enjoyed the pitiful picture you painted of yourself as a sobbing pregnant woman who was denied food. I have known those deeply pathetic and hormonal emotions as well. 🙂

  • Enna January 10, 2013, 11:43 am

    I remeber awhile back a poster put “to assume makes and ass out of U & ME” – making assumptions can back fire. The reasonw why it is relaxed and “help yourself” is because you firends should be mature enough to serve themelves and not take all the food. I hope the OP and her husband sorted it out with them. Personally I hope that L and G did something to “make up” for their actions e.g. treat the OP and her husband out for a meal.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith January 10, 2013, 11:47 am

    Sounds like L and G offered whatever lame excuse they could muster. No one with any bit of common sense would hoard every last drop of food once the host was served while completely disregarding the hostess. Mental illness? Bullying? Truly a bizarre tale. And I have to wonder why on earth you would share a meal or even a pleasantry with them thereafter. A quick and forced exit should have been the end of the matter. I don’t think hosts are obliged to attempt to compensate for the outrageous. Perpetuating the myth that etiquette somehow requires them to do so leads to more of the same.

  • clairedelune January 10, 2013, 11:56 am

    What kills me is that they would BOTH assume something so weird! (and then both proceed to treat you like some sort of kitchen attendant who eats quietly by herself rather than joining everyone else at table.) I’m not surprised you still remember this after several years.

  • gramma dishes January 10, 2013, 11:57 am

    I can’t imagine that since they had been invited to share dinner with you and your husband, they would assume that you had already eaten! While you were cooking? Spaghetti?

    This level of rudeness is absolutely unimaginable. Especially the part where they magnanimously offered you their “leftovers”!!

    I’m afraid you’re a much better person than I would have been under those circumstances. I don’t think I’d have EVER invited them to dinner again. In fact, I’m not sure I’d have wanted much of anything to do with them at all.

  • Joni January 10, 2013, 12:07 pm

    Ooh, it’s the mushroom people all over again. Bet they had some heartburn that night.

  • Harley Granny January 10, 2013, 12:07 pm

    Wow…and to insist that your DH go 1st and not you.

    And then to offer you their leftovers!! Man o man.

    Coming from a big family you learn never ever take the last bit until you’ve checked with everyone.

    I bet the friendship was never the same.

  • Ashley January 10, 2013, 12:08 pm

    How the heck are you supposed to eat spaghetti WHILE cooking?

    Like, I know if I’m cooking, I might eat a raw veggie or two before it goes into the pan, but that’s it. Certainly not enough to constitute a meal, and I can’t even fathom how I would eat spaghetti WHILE I was cooking it…

    In any event, hopefully they learned something about not scraping pans if they weren’t sure if everyone had eaten or not.

  • Otter January 10, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Were you expected to join them at the table, after cooking all the food, and just sit and watch? Utterly unfathomable.

  • Annie January 10, 2013, 12:34 pm

    Their strange insistence that your husband go first makes me think they were planning to take whatever was left. I can’t imagine their motive. My best guess is that they wanted to take leftovers home with them. Appalling.

  • The Elf January 10, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Who eats an entire meal while they cook? I’ve nibbled (hasn’t any cook?) and sometimes even had a snack, but a full meal? I’m astounded.

    I was taught to never take the last bit until everyone’s had a plate. Even then, I usually ask if anyone wants to split this last bit with me. It’s one of the basic, basic rules of dining etiquette.

    I learned this lesson the hard way (as I hope L and G learned from this). As a pre-teen, I was a guest at a friend’s house. We were served burgers, and toppings were passed so you can load up how you choose. I love tomatoes, and there were three slices left when it came to me. I grabbed all three. I was always the last person to get any passed plate at my house, so I guess I defaulted to that assumption. I was so upset when the friend said she didn’t get any tomatoes and I realized what I did! I offered her some of mine but of course I had already bitten into the burger…… Oh well, lesson well learned! I always make sure it’s gone around at least once before I grab the last!

  • Abby January 10, 2013, 1:11 pm

    That is… bizarre. I would have been upset too. And what a stupid excuse! Was that the first time L and G had ever been invited to eat a meal at someone else’s house? Have they really seen hosts eat their own entire meal while preparing it for the invited guests?

  • Bint January 10, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Dear God. I could almost understand someone being overlooked in a large crowd, but out of four people, neither of them thought about *the person who had just cooked their dinner*?! Or even failing that, *the pregnant lady*?! I mean…I am just staggered at the selfishness and the sheer ingratitude that could ever let that happen!

    I also think their ‘excuse’ was just the first thing they could think of when their horrible behaviour was pushed back in their faces. As if they thought that. Please. They didn’t think of anything but how much food they wanted.

    Greed is ugly.

  • Shoegal January 10, 2013, 2:42 pm

    I am stunned too – if you came into the room and announced that the food was now ready – it is beyond me how L & G would make such an idiotic assumption. If they came for dinner I would think they would expect you to join them as well. In fact – why would you eat while you were cooking?? That would have been weird in my book.

    This might have been a bit of a slip up on their parts but I don’t think I have ever gone to anyone’s home for dinner and scraped the serving plates clean.

  • Ergala January 10, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Holy smokes this blows my mind. When I was pregnant both times people always insisted I go first. And before they would go up for seconds or thirds they’d ask if I wanted more. I still laugh at a clam bake we went to and I was about 7 months pregnant with my youngest. All the men there kept bringing me more food. As soon as my plate was finished someone would be standing there with more steamers and corn on the cob. They were all friends and family.

    I cook for my family every single day and every so often we have company for dinner. My cooking skills have gotten around by word of mouth and people love to come for a meal. There have been a few times when guests have forgotten I haven’t eaten yet and have drained the bowl/serving platter before I got any. I always insist on going last, as the cook and hostess I feel as though it’s my place to go after everyone else. My husband always tries to make me go first after we get the kids served. I don’t because often times there is something I missed while setting the table or someone wants mustard, ranch dressing, or some other random condiment. While I wait for people to finish serving themselves and taking a seat I load the dishwasher so it’s one last thing I have to do after. So the OP doing dishes really isn’t that far fetched to me.

  • Sarah Jane January 10, 2013, 3:23 pm

    This is just so very WEIRD. But I must admit that in my idiotic and desperate need to give them some–ANY–benefit of the doubt, I think Kit makes an interesting point.

  • Huh January 10, 2013, 3:29 pm

    I agree with Bint, they didn’t think of anything but how much food they wanted. It was a weak excuse. I know the OP was washing up a few dishes, but if they thought that meant she had already eaten, then they’ve never been around someone like my relative who we are always telling at every family gathering, “Sit down and eat. We’ll do the dishes later, just sit.”

    @Minnie Mouse, about the sobbing hungry overly emotional/hormonal pregnant woman, I have been there too! Back when I was a teen working at a fast food restaurant, a man and his very pregnant wife/girlfriend came through my line. He was ordering for her and asked what she wanted to drink and she said, “I don’t know, Diet Soda.” So I ordered through the loudspeaker, “Diet Soda.” She looked like she was going to murder me and her husband/boyfriend said, “What, is that not what you want?” And she said, “No, but I guess I’ll have to drink it ANYWAY since that’s what she said!” I thought she was insane. Fast forward to many years later when I as a pregnant woman ordered fast food, got my food home and found they had given me one of the wrong things and BURST INTO TEARS. LOL.

  • Cami January 10, 2013, 4:21 pm

    Decades ago, we had a “Fresh-Air Fund” girl spend several weeks at our house. We were working class people and although there was always food, we didn’t waste it. One night we had spaghetti, served family style at the table. My mother always made a lot of spaghetti because she made the sauce from scratch and so made big batches at one time and it was one of the few foods we all liked as leftovers. So the bowls were large. LARGE.

    After everyone had been served and was eating, my father asked the FAF girl if she wanted more. She said yes and my father told her to take another helping. She stood up, proceeded to pick up the ENTIRE bowl and up end it on her plate. There was so much pasta that it overflowed her plate and went onto the table, her chair and the floor. (So much food wasted.)

    We were agog. My father asked her what she was thinking when she did that and she said, “Well, I wanted it all.”

    It sounds like my FAF visitor was just more honest than these guests in the OP’s tale.

  • Michellepri January 10, 2013, 4:37 pm

    Been there, done that. Never heard that lame excuse before, have to say they knew daggone well she hadn’t eaten. They were embarassed when the hubby called them on it, and made up a BS excuse.

    @Kit, there is no justification, ever, for scraping out all the food at someone else’s home, and openly acknowledging that was more than they could eat. On what planet are you from that anyone would think she had eaten or wasn’t at least going to sit with them?

  • Kris January 10, 2013, 4:39 pm

    I am with Phoenix and Annie, insisting on your DH going first was their way to insure that they could have what was left(which I assume was a lot) all to themselves. They knew they were wrong from the word, go and the offering of their leftovers was one they knew wouldn’t be taken up, but thought would be good enough to make amends.

    You’re a better person than I am OP, because I would never have invited them to another meal. This wasn’t just a social/etiquette snafu, this was blatant disregard.

    @Kit: I doubt it, and even if it did, it sure as heck didn’t give them carte blanche to scrap the pot empty. At best seeing her cleaning should have prompted one of them (or even DH) to ask if t would be ok for one of them to make up a plate for her, while she was handling that.

  • Kit January 10, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Clairedelune, OP rather did put herself into the position of “some sort of kitchen attendant” when she went to do dishes (of all possible things, washing dishes does announce “eating is finished”) while others were getting to dinner table. Isn’t that what a kitchen attendant would do? Maybe they even thought “oh, she has already started washing dishes, so we will be very thoughtful and scrape the pots clean so it is easier for her to wash them and not have that annoying one spoonful of sauce and twelve noodles left over, even though we don’t really want to eat that much”. 😉 Let’s think best of people, right?
    I mean if I go to my MIL on Saturdays after my hobby, she and my children who were left at her place have already had lunch, and I do know it is my duty to finish off everything left on the table, even if I am already rather full of coffee and buns.

    I’m going to ask that isn’t THAT some kind of (albeit smaller, of course) etiquette breach, to busy yourself away from your dinner guests? I can imagine doing so only in the situation where I, most definitely, have already eaten, it is just that the others are slower eaters. Say, if most people have finished dinner but a couple are still eating, I would start to clean up the table to bring fresh plates for dessert. Or if there are overnight guests who wake in different times, then I would not sit at breakfast table until all of them have finished. But if there would be, say, my children and their friend at snack table and I put there a bowl of fruit *and left to do something else*, it would be clear that they may eat as much as they want, including finishing off everything. If I sat down with them, I’d be part of the party, but not if I go to wash dishes, which would put me very clearly (for that moment) in the role of a kitchen attendant, not a fellow fruit-eater. If I bring a bowl of popcorn to my kids watching TV and sit down with them to watch, it is for us all three. If I bring that bowl and do not sit with them, it is theirs only.
    It is different in that sense from a buffet, IMO.

  • arrow January 10, 2013, 4:54 pm

    I’m reminded of dinners at my MIL’s house. She lives on the other side of the country and we try to visit twice a year. Her longtime boyfriend usually joins us for dinner, and sometimes so do his parents, siblings who might be nearby, etc. Well, her BF is the oldest of 9 children. And he and his siblings often rush to the front of the pack, overload their plates, grab multiple servings at one go, and so on. It’s like watching dogs fight over the food bowl–I think their parents must have let them do that as kids, rather than tell Grabby to let Needy have one of his two pork chops, they just let them duke it out.

    I was always taught not to be the first to the buffet, “You can always get more later, or have something when we get home, if you’re still hungry.” So I always seem to go hungry at my MIL’s house–hubs has no problem raiding the fridge when everyone leaves, but I think that’s rude too. So I go hungry.

  • whatever January 10, 2013, 4:55 pm

    I wonder if they meant that they thought she had already taken her portion after the cooking the meal but before serving it to guests.

  • just sayin' January 10, 2013, 5:36 pm

    @Kit…. I can see where you are coming from, but this wasn’t a planned dinner party where she was ignoring her guests. This was a casual dinner she was planning on with her husband and didn’t mind a few extra guests. It’s not unusual for home cooks to clean up after themselves while cooking and finish the rest before eating. She stepped aside to let the guests go through first, and instead of standing around, finished up her cleaning. As she had been washing dishes as she went along, and it was a simple dinner, it would be rather fetched to assume there was much cleaning left. There wasn’t a huge gap where she was ignoring her guests before going to make her plate–the gap came because she was fixing herself a sandwich and crying at their boorish and inconsiderate behavior.

    No considerate person would think, “oh, look at all this food left over. I better scrape it out rather than leave my hosts with leftovers”. And I really don’t think it is a common observance that doing dishes=eating is finished. Not everyone does their dishes or cleans as they go along, but it is far from a universal signal, as shown by the comments posted–no one else came up with that conclusion.

  • Kit January 10, 2013, 5:48 pm

    Another thing, OP put herself in the position of a kitchen attendant already earlier – when she “excused myself to go home and begin preparing dinner for myself and my DH”. That’s exactly what a kitchen worker generously taken along to a party by her master would do – a married couple would leave together. Husband stays at party and wife goes home to make dinner?? – unless it happened at least 50 years ago, that’s pretty bizarre for me.

    Also, OP being pregnant (if L and G knew it) would possibly make it easier for them to believe OP had already eaten – “ah, she probably had a sudden craving for something else during cooking, and that’s why she is already doing dishes instead of coming to eat with us” (or, as Whatever suggested, had already taken her portion because she couldn’t wait due to her status).

    You all do understand that, if L and G REALLY thought she had already eaten sneakily before announcing dinner, they probably were thinking of HER as an impolite piggy? 😉

  • Michele K. January 10, 2013, 6:07 pm

    To those who think the guests were justified to take the last bit of food because the OP was doing dishes are just wrong. Who assumes that the hostess ate while everyone else was in the living room, then called the guests to get good? Who takes the last bit of food without asking if anyone wants any more? Who takes so much food they could not eat it all anyway? Who offers their munched-on leftovers to the hostess because they took all the food before the hostess was served? World-class boors, that is who.

    I do dishes as I cook. My fiance can be serving himself food while I am cleaning up some of the food prep dishes/pans. In a casual gettogether like this, the OP was not at fault for doing something so routine.

  • Schnickelfritz January 10, 2013, 6:20 pm

    Dividing the entire serving between the couple, scraping the pot – stunning. Regardless of whether or not the OP was already served. Scraping the pan – then declaring “we could not possibly eat all of this” – they were looking to take their leftovers home, obviously serving themselves hefty portions. I do trust they may have believed the OP had already plated her meal. (The “we thought you ate while cooking” was just trying to “save face”)

    Thankfully it was brought to their attention; I hope they were embarrassed, and learned a lesson. So many times people are oblivious, and get away with this behaviour. My first reaction to this nearly brought tears to my eyes – thinking of the hormonal, hungry mother-to-be.

  • Marozia January 10, 2013, 7:16 pm

    My goodness, how vulgar and disgusting can you get!! Never invite these people again. You’ve learned your lesson with these ‘friends’. Keep them at arms length.

  • Marozia January 10, 2013, 7:22 pm

    BTW, doing the dishes while you have guests over (even though it may be convenient for you) for dinner is also regarded as the height of bad manners as well, especially in our family. You are to enjoy the company of the visitors, then wash up. I’d still diss the neighbours, though.

  • AS January 10, 2013, 7:28 pm

    I was trying to find some sense in their thought process. I came up with three, albeit far-fetched, reasoning.

    1) As a poster (Kit) already pointed out, L and G might have thought that OP finished eating because she was already washing dishes.

    2) They might have thought that because OP is pregnant, she might have to eat at or before a certain hour, and hence finished before the guests arrived (c0upled with the OP washing dishes, it could be a possibility).

    3) They might have been brought up with a ultra-conservative idea that women are relegated to the kitchen, and would serve their guests and husband, but not join them (this is even more far-fetched than the previous two).

    But the chances are that the guests goofed up, and were trying to cover their tracks. No reasoning condones them of being so oblivious to the needs of the hostess who cooked the dinner for them! The least people are supposed to do is the ask whether everyone has had at least first helping. And if you are a guest somewhere, you don’t scrape the last bit beyond how much you can eat! Have they never heard of left overs that can be eaten later? I earnestly hope they were embarrassed, and it was a learning experience for both of them!

  • Surianne January 10, 2013, 8:23 pm

    I agree with Kit’s possible explanation, that they assumed the OP was finished because she was washing dishes. That seems like a post-meal activity to me. So they either thought she had eaten before they got there, during cooking, or that she had fixed herself a plate. With the OP in the kitchen rather than getting ready to eat with them, it may have been confusing and I can see how that happened.

    They should have apologized profusely once they heard the OP hadn’t eaten, but I can understand the awkwardness and confusion. If the OP was in the kitchen crying, that must have been pretty awkward for them — I’m guessing they wanted to offer up and excuse and get out of there as quickly as possible!

    That doesn’t mean they’re right (they could have asked “Oh, OP, did you already eat?” before taking their portion) but I also don’t think it’s automatic that they’re terrible gluttons who were rude on purpose.

  • ItsyBitsy January 11, 2013, 12:16 am

    Yes, they should have asked the OP if she had already eaten, if that’s why they thought it was okay to empty the pot. That’s what a considerate guest would have done. Trouble is, they did empty the pot so they were not considerate guests.