Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: NutellaNut on April 24, 2012, 12:44:27 PM

Title: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: NutellaNut on April 24, 2012, 12:44:27 PM
Last weekend we held a milestone birthday party for DH, with 50 people RSVPing yes.  Our group tends towards potlucks but I felt it important that this party be hosted fully by us and so I cooked up a big spread. 

Appetizers during the afternoon: chips and dip, veggies and dip, cheesy bacon ball & crackers, pepperoni rolls, stuffed grape leaves, cheesy pepper dip.  Main dishes: steaks, pulled chicken BBQ, hotdogs.  Sides: Macaroni & cheese with tomatoes, baked beans, potato salad, broccoli salad, pesto tortellini salad.  Desserts: Red Velvet Cake, homebaked cherry pie, mixed berry pie, homemade cheesecake.

We have a friend who says she's allergic to vinegar (call her PF for Picky Friend).  Her husband told us behind her back that she's not actually allergic, she just doesn't care for the taste, and that if it's a hidden ingredient that she won't notice, just don't tell her.  She also is not a very adventurous eater, doesn't like spicy food or ethnic food of any kind.

Standing in line at the buffet, PF was asking where the medium-rare steaks were, she'd asked for medium-rare.  I couldn't tell if one of the plates had MR - maybe someone accidentally took the last one - but said there was a plate with steaks cooked medium.  Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."

Me: There's mac & cheese, that doesn't have any vinegar...
PF:  But it has chunks of tomato.  I don't like that.  It's OK if it's sauce, but not chunks.
Me: I'm sorry, I didn't know that.  Um, there's baked beans...
PF: <shakes head>
Me: Ok, um, I guess not the potato salad? and the broccoli salad unfortunately has vinegar.  Wait, there's the pesto salad, there's no vinegar there, and the tomato chunks are very big, I'm sure you can avoid taking any...
PF: No.
Me: OK, I'm sorry.  I think there's still some chips and veggies and dip out on the porch.

She then took a medium-cooked steak and left the line.  I got my own food and nothing more was said.

Was the menu truly deficient?  I hadn't known about her tomato aversion, though I don't know that I would have changed the menu if I had known.  Should I have?  I didn't think I should have to plan for each guests likes and dislikes, as opposed to medical needs.

Ironically, her own wedding had cold cuts and various picnic salads.  With vinegar!

Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: RebeccainGA on April 24, 2012, 12:50:13 PM
Anaphylaxis if she has something - be considerate, change the menu or have special things.

Picky eater? Let her be picky and find something.

My DP is also a very, very picky eater. Meats cooked until almost charred, only whole breast meat if it's chicken, no chunks of cooked tomato, no chunks of cooked peppers, no cheese, no cream, etc. But I can take her ANYWHERE and she can find something - no matter where we go. She has even found things she'll eat at Greek and Chinese restaurants, where the meats are often more disguised as to their origin (you can't often tell breast meat from thighs, etc.).

You did your best, and thanks to her husband you knew it wasn't life threatening. You did fine.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: NyaChan on April 24, 2012, 12:51:46 PM
Your friend was incredibly rude.  Reading your menu made me wish I had been at your party
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Teenyweeny on April 24, 2012, 12:54:31 PM
She was picky. Especially with the steak. I mean, jeez, everybody has a preferred level of 'doneness', but most people will happily eat a steak that's slightly more cooked than their optimal steak.

What was wrong with the pesto salad or beans? I mean, if nothing else, she could have filled up on cake or pie. Not the most healthy meal, but it would have sufficed.

As long as you have a decent range, and you have at least a couple of dishes that are free of well-known disliked foods, (e.g. a lot of people hate mayo, so it's nice to have a couple of mayo-free sides), and you have taken any restrictions into account, then you are fine. And that sounds exactly like what you did.

Sometimes, at a party, there will be *one* dish I can eat, because I don't eat meat and I don't much care for mayo. I really don't mind sitting there eating only one thing. It's not like it's intentional, or like it happens all the time. Sometimes you don't get a really nice dinner, and you have to make do. Grown ups don't pout about it.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: O'Dell on April 24, 2012, 12:57:51 PM
Even if she is truly allergic/sensitive to vinegar there was plenty there for her to eat, she just didn't like it.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: QueenofAllThings on April 24, 2012, 12:58:11 PM
You were fine - you had vegetables, meat, beans, treats, etc.

She was terrifically rude.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Tilt Fairy on April 24, 2012, 01:06:31 PM
Your friend was very rude. There was a wide variety of different choices you offered her but she wanted none. More for you! Also, your food sounds delicious.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: turtleIScream on April 24, 2012, 01:11:04 PM
Your menu was not at all deficient - you had a good variety of dishes that did not all incorporate a common ingredient (I once attended a baby shower where 8 varieties of quiche were offered; lots of choices, unless you don't like eggs.) Most people, even with odd food aversions, would be able to fill up on what you offered.

Possibly, the only place you went wrong was in starting to push individual dishes, opening the way for her to announce her dislike. But, she still could have chosen to politely decline. Her rudeness is all on her.

I hope your husband and other guests were appreciative of your efforts; sounds like a great party!
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: FoxPaws on April 24, 2012, 01:14:15 PM
Your menu was fine. 

I am a picky eater. I know this about myself. When invited someplace where I know my options might be limited - like a private party or specialty restaurant - I have a bit to eat beforehand and make do once I get there. I haven't starved yet.

While it is kind and generous to consider specific guests' dietary needs, the idea that a "good" host provides for every allergy, sensitivity, aversion, diet, quirk, whim, and eating eventuality that might come along is a trend that needs to die.

A good guest doesn't complain about the hospitality. Your friend was a very special snowflake and rude to boot.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Zilla on April 24, 2012, 01:15:57 PM
I don't see where  the friend was wrong/rude?  She asked the hostess where the medium steaks were.  OP should have just said be right back and here you go.  She already knows she is a picky eater, why engage the crazy? It's a buffet and person was an adult.


The menu was fine but not for a picky eater. Should you have provided more, of course not.  But I can see why it wouldn't work for someone who is picky.


(I have a few in my family, eye roll.  I know your pain)


Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: O'Dell on April 24, 2012, 01:20:23 PM
I don't see where  the friend was wrong/rude?  She asked the hostess where the medium steaks were.  OP should have just said be right back and here you go.  She already knows she is a picky eater, why engage the crazy? It's a buffet and person was an adult.


The menu was fine but not for a picky eater. Should you have provided more, of course not.  But I can see why it wouldn't work for someone who is picky.


(I have a few in my family, eye roll.  I know your pain)

Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."

This is where she went wrong. Her comment suggests that the available food was insufficient. I agree that asking where the medium-rare steak wasn't wrong.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Steve on April 24, 2012, 01:25:11 PM
POD to the people, your spread sounds wonderfull and there was plenty for her to choose from.

You did yourself no favours by giving her an opening to complain about it, but I am sure it was the only complaint you got.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Zilla on April 24, 2012, 01:28:07 PM
I don't see where  the friend was wrong/rude?  She asked the hostess where the medium steaks were.  OP should have just said be right back and here you go.  She already knows she is a picky eater, why engage the crazy? It's a buffet and person was an adult.


The menu was fine but not for a picky eater. Should you have provided more, of course not.  But I can see why it wouldn't work for someone who is picky.


(I have a few in my family, eye roll.  I know your pain)

Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."

This is where she went wrong. Her comment suggests that the available food was insufficient. I agree that asking where the medium-rare steak wasn't wrong.


She knows she is a picky eater, she at that point should have simply gotten her steak for her.  Instead as she pointed out each dish, it force the guest to explain why she didn't like each one.



Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Tilt Fairy on April 24, 2012, 01:42:26 PM
I don't see where  the friend was wrong/rude?  She asked the hostess where the medium steaks were.  OP should have just said be right back and here you go.  She already knows she is a picky eater, why engage the crazy? It's a buffet and person was an adult.


The menu was fine but not for a picky eater. Should you have provided more, of course not.  But I can see why it wouldn't work for someone who is picky.


(I have a few in my family, eye roll.  I know your pain)

Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."

This is where she went wrong. Her comment suggests that the available food was insufficient. I agree that asking where the medium-rare steak wasn't wrong.


She knows she is a picky eater, she at that point should have simply gotten her steak for her.  Instead as she pointed out each dish, it force the guest to explain why she didn't like each one.





?

All OP did was try to be a good host and offer her friend other suggestions when her friend says "there's so little I can eat". When friend said that, OP tried to offer her other things she might want to try but might not have seen or considered yet. It's like if someone comes to your home and you offer them a cup of tea and they say "I don't like tea", you say "oh how about a coffee then? or some juice? a milkshake? Tequila shots perhaps?". OP was trying to make her guests feel as happy as possible by pointing out things she thought her friend might want to try if she was hungry.

Also, I don't understand how OPs vast choice of side dishes, starters, entrees and sweet options can be said to be not good for picky eaters. Whilst a host or hostess tries to offer their guests variety and quality, they have to draw the line somewhere. Like another poster said above, a party where all they were served was Quiche might not be the best hostessing decision, but OP provided many many options. Lots of foods with lots of different ingredients. If you're a picky eater and you don't eat eggs for example, fine, eat something else. If you don't like tomatoes, fine, eat something else. However, if you don't like eggs, tomatoes, cheese, salt, pepper, meat, potatoes, vegetables, sugar, pastry, fish, nuts, pasta, bread etc.... then it's not the hosts fault. How on earth can a host accommodate not alone every allergy, but actual food DISLIKE at such a large party. She can't make 1001 dishes on the off chance her friend might like one. She went above and beyond already with her choices. If the only thing someone eats is fish fingers, then they should probably eat to fulfil their hunger at home before coming out.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Teenyweeny on April 24, 2012, 01:45:51 PM
I don't see where  the friend was wrong/rude?  She asked the hostess where the medium steaks were.  OP should have just said be right back and here you go.  She already knows she is a picky eater, why engage the crazy? It's a buffet and person was an adult.


The menu was fine but not for a picky eater. Should you have provided more, of course not.  But I can see why it wouldn't work for someone who is picky.


(I have a few in my family, eye roll.  I know your pain)

Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."

This is where she went wrong. Her comment suggests that the available food was insufficient. I agree that asking where the medium-rare steak wasn't wrong.


She knows she is a picky eater, she at that point should have simply gotten her steak for her.  Instead as she pointed out each dish, it force the guest to explain why she didn't like each one.

I think that's a very unkind interpretation.

From the OP:

Picky: "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."
Me: There's mac & cheese, that doesn't have any vinegar...   
PF:  But it has chunks of tomato.  I don't like that.  It's OK if it's sauce, but not chunks.  <------

The point I marked with an arrow is the point at which Picky's rudeness kicked in. (Although saying, 'there's so little I can eat' is also rude.)

She should have said, "OK, what else doesn't have vinegar?"

Then she has all the pertinent info, and she isn't forcing the OP to scramble through suggesting more dishes, or putting herself in the position of having to explain why she doesn't like things.

If I offer somebody a beer, and they say no, I'll say, "How about wine? Or a soft drink?" I'm not forcing them to explain themselves, I'm trying to be a good host.


Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: cicero on April 24, 2012, 01:50:36 PM
Your friend was rude. your menu is amazing! what a wide selection of delicious options! hey, you had me at the stuffed grape leaves and homemade cheesecake. i'm *not* a picky eater, but like most people- there are a few things i don't really like. so? there was still plenty to choose from - enough to make a big meal out of it.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: rose red on April 24, 2012, 01:59:06 PM
I can be a picky eater and I think you have a good variety.  With your menu, I would have eaten the hot dogs, potato salad, (maybe) broccoli salad, and cake.  I would be mortified if a host catered every dish to my picky habits.  It seems this guest just doesn't like anything except one type of steak.  I can understand not liking exotic food, but chips, crackers, bread, and veggies doesn't seem too exotic to me.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Zilla on April 24, 2012, 02:03:16 PM
I don't see where  the friend was wrong/rude?  She asked the hostess where the medium steaks were.  OP should have just said be right back and here you go.  She already knows she is a picky eater, why engage the crazy? It's a buffet and person was an adult.


The menu was fine but not for a picky eater. Should you have provided more, of course not.  But I can see why it wouldn't work for someone who is picky.


(I have a few in my family, eye roll.  I know your pain)

Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."

This is where she went wrong. Her comment suggests that the available food was insufficient. I agree that asking where the medium-rare steak wasn't wrong.


She knows she is a picky eater, she at that point should have simply gotten her steak for her.  Instead as she pointed out each dish, it force the guest to explain why she didn't like each one.





?

All OP did was try to be a good host and offer her friend other suggestions when her friend says "there's so little I can eat". When friend said that, OP tried to offer her other things she might want to try but might not have seen or considered yet. It's like if someone comes to your home and you offer them a cup of tea and they say "I don't like tea", you say "oh how about a coffee then? or some juice? a milkshake? Tequila shots perhaps?". OP was trying to make her guests feel as happy as possible by pointing out things she thought her friend might want to try if she was hungry.

Also, I don't understand how OPs vast choice of side dishes, starters, entrees and sweet options can be said to be not good for picky eaters. Whilst a host or hostess tries to offer their guests variety and quality, they have to draw the line somewhere. Like another poster said above, a party where all they were served was Quiche might not be the best hostessing decision, but OP provided many many options. Lots of foods with lots of different ingredients. If you're a picky eater and you don't eat eggs for example, fine, eat something else. If you don't like tomatoes, fine, eat something else. However, if you don't like eggs, tomatoes, cheese, salt, pepper, meat, potatoes, vegetables, sugar, pastry, fish, nuts, pasta, bread etc.... then it's not the hosts fault. How on earth can a host accommodate not alone every allergy, but actual food DISLIKE at such a large party. She can't make 1001 dishes on the off chance her friend might like one. She went above and beyond already with her choices. If the only thing someone eats is fish fingers, then they should probably eat to fulfil their hunger at home before coming out.


Can you point out where I said she needed to offer more foods?


OP began her post with details on how picky this friend is and that she knows that of her.  I would of simply ensure she got her steak and leave it at that.  It by no means made her a bad hostess.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Oh Joy on April 24, 2012, 02:27:43 PM
Was the menu truly deficient?  I hadn't known about her tomato aversion, though I don't know that I would have changed the menu if I had known.  Should I have?  I didn't think I should have to plan for each guests likes and dislikes, as opposed to medical needs.

By quick count, you offered 14 non-dessert menu items with some mutually-exclusive ingredients (not everything, for example, had meat or dairy).  You were fine.

Your guest displayed the opposite of grace when she stated to you that she wouldn't eat thirteen of those items, then implied that made her exact doneness preference more important to her.  A guest isn't generally out of line to decline to eat things they don't like, or to request a preference, but the way they were presented together in this case is awkward for the host. 

I personally see it opposite from your guest's view.  If there was only one item out of a range that I liked, I would find the general doneness of it (such as medium rare versus medium, not rare versus well-done) to be minor compared to it being something that I like to eat.

But I'm not her.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Tilt Fairy on April 24, 2012, 02:35:07 PM
I don't see where  the friend was wrong/rude?  She asked the hostess where the medium steaks were.  OP should have just said be right back and here you go.  She already knows she is a picky eater, why engage the crazy? It's a buffet and person was an adult.


The menu was fine but not for a picky eater. Should you have provided more, of course not.  But I can see why it wouldn't work for someone who is picky.


(I have a few in my family, eye roll.  I know your pain)

Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."

This is where she went wrong. Her comment suggests that the available food was insufficient. I agree that asking where the medium-rare steak wasn't wrong.


She knows she is a picky eater, she at that point should have simply gotten her steak for her.  Instead as she pointed out each dish, it force the guest to explain why she didn't like each one.





?

All OP did was try to be a good host and offer her friend other suggestions when her friend says "there's so little I can eat". When friend said that, OP tried to offer her other things she might want to try but might not have seen or considered yet. It's like if someone comes to your home and you offer them a cup of tea and they say "I don't like tea", you say "oh how about a coffee then? or some juice? a milkshake? Tequila shots perhaps?". OP was trying to make her guests feel as happy as possible by pointing out things she thought her friend might want to try if she was hungry.

Also, I don't understand how OPs vast choice of side dishes, starters, entrees and sweet options can be said to be not good for picky eaters. Whilst a host or hostess tries to offer their guests variety and quality, they have to draw the line somewhere. Like another poster said above, a party where all they were served was Quiche might not be the best hostessing decision, but OP provided many many options. Lots of foods with lots of different ingredients. If you're a picky eater and you don't eat eggs for example, fine, eat something else. If you don't like tomatoes, fine, eat something else. However, if you don't like eggs, tomatoes, cheese, salt, pepper, meat, potatoes, vegetables, sugar, pastry, fish, nuts, pasta, bread etc.... then it's not the hosts fault. How on earth can a host accommodate not alone every allergy, but actual food DISLIKE at such a large party. She can't make 1001 dishes on the off chance her friend might like one. She went above and beyond already with her choices. If the only thing someone eats is fish fingers, then they should probably eat to fulfil their hunger at home before coming out.


Can you point out where I said she needed to offer more foods?


OP began her post with details on how picky this friend is and that she knows that of her.  I would of simply ensure she got her steak and leave it at that.  It by no means made her a bad hostess.

OP said it appeared they had run out of 'medium-rare steaks' (the kind picky friend wanted) so that's why she offered alternatives.

Oh I know that you never said she was a bad hostess. It was just your part about how 'her choice of foods wasn't appropriate for picky eaters' that confused me. It seemed like a wide variety. I don't think hosts are obliged or even should cater for overtly picky eaters based on just food likes and dislikes. I'm not talking about one specific common aversion like red meat or tomatoes, i'm talking about extreme pickiness. That's why Op's very vast choice of dishes made it seem perfect for the picky eater. Even if the overtly picky eater can eat 2 dishes out of the 20 provided, the hostess has done a great job. One can't cater a menu to the small minority at the expense of the majority who would generally enjoy all foods of all flavours. I'm not talking about medical conditions here, I mean just food dislikes based on taste or texture.

I'm not a picky eater at all, in fact, I can't even thing of a single dish or ingrediant that I mediocrely like, let alone dislike. I like everything from celery to Brussels sprouts to haggis and black pudding! But that's perhaps because I'm greedy. :P. When I entertain guests, I always try to accommodate all preferences but sometimes enough is enough. Some people's extreme preferences are a ridiculous burden on hosts. But then they should eat at home.

OP, I don't think your menu was deficient at all. If you had to change it, it would mean substituting dishes you know are tasty and would go down well to cater for this one person who seemed to dislike everything under the sun. You already knew she didn't like some ingredients and accommodated for this by providing a few dishes that had none. That should suffice. You had an ample variety, the ingredients of which were all different. You were fine.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 24, 2012, 02:40:21 PM
There was absolutely nothing wrong with your menu.  Picky eater was just that:  picky.

I wouldn't bother inviting this woman again.  It isn't rude to be picky.  It is rude to make your pickiness someone else's problem.  She could have made sure she was near the front of the line to get her preferred steak; she could have quietly taken a medium and carried on; she could have taken a rare steak and quietly asked for it to be cooked a bit more or she could have eaten before she came to the party so she didn't have to worry about whether or not there was something she could eat.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Zilla on April 24, 2012, 02:41:20 PM
I did like her menu very much.


But picky eaters tend to like plain foods (tasteless) and simple dishes.  IE, simply mac and cheese.  (boring!)


I was in no way criticizing her menu but can see where a known fussy/picky eater would be an issue and would do my best to minimize it.  As like you said, you can't please everyone.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Tilt Fairy on April 24, 2012, 02:43:25 PM
I did like her menu very much.


But picky eaters tend to like plain foods (tasteless) and simple dishes.  IE, simply mac and cheese.  (boring!)


I was in no way criticizing her menu but can see where a known fussy/picky eater would be an issue and would do my best to minimize it.  As like you said, you can't please everyone.

Ha Ha that's true! You can never go wrong with a plain dish for a picky eater! (by no means do I mean that all picky eaters like bland food, just that it's a safe option if you're facing the unknown!).

As a side point, I was thinking - there are picky eaters who dislike foods but still eat them! I know plenty of people who eat things they don't like. Not liking something and not eating something are different things. My boyfriend is a picky eater and detests mushrooms amongst other things but when we go out to dinner with my parents or they cook for us, he eats any mushrooms so as not to make a fuss. Though I think that's to avoid the lecture from my father on "manning up and stop being a baby" or the even more exciting and scarey lecture of "Boy! You don't know how lucky you are in the western world to have the luxury of disliking foods! Just be grateful you have food on your plate son! You think the poor kid in Somalia has the luxury of disliking mushrooms? No! It's all in your head boy!!! Eat the dingdangity shrooms!."... and that's on a good day.

I honestly can't take either of them anywhere.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Miss Understood on April 24, 2012, 03:28:04 PM
I am somewhat picky and would have been thrilled with that selection!  I think your menu sounds excellent and that your friend was rude to criticize it, albeit indirectly.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Sophia on April 24, 2012, 03:54:15 PM
I remember being a picky pre-teen.  When I was picky and at a party buffet like that I always made sure I was one of the first people in line.  That way if there was a limited selection of certain items that I might like, then I got some. 
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 24, 2012, 04:06:31 PM
I'm a picky eater, too, but a picky eater should know that their pickiness is *their* problem, not everybody else's, and not a reason to be a special snowflake.  Just because I'm a picky eater doesn't, for instance, give me the right to eat more than a fair share of the bread just because "it's the only thing I'll eat," and leave other people to go without.  It doesn't entitle me to special treatment.  Now, I'll admit that I would have been a little disappointed at a few food items because, as somebody else pointed out, a lot of the food was a bit complicated with special ingredients or mixes, like the mac & cheese having tomato in it (never heard of that).  However, I would have still found enough things that I could eat.  And if not?  I would have gone hungry, or eaten something that I didn't like, because in the real world, sometimes those are your choices.

I teach my girls that when we're visiting (we have different rules at home), they do not have to eat anything, I will not make them eat anything or even take their usual "no, thank you" bite... however, they may *not* declare that they don't like something, ask for something different, or otherwise make it apparent that they don't like the food.  *If* asked directly whether they like a food, they may say, "It's not to my taste," and that is only if *asked*, not to be supplied voluntarily.  And if they are hungry, we will get food at home and they will just have to wait.  I think more adults might need to learn rules like that, including your picky friend.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on April 24, 2012, 04:19:37 PM
Was the menu truly deficient?  I hadn't known about her tomato aversion, though I don't know that I would have changed the menu if I had known.  Should I have?  I didn't think I should have to plan for each guests likes and dislikes, as opposed to medical needs.

NutellaNut (love your handle btw), you have my deepest empathy on this subject. First of all your menu was fine IMO. Secondly, I empathize because I have a SIL who not only disagrees with every menu I come up with, she spent about 5 taking over my menu (using my husband who can't say 'no' to her) and cooking what she and her husband wanted in my kitchen. If it were 6 people, then she cooked for 6. If it were 25, then she cooked for 25. I have ranted elsewhere on this forum about her boundary trampling adventures, so I will stop now my comments concerning my SIL who no longer comes to our home whether food is involved or not. Rest assured that PF is just being PF and it hadn't been the steak, it would have been something else.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: blarg314 on April 24, 2012, 10:17:43 PM

I vote for picky *and* rude.

The comment "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat" pushes her from annoyingly picky out to really obnoxious.

You provided an extensive and varied menu. You have a guest who is not only very picky, but capriciously so [ie, tomatoes are okay in a sauce, but not in chunks], *and* lies about food allergies to avoid common ingredients she dislikes. Then she makes snarky comments about how little there is to eat.

The response I would *want* to give at this point is "Well, if you're still hungry you can go to a restaurant and pay someone to make a dinner that is acceptable to you."  followed by dropping her off my invite list.  You're offering hospitality, not services as a personal chef or short order cook.

FWIW, my accommodations for peoples' tastes depend on the size of the event. If I were inviting picky girl and her husband for dinner, I'd try to serve something she would like. For a party of 50 people, I will serve a variety of foods, but will not cater to individual preferences, because for big parties it becomes impossible to make custom tailored meals that fit everyone's likes and dislikes.


Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Iris on April 24, 2012, 10:42:10 PM

I vote for picky *and* rude.

The comment "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat" pushes her from annoyingly picky out to really obnoxious.

You provided an extensive and varied menu. You have a guest who is not only very picky, but capriciously so [ie, tomatoes are okay in a sauce, but not in chunks], *and* lies about food allergies to avoid common ingredients she dislikes. Then she makes snarky comments about how little there is to eat.

The response I would *want* to give at this point is "Well, if you're still hungry you can go to a restaurant and pay someone to make a dinner that is acceptable to you."  followed by dropping her off my invite list.  You're offering hospitality, not services as a personal chef or short order cook.

FWIW, my accommodations for peoples' tastes depend on the size of the event. If I were inviting picky girl and her husband for dinner, I'd try to serve something she would like. For a party of 50 people, I will serve a variety of foods, but will not cater to individual preferences, because for big parties it becomes impossible to make custom tailored meals that fit everyone's likes and dislikes.

OT, but this is actually quite common. I know several people who will eat ketchup and tomato-based dishes but not tomato. Personally I dislike ketchup and tomatoes but a small amount of tomato paste in a cooked dish is fine. Also some people just really dislike the texture, which is removed when it's in a sauce.

However, I agree that the friend was rude. If she absolutely positively had to have a medium rare steak then it is on her to either let her hosts know in advance or get herself to the buffet line near the front. Waiting until they are all gone and then expecting another steak to be cooked for her is SS. She tipped over into rude when she said "there's so little I can eat".
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: learningtofly on April 25, 2012, 06:32:31 AM
POD.  If I knew that steak was the only thing I could eat on the table I would be first in line.  It's my responsibility to make sure I get fed.  My host fulfilled their responsibility by making sure they provided items I could eat.  They're not going to police the steaks to make sure I get what I want.

Your menu sounds wonderful.  I have to be in the right mood for steak so the chicken and hot dogs are wonderful alternatives.  DH absolutely hates chunks of tomatoes.  however, he would not have passed up a chance to have homemade mac and cheese.  He would have picked out the chunks of tomatoes and happily ate the mac and cheese.  If he couldn't pick out the chunks he would have made his own mac and cheese upon returning home.  You would have inspired him  ;D

I grew up with picky eaters.  I can't imagine any of them complaining like this.  Could you post the recipe for the cheesy bacon ball?
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: barefoot_girl on April 25, 2012, 06:33:23 AM

I vote for picky *and* rude.

I second this. The menu was fine (more than fine, actually -it sounds delicious!). The 'friend' was rude. I wouldn't bother inviting her again.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Teenyweeny on April 25, 2012, 08:06:04 AM
I don't get people who can't just pick around the bits they don't like. Sure, if you are allergic, or if it contains a product that you are morally opposed to eating, I can see why you wouldn't.

But if it's just a part you don't like? Grow up! Honestly, most of us have grown out of the 'ewww, but it TOUCHED my other food' phase by the time we were 6 years old. If you haven't, you should accept that you have food aversion issues, and seek help with that. Don't make it somebody else's problem.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: FoxPaws on April 25, 2012, 08:19:01 AM
^I always thought that was where we picky eaters got our name - our ability to pick through food like we were prospecting for gold.   ;) ;D 8)
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Winterlight on April 25, 2012, 08:55:25 AM
I don't get people who can't just pick around the bits they don't like. Sure, if you are allergic, or if it contains a product that you are morally opposed to eating, I can see why you wouldn't.

But if it's just a part you don't like? Grow up! Honestly, most of us have grown out of the 'ewww, but it TOUCHED my other food' phase by the time we were 6 years old. If you haven't, you should accept that you have food aversion issues, and seek help with that. Don't make it somebody else's problem.

Well, for some dishes you can do that and in others the offending food has flavored the dish, making it unpalatable. My response in that case is to simply quietly avoid the dish.

However, I agree that this picky eater was rude. There's no need to make a production out of it.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: rose red on April 25, 2012, 11:15:38 AM
^I always thought that was where we picky eaters got our name - our ability to pick through food like we were prospecting for gold.   ;) ;D 8)

Hee.  So true.  Everyone is always amazed by my "talent" of picking out itty bitty minuscule bits of onions, tomatoes, and peppers out of food.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Ms_Cellany on April 25, 2012, 11:21:06 AM
The Sweetie is to me an exemplar of polite picky eater. She has a wide range of dislikes, some related to mild allergies (melons), and others are just dislikes (mushrooms, hot peppers), while others are conditional (smooth cooked tomato stuff OK, raw and/or chunky tomato bad, onion flavor OK, biting into chunks of onion bad).

Unless the only thing offered was cantaloupe with tabasco, she could eat anywhere and you'd never know she had a limited palate.

It's possible to be picky without being fussy. If it's something that affects the whole dish for her, she won't take it. If she can eat around it, she will. If she can inconspicuously give the mushrooms/tomato chunks/onions to me, yay!
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Sophia on April 25, 2012, 11:30:58 AM
The Sweetie is to me an exemplar of polite picky eater. She has a wide range of dislikes, some related to mild allergies (melons), and others are just dislikes (mushrooms, hot peppers), while others are conditional (smooth cooked tomato stuff OK, raw and/or chunky tomato bad, onion flavor OK, biting into chunks of onion bad). ...

To me that doesn't sound picky, just logical.  Except you didn't mention that cucumbers, coconut and scallops are not really food. 

I was never really allowed to pick as a kid (so I swore off the entire food instead).  But, Dad insisted on pizza with mushrooms.  So, instead of picking, I became an expert flicker.  I'd pick up the serving utensil and find a piece with less mushrooms, then really quickly flick flick as many of the remaining mushrooms as I could.  They would land on the neighboring pizza.  I think Dad turned a blind-eye to my flicking because he got more mushrooms.  What I flick away is what most people love, so it seems to work. 
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: PeterM on April 25, 2012, 10:12:01 PM
POD.  If I knew that steak was the only thing I could eat on the table I would be first in line.  It's my responsibility to make sure I get fed.  My host fulfilled their responsibility by making sure they provided items I could eat.  They're not going to police the steaks to make sure I get what I want.

It's not even like there was no steak. There was simply no medium rare steak. So the picky eater was basically complaining that things weren't absolutely, perfectly to her taste. I don't see any way that's not rude. If you want steak that's guaranteed to be exactly the way you want it, you can buy it and cook it yourself or pay someone else to cook it for you. Otherwise, you can eat the steak that's done slightly more than you prefer, or you can shut up about it.

Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Miss Understood on April 26, 2012, 12:06:18 AM
POD.  If I knew that steak was the only thing I could eat on the table I would be first in line.  It's my responsibility to make sure I get fed.  My host fulfilled their responsibility by making sure they provided items I could eat.  They're not going to police the steaks to make sure I get what I want.

It's not even like there was no steak. There was simply no medium rare steak. So the picky eater was basically complaining that things weren't absolutely, perfectly to her taste. I don't see any way that's not rude. If you want steak that's guaranteed to be exactly the way you want it, you can buy it and cook it yourself or pay someone else to cook it for you. Otherwise, you can eat the steak that's done slightly more than you prefer, or you can shut up about it.

Tell us the way you really feel.  J/K and I agree.   :)
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: julianna on April 26, 2012, 12:43:22 PM
What's especially funny is that not everyone cooks steak exactly the same way.  So even if she had received a "medium rare," it still might not have been exactly what she wanted (either a little too overcooked or a little too undercooked).

Frankly, I would avoid ever having her over for anything involving food in the future.

Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: magician5 on April 29, 2012, 01:26:46 PM
Why are you wasting time arguing with an idiot?

As for your menu - I'll have some of everything, please! Yum!
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Flora Louise on May 01, 2012, 09:48:01 AM
Why are you wasting time arguing with an idiot?

As for your menu - I'll have some of everything, please! Yum!

Seconded, Madam Chairperson. Everything sounds heavenly.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: Mikayla on May 03, 2012, 12:00:46 PM
Your menu was fine. 

I am a picky eater. I know this about myself. When invited someplace where I know my options might be limited - like a private party or specialty restaurant - I have a bit to eat beforehand and make do once I get there. I haven't starved yet.

While it is kind and generous to consider specific guests' dietary needs, the idea that a "good" host provides for every allergy, sensitivity, aversion, diet, quirk, whim, and eating eventuality that might come along is a trend that needs to die.

A good guest doesn't complain about the hospitality. Your friend was a very special snowflake and rude to boot.

I love the bolded!  I haven't entertained much in the last year, and obviously with a more intimate group, I'd ask about general preferences.  But cooking for 4 you do want to make sure people will enjoy it/can eat it.

For a larger group and a varied menu, I cook what I cook. 
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: baglady on May 03, 2012, 10:12:05 PM
This was a party for dozens of people. Unless there is someone on the guest list with a deathly allergy of the "can't share a ZIP code with the allergen" variety, you aren't obligated to cater to everyone's dietary issues. You provided an amazing variety, and it sounds as if even those with issues could find something -- maybe even multiple somethings -- to enjoy.

There's nothing wrong with Picky Friend only wanting the steak. Where she went wrong was complaining that there was nothing else she could eat.

I'm on Atkins, and parties, especially potlucks, tend to be a crapshoot. Maybe there'll be unbreaded wings, green salad, and crudites instead of chips for the dip. Maybe not. But it would never occur to me to complain about the limited choices. (BTW, OP, I see several things on your menu that I would gladly eat! Bacon cheese balls? ::Drools::)
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu
Post by: NutellaNut on May 29, 2012, 10:03:36 AM
OP here with an ironic update!

First, to those who say we shouldn't invite picky friend any more, I do hear what you're saying.  But she's a part of a close-knit group of friends, it would be very obvious and hurtful if she was no longer invited, and, except for this one thing, she's really a good person and I don't want to hurt her or her husband that way.  So we'll keep inviting them, and hopefully I'll be able to handle food issues well in the future.

The update: we just had our Memorial Day party last weekend.  Like most of the gatherings at our house, with this crowd, it was pot luck.  We personally provided hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, condiments, and fixins like lettuce, tomato, onion, and I also made a tortellini pesto salad as something my own stomach can handle.  Our various friends (more than 30 people showed up) brought an enormous amount of food:  ribs, potato salad, red coleslaw, meatballs with various sauces, baked beans, pasta salad, chips and dips, broccoli/cauliflower salad, fruit salad, grilled veggies and hummus dip, deviled eggs, to name some of the dishes, and about 10 desserts!  It really was a groaning board.

Even though it was potluck, I still was running around a lot arranging the food on the table, etc.  Add to that an issue where the ribs took too long on the grill and so we ended up having to cook the hamburgs and hotdogs on the grill pan on our stove, and I was a little harried when we called folks to the buffet table.  After several people served themselves, I got my own food and went to sit down, the first time in two hours that I'd sat.

A friend came from the dining room (where the buffet was) and said, "Is there any cheese for the burgers?  Someone's asking."

I contemplated the cheese I had in my fridge (some plain ole block cheddar, and some special artisan cheeses that cost megabucks and would be wasted on burgers) and the fact that I would have to jump up, get the cheese out, slice it, plate it, all while my food got cold, and said, "No, sorry we're not serving cheese for the burgers." 

Friend went back into the dining room to report this, and the evening proceeded well.

But I bet you all can guess who was asking for cheese for their burger?
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Teenyweeny on May 29, 2012, 10:20:59 AM
Why do some people not get that you don't ask for something that is not offered? (Except water.)

ESPECIALLY if you have been offered ample food and drink!

My wife and I (well, mainly my wife :) ) made a Christmas dinner for around 8 people this year (it was our 'friends' celebration, about a week before Christmas). I'm talking pre-dinner nibbles, mulled wine, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, full roast dinner, pudding and Christmas biscuits.

As we are sitting down, about to pull our crackers, one guy (who has a bit of a track record for this kind of thing) asks for mustard.

Dude. You just ate crisps, nuts and roast chestnuts. In front of you you have about 5 kinds of veg, two kinds of potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, yorkshire puddings and vegetarian faux meat. I doubt you will die without mustard. Take our hospitality as it is offered, and don't be ungrateful.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Giggity on May 29, 2012, 10:34:38 AM
Cheese on a burger isn't an unforeseen modification. I prefer cheese on mine.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Teenyweeny on May 29, 2012, 10:42:22 AM
Cheese on a burger isn't an unforeseen modification. I prefer cheese on mine.

As do I, but it's still rude to ask for something that isn't offered. I prefer ice cream or custard with my apple pie, but if somebody offers me a slice of pie, I take the pie and don't ask for extras.

Having said that, personally, I would have got a block of cheddar out of the fridge and told her to cut her own slices, if she was that bothered.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: TootsNYC on May 29, 2012, 11:34:49 AM
I don't think it's so rude ask whether there was cheese that you might have missed!! Not at a contributory party like the OP describes.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Surianne on May 29, 2012, 11:52:24 AM
Yeah, asking if there's cheese seems like a perfectly reasonable question.  It's a normal thing to expect on burgers, so if I didn't see cheese, I'd probably think I missed it, or the outside supply had run out and the host needed to know so she could grab more cheese.  I don't see any rudeness there, since it doesn't sound like anyone was demanding cheese.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Tilt Fairy on May 29, 2012, 12:00:56 PM
I agree. Cheese for a burger is sort of like an accessory, a condiment. In fact, I think it's pretty uncommon that a burger be served without cheese/without the option of cheese. I don't think I've been to a BBQ where burgers were served that there weren't slices of cheese/grated cheese out. If I served chips at my house or roast lamb to my friends on Sunday, I would try to have the "common" or "popular" condiments/accessories out as choices or try and make sure I had them in the house e.g. Tomato Ketchup and Vinegar for the Chips or Mint Sauce for the lamb. If for some reason I had forgotten to offer my guests them, I wouldn't mind in the slightest if they asked for a condiment. If they wanted an unusual one that I didn't have in my fridge I would simply say "no I'm afraid I don't have any of that". When something is so common, its foreseeable people will want it. More people than not would probably like a condiment with their chips so why are they rude for asking? Everyone has ketchup in their fridge. That's what it's there for. Chips and burgers. Most people have cheese in their fridge too and like a sauce, theres no prep for it, it just needs to be sliced or grated. Whats the problem offering it to guests if they ask?

I don't really want to live in a world where my friends are fearful to ask me if I happen to have any ketchup in my fridge that they could put on their burger Seriously? You think its rude to go to your parents house, siblings house, best friends house whatever and ask if they perhaps had any vinegar for your chips? I want my guests to be happy/comfortable and if I have cheese in my fridge and one of my guests asks if I have any I would fetch him some (I'm the host. I don't care if my dish gets cold) or if we were close or I didn't want my meal to get cold I would simply say "ohhh good idea, it completely slipped my mind. Tell you what, there's a block in the fridge. Why don't you get it out and put it on the table so anyone who wants some can help themselves. Thanks for reminding me!" There is a massive difference between asking for a condiment or some inexpensive common topping like a cheese and asking your host to make you a new meal or if you could help yourself to a 'meal' she hasn't offered you. When an ingredient is more common than not to be eaten with a certain dish or at least quite common, I don't think it rude at all someone ask. Even if its not common, they're only asking! A sauce or condiment or common topping is 1. Foreseeable that something people will want and 2. Hardly an imposition or ungrateful or rude behaviour to ask for. It's for a FRIEND or a GUEST. Don't you want to have a close enough relationship with them that they feel they can ask you if you have any ketchup/an extra towel/a safety pin etc...? Asking for an accessory is not the same as asking for a meal or side dish.

If I knew someone (especially a dear friend or family member) had cheese in their fridge and I asked if I could perhaps trouble them for a slice to put on my burger and they said the burgers were not going to be served with cheese so no I could not have some, I'd think they were being really mean deliberately.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Sophia on May 29, 2012, 12:02:59 PM
Although, it was a potluck.  If it isn't there, it isn't there.  Sometimes that happens. 

I really really want cheese on my grilled meat.  Therefore, in this situation my default contribution is a large block of cheese, after checking to make sure no one else planned the same thing.  Cheese has always disappeared. 
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: rose red on May 29, 2012, 12:07:49 PM
I also don't think it's odd to ask if there's cheese, especially if she didn't throw a fit after the answer was no.  If she asked for vinegar or tomatoes or hot sauce, then that's ironic.

edited for spelling.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Teenyweeny on May 29, 2012, 12:09:50 PM
There is a massive difference between asking for a condiment or some inexpensive common topping like a cheese and asking your host to make you a new meal or if you could help yourself to a 'meal' she hasn't offered you. When an ingredient is more common than not to be eaten with a certain dish or at least quite common, I don't think it rude at all someone ask. Even if its not common, they're only asking! A sauce or condiment or common topping is 1. Foreseeable that something people will want and 2. Hardly an imposition or ungrateful or rude behaviour to ask for. It's for a FRIEND or a GUEST. Don't you want to have a close enough relationship with them that they feel they can ask you if you have any ketchup/an extra towel/a safety pin etc...? Asking for an accessory is not the same as asking for a meal or side dish.

Oh, I actually don't think it's terribly rude, and not rude at all when you're with family or close friends (or even at a large buffet-style situation, where you might have missed something, like in the OP). But in general, asking for something that isn't offered (even a condiment, or other 'natural accompaniment') rubs me the wrong way. It's like saying to the host, "Oh, you didn't provide a good enough meal. Let me fix that for you."

Now, when you're with people that are free to help themselves to whatever's in the fridge, then the rules are obviously different.  ;D
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: NutellaNut on May 29, 2012, 12:21:14 PM
OP here again!

Cheese is only sometimes included in hamburger offerings in our crowd, maybe about 50% of the time.  So it wasn't hugely unusual not to have any - nor was it really too weird for her to ask if there was cheese that she had missed. 

But apparently, she worded her question as "Isn't there any cheese for the burgers?" with a tone.  So that's why I'm a little less than impressed.

I didn't hear how she reacted on being told no, so I'm going to assume that she took the answer graciously. 

Part of my grumbliness may stem from the fact that it seems like it's *always* my husband and I who host parties in our crowd.  Even though the parties are mostly pot luck, we usually spend at least $50-70 on some main meat dishes and beer, plus have to clean house before and after.  We do enjoy having the parties, but it doesn't feel good to work hard, spend a bunch of money, and then have someone imply it's not adequate.

Ah well, I'm going to try to not lease any more space in my head to something so minor.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: rose red on May 29, 2012, 12:28:22 PM
But apparently, she worded her question as "Isn't there any cheese for the burgers?" with a tone.  So that's why I'm a little less than impressed.

A tone, especially by a repeat offender, makes all the difference to even the most innocent question so I understand your feeling more clearly now. 
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: WillyNilly on May 29, 2012, 12:43:47 PM
I agree. Cheese for a burger is sort of like an accessory, a condiment. In fact, I think it's pretty uncommon that a burger be served without cheese/without the option of cheese. I don't think I've been to a BBQ where burgers were served that there weren't slices of cheese/grated cheese out. If I served chips at my house or roast lamb to my friends on Sunday, I would try to have the "common" or "popular" condiments/accessories out as choices or try and make sure I had them in the house e.g. Tomato Ketchup and Vinegar for the Chips or Mint Sauce for the lamb. If for some reason I had forgotten to offer my guests them, I wouldn't mind in the slightest if they asked for a condiment. If they wanted an unusual one that I didn't have in my fridge I would simply say "no I'm afraid I don't have any of that". When something is so common, its foreseeable people will want it. More people than not would probably like a condiment with their chips so why are they rude for asking? Everyone has ketchup in their fridge. That's what it's there for. Chips and burgers. Most people have cheese in their fridge too and like a sauce, theres no prep for it, it just needs to be sliced or grated. Whats the problem offering it to guests if they ask?

I don't really want to live in a world where my friends are fearful to ask me if I happen to have any ketchup in my fridge that they could put on their burger Seriously? You think its rude to go to your parents house, siblings house, best friends house whatever and ask if they perhaps had any vinegar for your chips? I want my guests to be happy/comfortable and if I have cheese in my fridge and one of my guests asks if I have any I would fetch him some (I'm the host. I don't care if my dish gets cold) or if we were close or I didn't want my meal to get cold I would simply say "ohhh good idea, it completely slipped my mind. Tell you what, there's a block in the fridge. Why don't you get it out and put it on the table so anyone who wants some can help themselves. Thanks for reminding me!" There is a massive difference between asking for a condiment or some inexpensive common topping like a cheese and asking your host to make you a new meal or if you could help yourself to a 'meal' she hasn't offered you. When an ingredient is more common than not to be eaten with a certain dish or at least quite common, I don't think it rude at all someone ask. Even if its not common, they're only asking! A sauce or condiment or common topping is 1. Foreseeable that something people will want and 2. Hardly an imposition or ungrateful or rude behaviour to ask for. It's for a FRIEND or a GUEST. Don't you want to have a close enough relationship with them that they feel they can ask you if you have any ketchup/an extra towel/a safety pin etc...? Asking for an accessory is not the same as asking for a meal or side dish.

If I knew someone (especially a dear friend or family member) had cheese in their fridge and I asked if I could perhaps trouble them for a slice to put on my burger and they said the burgers were not going to be served with cheese so no I could not have some, I'd think they were being really mean deliberately.

I have to say while I get your point, I found your examples amusing.  :D

I do not keep ketchup in my fridge.  Neither do either of my parents, or my brother and his family, nor does my best friend nor did my DF before we lived together (and still not now that we do).  While I have had vinegar on chips/fries, its not usual by any stretch of the imagination in my area, its quite rare and individual.  I have only ever heard tell of lamb served with mint sauce - never have I been served mint sauce with lamb (in a home or restaurant) nor have I ever served mint sauce - and I and my friends and family dine on lamb often.  Sliced cheese is again not a normal thing among those I'm close to.

Yes if I were hosting a cookout I would probably remember to pick up ketchup and sliced cheese for burgers and hotdogs, as I do see your point about many people liking those 2 things.  But I hardly think they are givens, and universally desired.  They are merely common, not default.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Tilt Fairy on May 29, 2012, 12:55:01 PM
Me too. The tone would rub me up the wrong way too. Being judgemental isn't nice. I guess if she didn't have a habit of being difficult an having a rude tone, then it would probably be different!

And teeny weeny I do agree with you in general for the principle you mentioned: that failure to have an obvious item available and bringing it to the intention of the host might make them feel sad that they forgot to account for it which I guess is why if I was having dinner at the queens, I wouldn't ask! If I forgot to offer horseradish with the roast beef for my guests I guess I would be slightly mortified that I forgot to ofer it! But if I forgot it, I would rather have my guests have what they want if it's easy to provide at the expense of my very slight mortification than them not say anything. I think this is a really interesting topic to talk about actually! There are four main questions involved:

1) should a host at least try to foresee a condiment would be wanted by the majority of guests? E.g roast beef and horseradish and attempt to provide it?

2) Should a guest ask for the condiment if the host has forgotten it? Is this rude?

3) could a guest ask for an unusual condiment? Is this rude?

4) how should the good host react to the above two requests?

I like threads like these because this is the nitty gritty of etiquette that this forum is for!

Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Tilt Fairy on May 29, 2012, 12:59:50 PM
Ha ha willy nilly! I was going to add that I bet someone will tell me that where they're from those condiments weren't the norm! But I forgot. I merely use them as examples. They're pretty standard examples from England anyway. Definitely not universally agreed on but probably popular/common enough that restaurants or pubs would provide you the respective condiment if you ordere the meal e.g ketchup and chips. Ha ha!
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Tilt Fairy on May 29, 2012, 01:05:43 PM
Actually you prompted me to go on Wikipedia and look at te condiments and I had no idea mint sauce and horseradish sauce were mainly a traditional British accompaniment! Very traditional and very universal in ENGLAND with roasts. I thought it would be worldwide! See, you learn something new everyday!
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: still in va on May 29, 2012, 01:35:43 PM
Actually you prompted me to go on Wikipedia and look at te condiments and I had no idea mint sauce and horseradish sauce were mainly a traditional British accompaniment! Very traditional and very universal in ENGLAND with roasts. I thought it would be worldwide! See, you learn something new everyday!

really?  the hubs and i have horseradish sauce often.  sometimes he even dips crackers in it!
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Surianne on May 29, 2012, 01:37:28 PM
Actually you prompted me to go on Wikipedia and look at te condiments and I had no idea mint sauce and horseradish sauce were mainly a traditional British accompaniment! Very traditional and very universal in ENGLAND with roasts. I thought it would be worldwide! See, you learn something new everyday!

I'm in Canada and I'm used to horseradish and mint sauce in those situations too, at least with my family -- funny how different/similar countries are.   :D
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Tilt Fairy on May 29, 2012, 01:47:57 PM
Actually you prompted me to go on Wikipedia and look at te condiments and I had no idea mint sauce and horseradish sauce were mainly a traditional British accompaniment! Very traditional and very universal in ENGLAND with roasts. I thought it would be worldwide! See, you learn something new everyday!

really?  the hubs and i have horseradish sauce often.  sometimes he even dips crackers in it!

That's a good thing! I want to hear about people eating horseradish as the norm! Mmmmmmmmm
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Tilt Fairy on May 29, 2012, 01:51:59 PM
....and sometimes canada as a country and Canadian people are so close to how England are about most things that sometimes I can close my eyes and I swear I could be in either county. The (almost) mutual same sense of humor also helps too ;)
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: TootsNYC on May 29, 2012, 02:04:52 PM
Although, it was a potluck.  If it isn't there, it isn't there.  Sometimes that happens. 


And sometimes it accidentally gets left in the fridge.
Or pushed behind some platter/stack of napkins.
That's why I think it's perfectly fine to ask.
(the tone is pretty annoying, though)


Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Bibliophile on May 29, 2012, 02:13:57 PM
Yes if I were hosting a cookout I would probably remember to pick up ketchup and sliced cheese for burgers and hotdogs, as I do see your point about many people liking those 2 things.  But I hardly think they are givens, and universally desired.  They are merely common, not default.

I think that ketchup & mustard are more than just common in the US for cookouts - Heinz even makes the Picnic Pac http://www.amazon.com/Heinz-3-Piece-Picnix-Pack/dp/B003XLOOCS (http://www.amazon.com/Heinz-3-Piece-Picnix-Pack/dp/B003XLOOCS), which also includes relish for your hot dog.  This is true for grilling events I've been to in MO, TX, GA, KS, CA & PA - not that it matters all that much ;)  I would also hope that if I forgot to put a condiment on the table - whether common or not - that my friends and family could ask me for it.  Why should I be mortified that I forgot one little item? 
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: purplemuse on May 29, 2012, 04:19:29 PM


1) should a host at least try to foresee a condiment would be wanted by the majority of guests? E.g roast beef and horseradish and attempt to provide it?

I think you should do your best with common pairings (e.g. baked potato/sour cream), but not beat yourself up over it if you miss. You never know what other people are used to, and you can't foresee everything (e.g. you're American and you invite a bunch of crazy Canucks who are used to ketchup on their mac and cheese).

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2) Should a guest ask for the condiment if the host has forgotten it? Is this rude?

I wouldn't, personally, unless I knew the host well and it was really, really important as part of a dish. Peg Bracken says it's okay to ask for "the basics," but she goes on to list things like cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper, water... no condiments on her list, but the other etiquette writers might say different.

On a specific note, I wouldn't ask for ketchup if the host didn't provide it-- it's obviously not an uncommon condiment, but I've heard that asking for ketchup can be seen as an insult, and I'd rather do without than insult the host (unless he/she is a good friend/family member and I know where they stand). But that's me.

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3) could a guest ask for an unusual condiment? Is this rude?

Unusual for the meal, or unusual in that a lot of people don't keep it in the house?

If the former, I'd say it's the same as question 2 with the caveat that if it's really unusual (e.g. strawberry jam for french fries), you should probably do without so that the meal isn't derailed with conversation about your eating habits.

If the latter, I wouldn't ask.

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4) how should the good host react to the above two requests?

If the host has it and wants to provide it (if you don't want to share the fancy "dijon ketchup" that you're saving for a special occasion, you shouldn't have to), he/she should bring it out. If not, "I'm sorry, we don't have any/don't keep it in the house" would be fine.

Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: jpcher on May 29, 2012, 05:59:00 PM
NutellaNut -- You are an amazing hostess. Your menus are well rounded and there is plenty of food that is sure to please everybody minus 1. ::)

OP here with an ironic update!

First, to those who say we shouldn't invite picky friend any more, I do hear what you're saying.  But she's a part of a close-knit group of friends, it would be very obvious and hurtful if she was no longer invited, and, except for this one thing, she's really a good person and I don't want to hurt her or her husband that way.  So we'll keep inviting them, and hopefully I'll be able to handle food issues well in the future.

I am glad that this is not a hill to die on for you.

I doubt that you'll ever be able to fully please picky eater. I'm thinking that she'll always find something amiss. You shouldn't take it personally, nor would should you bend over backwards in order to please her.

I'm wondering if you've ever eaten a meal out with this couple . . . how does she behave in a restaurant?


"No, sorry we're not serving cheese for the burgers."

Friend went back into the dining room to report this, and the evening proceeded well.

But I bet you all can guess who was asking for cheese for their burger?

Yup! ;D  Bold above is the best and most polite way to handle this situation. (Curious, did you know who was asking for the cheese? LOL, Betcha did, didn't you? ;))





P.S. When's your next party? . . . I promise I won't complain about a thing! I'll even help clean up! ;D
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Winterlight on May 29, 2012, 08:00:05 PM
But apparently, she worded her question as "Isn't there any cheese for the burgers?" with a tone.  So that's why I'm a little less than impressed.

A tone, especially by a repeat offender, makes all the difference to even the most innocent question so I understand your feeling more clearly now.

Seconded. I think I'd find it more irritating because of the history behind her requests.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: sparksals on May 29, 2012, 09:42:49 PM
Actually you prompted me to go on Wikipedia and look at te condiments and I had no idea mint sauce and horseradish sauce were mainly a traditional British accompaniment! Very traditional and very universal in ENGLAND with roasts. I thought it would be worldwide! See, you learn something new everyday!


It is common in Canada.  We call it mint jelly.   HP Sauce is also a big thing, but the Canadian recipe is slightly different.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: sparksals on May 29, 2012, 09:43:29 PM
Actually you prompted me to go on Wikipedia and look at te condiments and I had no idea mint sauce and horseradish sauce were mainly a traditional British accompaniment! Very traditional and very universal in ENGLAND with roasts. I thought it would be worldwide! See, you learn something new everyday!

I'm in Canada and I'm used to horseradish and mint sauce in those situations too, at least with my family -- funny how different/similar countries are.   :D


Great minds think alike.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: learningtofly on May 29, 2012, 10:14:49 PM
I'm very glad you didn't tell her there was cheese in your fridge.  She sounds just picky enough to bypass the cheddar and go for the artisanal cheeses.  I can just imagine your beautiful artisanal cheeses going to waste on a burger.  Of course I say this as someone who when cleaning up from her own BBQ found her own beautiful cheeses tossed into my fridge to dry out.  So I'm a little biased  :D
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Dorrie78 on May 30, 2012, 10:09:40 AM
But apparently, she worded her question as "Isn't there any cheese for the burgers?" with a tone.  So that's why I'm a little less than impressed.

A tone, especially by a repeat offender, makes all the difference to even the most innocent question so I understand your feeling more clearly now.
Unless I misread the update, I believe that the troublesome guest was not the one who directly asked the OP for the cheese - someone else passed along the message. In that case, I'm not sure the OP can be certain about what, if any, tone there had been in the original comment. I could just as easily see someone saying to herself "Shucks, isn't there any cheese?" in a rhetorical fashion and being overheard by someone who then bustled over to the host to ask about the possible oversight.

I agree with those who don't see anything wrong with asking if there is cheese for the burgers. While I don't like cheeseburgers myself, I find myself usually in the minority as everyone around me has cheese on theirs. With a table that is "groaning" with food, I can see that someone may think she missed the cheese somewhere as well.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on May 30, 2012, 01:21:44 PM
Part of my grumbliness may stem from the fact that it seems like it's *always* my husband and I who host parties in our crowd.  Even though the parties are mostly pot luck, we usually spend at least $50-70 on some main meat dishes and beer, plus have to clean house before and after. We do enjoy having the parties, but it doesn't feel good to work hard, spend a bunch of money, and then have someone imply it's not adequate.

Nutella, I so empathize with the bolded. We dish out hundreds of dollars per gathering, clean for a week ahead of time, yard is immaculate, I use vacation time to dot every 'i' & cross every 't', I use checklists to make sure I don't forget anything, post a menu over on a hostessing forum I use & get a green light on my menu, have every conceivable liquid refreshment short of opening a liquor store, and here comes my SIL behind my back calling DH to say she wants to change the menu to something else. Thankfully those days seem to be over because she is no longer invited over (she invites herslef but that is another story & i have a backbone now thanks to ehell) but I suffered for 5-6 yrs of her fault-finding. I have bent over backwards to accommodate guests, inc. my husband's ex-wife too drunk to drive home so she stayed the night. She was a more gracious guest in my home than my control freak SIL who finds fault with every kitchen move I make. She has also complained that i did not spend enough time socializing with her (that day, i spent approx. 15 minutes visiting with her, usually its more ....but that day was approx 25-30 guests).

My fuse is getting short with ungracious guests in my home. Sometimes I want to show them my grocery store receipt & point out they do not have to come since it's obviously such an inconvenience for them. For years DH & I tried to throw fun, relaxing get togethers/parties & we did throw many a party & hopefully people had a great time, but between cost & drama, we have almost stopped entirely. All that to say I agree with the bolded very much.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Bookgirl on June 01, 2012, 05:40:19 PM
If the host has it and wants to provide it (if you don't want to share the fancy "dijon ketchup" that you're saving for a special occasion, you shouldn't have to), he/she should bring it out. If not, "I'm sorry, we don't have any/don't keep it in the house" would be fine.

Heh heh heh, dijon ketchup.  Another BNL fan, I take it?    ;D
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: chibichan on June 01, 2012, 10:27:37 PM
IMO , asking if there's any cheese for the burgers is not really being picky .

Asking if there's any Rhone-Alpes Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage cheese for the burgers is picky .

Pod to the other posters who suggest that she was asking simply because she thought maybe she just couldn't find it .

 Of course , tone changes everything . I would give her the benefit of the doubt this time . If she has the nerve to complain again to you , the host , I would simply ask her why on earth she continued to accept invitations to events that obviously left her feeling so dissatisfied .

Or "I know you can't make everyone happy , but looking around , I think I've score about 99% . That's a win in my book . "
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: VorFemme on June 02, 2012, 09:19:04 AM
If it was "her" doing the asking - the *tone* from previous "requests" would be resonating in my head and it would be impossible to hear if she really had attitude THIS time or not.

Because if she didn't have attitude in her tone of voice this time, it would be the first time since she got out of college (yeah, I know someone like that - even if they aren't the same person - she's my aunt and the "baby of the family").  I may be overstating the case slightly - she may have only gotten like that in her thirties.......but she's been like that since 1980 or so and it's not easy to remember how she was back in the 1970s or earlier......
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: jaxsue on June 02, 2012, 01:28:52 PM
Actually you prompted me to go on Wikipedia and look at te condiments and I had no idea mint sauce and horseradish sauce were mainly a traditional British accompaniment! Very traditional and very universal in ENGLAND with roasts. I thought it would be worldwide! See, you learn something new everyday!

My mom served mint sauce with most roasts. We were in the USA, but my parents are English Canadian (important detail) and a lot of the stuff we had was very British. Imagine my surprise when I found out that not every American family did that!
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Daquiri40 on June 04, 2012, 08:32:22 AM
My father had a saying, "everyone had fun - but one".  There is always one person who is a pain in the neck, who complains, who has to find fault.  Chalk it up to the one and try (and sometimes it is hard to do) to laugh about it.

I organize a picnic every summer and a late "Christmas" party in January for a group of friends.  One always complains about the meat selection at the picnic and another always complains about the choice of restaurant.  It is sometimes hard to laugh them off, but I try.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on June 04, 2012, 03:56:44 PM
My father had a saying, "everyone had fun - but one".  There is always one person who is a pain in the neck, who complains, who has to find fault.  Chalk it up to the one and try (and sometimes it is hard to do) to laugh about it.

I organize a picnic every summer and a late "Christmas" party in January for a group of friends.  One always complains about the meat selection at the picnic and another always complains about the choice of restaurant.  It is sometimes hard to laugh them off, but I try.

Thank you for sharing. I love that!

I agree w/PP about tone. Tone changes everything.
Title: Re: Guest complaining about menu - ironic update #44
Post by: Miss Misha on June 06, 2012, 03:20:16 PM
My father had a saying, "everyone had fun - but one".  There is always one person who is a pain in the neck, who complains, who has to find fault.  Chalk it up to the one and try (and sometimes it is hard to do) to laugh about it.

I organize a picnic every summer and a late "Christmas" party in January for a group of friends.  One always complains about the meat selection at the picnic and another always complains about the choice of restaurant.  It is sometimes hard to laugh them off, but I try.

Thank you for sharing. I love that!

I agree w/PP about tone. Tone changes everything.

I always heard it as "Every party has a p.o.o.p.e.r."

Back on track, I tend to agree with OP's who would give the picky eater friend the benefit of the doubt.  The thing that made me think that Picky Eater was just asking was in the update, Nutella mentions running around for two hours getting the table and food ready.  Perhaps Picky Eater was doing a sort of "just wondering if it got overlooked".  However, I think Nutella's response was perfect.  No need to get out your personal stash of cheese, fancy or otherwise, for this reason.

That being said, if someone asked me for a condiment at my home or party, I would provide it if I had it.  No skin off my knuckles and IMHO, it's part of being a good host rather than questioning the menu.  IRL, I had this happen a few weeks ago.  Friend and I were having sandwiches for lunch.  As a rule, I am choosy about which condiments I like (someone upthread mentioned no meat and mayo were their food preferences and I thought, hmmm, did I already post in this thread?   ;D ), so I didn't put anything on the bread, but did put out various jars and bottles of condiments.  Friend asked for yellow mustard (fellow Americans, think "ball park" mustard).  I told her I don't have that in my fridge nor pantry but she was welcome to choose from what I did have.   Another time, someone asked for mayo with their fries and I went to the fridge and got it out for them.  As long as I didn't have to eat the mayo, no prob.