Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: Paper Roses on March 25, 2013, 07:42:17 PM

Title: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 25, 2013, 07:42:17 PM
This happened a couple of months ago, and I wondered you all would think.

I was at a pretty large family holiday gathering, a few days before Christmas.  It was pretty casual, buffet-style.  There were appetizers out in several spots throughout the house, and drinks were readily available.

Among the guests were "Reba" and "Bill," an older couple (who my family and I have met before and always found absolutely adorable).  Bill is the widowed husband of the hostess' aunt, and Reba is his companion (they refer to themselves as "buddies," but they are definitely a couple and have been for several years.

After a while, the hostess announced that dinner was ready - so everyone started the meal.  Again, buffet-style - it had been set up in the dining room, and everyone filled their plates and gathered in different areas to eat, so it definitely wasn't a formal, sit-down dinner.

Shortly after dinner was announced, Reba approached the hostess and asked if Bill could have a piece of a certain dessert item.  The hostess was a bit put off by this, and said that she wasn't serving dessert yet.  Reba responded with, "Oh, well, I'm not feeling well so we're going to be leaving soon."  The hostess grudgingly complied, but was pretty bothered by it. 

Honestly, I don't really see it as a big deal, and if I were the hostess, I would have accommodated Bill without a second thought and most likely forgotten about it.

But I'm curious as to whether anyone else thinks that Reba (and Bill, possibly) were rude for asking for dessert before the hostess had planned to serve it.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TootsNYC on March 25, 2013, 08:18:34 PM
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 25, 2013, 08:30:58 PM
Toots, just to clarify, it wasn't me.  I had no part of it, just heard about it after it happened.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Bob Ducca on March 25, 2013, 08:55:36 PM
It wouldn't have fazed me at all. I don't find that request off putting or unusual.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: audrey1962 on March 25, 2013, 08:59:51 PM
It wouldn't bother me either.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: chibichan on March 25, 2013, 09:07:33 PM
I would have let it go .

Then again , my dinner parties were never very formal and if a guest decided he's like to start his meal with dessert and work backwards , it would be no problem for me .

I don't see it as rude . Reba asked politely and the Hostess was well within her rights to say "I'd prefer to wait until dinner is finished before I bring out the desserts , but if you need to leave after the main meal , I can wrap a piece up for you to take home ."

I understand that the Hostess would be annoyed at the thought of bringing out a cake that already had a slice taken out of it . If she has pride in how she presents her food , I can understand that . A plate of cookies , not so much .

Toots does have very valid points though - hosting means different things to different folks and dinner parties usually follow a standard pattern . It's a case of knowing your Host in terms of whether or not any deviation from that pattern will bother them . I have seen the "Dessert Stampede " - it's not pretty  ;D.

It was a request , not a demand . The hostess could have refused it , but "grudgingly complied" . That was her decision . She had plenty of opportunity to politely decline . 

Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: miranova on March 25, 2013, 09:12:05 PM
I think it's odd to expect dessert to be served early so someone can leave early.  If you need to leave early, just politely make your excuses and leave.  As a guest, I would never ask for dessert before dessert time, as I agree with Toots that serving dessert is a signal to guests that the evening is nearing an end.  I am not going to take it upon myself to hasten that for everyone simply because I need to leave early.  I would just go without dessert!

As a host though, I would comply with the request but I like the idea of boxing it up so that the message is, you can have some of this, but not here, because we are not ready to move on to dessert.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: #borecore on March 25, 2013, 09:12:51 PM
I think it would have been best to give your apologies to the host for not being able to stay longer, then say, "If it's not too much to ask, Bill was really looking forward to dessert. Can we take a bit home?"

Most hosts would have little problem complying with such a request in most cases, is my guess.

And most guests would have no problem taking no for an answer, particularly a no phrased like, "I'm sorry, I was hoping to cut the cake/flambe the pudding/take it out of the oven right when it was time to serve. I won't be able to put aside a single portion right now. Next time you visit, be sure to ask for seconds!"
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on March 25, 2013, 09:13:10 PM
Woldnt have bothered me.  Might have made me wondered if the timing/pacing of my hosting didn't work for elderly guests.  What is early for me might not be early for others. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: hyzenthlay on March 25, 2013, 09:23:41 PM
I'm usually much better at deserts then at food, if someone wanted me to get a desert out early I'd be pleased as punch to do so. 

And I really think that at 'casual buffet style' event the asking is perfectly fine. I'm used to my inlaws where an event might stretch over 4 or 5 hours and very few people are their the entire time.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TootsNYC on March 25, 2013, 09:42:17 PM
Toots, just to clarify, it wasn't me.  I had no part of it, just heard about it after it happened.

And I wasn't the host.

I was using "I" and "you" symbolically.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Girly on March 25, 2013, 09:44:01 PM
We used to frequently host buffet-style dinners for our friends (usually around 20 or so at a time).
If half of a couple came and asked for dessert earlier than I had planned to 'serve' it, because they weren't feeling well and were going to leave early, I wouldn't get upset about it. I would actually feel flattered that they thought my food was 'good enough' to actually want dessert instead of just leaving early. (that probably came out wrong!)
Of course I'm not there server, as Toots stated above, I AM their host. But also, as being their host, I would be accommodating a reasonable request.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: fountainsoflettuce on March 25, 2013, 09:49:55 PM
We used to frequently host buffet-style dinners for our friends (usually around 20 or so at a time).
If half of a couple came and asked for dessert earlier than I had planned to 'serve' it, because they weren't feeling well and were going to leave early, I wouldn't get upset about it. I would actually feel flattered that they thought my food was 'good enough' to actually want dessert instead of just leaving early. (that probably came out wrong!)
Of course I'm not there server, as Toots stated above, I AM their host. But also, as being their host, I would be accommodating a reasonable request.

I generally agree with the above but still, it seems as if the guests were treating the dinner as "take out" or they're just in it for the food. If the guest is truly  not feeling well, wouldn't a reasonable person just leave and not ask for more food?  I would make a mental note and see if the same guests repeated this behavior.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 25, 2013, 09:55:56 PM
We used to frequently host buffet-style dinners for our friends (usually around 20 or so at a time).
If half of a couple came and asked for dessert earlier than I had planned to 'serve' it, because they weren't feeling well and were going to leave early, I wouldn't get upset about it. I would actually feel flattered that they thought my food was 'good enough' to actually want dessert instead of just leaving early. (that probably came out wrong!)
Of course I'm not there server, as Toots stated above, I AM their host. But also, as being their host, I would be accommodating a reasonable request.

I generally agree with the above but still, it seems as if the guests were treating the dinner as "take out" or they're just in it for the food. If the guest is truly  not feeling well, wouldn't a reasonable person just leave and not ask for more food?  I would make a mental note and see if the same guests repeated this behavior.

Well, actually, Reba was the one who asked for it, on behalf of Bill.  Reba was the one who said she wasn't feeling well and that was the reason they were going to leave.

Also, Reba and Bill had already eaten dinner - they were among the first to do so once it was ready (just so it doesn't look like they wanted dessert and no dinner, or dessert before dinner). 

And I, for one, don't keep "take out" boxes around my house, so I'm not sure that "boxing it up to go" would have been feasible either; it probably wouldn't have been any easier than just cutting a slice and putting it on a plate.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 25, 2013, 09:59:40 PM
Toots, just to clarify, it wasn't me.  I had no part of it, just heard about it after it happened.

And I wasn't the host.

I was using "I" and "you" symbolically.

Thank you for explaining.  I just felt like you came across rather forsefully in your post, and I wanted to be sure I wasn't being misunderstood.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Surianne on March 25, 2013, 10:12:14 PM
It wouldn't have bothered me at all -- especially at such a casual dinner, I'd have been happy Reba asked so Bill could enjoy the dessert before they had to leave.  As Girly said, I'd probably be flattered he liked my desserts enough that his partner knew to ask me. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Bluenomi on March 25, 2013, 10:25:15 PM
I can see why the host was upset. You can't just give one person some dessert and tell everyone else they have to wait so she would have needed to get all the dessert stuff out. So that throws her plans out of kilter just because someone feels they need dessert but aren't going to wait until it is served to have it. If you choose to leave before all the meal is served that's your problem, don't go making the hosts life harded just because of it.

The only time it might be ok is if you bought the dessert in question.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: bloo on March 25, 2013, 10:32:48 PM
Under those circumstances, I'd have put some dessert on a paper plate and not thought another thing about it.

I had one girlfriend on the Carbohydrate Addict's diet and she had to eat her one meal with carbs in an hour's period of time. So at first she'd ask if she could go ahead and partake of dessert right after the meal, which bothered me not one whit since my DH likes to eat dessert right after the meal (too soon for me).

After a couple of times, it was just expected (we traded hospitality a lot).

But if this was typical behavior, this 'eat-n-run', I'd be put out.

Back when we lived in NC, we were good friends with two couples that each had a 16-year-old boy that were best friends with each other. I started to notice whenever we'd get together that the two besties would show up late, shovel down their food and take off. The first time I really noticed it was when we entertained at my house but they did it at everyone's.

So the second time we had them over, when they started putting on their jackets to leave (they did, at least, take their plates to the sink) I pointedly asked, "Where are you going? We invited you to spend the evening with us. You are just going to eat-n-run?"

Cue stammering by them and their parents, but at get-togethers beyond that, the boys made more of an effort to hang out before taking off.

It made me feel like a short-order cook.

As far as the OP, I usually go ahead and have the desserts out at a buffet for those that like to satisfy their sweet tooth immediately after eating - so this wouldn't have been an issue anyway.

I do think that it would've been better for Bill & Reba to make their apologies at having to leave early and, likely, the host would've offered to send them home with some dessert (at least, I would have and so would all of my friends).
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: gollymolly2 on March 25, 2013, 10:38:14 PM
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.

I find this to be a very unwelcoming view of hosting. It changes a meal from people who like each other coming together and breaking bread into a host putting on a carefully orchestrated show and the guests watching the show passively without participation.

If my guests want dessert, and dessert is ready, then I'd be glad that they let me know so I could make it happen. I don't think they were rude at all.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: thedudeabides on March 25, 2013, 10:43:54 PM
At a casual family holiday gathering, I'm not likely to break out the formal etiquette for a variety of reasons:

1. It's family.  Use of the most formal manners with close family in a lot of cases is more likely to feel off-putting and cold.

2. It's casual, so I'm going to match my formality level to the event.

3. It's a holiday gathering, so as a host, I'm not going to go out of my way to get bent out of shape over much; there are already a thousand and one pressures on the holidays, so the more that can be let go, the better.  I've been there and done that.  My girlfriend and I had a huge fight as the result of trying to host a big holiday shindig the second year we were together; it was way better the next year when we stopped stressing over things like someone needing to leave early and wanting dessert before we really planned on it, and our relationship was the better for not expecting perfection.

There are absolutely times when it makes sense to be rigid with etiquette, but I have a hard time finding reasons why the situation as described is one of them.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: kareng57 on March 25, 2013, 11:03:53 PM
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.

I find this to be a very unwelcoming view of hosting. It changes a meal from people who like each other coming together and breaking bread into a host putting on a carefully orchestrated show and the guests watching the show passively without participation.

If my guests want dessert, and dessert is ready, then I'd be glad that they let me know so I could make it happen. I don't think they were rude at all.


I have to agree with this.  If they could see that the dessert was readily available, even if not yet out on display, I would think it kind of churlish of the host to say "no, you can't, if you have to leave now then you're just out of luck".  This of course is assuming that they asked politely as opposed to saying "we need to leave now, please get our dessert ready for take-out".
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: CrochetFanatic on March 25, 2013, 11:25:38 PM
It would sort of rub me the wrong way, because I "follow the script" when I'm over someone's house, but I probably would have just gone along with it to keep the mood light.  I wouldn't like it, but unless it became a habit I probably wouldn't think too much about it afterwards.  Yeah, I think Reba's actions were a little rude, but depending on how much the host wants to avoid insulting a guest, it might make things easier on the host to just go ahead and do it.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Moray on March 26, 2013, 12:10:36 AM
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.

I find this to be a very unwelcoming view of hosting. It changes a meal from people who like each other coming together and breaking bread into a host putting on a carefully orchestrated show and the guests watching the show passively without participation.

If my guests want dessert, and dessert is ready, then I'd be glad that they let me know so I could make it happen. I don't think they were rude at all.


I have to agree with this.  If they could see that the dessert was readily available, even if not yet out on display, I would think it kind of churlish of the host to say "no, you can't, if you have to leave now then you're just out of luck".  This of course is assuming that they asked politely as opposed to saying "we need to leave now, please get our dessert ready for take-out".

This is where I fall, too. When I host, it's because I want to spend time with, and provide a good meal for, people I care about. I want them to have a good time and feel comfortable, and at the end of the day, that's way more important than me living out some Martha Stewart Living fantasy.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: twiggy on March 26, 2013, 12:59:59 AM
When I host I end up spending most of the day cooking and prepping. I have usually been on my feet all day long and I am typically the last to get to sit down and make myself a plate, especially in a serve-yourself buffet style dinner. I'll either be grabbing just one more quick thing that didn't make it to the table, or making up plates for my kids, or feeding the baby, etc.

I'm imagining this scenarios as: I finally got myself something to eat and sat down when a guest comes up to me wanting dessert. And yes, this has happened to me before. So I get up, get the dessert out, someone else notices what I'm doing and assumes it's dessert time, I end up having to put out all the desserts and the serving utensils/dessert plates. To make room for the desserts on the table I'm packing up dinner and putting it away. Then one of the kids needs something, another guest asks me something or starts up a conversation and I finally return to my place to find that a helpful soul has cleared my plate.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: peaches on March 26, 2013, 01:14:31 AM
I think Reba was just a tiny bit presumptuous.

If I had to leave early because I was feeling ill, I would be apologizing all over the place for breaking up the party.  I wouldn't be thinking about dessert, for myself or anyone else.

This is one of those situations where you make your apologies, and then maybe hope that the host offers to wrap up some dessert so that it can be enjoyed later.

But asking? I wouldn't. There are too many variables that could make this awkward - host hasn't had time to enjoy her/his dinner, dessert hasn't been plated and cut yet, dessert takes last minute prep, etc.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 26, 2013, 01:14:56 AM
I'm with Toots and Twiggy. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Iris on March 26, 2013, 01:40:39 AM
I'm with Toots and Twiggy.

Me too. I don't like the way Reba asked and I also agree that as soon as guests see one person with dessert there's a good chance you'll be hearing "Oh, is there dessert? Where's the dessert? What's dessert? Are we having dessert now?" If I have set aside a quarter of an hour of my evening for sitting and actually catching up with guests then I don't want to lose that time for early dessert. That's nothing to do with running a carefully orchestrated event - I certainly don't do that - it's to do with wanting to actually enjoy that little bit of time that I get while everyone's dinner is settling to relax and enjoy my guests.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Margo on March 26, 2013, 05:07:40 AM
I think it would have been best to give your apologies to the host for not being able to stay longer, then say, "If it's not too much to ask, Bill was really looking forward to dessert. Can we take a bit home?"

Most hosts would have little problem complying with such a request in most cases, is my guess.

And most guests would have no problem taking no for an answer, particularly a no phrased like, "I'm sorry, I was hoping to cut the cake/flambe the pudding/take it out of the oven right when it was time to serve. I won't be able to put aside a single portion right now. Next time you visit, be sure to ask for seconds!"

This. I think it was rude.  And I think if they had started by explaining that Bill was unwell and needed to go it would have been possible for the host to offer dessert, if they wished.

I think the nature of the event does make a difference - but even in a very informal setting I  think it is a bit rude.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Miss March on March 26, 2013, 07:05:25 AM
For a casual dinner with friends or family- really, anyone I considered intimate enough to have over for a meal in my home- this would not bother me.

At my wedding, however, I was approached by a guest who came over, tapped at her wrist indicating the time, and said "Are you going to cut the cake soon? We need to get going. " That I found rude.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 26, 2013, 08:57:45 AM
I think how bothered I would be by the request would be based on a few things.
1)Previous interaction with the guest.  Are they always a little demanding or difficult? If not, then no issue.
2) Is the guest planning to take it "to go" or eat it at your home. If being eaten at your home, then I can see where it would throw off the timing. Say it's a graduation party and your plans were to have dinner, have gifts opened, and then serve coffee and dessert. If one person is suddenly sitting down with a slice of cake, then everyone is going to start serving themselves and interrup your planned flow.
3)The amount of work required to meet the request.  In our family, if a buffet is served, then there is usually a buffet of cakes/pies/cookies ready for people to self serve. So if the guest saw them sitting out and all that was required of me was to unwrap, slice and put it on a to go plate, then I have no issue. But if suddenly I'm interrupting some clean up to finish last minute torching of a creme brulee and making coffee, then I'd be a little more irritated.
4) If dessert was a single large cake (i.e. birthday cake) I would not want to be slicing it before the planned serving and I think it would be rude to request hostess to slice into it on your schedule.

I personally believe the appropriate method is for the party needing to leave early to say,
"Uncle is getting a little tired. I think we'll need to leave in a few minutes." Then I have the appropriate cue to say, "Oh, you'll miss out on dessert. Let me wrap of a couple of slices of cake for you to take with you to have later tonight."
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Zilla on March 26, 2013, 09:01:52 AM
I wouldn't be offended, especially since the OP said they are an adorable couple.  Which means to me they are often polite and fun.  I would not be offended in the least and get the slice for uncle while offering to wrap up some if they want some to go.  I simply am not that uptight or anal about controlling how the party goes.  Again especially with the OP saying how casual the party was.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Thipu1 on March 26, 2013, 09:02:51 AM
I had something like this happen some years ago and I was a bit bothered. 

An acquaintance and her young son attended a New Year's Day open house.  They brought a lovely platter of cookies from a good local bakery as a Hostess gift. In the center of the platter was a statuette of Father Time and the Baby New Year.  The whole thing was wrapped in cellophane.  It made a perfect decoration for the buffet and a welcome addition to dessert. 

These New Year's Day parties were day-long affairs.  it started with bagels, Danish and quiche at 11 AM.  Sandwich makings and salads were provided around 3 PM.  6PM was time for the chili and the lasagna.  Between 7 and 8 PM was time for dessert and coffee.  No one stayed for the entire time because they had other open houses to attend.  It was a drop-in and move -on affair and no one ever asked for anything that wasn't on the buffet. 

Long before dessert time, the woman and her son were getting ready to leave.  At the time we had about 30 people in the house but she tracked me down and ordered me to open the cookies.  She'd promised her son that he could have the statuette and she wanted it NOW!

I did it and the cookies went back into the kitchen to wait for dessert and coffee time.  I admit I was a bit miffed, but what else could I do? 

Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Zilla on March 26, 2013, 09:11:26 AM
I had something like this happen some years ago and I was a bit bothered. 

An acquaintance and her young son attended a New Year's Day open house.  They brought a lovely platter of cookies from a good local bakery as a Hostess gift. In the center of the platter was a statuette of Father Time and the Baby New Year.  The whole thing was wrapped in cellophane.  It made a perfect decoration for the buffet and a welcome addition to dessert. 

These New Year's Day parties were day-long affairs.  it started with bagels, Danish and quiche at 11 AM.  Sandwich makings and salads were provided around 3 PM.  6PM was time for the chili and the lasagna.  Between 7 and 8 PM was time for dessert and coffee.  No one stayed for the entire time because they had other open houses to attend.  It was a drop-in and move -on affair and no one ever asked for anything that wasn't on the buffet. 

Long before dessert time, the woman and her son were getting ready to leave.  At the time we had about 30 people in the house but she tracked me down and ordered me to open the cookies.  She'd promised her son that he could have the statuette and she wanted it NOW!

I did it and the cookies went back into the kitchen to wait for dessert and coffee time.  I admit I was a bit miffed, but what else could I do?


Um that has nothing to do with the OP's post.  That lady was over the line rude.  She basically gave you a gift and demanded it back.  That is just wow.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Dorrie78 on March 26, 2013, 09:17:11 AM
I had something like this happen some years ago and I was a bit bothered. 

An acquaintance and her young son attended a New Year's Day open house.  They brought a lovely platter of cookies from a good local bakery as a Hostess gift. In the center of the platter was a statuette of Father Time and the Baby New Year.  The whole thing was wrapped in cellophane.  It made a perfect decoration for the buffet and a welcome addition to dessert. 

These New Year's Day parties were day-long affairs.  it started with bagels, Danish and quiche at 11 AM.  Sandwich makings and salads were provided around 3 PM.  6PM was time for the chili and the lasagna.  Between 7 and 8 PM was time for dessert and coffee.  No one stayed for the entire time because they had other open houses to attend.  It was a drop-in and move -on affair and no one ever asked for anything that wasn't on the buffet. 

Long before dessert time, the woman and her son were getting ready to leave.  At the time we had about 30 people in the house but she tracked me down and ordered me to open the cookies.  She'd promised her son that he could have the statuette and she wanted it NOW!

I did it and the cookies went back into the kitchen to wait for dessert and coffee time.  I admit I was a bit miffed, but what else could I do?
"No, I'm sorry but the statuette is part of the table decoration. He can have a cookie, though."
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Mikayla on March 26, 2013, 01:59:17 PM
I'm kind of in the middle, mainly because I think this is a know your audience type thing.  And it isn't just about Reba and how close she is to the couple, or even the fact that it was casual.  I can picture myself hosting casual events where it wouldn't even land on my radar and I can picture myself in other events finding it rather offputting.

On the latter, picking up on something Toots said, if I had planned a separate serving of dessert on the terrace, with after dinner drinks and coffee, this would really annoy me.  Not only might others decide they want dessert sooner, it also means I drop what I'm doing and either serve it up or package it.  At other events, if someone had to leave early, it could be *me* offering the dessert.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: FauxFoodist on March 26, 2013, 02:30:05 PM
I vote for rude to ask in general.  It should've been up to the hosts to offer dessert to the guests leaving early.  Reba also could've worded it differently and given the hostess the opportunity to offer or not, like "I'm sorry, but we're going to have to leave early as I'm not feeling well.  I'm sorry that Bill is going to have to lose out on dessert as I know he was really looking forward to that."  If Hostess did not then offer some to them to take home, that would've been Reba's understanding that they weren't okay to take some home with them.

However, DH and I had dinner the other night with his aunt and uncle at their house.  Aunt offered us decaf, and I asked if they had regular coffee available since DH was driving, it was around 8pm and we had about a 2.5 hour drive home ahead of us.  I told him EH would've called my actions rude, but I figured it was okay since this was family (and they were fine with it and located some regular coffee to make).  I think, with others, we would've declined the decaf then stopped somewhere along the way home to get him some regular coffee.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 26, 2013, 02:49:23 PM
To me this is such a non-issue, especially at a casual buffet gathering. 

Regarding Thipu1's story, I also don't really understand that either.  I think the women was likely a bit rude in her delivery, given the way Thipu1 told the story, but I can't understand why Thipu1 was miffed to begin with.  Had the woman not brought the tray, there would have been no cookies or statue at all.  I also think it is not bizarre for guests at an all day open house to expect everything to be out at once.

Short answer: I don't see the big deal at all.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: camlan on March 26, 2013, 04:28:19 PM
To me this is such a non-issue, especially at a casual buffet gathering. 

Regarding Thipu1's story, I also don't really understand that either.  I think the women was likely a bit rude in her delivery, given the way Thipu1 told the story, but I can't understand why Thipu1 was miffed to begin with.  Had the woman not brought the tray, there would have been no cookies or statue at all.  I also think it is not bizarre for guests at an all day open house to expect everything to be out at once.

Short answer: I don't see the big deal at all.

In Thipu's story, I'd have expected the statute to be a hostess gift, along with the cookies. So asking for it back was sort of odd.

As for the OP, my feeling is that if you are leaving a party early, you are leaving early. That might mean missing a course or two. But that's your decision. Telling a host you are leaving early and asking for something that hasn't been served yet, is, well, kind of like having your cake and eating it too.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: StuffedGrapeLeaves on March 26, 2013, 04:33:05 PM
I wouldn't be bothered with serving dessert early to Bill, but I would be bothered by the way Reba asked for it.  If she had just said, "We need to leave earlier because I don't feel well," I would have automatically offered to box up dessert or to bring out dessert for them right then so they can have some.  But demanding it on your schedule instead of the host's seems presumptuous to me. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Judah on March 26, 2013, 04:39:38 PM
This is the kind of thing that I would never do, but, unless I was having a formal, sit down meal, wouldn't bother me coming from someone I was close to.  So, I guess I think that it is technically rude, but since I don't stand on ceremony with family, wouldn't bother me.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: WillyNilly on March 26, 2013, 06:05:16 PM
When I host I end up spending most of the day cooking and prepping. I have usually been on my feet all day long and I am typically the last to get to sit down and make myself a plate, especially in a serve-yourself buffet style dinner. I'll either be grabbing just one more quick thing that didn't make it to the table, or making up plates for my kids, or feeding the baby, etc.

I'm imagining this scenarios as: I finally got myself something to eat and sat down when a guest comes up to me wanting dessert. And yes, this has happened to me before. So I get up, get the dessert out, someone else notices what I'm doing and assumes it's dessert time, I end up having to put out all the desserts and the serving utensils/dessert plates. To make room for the desserts on the table I'm packing up dinner and putting it away. Then one of the kids needs something, another guest asks me something or starts up a conversation and I finally return to my place to find that a helpful soul has cleared my plate.

This for me.
My details are different (no kids, etc) but the same basic gist. It throws off the timing - for me, for the meal, for the guests. You can't just give one person dessert - once its out other people will want some. And then you have to put it all out, otherwise someone who brought a dessert might be miffed, etc.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: JenJay on March 26, 2013, 06:21:23 PM
This is the kind of thing that I would never do, but, unless I was having a formal, sit down meal, wouldn't bother me coming from someone I was close to.  So, I guess I think that it is technically rude, but since I don't stand on ceremony with family, wouldn't bother me.

This is where I am. At first I was thinking "That doesn't sound like an issue to me, I wouldn't mind." and then I thought about it from the perspective of the person who needs to leave early. I can't imagine asking my host to get out a dish that hadn't been served yet and fix me a to-go plate. I could see the conversation going more like this:

DH: We need to go, I don't feel well
Me: Aww, but she has several yummy desserts for later! Are you sure?
DH: Yeah, I really need to get home.
Me: Okay but you owe me a warm brownie topped with Ben & Jerry's!
DH: Deal!
Then I'd find the hosts, make our apologies and quietly sneak out
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: kckgirl on March 26, 2013, 06:50:50 PM
I think Reba and Bill should have just thanked their hosts, made their apologies for having to leave early due to illness, wished them a good evening, and left. It would then have been up to the hostess to offer dessert to go (or not).
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 26, 2013, 07:28:00 PM
When I host either a formal or casual event, I am always the last to sit down and eat.  For my Annual Boxing Day event which is buffet casual, most food is on the table, but desserts come later.  Since I wait for all my guests to be eating, I would be extremely put out if someone asked me to serve dessert. 

This would mean I would have to get up from my meal, the meal I spent days preparing, to comply with the request.  I don't think it is too much to ask for a hostess to also be able to sit down and eat the meal she spent so much time preparing after ensuring everyone else has a plate. 


Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 26, 2013, 07:33:09 PM
To me this is such a non-issue, especially at a casual buffet gathering. 

Regarding Thipu1's story, I also don't really understand that either.  I think the women was likely a bit rude in her delivery, given the way Thipu1 told the story, but I can't understand why Thipu1 was miffed to begin with.  Had the woman not brought the tray, there would have been no cookies or statue at all.  I also think it is not bizarre for guests at an all day open house to expect everything to be out at once.

Short answer: I don't see the big deal at all.

I disagree with the bolded.  My Boxing Day is an all day into the late night event.  I have many different foods coming at different times, with dessert being last.  If I put everything out at once, many would be cold after a short period.  I have many different appetizers I prepare that need to be served hot.  People will eat, then come back to the table for more when more new stuff comes out. 

I basically serve everything in shifts.  If I run out of something (which is rare.. I usually make too much), I want to have something with which to replace it. 

Doing it in shifts also gives a nice variety. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: snowdragon on March 26, 2013, 09:15:24 PM
When I host either a formal or casual event, I am always the last to sit down and eat.  For my Annual Boxing Day event which is buffet casual, most food is on the table, but desserts come later.  Since I wait for all my guests to be eating, I would be extremely put out if someone asked me to serve dessert. 

This would mean I would have to get up from my meal, the meal I spent days preparing, to comply with the request. I don't think it is too much to ask for a hostess to also be able to sit down and eat the meal she spent so much time preparing after ensuring everyone else has a plate.

This, especially the bolded
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: chibichan on March 27, 2013, 07:03:33 AM
I have always believed that it is not rude to ask for what you want (within reason) as long as you gracefully accept the answer given to you .

In this case , the Hostess could have tactfully declined . Instead , she did something she did not really want to do , then seethed about it later. This is an E-Hell of her own making .

I have known people like this in my life , seen them say Yes to something and then been forced to listen for hours about the rudeness and inconsideration of the requester . Fer Pete's sake - nobody's holding your gerbil hostage . If you don't want to do it , just say no.

I am of the opinion that all Reba did was ask . Okay , maybe she wheedled a little with " Well , I'm not feeling well so we're leaving early " but to me , rudeness does not come into play unless she throws a tantrum because the Hostess asks her to wait a short while , or tells her "I'm sorry , that will not be possible ."

Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 27, 2013, 08:15:38 AM
Well said, chibichan. I have a difficult time understanding people who would rather complain about being taken advantage of than to actually not allow themselves to be taken advantage of.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TootsNYC on March 27, 2013, 10:06:18 AM
I disagree that it is not rude to ask.

Because there *is* a pressure to give in to requests, it *is* rude to ask certain things.

Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 27, 2013, 10:21:57 AM
I disagree that it is not rude to ask.

Because there *is* a pressure to give in to requests, it *is* rude to ask certain things.

I think for a lot of people this is internal pressure though.  I wouldn't feel pressured to give in to requests, especially not like in the OP.  It wouldn't bother me either way, because I value relationships over food, but I don't feel the pressure a lot of people apparently do.  That is why I think some of us have difficulty understanding why people give in and then seethe.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Zilla on March 27, 2013, 10:30:38 AM
I disagree that it is not rude to ask.

Because there *is* a pressure to give in to requests, it *is* rude to ask certain things.

I think for a lot of people this is internal pressure though.  I wouldn't feel pressured to give in to requests, especially not like in the OP.  It wouldn't bother me either way, because I value relationships over food, but I don't feel the pressure a lot of people apparently do.  That is why I think some of us have difficulty understanding why people give in and then seethe.


And in this very specific example of it being buffet and very casual, the couple being adorable etc I just don't see the issue either.   It's a shame that it would be viewed as rude.


To me rude would be a sit down dinner with courses being served.  While people are all sitting formally at the table one gets up and asks for dessert.  That I could see as that would disrupt the flow.  But in the scenario the OP portrays?  Nope.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: WillyNilly on March 27, 2013, 10:49:24 AM
I disagree that it is not rude to ask.

Because there *is* a pressure to give in to requests, it *is* rude to ask certain things.

I think for a lot of people this is internal pressure though.  I wouldn't feel pressured to give in to requests, especially not like in the OP.  It wouldn't bother me either way, because I value relationships over food, but I don't feel the pressure a lot of people apparently do.  That is why I think some of us have difficulty understanding why people give in and then seethe.

I think its two different issues though: 1) the request and 2) the response.
Just because a person should say "no" if they don't want to do something instead of agreeing and then seething, doesn't eliminate the initial rudeness of the person asking the awkward/rude request in the first place.

Sure many of us can say no, and ultimately it is more gracious then seething. But its a rude position to put the host in: say "no" or change the flow of things to accommodate guests that don't even plan to stay.

And its not about "valuing people over food" because asking a host to stop running a party along a set plan and schedule is not about food, its about centering everything around one set of guests to the detriment of others at the party; in this case it would be valuing this couple over the value of everyone else, yourself* included. And valuing others over yourself isn't some strong, confident role to take, its a doormat position. A host has an obligation to have a fun time at the party they are throwing. Running around getting the next tier of food early without a moment to sit and have a bite of dinner socializing with guests is not gracious hosting. Nor is having to take a hard line on saying "no" to hospitality. The guests are rude to even ask.

* generic "you"
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: WillyNilly on March 27, 2013, 10:52:55 AM
To me rude would be a sit down dinner with courses being served.  While people are all sitting formally at the table one gets up and asks for dessert.  That I could see as that would disrupt the flow.  But in the scenario the OP portrays?  Nope.

If the dessert wasn't already set out, ready to be served, I see no difference between a sit down dinner and buffet really.
(And if the dessert was already set out and ready there would no reason to ask, as it was there ready for those who'd finished their dinner.)
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 27, 2013, 10:55:06 AM
Just because a person should say "no" if they don't want to do something instead of agreeing and then seething, doesn't eliminate the initial rudeness of the person asking the awkward/rude request in the first place.


Oh, I agree, but I cannot control someone else's rudeness.  I can control my response.  I don't generally feel pressured to do things I don't think are right to do, even less so if I think the person asking is rude.  I think people who internally pressure themselves and then seethe are doing themselves a disservice - it's on them, not on the people who made the request. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 27, 2013, 10:55:48 AM
To me rude would be a sit down dinner with courses being served.  While people are all sitting formally at the table one gets up and asks for dessert.  That I could see as that would disrupt the flow.  But in the scenario the OP portrays?  Nope.

If the dessert wasn't already set out, ready to be served, I see no difference between a sit down dinner and buffet really.
(And if the dessert was already set out and ready there would no reason to ask, as it was there ready for those who'd finished their dinner.)

For me I think it was weird to not have it all set out. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Venus193 on March 27, 2013, 11:00:22 AM
This provokes another question:  Would it be more rude to interrupt the flow of the party by bringing out the cake/pie before cutting it for the early departures or to serve it with pieces cut out?  While this situation never occurred in my family I know my mother and my aunt would have been mortified to serve something that already had a piece cut out.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: WillyNilly on March 27, 2013, 11:03:13 AM
To me rude would be a sit down dinner with courses being served.  While people are all sitting formally at the table one gets up and asks for dessert.  That I could see as that would disrupt the flow.  But in the scenario the OP portrays?  Nope.

If the dessert wasn't already set out, ready to be served, I see no difference between a sit down dinner and buffet really.
(And if the dessert was already set out and ready there would no reason to ask, as it was there ready for those who'd finished their dinner.)

For me I think it was weird to not have it all set out.

Not everyone has the space to have everything set out at once. I can think of all of one home I know of that would have the ability to have a buffet dinner for more then 4-6 people set out as well as have desserts set out, all at the same time. Many people (such as just about everyone I have ever witnessed host a party) have to 'change over' the table, maybe do a quick wash up of some serving utensils, put out dessert plates, etc.

It can be done quickly and efficiently, all with a smile on one's face, but its not a small endeavor.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on March 27, 2013, 11:22:08 AM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: perpetua on March 27, 2013, 11:54:32 AM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: rashea on March 27, 2013, 12:09:04 PM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

I don't know. My family does several large parties every year. Generally, all the apps are brought out and devoured. Then the main meal is put out. Once that's done we generally do clean up so that we can actually get to the tables to put dessert out. So someone asking for a dessert early would be a problem. There just isn't a place to put it out, and once it's out, everyone starts eyeing it. On top of that, there's generally at least an hour between the main food and the dessert. It's not a strict timing, but it's time for things to be put away.

Would it matter to people if the dessert was something that had a presentation factor to it? I mean, let's say it was a birthday cake. Taking a piece out looks the rest of the cake not looking nearly as nice. It still tastes fine, but part of the enjoyment is the looks of the thing.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 27, 2013, 12:24:47 PM
I was at a pretty large family holiday gathering, a few days before Christmas.  It was pretty casual, buffet-style.  There were appetizers out in several spots throughout the house, and drinks were readily available.
...

After a while, the hostess announced that dinner was ready - so everyone started the meal.  Again, buffet-style - it had been set up in the dining room, and everyone filled their plates and gathered in different areas to eat, so it definitely wasn't a formal, sit-down dinner.


From the OP.  I am not understanding the posters who say this is a space issue. This isn't a situation of people sitting around a table with food on it.  This is a buffet, and there was food in various places.  At a formal dinner, I can see the hostess being upset.  At this type of gathering?  Nope.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: WillyNilly on March 27, 2013, 12:32:00 PM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.

Maybe we are just used to different types of parties.
For me its not a "ta-daaaa" issue. Its:
1. Host has to find a place to put her plate, because often at buffet type parties its a "hold your plate" or "plate on lap" situation
2. Host has to clear a flat space on the counter that is piled with still boxed desserts
3. Host has to dig out dessert plates that are probably behind the pile of desserts because they were taken out the night before so they were the first thing on the counter and now are in back
4. Host has to find the appropriate serving/cutting utensil for the dessert (the one originally planned for the dessert might be currently stuck in a casserole)
5. Cut and plate dessert
6. Appropriately re-wrap dessert
7. Return to finish now cold meal to a room full of people who have all finished eating and a conversation that has taken several turns in the host's absence.
8. Deal with at least one if not several "oh is it dessert time?" remarks from people who see the one person enjoying dessert.

To me that is making dessert way more important then the people - its asking the host to effectively say through actions "oh room full of a dozen of my guests I have no interest in sitting a moment and breaking bread with you. I'm off to disappear into the kitchen for 15 minutes or so to totally ignore you in favor of a dessert that wouldn't normally be served for another hour or two."
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: bloo on March 27, 2013, 12:33:28 PM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.

I think several PP's have expressed the reasons behind reasonable aggravation felt by the hostess in the OP. I disagree that it makes one shallow or rigid if they have a certain schedule, timetable or flow to their hosting.

All in all, it's definitely a minor sin what Reba did (like I said before they should have just taken their leave and hoped the hostess offered dessert to take home) and the hostess in the OP was not wrong in feeling aggravated but committed a minor sin in seething about it to the point of expressing her aggravation to someone else. I will admit that the last is a 'greater' minor sin than the first, IMO.

To be honest, although I stated in my PP that I'd have the desserts out with the other food, the last time I entertained, I confess I did not. I didn't have the room and had a small glitch in that we had some younger kids visiting that went into the kitchen to start pulling out the desserts because they wanted them. The desserts were pies brought by a few different guests and they didn't know I had bought ice cream so if they served them selves they wouldn't have had the ice cream! My teenaged DD came and got me and let me know what these two 9-year-old boys were up to which I took as my cue that it was time to serve dessert!  :)But I had to interrupt their little kitchen sortie to clear space and start brewing the coffee. I was amused, not irritated and since I didn't have a timeline for that particular evening I just went with the flow of what people wanted.

So while I can't see the situation in the OP as ever being an issue for me because of the way I usually entertain and my own personality, I can totally appreciate the viewpoints of those that would really find this irritating and can easily accept their explanations of why it would be so, especially WillyNilly's list.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Zilla on March 27, 2013, 12:46:09 PM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.

Maybe we are just used to different types of parties.
For me its not a "ta-daaaa" issue. Its:
1. Host has to find a place to put her plate, because often at buffet type parties its a "hold your plate" or "plate on lap" situation
2. Host has to clear a flat space on the counter that is piled with still boxed desserts
3. Host has to dig out dessert plates that are probably behind the pile of desserts because they were taken out the night before so they were the first thing on the counter and now are in back
4. Host has to find the appropriate serving/cutting utensil for the dessert (the one originally planned for the dessert might be currently stuck in a casserole)
5. Cut and plate dessert
6. Appropriately re-wrap dessert
7. Return to finish now cold meal to a room full of people who have all finished eating and a conversation that has taken several turns in the host's absence.
8. Deal with at least one if not several "oh is it dessert time?" remarks from people who see the one person enjoying dessert.

To me that is making dessert way more important then the people - its asking the host to effectively say through actions "oh room full of a dozen of my guests I have no interest in sitting a moment and breaking bread with you. I'm off to disappear into the kitchen for 15 minutes or so to totally ignore you in favor of a dessert that wouldn't normally be served for another hour or two."


I think that is the crux of the matter.  My scenario would be very different.  I would take my plate with me.  My cutting/cake utensils are in a huge big I have on my counter.  The dessert plates if I am using my party plates are in the cabinet.  So for me it would take all of a few minutes.  Or even more probable, I would invite Reba into the kitchen with me while carrying my plate.  Point out to her where everything is while I am eating and we are chatting a bit.  So it's a different scenario, different hosting style.  If I was in your situation WillyNilly I then can understand the annoyance of being asked.  I didn't even realize that scenario.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on March 27, 2013, 12:58:47 PM
Yeah, 1-3 aren't actually the case at buffet style gatheings I attend take a few seconds each. As far ss people asking if it was.dessert time I would just say that it was not bit since  he was taking home somebody who was sick I had served him early. Now if a whole lot of people did want to leave early I think it might be an indication that my timeline was a problem.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: audrey1962 on March 27, 2013, 01:27:23 PM
I agree that we have different entertaining styles. I'm very informal and usually place dessert and all its requirements on the buffet. Whatever the dessert is, I put it in a glass cake dome so that guests can see it while they are helping themselves to the meal so that they can decide if they want to save room for dessert or not. (There is also usually a bowl of fresh berries near the cake dome, too). I put out the dessert plates, utensils and serving pieces as well so that I don't have to ask guests to move as I look for those items in my small dining room after dinner, interrupting the flow of conversation.

So for me, it's not much of an imposition if someone wanted dessert early.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 27, 2013, 02:22:32 PM
As for the OP, my feeling is that if you are leaving a party early, you are leaving early. That might mean missing a course or two. But that's your decision. Telling a host you are leaving early and asking for something that hasn't been served yet, is, well, kind of like having your cake and eating it too.

This is where I fall. People get sick and have to leave social events early sometimes, it happens. Nothing wrong with that. But that means you miss out on whatever else was going to happen at the social event. I just don't get why the thought process would be, "I'm sick, I need to go home early. But I really need a slice of cake to take with me!" Some water if they felt dehydrated or something to settle their stomach or caffeinated soda if they were having a migraine, sure. It just seems a little bit like they're saying my dessert is good enough for them, but not my company. Or it's like the little kid who says he's too sick to eat the broccoli, but thinks some chocolate cake would be okay. Much as I like dessert, it's just dessert. There will be other desserts in their lives.

Of course it also depends on your relationship with the person. Apparently Reba thought she and the hostess had that sort of relationship, that the hostess wouldn't mind; but Reba was wrong. Like how my mom could get in my fridge and help herself, but other people I know--no, shouldn't be done.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on March 27, 2013, 02:37:15 PM
I believe it was the person taking Reba home who had the dessert. And Reba adked as in "I feel bad he has to leave early because of me, it shouldn't cost him dessert, too"
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 27, 2013, 04:29:38 PM
I believe it was the person taking Reba home who had the dessert. And Reba adked as in "I feel bad he has to leave early because of me, it shouldn't cost him dessert, too"

I think you're right. It doesn't really change my opinion, though; as a guest I wouldn't have done it. Bill will live without dessert this one time, and Reba can make it up to him later in some way if she feels that's necessary. It shouldn't be incumbent on the hostess to make it up to Bill.

Plus, again, I'm having trouble imagining the mindset of, "I'm so sick I need to leave this social event early, except I can wait for the hostess to get up and pack some dessert for us to take." No one's saying she was violently ill or anything; but... priorities. Either you're well enough to stay for the whole thing, or you (your social unit) are too sick to care about getting dessert. If I were Reba and felt ill enough to leave early, and it was Bill who was hitting the hostess up for dessert thus delaying our exit, I'd be pretty mad at Bill.

I just feel like the slippery slope is, "Can we take a bottle of after-dinner wine with us, since we won't be here when you serve it?" and "Can Junior open his presents now? We want to leave in ten minutes."
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: cheyne on March 28, 2013, 04:57:16 PM
POD to Lynn2000 and WillyNilly. 

Honestly, this story makes no sense to me unless Reba was fibbing about or exaggerating her illness.  If Reba was so ill that she had to leave, why was she the one who asked the Hostess for dessert for Bill?  Either Reba was ill enough to leave immediately (within 5 mins) or she was well enough to stay for dessert.  I could see if Bill asked for dessert and the Hostess boxed it up while Bill was escorting Reba to their car, but why would Reba want to hang around waiting on Bill's dessert if she was ill?

I do think that Reba was rude to ask.  If you leave events early, you will miss out on some things-that's life.  The hostess should not be perterbed but should just let it go.  She will be prepared if this happens again-she can just say no.

Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 28, 2013, 05:05:31 PM
POD to Lynn2000 and WillyNilly. 

Honestly, this story makes no sense to me unless Reba was fibbing about or exaggerating her illness.  If Reba was so ill that she had to leave, why was she the one who asked the Hostess for dessert for Bill?  Either Reba was ill enough to leave immediately (within 5 mins) or she was well enough to stay for dessert.  I could see if Bill asked for dessert and the Hostess boxed it up while Bill was escorting Reba to their car, but why would Reba want to hang around waiting on Bill's dessert if she was ill?

I do think that Reba was rude to ask.  If you leave events early, you will miss out on some things-that's life.  The hostess should not be perterbed but should just let it go.  She will be prepared if this happens again-she can just say no.

Well, I don't really agree.  I don't think it has to be an either/or situation, and I don't think it was.  I'm sorry you don't think the story makes sense, but it's what happened as I understood it.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 28, 2013, 05:46:33 PM
I guess the reason I asked this question here is I was wondering if what Reba did was really all that bad (I don't think it was), or if the hostess' feelings about her colored her opinion.  She clearly doesn't think much of Reba, and I wondered whether, if someone else had asked the same thing, the hostess would have thought it was that much of an outrageous request.

Honestly, if I were the hostess, as I said before I wouldn't have given it a second thought.  If I were Reba?  It would depend on who the hostess was.  I probably wouldn't ask, but if it was someone I was very close to (certain close friends, or family members) I might ask but offer to cut and serve the dessert for my SO or whoever wanted it myself, so as not to cause the hostess any trouble.  If she then offered to do it, great, of not, so be it. 

It wasn't anything that required any special preparation or presentation.  And the hostess was not "just sitting down for the first time in several days" after preparing for the party - she had been sitting and socializing for quite a while before dinner was served, and dinner had not been homemade - it was a few things that had been heated in the oven, and a couple of deli platters, all of which had been ordered from outside.  Of course, there was still preparation necessary, but she didn't spend days beforehand cooking, nor did she spend the whole pre-dinner time at the party cooking.  Not that it matters, really, I just wanted to clarify that.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Iris on March 28, 2013, 06:25:16 PM
I notice in the OP that Reba approached the hostess "Shortly after dinner had been announced" which makes the timing unclear. Was dinner finished? If Reba was asking before the hostess had eaten her own dinner then I think it woud definitely be rude. I think the timing is very important.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: jpcher on March 28, 2013, 07:02:31 PM
I have not read the entire thread thoroughly, read some posts and skimmed others. Please forgive me if this was brought up.

Shortly after dinner was announced, Reba approached the hostess and asked if Bill could have a piece of a certain dessert item.  The hostess was a bit put off by this, and said that she wasn't serving dessert yet.  Reba responded with, "Oh, well, I'm not feeling well so we're going to be leaving soon."  The hostess grudgingly complied, but was pretty bothered by it.

I think that Reba was rude in asking for dessert prior to the hostess' scheduled plan.

If I were the hostess, I would also be put-off. I wouldn't want my other guests seeing someone eating dessert before dessert was served. I think that's a bit awkward.

Hostess' response should/could have been "I'm sorry you have to leave early! Please, let me fix you a to-go plate of dessert."
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: doodlemor on March 28, 2013, 07:36:27 PM
From reading this thread it's apparent that there are many different hosting styles and opinions on whether a guest can ask for dessert early.

I wonder if the hostess in this instance subconsciously picked up on a bit of trickery by Reba and the uncle.  It seems to me that they might have been trying to make a quick exit because they had someplace else to go, but uncle really wanted a piece of whatever the dessert was.  If Reba were so terribly ill that she had to leave immediately, it seems to me that she would be getting her coat while the uncle made excuses.

Uncle would not be a nice man if poor Reba were terribly ill, and he told her that he wouldn't leave until he had his dessert.  That's always possible, but Reba did not immediately state that she was ill.

Obviously I may be wrong about Reba and uncle, but I have known many older people and couples who get  to some point where they just arrange their lives exactly how they want, and don't always act considerate of others.

As far as the early dessert goes, I think that the hostess would have been completely within bounds to ask if the couple could please wait a few minutes so that she could eat her food while it's hot. 

At my house I like to lay the desserts out on a separate table with glass domes, so probably I'd just fall for it and give them a dessert ** to take with them.**  I don't think that it would be necessary for uncle to sit and eat the dessert in front of others.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 28, 2013, 07:46:00 PM
I notice in the OP that Reba approached the hostess "Shortly after dinner had been announced" which makes the timing unclear. Was dinner finished? If Reba was asking before the hostess had eaten her own dinner then I think it woud definitely be rude. I think the timing is very important.

I think by saying "Dinner was announced" I made it seem more formal than it actually was.  People had gathered in groups in different areas of the house - the dining room, kitchen, and a couple spots in the finished basement.  The host and hostess, once dinner was ready and put out, went around to each group and said that dinner was ready, at which point everyone began to move toward the dining room.  However, it wasn't a mad rush - the group I was in, for instance, saw the other group close to us all get up and go upstairs (we were in the basement), and so we waited a bit to give everyone else time to go through and not all crowd into the dining room and make the people ahead of us feel rushed. 

I believe Reba and Bill were already upstairs, so were among the first to have dinner, and were finished with it even though some others were still making up plates.  If I remember correctly, the desserts and various sweet snacks were sitting on the kitchen table.  I'm not sure if the particular dessert Bill wanted was sitting out with them or not; I know it had been brought to the house in a closed container (it was a pie, and it was in one of those plastic rubbermaid/tupperware pie containers, which wasn't transparent.  So if it was still in the container and not on the table, I don't know how Bill knew it was even there; but then again, if it was sitting out on the table, would that have been reason enough to think it was ok to ask for it?  In other words, would it be ok to assume it was there and being offered?)
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: NyaChan on March 28, 2013, 08:22:48 PM
Under those circumstances, I'd have put some dessert on a paper plate and not thought another thing about it.

I had one girlfriend on the Carbohydrate Addict's diet and she had to eat her one meal with carbs in an hour's period of time. So at first she'd ask if she could go ahead and partake of dessert right after the meal, which bothered me not one whit since my DH likes to eat dessert right after the meal (too soon for me).

After a couple of times, it was just expected (we traded hospitality a lot).

But if this was typical behavior, this 'eat-n-run', I'd be put out.

Back when we lived in NC, we were good friends with two couples that each had a 16-year-old boy that were best friends with each other. I started to notice whenever we'd get together that the two besties would show up late, shovel down their food and take off. The first time I really noticed it was when we entertained at my house but they did it at everyone's.

So the second time we had them over, when they started putting on their jackets to leave (they did, at least, take their plates to the sink) I pointedly asked, "Where are you going? We invited you to spend the evening with us. You are just going to eat-n-run?"

Cue stammering by them and their parents, but at get-togethers beyond that, the boys made more of an effort to hang out before taking off.

It made me feel like a short-order cook.

As far as the OP, I usually go ahead and have the desserts out at a buffet for those that like to satisfy their sweet tooth immediately after eating - so this wouldn't have been an issue anyway.

I do think that it would've been better for Bill & Reba to make their apologies at having to leave early and, likely, the host would've offered to send them home with some dessert (at least, I would have and so would all of my friends).

 :-[ My parents actually encourage me to do this when I don't want to attend parties with them.  They see it as me politely showing my face and insist that I should at least come and stay until dinner, then leave.  They don't get my explanation that I think it is rude to show up, eat and leave at all - I suspect they think I am just trying to get out of going altogether (which is true, but also because I think it is rude) which colors their judgment - but strangely enough, my mom insists that she would not mind at all if other kids did that to her, that in fact she'd be happy that they showed up at all.  Not me, I'd be mad!
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Iris on March 28, 2013, 08:39:33 PM
I notice in the OP that Reba approached the hostess "Shortly after dinner had been announced" which makes the timing unclear. Was dinner finished? If Reba was asking before the hostess had eaten her own dinner then I think it woud definitely be rude. I think the timing is very important.

I think by saying "Dinner was announced" I made it seem more formal than it actually was.  People had gathered in groups in different areas of the house - the dining room, kitchen, and a couple spots in the finished basement.  The host and hostess, once dinner was ready and put out, went around to each group and said that dinner was ready, at which point everyone began to move toward the dining room.  However, it wasn't a mad rush - the group I was in, for instance, saw the other group close to us all get up and go upstairs (we were in the basement), and so we waited a bit to give everyone else time to go through and not all crowd into the dining room and make the people ahead of us feel rushed. 

I believe Reba and Bill were already upstairs, so were among the first to have dinner, and were finished with it even though some others were still making up plates.  If I remember correctly, the desserts and various sweet snacks were sitting on the kitchen table.  I'm not sure if the particular dessert Bill wanted was sitting out with them or not; I know it had been brought to the house in a closed container (it was a pie, and it was in one of those plastic rubbermaid/tupperware pie containers, which wasn't transparent.  So if it was still in the container and not on the table, I don't know how Bill knew it was even there; but then again, if it was sitting out on the table, would that have been reason enough to think it was ok to ask for it?  In other words, would it be ok to assume it was there and being offered?)

If people were still making up plates for the main course then yes, I do think it's rude to ask for dessert. I'm betting that the host and hostess hadn't even made up their plates for the course *before* dessert yet, and before they even get a chance to eat they have to interrupt themselves to fix dessert for someone else? No matter how informal I think it is impossible to escape the feeling of "I don't care if you haven't eaten dinner! I want my dessert! Now, I say!"

Bill should have just done without dessert.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: bloo on March 28, 2013, 09:08:59 PM
:-[ My parents actually encourage me to do this when I don't want to attend parties with them.  They see it as me politely showing my face and insist that I should at least come and stay until dinner, then leave.  They don't get my explanation that I think it is rude to show up, eat and leave at all - I suspect they think I am just trying to get out of going altogether (which is true, but also because I think it is rude) which colors their judgment - but strangely enough, my mom insists that she would not mind at all if other kids did that to her, that in fact she'd be happy that they showed up at all.  Not me, I'd be mad!

 :)Maybe your parents friends really don't mind? Yeah I was /would be peeved.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on March 29, 2013, 07:03:36 AM
POD to Lynn2000 and WillyNilly. 

Honestly, this story makes no sense to me unless Reba was fibbing about or exaggerating her illness.  If Reba was so ill that she had to leave, why was she the one who asked the Hostess for dessert for Bill?  Either Reba was ill enough to leave immediately (within 5 mins) or she was well enough to stay for dessert.  I could see if Bill asked for dessert and the Hostess boxed it up while Bill was escorting Reba to their car, but why would Reba want to hang around waiting on Bill's dessert if she was ill?

I do think that Reba was rude to ask.  If you leave events early, you will miss out on some things-that's life.  The hostess should not be perterbed but should just let it go.  She will be prepared if this happens again-she can just say no.

Well, I don't really agree.  I don't think it has to be an either/or situation, and I don't think it was.  I'm sorry you don't think the story makes sense, but it's what happened as I understood it.

Yeah, it makes sense to me. I would guess that Reba asked becasue she felt bad he had to leave early at all.  And waiting around for him to eat dessert might have been a matter of 10 extra minutes or so where waiting for the host to serve dessert on her schedule might have meant another 11/2 hours.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 29, 2013, 11:53:54 AM
To me rude would be a sit down dinner with courses being served.  While people are all sitting formally at the table one gets up and asks for dessert.  That I could see as that would disrupt the flow.  But in the scenario the OP portrays?  Nope.

If the dessert wasn't already set out, ready to be served, I see no difference between a sit down dinner and buffet really.
(And if the dessert was already set out and ready there would no reason to ask, as it was there ready for those who'd finished their dinner.)

For me I think it was weird to not have it all set out.




There are lots of reasons for everything not to be set out.   It could be because of limited space, food that can easily spoil, timing of cooking or heating appetizers.  I only have one oven, which means things have to be heated in shifts.  I don't want my hot appetizers to be served cold.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 29, 2013, 11:59:15 AM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.


The problem is by asking, you (general) are putting the hostess on the spot.  She could have just sat down to eat her own plate.  I don't think it is fair to call a hostess shallow for wanting to also sit down and enjoy the fruits of her labour.   There is nothing wrong with a hostess wanting to have a certain 'flow' to her meal.  If it is anything like me, she put a great deal of time, effort and expense to provide the buffet and a great time for everyone.   I think it is rude to judge her as shallow when she has invited you (general) into her home and feels internally miffed by the request. It puts her on the spot.   If she says no, then she is the bad person. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 29, 2013, 12:02:19 PM
If I remember correctly, the desserts and various sweet snacks were sitting on the kitchen table.  I'm not sure if the particular dessert Bill wanted was sitting out with them or not; I know it had been brought to the house in a closed container (it was a pie, and it was in one of those plastic rubbermaid/tupperware pie containers, which wasn't transparent.  So if it was still in the container and not on the table, I don't know how Bill knew it was even there; but then again, if it was sitting out on the table, would that have been reason enough to think it was ok to ask for it?  In other words, would it be ok to assume it was there and being offered?)

Especially knowing this, it seems ever stranger to me that the hostess was so offended. I would have assumed the desserts were being offered.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 29, 2013, 12:06:54 PM
I was at a pretty large family holiday gathering, a few days before Christmas.  It was pretty casual, buffet-style.  There were appetizers out in several spots throughout the house, and drinks were readily available.
...

After a while, the hostess announced that dinner was ready - so everyone started the meal.  Again, buffet-style - it had been set up in the dining room, and everyone filled their plates and gathered in different areas to eat, so it definitely wasn't a formal, sit-down dinner.


From the OP.  I am not understanding the posters who say this is a space issue. This isn't a situation of people sitting around a table with food on it.  This is a buffet, and there was food in various places.  At a formal dinner, I can see the hostess being upset.  At this type of gathering?  Nope.


The space issue for me is not enough space on the actual buffet table to put everything out at once.  I have two leaves to put in my table, but that makes it pretty tight for people to walk around it.   


I don't put food in various places in the house, only the dining table for two reasons.  We have two dogs and they can and will easily access food on the downstairs coffee table.   The 2nd reason is I prefer to have one area for food, another where the wine, liquor and glasses are, a bin with ice, water, beer, pop etc.   The only 'food' I will put out around the house are bowls of little snacks like nuts, pretzels, chips, caramel cinnamon popcorn. 



Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 29, 2013, 12:09:23 PM
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.

Maybe we are just used to different types of parties.
For me its not a "ta-daaaa" issue. Its:
1. Host has to find a place to put her plate, because often at buffet type parties its a "hold your plate" or "plate on lap" situation
2. Host has to clear a flat space on the counter that is piled with still boxed desserts
3. Host has to dig out dessert plates that are probably behind the pile of desserts because they were taken out the night before so they were the first thing on the counter and now are in back
4. Host has to find the appropriate serving/cutting utensil for the dessert (the one originally planned for the dessert might be currently stuck in a casserole)
5. Cut and plate dessert
6. Appropriately re-wrap dessert
7. Return to finish now cold meal to a room full of people who have all finished eating and a conversation that has taken several turns in the host's absence.
8. Deal with at least one if not several "oh is it dessert time?" remarks from people who see the one person enjoying dessert.

To me that is making dessert way more important then the people - its asking the host to effectively say through actions "oh room full of a dozen of my guests I have no interest in sitting a moment and breaking bread with you. I'm off to disappear into the kitchen for 15 minutes or so to totally ignore you in favor of a dessert that wouldn't normally be served for another hour or two."


You hit the nail on the head!
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 29, 2013, 12:21:37 PM
I guess the reason I asked this question here is I was wondering if what Reba did was really all that bad (I don't think it was), or if the hostess' feelings about her colored her opinion.  She clearly doesn't think much of Reba, and I wondered whether, if someone else had asked the same thing, the hostess would have thought it was that much of an outrageous request.

Honestly, if I were the hostess, as I said before I wouldn't have given it a second thought.  If I were Reba?  It would depend on who the hostess was.  I probably wouldn't ask, but if it was someone I was very close to (certain close friends, or family members) I might ask but offer to cut and serve the dessert for my SO or whoever wanted it myself, so as not to cause the hostess any trouble.  If she then offered to do it, great, of not, so be it. 

It wasn't anything that required any special preparation or presentation.  And the hostess was not "just sitting down for the first time in several days" after preparing for the party - she had been sitting and socializing for quite a while before dinner was served, and dinner had not been homemade - it was a few things that had been heated in the oven, and a couple of deli platters, all of which had been ordered from outside.  Of course, there was still preparation necessary, but she didn't spend days beforehand cooking, nor did she spend the whole pre-dinner time at the party cooking.  Not that it matters, really, I just wanted to clarify that.


Per the last paragraph, I think it boils down to different entertaining styles. When I entertain, I make almost everything home made. I prepare for days ahead of the party.    People enjoy my cooking and always look forward to what I'm going to serve this time.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 29, 2013, 12:25:42 PM
I have not read the entire thread thoroughly, read some posts and skimmed others. Please forgive me if this was brought up.

Shortly after dinner was announced, Reba approached the hostess and asked if Bill could have a piece of a certain dessert item.  The hostess was a bit put off by this, and said that she wasn't serving dessert yet.  Reba responded with, "Oh, well, I'm not feeling well so we're going to be leaving soon."  The hostess grudgingly complied, but was pretty bothered by it.

I think that Reba was rude in asking for dessert prior to the hostess' scheduled plan.

If I were the hostess, I would also be put-off. I wouldn't want my other guests seeing someone eating dessert before dessert was served. I think that's a bit awkward.

Hostess' response should/could have been "I'm sorry you have to leave early! Please, let me fix you a to-go plate of dessert."


Reading the scenario again, Reba sort of gave the hostess a guilt trip.  The hostess said she wasn't serving dessert yet and Reba didn't take no for an answer by adding in they were leaving.   By saying no, the hostess was made the  bad buy for feeling miffed.   Reba should have accepted the no.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 29, 2013, 12:42:34 PM
If I remember correctly, the desserts and various sweet snacks were sitting on the kitchen table.  I'm not sure if the particular dessert Bill wanted was sitting out with them or not; I know it had been brought to the house in a closed container (it was a pie, and it was in one of those plastic rubbermaid/tupperware pie containers, which wasn't transparent.  So if it was still in the container and not on the table, I don't know how Bill knew it was even there; but then again, if it was sitting out on the table, would that have been reason enough to think it was ok to ask for it?  In other words, would it be ok to assume it was there and being offered?)

Especially knowing this, it seems ever stranger to me that the hostess was so offended. I would have assumed the desserts were being offered.


Doesn't that fall into interesting assumption category?  Assuming it is ready to serve?  If the food is being served on the dining room table, I wouldn't think it was ready to serve if the dessert is on the kitchen table.   My variety of desserts are either in the fridge or on the counter.  That doesn't mean they are ready to serve.  They will be offered when I feel it is time for dessert.


Besides, many people like to wait awhile after dinner to serve dessert.  I typically let everyone's meal digest for about an hour prior to serving dessert.  That allows me to eat, socialize more, pick up dirty dishes, time for people to have 2nds or 3rds, replenish ice, beverages, open another bottle of wine or coke  for mixed drinks. 



Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on March 29, 2013, 12:45:15 PM
sparksals, I am speaking only to the specific situation the OP described. Given the casual nature of the event, I would have assumed it was casual and that having a dessert was no big deal.  In other contexts, my thoughts would be different.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 29, 2013, 02:34:44 PM
I believe Reba and Bill were already upstairs, so were among the first to have dinner, and were finished with it even though some others were still making up plates.  If I remember correctly, the desserts and various sweet snacks were sitting on the kitchen table.  I'm not sure if the particular dessert Bill wanted was sitting out with them or not; I know it had been brought to the house in a closed container (it was a pie, and it was in one of those plastic rubbermaid/tupperware pie containers, which wasn't transparent.  So if it was still in the container and not on the table, I don't know how Bill knew it was even there; but then again, if it was sitting out on the table, would that have been reason enough to think it was ok to ask for it?  In other words, would it be ok to assume it was there and being offered?)

Based on this, I think it was Reba who made and brought the particular dessert Bill requested and she wanted to make sure Bill got a piece before they left.

Even if the case, Reba still should have asked
"Will you be serving desserts soon. I'm not feeling well and we'll be leaving early but I know Bill would really like a slice of pie before we leave."
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: audrey1962 on March 29, 2013, 03:04:43 PM
Per the last paragraph, I think it boils down to different entertaining styles. When I entertain, I make almost everything home made. I prepare for days ahead of the party.    People enjoy my cooking and always look forward to what I'm going to serve this time.

Making food from scratch is a non-sequitor. I make all my food from scratch and have already stated the request would not bother me.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on March 29, 2013, 03:44:33 PM
Per the last paragraph, I think it boils down to different entertaining styles. When I entertain, I make almost everything home made. I prepare for days ahead of the party.    People enjoy my cooking and always look forward to what I'm going to serve this time.

Making food from scratch is a non-sequitor. I make all my food from scratch and have already stated the request would not bother me.

audrey, I agree.  A lot of people I know make things home made and would be OK with this request.  In fact, since they went through so much effort to make it, many of them would really want to make sure their guests got a chance to try the food they went to such an effort to make.  Now, since the atmosphere was so casual some of those hosts might even tell a guest like Reba to go ahead and serve themselves - which would suit the guests and host just fine in a casual, buffet environment.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on March 29, 2013, 03:51:44 PM
I believe Reba and Bill were already upstairs, so were among the first to have dinner, and were finished with it even though some others were still making up plates.  If I remember correctly, the desserts and various sweet snacks were sitting on the kitchen table.  I'm not sure if the particular dessert Bill wanted was sitting out with them or not; I know it had been brought to the house in a closed container (it was a pie, and it was in one of those plastic rubbermaid/tupperware pie containers, which wasn't transparent.  So if it was still in the container and not on the table, I don't know how Bill knew it was even there; but then again, if it was sitting out on the table, would that have been reason enough to think it was ok to ask for it?  In other words, would it be ok to assume it was there and being offered?)

Based on this, I think it was Reba who made and brought the particular dessert Bill requested and she wanted to make sure Bill got a piece before they left.

Even if the case, Reba still should have asked
"Will you be serving desserts soon. I'm not feeling well and we'll be leaving early but I know Bill would really like a slice of pie before we leave."

No, in fact, Reba did not make and bring that particular dessert. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: hobish on March 29, 2013, 04:44:51 PM

Interesting thread. I can see both sides, i guess. It wouldn't have bothered me, personally, if it was something i was planning on serving anyway.
 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Venus193 on March 29, 2013, 05:46:09 PM
In my book, putting dessert out right away is like rushing the guests.  I would also feel guilt-tripped over this stuff and that's not a good thing to do to me.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: cheyne on March 29, 2013, 09:51:07 PM
POD to Lynn2000 and WillyNilly. 

Honestly, this story makes no sense to me unless Reba was fibbing about or exaggerating her illness.  If Reba was so ill that she had to leave, why was she the one who asked the Hostess for dessert for Bill?  Either Reba was ill enough to leave immediately (within 5 mins) or she was well enough to stay for dessert.  I could see if Bill asked for dessert and the Hostess boxed it up while Bill was escorting Reba to their car, but why would Reba want to hang around waiting on Bill's dessert if she was ill?

I do think that Reba was rude to ask.  If you leave events early, you will miss out on some things-that's life.  The hostess should not be perterbed but should just let it go.  She will be prepared if this happens again-she can just say no.

Well, I don't really agree.  I don't think it has to be an either/or situation, and I don't think it was.  I'm sorry you don't think the story makes sense, but it's what happened as I understood it.

I am sorry Paper Roses, I wasn't trying to say that you didn't understand the situation!   It's just that I have never experienced someone so ill that they needed to go home, yet hanging around to ask the hostess for dessert (and waiting for the hostess to fix a to-go container).



Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Hmmmmm on March 29, 2013, 10:56:01 PM
POD to Lynn2000 and WillyNilly. 

Honestly, this story makes no sense to me unless Reba was fibbing about or exaggerating her illness.  If Reba was so ill that she had to leave, why was she the one who asked the Hostess for dessert for Bill?  Either Reba was ill enough to leave immediately (within 5 mins) or she was well enough to stay for dessert.  I could see if Bill asked for dessert and the Hostess boxed it up while Bill was escorting Reba to their car, but why would Reba want to hang around waiting on Bill's dessert if she was ill?

I do think that Reba was rude to ask.  If you leave events early, you will miss out on some things-that's life.  The hostess should not be perterbed but should just let it go.  She will be prepared if this happens again-she can just say no.

Well, I don't really agree.  I don't think it has to be an either/or situation, and I don't think it was.  I'm sorry you don't think the story makes sense, but it's what happened as I understood it.

I am sorry Paper Roses, I wasn't trying to say that you didn't understand the situation!   It's just that I have never experienced someone so ill that they needed to go home, yet hanging around to ask the hostess for dessert (and waiting for the hostess to fix a to-go container).

I don't think you have to be "so" ill to want to go home before you start feeling really, really ill. There is nothing odd about the scenario at all to me.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: NyaChan on March 29, 2013, 11:47:55 PM
Honestly if someone was headed home early, I would have offered them the dessert or food in general myself.  I don't think it was wrong for Reba to ask for some but to then press the issue when the hostess showed reluctance, though I think was off - I mean would it kill the guy to miss dessert one night? 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 30, 2013, 12:05:00 AM
sparksals, I am speaking only to the specific situation the OP described. Given the casual nature of the event, I would have assumed it was casual and that having a dessert was no big deal.  In other contexts, my thoughts would be different.

TD....I realize that.  Still doesn't change that many hostesses have different hosting styles that all fall into the acceptable realm

Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sparksals on March 30, 2013, 12:10:05 AM
Per the last paragraph, I think it boils down to different entertaining styles. When I entertain, I make almost everything home made. I prepare for days ahead of the party.    People enjoy my cooking and always look forward to what I'm going to serve this time.

Making food from scratch is a non-sequitor. I make all my food from scratch and have already stated the request would not bother me.

I dont think it is.  This is what makes hosting styles different. I would think the request to be rude, especially if I just sat down to eat or hadn't finished my meal yet.   
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Mammavan3 on April 02, 2013, 10:40:45 AM
If a guest told me that they had to leave early, I would immediately ask if they had time for dessert first or if they'd like to take some with them. And if this were an older relative, I'd be doubly sure that they were served or given some. I'm not the most organized hostess in the world but I do have whatever serving implements are necessary ready, as well as containers for left-overs, so it would take only a few minutes to do so and would not take me away from the party for very long. And I am one of those from-scratch, days-of-preparation cooks.  I take my hostessing responsibilities very seriously.

OTOH, if it were a request from someone of whom I am not particularly fond and who always needed special attention, I would have been somewhat put-out.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TootsNYC on April 06, 2013, 08:43:21 PM
To me rude would be a sit down dinner with courses being served.  While people are all sitting formally at the table one gets up and asks for dessert.  That I could see as that would disrupt the flow.  But in the scenario the OP portrays?  Nope.

If the dessert wasn't already set out, ready to be served, I see no difference between a sit down dinner and buffet really.
(And if the dessert was already set out and ready there would no reason to ask, as it was there ready for those who'd finished their dinner.)

For me I think it was weird to not have it all set out.

I don't!
Because there might not be room. Or, because you might want to change the vibe of the event when you change the food!
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Miss Tickle on April 07, 2013, 12:11:27 PM
The thing that I find off is being treated like a restaurant. If your guests aren't feeling well they should make their excuses and just go, not stop the hostess serving dinner to ask for a doggy bag. That's not asking for something they need it's just something they want. It's so incredibly self-centered.

Since the two guests were playing against each other (sending the wife to ask for the husband) think I would sympathetically grab their coats and bags, invite them to return when she was feeling better and completely ignore the catering request since I wouldn't want to delay their departure another second.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: bloo on April 07, 2013, 12:18:20 PM
The thing that I find off is being treated like a restaurant. If your guests aren't feeling well they should make their excuses and just go, not stop the hostess serving dinner to ask for a doggy bag. That's not asking for something they need it's just something they want. It's so incredibly self-centered.

Since the two guests were playing against each other (sending the wife to ask for the husband) think I would sympathetically grab their coats and bags, invite them to return when she was feeling better and completely ignore the catering request since I wouldn't want to delay their departure another second.

In practice, I'd agree with you. That's why in my earlier post I mentioned about a previous couple of guests' consistent, rude behavior made me feel like a short-order cook.

But there's no reason I gleaned from either the OP or subsequent updates to it to head towards the advice shared in your second paragraph. If I could bring myself to treat two guests in my home that way, I certainly could bring myself to not invite them in the first place. These are people that are actually liked, even by the peeved hostess in the OP.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on April 07, 2013, 12:25:25 PM
The thing that I find off is being treated like a restaurant. If your guests aren't feeling well they should make their excuses and just go, not stop the hostess serving dinner to ask for a doggy bag. That's not asking for something they need it's just something they want. It's so incredibly self-centered.

Since the two guests were playing against each other (sending the wife to ask for the husband) think I would sympathetically grab their coats and bags, invite them to return when she was feeling better and completely ignore the catering request since I wouldn't want to delay their departure another second.

See, I think the reaction that you won't give it to them is waht makes it feel restaurant - y to me.  I mean, if  I am the host and my purpose in preparing the food is love for my guests and the simple desire to see them enjoy it then I want to make sure they get the chance to do so.  That means that when I hear they need to leave early I give them dessert or send it home for them.  Withholding it defeats my whole purpose.  Now if I intended to make a profit, it would make sense to refuse to give somebody food if they didn't pay in money, time or whatever else I was charging.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on April 07, 2013, 06:32:02 PM
POD to Sharnita.  Presumably, the hostess wants to host, and enjoys and likes the people she is hosting.  I wouldn't think so poorly of people I enjoy and like to immediately think "how dare they ask for dessert" instead of "of course I'll get you dessert - I hope you like it - feel better soon!"
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TootsNYC on April 08, 2013, 10:38:38 AM
I think it matters a lot that Reba just went straight to the "can we have dessert now?" request instead of saying, "I don't feel well, and we're going to have to leave early."

I think that made the hostess grumpy to start off with, and then the follow-up excuse didn't have the same effect it might have if it had been what she started off with.

Sort of, "you never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression" and "people will remember a negative longer than they'll remember the excuse."
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 09, 2013, 09:19:38 AM
I think it matters a lot that Reba just went straight to the "can we have dessert now?" request instead of saying, "I don't feel well, and we're going to have to leave early."

I think that made the hostess grumpy to start off with, and then the follow-up excuse didn't have the same effect it might have if it had been what she started off with.

Sort of, "you never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression" and "people will remember a negative longer than they'll remember the excuse."

POD. And, maybe this is just me, but someone else mentioned they would see it differently if it was someone who always pestered them, vs. someone who was always pleasant and had never done anything odd before--I think that might be true for me IRL, too, but in this thread, the first time I "met" Reba, she was doing something kind of odd that instinctively grated on me, so I'm less inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. I do think that sometimes this is an artificial function of threads here--witness the ones when someone is complaining about their SO and people are like, "Not worth the trouble, break up!" because we're only seeing the bad side of that person, and not all the great things they do.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on April 09, 2013, 05:03:40 PM
Funny, I was thinking about this situation again today.  I guess my feeling is that if this was someone who would bother me so much with such a request, I probably just wouldn't have them at my home.  If I care enough about someone to invite them to a gathering at my house, then doing something like what Reba asked wouldn't really bother me. 

I realize that may be qualified by the fact that Reba is attending with Bill, and therefore is invited because of her relationship with him rather than on her own, but then again, the request she made was on Bill's behalf, so maybe it evens out.

Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: TurtleDove on April 09, 2013, 07:03:48 PM
Funny, I was thinking about this situation again today.  I guess my feeling is that if this was someone who would bother me so much with such a request, I probably just wouldn't have them at my home.  If I care enough about someone to invite them to a gathering at my house, then doing something like what Reba asked wouldn't really bother me. 

I realize that may be qualified by the fact that Reba is attending with Bill, and therefore is invited because of her relationship with him rather than on her own, but then again, the request she made was on Bill's behalf, so maybe it evens out.
This is exactly how I think about this (and all the threads about showers or weddings).  If I care about someone, this won't bother me. If I don't, this wouldn't happen because I wouldn't invite them.  I generally feel life is too short to spend time with people I do not like, and people I actually do like I would not begrudge a dessert.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 10, 2013, 02:38:02 PM
Funny, I was thinking about this situation again today.  I guess my feeling is that if this was someone who would bother me so much with such a request, I probably just wouldn't have them at my home.  If I care enough about someone to invite them to a gathering at my house, then doing something like what Reba asked wouldn't really bother me. 

I realize that may be qualified by the fact that Reba is attending with Bill, and therefore is invited because of her relationship with him rather than on her own, but then again, the request she made was on Bill's behalf, so maybe it evens out.
This is exactly how I think about this (and all the threads about showers or weddings).  If I care about someone, this won't bother me. If I don't, this wouldn't happen because I wouldn't invite them.  I generally feel life is too short to spend time with people I do not like, and people I actually do like I would not begrudge a dessert.

You both make an excellent point, and, considering it, I'd probably not really care if the someone asking were someone like my mom or someone else of whom I'm really fond.  Others, like someone I don't know or don't care for (like the yahoo who cut into one of my cakes ahead of time at my wedding reception and just met me about 1-2 hours earlier AT the reception) I opt to have nothing to do with in the future (she's still DH's friend -- I have no quarrel with that -- but I've told him that as a result of what she did, she proved that I could never trust her in our home because, what's next, hiding the TV remotes deep inside a bathroom cabinet or stuffing shrimp in a heat vent when we're not looking because she thinks it's just good fun?).

I know earlier on I said I'd consider it rude, but I guess it really depends upon the situation and the individuals involved (although I still think Reba was rude in this case and should've let the hostess have the opportunity to offer, rather than be put on the spot like that).
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Poppea on April 10, 2013, 11:09:03 PM
When I serve a buffet dinner, I would set up the dinner items on my dining room table.  I try to make everything look nice.  The plates are stacked her, the various platters arranged just so.

Then the dessert buffet is in my sunroom, again arranged in a preplanned way.  I would be really disappointed if someone wanted be take a dessert "to go" from my dinner party.  I'm not a restaurant.  I certainly would not appreciate cutting into a cake before my guests had an opportunity to go "ooh" and "ah"   A brownie or cookie oud bother me less, but it seems pretty entitled.  (I like baking). 

If Reba was sick and needed to go home, then she was sick.  But how sick can you really be if you can ask for a dessert in a doggy bag?  If I was leaving an event early because I wasn't feeling well, I would never
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sammycat on April 11, 2013, 12:58:45 AM
When I serve a buffet dinner, I would set up the dinner items on my dining room table.  I try to make everything look nice.  The plates are stacked her, the various platters arranged just so.

Then the dessert buffet is in my sunroom, again arranged in a preplanned way.  I would be really disappointed if someone wanted be take a dessert "to go" from my dinner party.  I'm not a restaurant.  I certainly would not appreciate cutting into a cake before my guests had an opportunity to go "ooh" and "ah"   A brownie or cookie oud bother me less, but it seems pretty entitled.  (I like baking). 

If Reba was sick and needed to go home, then she was sick.  But how sick can you really be if you can ask for a dessert in a doggy bag?  If I was leaving an event early because I wasn't feeling well, I would never

I agree totally. 

Anyone asking me to cut into a cake or other dessert such as pavlova or trifle ahead of time would be met with 'no'. Leaving early from an event has its consequences, and in this type of situation, I'm not going to (A) rush around getting someone food 'to go', and (B) ruin the look of my cake/whatever for one person.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: sammycat on April 11, 2013, 01:00:36 AM
(like the yahoo who cut into one of my cakes ahead of time at my wedding reception and just met me about 1-2 hours earlier AT the reception) I opt to have nothing to do with in the future

 >:( :o

I'm glad you opted to have nothing to do with her later; I'd have been the same.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Sharnita on April 11, 2013, 05:48:38 AM
When I serve a buffet dinner, I would set up the dinner items on my dining room table.  I try to make everything look nice.  The plates are stacked her, the various platters arranged just so.

Then the dessert buffet is in my sunroom, again arranged in a preplanned way.  I would be really disappointed if someone wanted be take a dessert "to go" from my dinner party.  I'm not a restaurant.  I certainly would not appreciate cutting into a cake before my guests had an opportunity to go "ooh" and "ah"   A brownie or cookie oud bother me less, but it seems pretty entitled.  (I like baking). 

If Reba was sick and needed to go home, then she was sick.  But how sick can you really be if you can ask for a dessert in a doggy bag?  If I was leaving an event early because I wasn't feeling well, I would never

What you describe doesn't sound like a caual buffet to me.  Buffet or not it actually sounds like it has a different mood than  seems to be described in the OP.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Poppea on April 11, 2013, 01:45:04 PM
When I serve a buffet dinner, I would set up the dinner items on my dining room table.  I try to make everything look nice.  The plates are stacked her, the various platters arranged just so.

Then the dessert buffet is in my sunroom, again arranged in a preplanned way.  I would be really disappointed if someone wanted be take a dessert "to go" from my dinner party.  I'm not a restaurant.  I certainly would not appreciate cutting into a cake before my guests had an opportunity to go "ooh" and "ah"   A brownie or cookie oud bother me less, but it seems pretty entitled.  (I like baking). 

If Reba was sick and needed to go home, then she was sick.  But how sick can you really be if you can ask for a dessert in a doggy bag?  If I was leaving an event early because I wasn't feeling well, I would never

What you describe doesn't sound like a caual buffet to me.  Buffet or not it actually sounds like it has a different mood than  seems to be described in the OP.

THe OP described it this way:

"Again, buffet-style - it had been set up in the dining room, and everyone filled their plates and gathered in different areas to eat, so it definitely wasn't a formal, sit-down dinner."

If I was grilling hot dogs it would still  feel rude to me. 

ETA - it feels like an entitlement.  Like they are owed a dessert. 


Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: WillyNilly on April 11, 2013, 02:03:23 PM
At Easter my aunt-in-law hosted about 12 of us. She and her husband by far have the biggest home. Her kitchen counters had the drinks, ice bucket, cups/glasses and corkscrew, and 2 desserts (one in a box, one a cookie platter in a big cellophane poof on top of the box), 2 more desserts were in the fridge. The sideboard in the dining area had the snack/hos d'vourves (crudite & dip, hummus, pretzels, jellybeans, cheese crisps, etc) and the dining room table was pushed against a wall and was where dinner was served buffet style. Between the plates, cutlery, napkins, roast, salad, potatoes, cooked veggie and ham the table had no extra room.

There was no convenient place to pre-serve dessert had someone asked for it.

And while it was certainly a casual party, when the dining room table was switched over to dessert, it was still an "oooh and ahh" situation because - hey that platter of cookies was beautiful as well as tasty looking, and the box opened to reveal a truffle cake, and out of the fridge came a home made rabbit-shaped cake (which we all wondered about the flavor of and then felt silly - of course it was carrot cake ;D).
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Paper Roses on April 11, 2013, 05:40:07 PM
If Reba was sick and needed to go home, then she was sick.  But how sick can you really be if you can ask for a dessert in a doggy bag?  If I was leaving an event early because I wasn't feeling well, I would never

She didn't ask for it in a doggy bag, and she didn't ask for it for herself.  She asked if Bill could have it, and he would eat it before they left (meaning within the next few minutes).

And being sick enough to leave early doesn't necessarily mean on one's deathbed.  I've had colds, or been recovering from surgery, or other ailments that may cause a "run down" feeling for weeks that while I don't really feel so sick I can't interact with anyone, I know I just don't have the stamina I usually do. 
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Poppea on April 11, 2013, 09:56:34 PM
If Reba was sick and needed to go home, then she was sick.  But how sick can you really be if you can ask for a dessert in a doggy bag?  If I was leaving an event early because I wasn't feeling well, I would never

She didn't ask for it in a doggy bag, and she didn't ask for it for herself.  She asked if Bill could have it, and he would eat it before they left (meaning within the next few minutes).

And being sick enough to leave early doesn't necessarily mean on one's deathbed.  I've had colds, or been recovering from surgery, or other ailments that may cause a "run down" feeling for weeks that while I don't really feel so sick I can't interact with anyone, I know I just don't have the stamina I usually do.

Thats worse then.  Nothing says "hurry up you're eating too slow" to the other guests than someone else eating dessert when you've just started dinner.

Asking to have dessert when dinner has just been announced is rude.  Bill must have wolfed his dinner down (which is okay if he needed to leave), but no one really needs dessert.   I'm sure there was plenty of food out already.  It wasn't an issue of hunger.  It was entitlement.  It made the hostess leave her guests, go into the kitchen & serve something ahead of time.  Its not polite to treat your hostess like a waitress.  And thats what they were doing.
Title: Re: Asking for an item before it's served
Post by: Mopsy428 on April 20, 2013, 09:42:02 PM
To me this is such a non-issue, especially at a casual buffet gathering. 

Regarding Thipu1's story, I also don't really understand that either.  I think the women was likely a bit rude in her delivery, given the way Thipu1 told the story, but I can't understand why Thipu1 was miffed to begin with.  Had the woman not brought the tray, there would have been no cookies or statue at all.  I also think it is not bizarre for guests at an all day open house to expect everything to be out at once.

Short answer: I don't see the big deal at all.
The woman in Thipu1's story was rude because you don't give someone a gift and then ask for part of it back so you can give to your son. The woman should have either told her son, "Sorry, Johnny, you may not have the statue. It's a gift for Thipu1" or she shouldn't have given the gift at all.