Author Topic: What can I bring?  (Read 12602 times)

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NyaChan

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2012, 08:48:45 PM »
Ribs Story:  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411218

The first post lays out the story, I'm not sure if it is resolved in the same topic, but as I remember it, the guests ended up showing for the BBQ sans ribs :)

« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 08:54:26 PM by NyaChan »

NyaChan

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2012, 08:54:48 PM »
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/444218 
-Resolution to rib story

doodlemor

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2012, 10:12:05 PM »
Thanks, NyaChan.  That's a great story.

In reading the comments on your links I was surprised that so many hosts just went ahead and served unwanted items.

As I posted before, I've read for many years that serving unwanted/unsolicited food is not necessary according to etiquette.  I've always understood that unsolicited items can be considered hostess gifts, and put away for the next day.

Have times changed so much that hosts are now obligated to serve unsolicited food, or are the people who do so trying to be considerate of the guests who have brought the extras?  What are the norms now?

sparksals

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2012, 12:39:28 AM »
It never fails, as people are arriving, I already have my table set just so and then people show up with food that forces me to realign my already done table.

You know, I think I'd take the dish, thank them and put it in the fridge.  'This is great!  With your dish and the leftovers, I won't have to cook tomorrow.'  Is that too PA?  But really, why should you have to change everything for something you never wanted, and told them not to bring, in the first place?

This.  Any etiquette books that I've ever read say that one is not required to serve unsolicited items that guests bring with them. 

NyaChan, please tell us the ribs story.

The problem is they expect the dish to be served at the party. 

Thipu1

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2012, 11:10:25 AM »
My Grandmother always said that you never go to have a meal at someone's house with, 'one arm as long as the other'. 

That meant that you brought something.  It didn't mean that you expected what you brought to be served at the party.  She was in he habit of bringing something with a note attached that would read along the lines of, 'We hope you will enjoy this after the party is over'. 

If the hosts wanted to serve the gift, they could.  If the dish didn't appear at the party, Grandma didn't mind. 

We've absorbed this view.  We consider what we bring as Hostess gifts.  Usually, it's a bottle of decent wine.  If we know the taste of the host family, it might be a pound of wild rice.  There may also be a catnip cigar or a dog toy added.  The idea was that a TY gift was given but there was no pressure on the host family.   

artk2002

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2012, 03:19:50 PM »
While they may have good intention to ask to bring something, it is insulting to not take no for an answer bc it implies I cannot adequately provide for my guests.

It doesn't imply that at all. You are inferring that, but it doesn't work the other direction. As others have pointed out, many people are raised in a tradition where they are as uncomfortable in not bringing something as you are in having someone bring something. It's a clash of traditions, not a referendum on your hospitality.

In other words, please don't take it personally.
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sparksals

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2012, 04:01:20 PM »
While they may have good intention to ask to bring something, it is insulting to not take no for an answer bc it implies I cannot adequately provide for my guests.

It doesn't imply that at all. You are inferring that, but it doesn't work the other direction. As others have pointed out, many people are raised in a tradition where they are as uncomfortable in not bringing something as you are in having someone bring something. It's a clash of traditions, not a referendum on your hospitality.

In other words, please don't take it personally.

If you read further, I stated I don't take it personally.  I think it is horribly rude to insist when the host has graciously declined the offer.  The not taking no for an answer is a form of control and shows lack of respect for the hostess and her vision for her party.  Sure, people are raised not to go somewhere empty handed, but everyone is raised differently and one can't always inflict their raised values in the home of another.   A polite person respects the hostess' wishes. 

If one must bring something, don't bring something that conflicts with what the hostess is serving... that is what I have a problem with.  Most insist on bringing something to contribute to my meal.  I am perfectly happy if they bring a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers.  It is the insistence on bringing food for the meal that is insulting.

doodlemor

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2012, 12:55:39 AM »
..........  I think it is horribly rude to insist when the host has graciously declined the offer.  The not taking no for an answer is a form of control and shows lack of respect for the hostess and her vision for her party.  Sure, people are raised not to go somewhere empty handed, but everyone is raised differently and one can't always inflict their raised values in the home of another.   A polite person respects the hostess' wishes. 

If one must bring something, don't bring something that conflicts with what the hostess is serving... that is what I have a problem with.  Most insist on bringing something to contribute to my meal.  I am perfectly happy if they bring a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers.  It is the insistence on bringing food for the meal that is insulting.

I agree with this.  Insisting on bringing part of a meal after being told *no, thanks* is pretty clueless.

Any etiquette mavens that I've ever read state that a host is not obligated to serve any unsolicited food brought to a dinner party.  The same basic information can be found in this wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiquette_in_North_America







 

lowspark

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2012, 11:20:26 AM »
There is a difference between insisting on bringing something to contribute to the meal/party and not wanting to show up empty handed.

I always ask if I can bring something (well almost always, sometimes I already know the answer is no so I don't ask anymore). If the answer is no, I take the hostess at her word. However! that does not mean I have to go empty handed. It's ok to bring a hostess gift that is not a dish to be served that night. A bottle of wine, a candle, or whatever. As hostess, I'm always genuinely delighted to receive a hostess gift in that vein.

It's not rude to show up with something, it is rude to insist on bringing something which is meant to be served that night after the hostess has declined your offer to do so.

sparksals

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2012, 11:32:01 AM »
There is a difference between insisting on bringing something to contribute to the meal/party and not wanting to show up empty handed.

I always ask if I can bring something (well almost always, sometimes I already know the answer is no so I don't ask anymore). If the answer is no, I take the hostess at her word. However! that does not mean I have to go empty handed. It's ok to bring a hostess gift that is not a dish to be served that night. A bottle of wine, a candle, or whatever. As hostess, I'm always genuinely delighted to receive a hostess gift in that vein.

It's not rude to show up with something, it is rude to insist on bringing something which is meant to be served that night after the hostess has declined your offer to do so.

Exactly! 

anniehawks

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #40 on: August 13, 2012, 01:07:32 PM »
There is a difference between insisting on bringing something to contribute to the meal/party and not wanting to show up empty handed.

I always ask if I can bring something (well almost always, sometimes I already know the answer is no so I don't ask anymore). If the answer is no, I take the hostess at her word. However! that does not mean I have to go empty handed. It's ok to bring a hostess gift that is not a dish to be served that night. A bottle of wine, a candle, or whatever. As hostess, I'm always genuinely delighted to receive a hostess gift in that vein.

It's not rude to show up with something, it is rude to insist on bringing something which is meant to be served that night after the hostess has declined your offer to do so.

This was my problem with the pineapple upside down cake lady.  She definitely wanted her cake served at dinner. 

blarg314

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #41 on: August 13, 2012, 10:20:53 PM »

I do think that a lot of people have gotten the hostess gift concept and the potluck concept mixed up.

A hostess gift is a small gift taken along to express thanks for the hospitality, and is something that is *not* expected to be used at the meal. It can be a bottle of wine, chocolates, flowers - I might take a jar of home-made preserves, or something like that.

A potluck is when guests bring food items that are intended to be eaten as part of the meal. A hostess gift is not required for potlucks, because it's a form of shared hospitality.

It also doesn't make sense from a basic logic perspective. You're holding a dinner party for six people. Each of the six brings a different dish, with the intention of eating it at that meal. You've got close to a full meal right there, excluding the full meal the host has prepared. It just doesn't make sense.

doodlemor

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2012, 11:36:03 PM »
It also doesn't make sense from a basic logic perspective. You're holding a dinner party for six people. Each of the six brings a different dish, with the intention of eating it at that meal. You've got close to a full meal right there, excluding the full meal the host has prepared. It just doesn't make sense.

I really like the way that you have expressed this, blarg314.  It puts the whole thing down to logic and common sense.  I think that this would be great logic to use if faced with an unsolicited dish, and an insistent guest.

baglady

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2012, 06:43:12 PM »
In my circle, we do a lot of potlucks and what I call semi-potlucks -- which is where the hosts provide enough to make up an adequate meal (appetizer(s), entree, side(s) and drinks) but welcome contributions of munchies, extra sides, desserts from guests. I hosted one of those just this weekend.

In the 20 years I've been hanging with these folks, I can count on my fingers the number of actual dinner parties (no guest contributions desired) that I've been to. Because they are so rare, it sort of takes willpower to *not* show up with a dish! But I respect the hosts' wishes and either bring "just myself" or a hostess gift that is not a contribution to the meal.

A guest bringing his own version of the entree? That's just weird.
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Danika

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Re: What can I bring?
« Reply #44 on: August 15, 2012, 01:13:27 AM »
This was my problem with the pineapple upside down cake lady.  She definitely wanted her cake served at dinner.

That was very annoying of her. I imagine you were frustrated. I think if I had an informal meal and dessert, I might have presented her cake alongside whatever I had planned for dessert, but I would have felt like she were slightly rude and I would have considered not inviting her over again. But if, for some reason, I felt really strongly about my dessert being the only dessert, I would have stood my ground and told her "I have all the courses planned out. Thanks for your cake. It doesn't go with the theme of tonight's menu. I will leave it in the fridge and hope to enjoy it tomorrow night with my family." And then if she got really rude and wanted to bring her cake back home with her that evening, I'd have let her.