Author Topic: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese  (Read 19175 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2012, 11:45:16 AM »
I think what would annoy me most about this scenario is that she just handed it to the OP and OP's mom and expected them to cook it, even though there is precedent for the event being potluck. If she'd shown up and asked to cook it herself on the spot, it might be annoying if there wasn't enough space/cookware free, but it wouldn't seem presumptuous. And there would have been nothing rude at all about her showing up with a store-bought dish. But this comes off like she's bringing extra work for the hosts. Cicero's chicken story falls under this too.

mj

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2012, 01:07:06 PM »
I think there is some kind of misunderstanding.  It says that in the OP that you offered to bring something, but SIL was asked to bring something, she didn't offer to bring anything.  Even though there is a precedent of this being a potluck, it doesn't sound like one to me.  And granted, I am new to potlucks but from my understanding, a potluck is bring what you want.  In this case, SIL was told to bring a specific dish and she also brought her own dish.  It seems awkward on the outside in that you were allowed to decide what you wanted to bring, but SIL was assigned.   

IMO, if a host wants something specific, they should make it. 


Yvaine

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2012, 01:09:16 PM »
I think there is some kind of misunderstanding.  It says that in the OP that you offered to bring something, but SIL was asked to bring something, she didn't offer to bring anything.  Even though there is a precedent of this being a potluck, it doesn't sound like one to me.  And granted, I am new to potlucks but from my understanding, a potluck is bring what you want.  In this case, SIL was told to bring a specific dish and she also brought her own dish.  It seems awkward on the outside in that you were allowed to decide what you wanted to bring, but SIL was assigned.   

IMO, if a host wants something specific, they should make it.

Another good point, actually. She did make a dish--did anyone else get asked to bring two?

onyonryngs

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2012, 01:11:47 PM »
Just out of curiosity, but were they sitting down to eat immediately?  Because boxed mac & cheese takes less than 10 minutes to cook, and it does taste better fresh.

dawbs

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2012, 01:17:33 PM »
Just out of curiosity, but were they sitting down to eat immediately?  Because boxed mac & cheese takes less than 10 minutes to cook, and it does taste better fresh.
This is part of what I was thinking...
if I'm making mac-n-cheese from a box (and really, that's how I make it), I'm not pre-making it, I can't stand it once it's been cooled/reheated.

TurtleDove

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2012, 01:18:18 PM »
Just out of curiosity, but were they sitting down to eat immediately?  Because boxed mac & cheese takes less than 10 minutes to cook, and it does taste better fresh.

Yeah, this struck me too.  My family generally will say something like, "why don't you come over at 11 - we'll plan to eat around 12:30."  I cannot think of a time anyone has shown up at 12:30, and I cannot think of a time we ate at 11 in that example.

lowspark

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2012, 01:18:37 PM »
If she didn't want to cook it, for whatever reason, why not just say so?

Mom: Will you please bring mac & cheese for the kids?
SIL: Sorry, I don't cook and can't make that. Can I bring something else instead?

How hard is that?

I'm curious about the salad -- was she also asked to bring that or did she just bring that of her own accord? Especially since the OP was also bringing a salad!

I also agree that it was the fact that it wasn't made, not the fact that it wasn't "from scratch". There are some people who prefer the boxed stuff. So if even if she'd brought all the ingredients to make the homemade stuff and handed that over, the effect would have been the same.

onyonryngs

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2012, 01:19:36 PM »
Just out of curiosity, but were they sitting down to eat immediately?  Because boxed mac & cheese takes less than 10 minutes to cook, and it does taste better fresh.
This is part of what I was thinking...
if I'm making mac-n-cheese from a box (and really, that's how I make it), I'm not pre-making it, I can't stand it once it's been cooled/reheated.

Also, if mac & cheese was specifically requested for the kids then it makes sense to use the boxed kind if that's what they're used to.  I'm assuming it was requested due to picky eaters, otherwise I don't see a reason they can't eat the same food as the adults.

jedikaiti

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2012, 02:06:48 PM »
no, your SIL was wrong. when asked to bring something then you bring a ready-to-serve dish. preferably in a serving dish, and if possible at the correct serving temperature.

reminds of the time my step mother *insisted* on bring chicken for a family dinner because "she wants to help me", i finally gave in (i learned after that), so my father showed up at my house 2 hours before the dinner, with RAW chicken all spiced and in a cooking bag with instructions to roast for 2 hours at whatever temperature. i was so upset - she said that she wants to help me - but that wasn't "help" it just made things more difficult for me (besides she didn't even think to ask if the oven was free, but that was a whole other story).

I hope you sent him home with it!
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mj

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2012, 02:09:49 PM »
If she didn't want to cook it, for whatever reason, why not just say so?

Mom: Will you please bring mac & cheese for the kids?
SIL: Sorry, I don't cook and can't make that. Can I bring something else instead?

How hard is that?

I'm curious about the salad -- was she also asked to bring that or did she just bring that of her own accord? Especially since the OP was also bringing a salad!


I don't think it's hard to say something, but I can tell you it's awkward.  Before DHs family the only experience I had with potlucks was at work, where you can sign up to bring what you want.  Since we seemed to have a bunch of mis-communication with DHs family over their style of "potluck" I researched it, since I thought I was being rude or inconsiderate from the way his family reacted to similar blunders. 

What I found was that many etiquette experts don't consider assigning a dish a potluck, it's co-hosting at that point.  A true potluck is bring what you want, so you might end up with a lot of salads.  But that's the risk you take with hosting a potluck. 

Asking someone to co-host by bringing an assigned dish is not the same as potluck and causes these types of issues.  Especially when the term potluck is used to describe it, those not familiar with it will think they can bring what they want and then if they are assigned it can cause further confusion.  It really does confuse people, especially those who married in and don't quite know the nuances of the family history and style of hosting.  That's why it is not considered a potluck when assigned dishes are in play. 

So I would classify this under a misunderstanding.  I think the term potluck is being used incorrectly because some people are being assigned dishes.  While others are being allowed to pick. 

cicero

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2012, 03:07:54 PM »
no, your SIL was wrong. when asked to bring something then you bring a ready-to-serve dish. preferably in a serving dish, and if possible at the correct serving temperature.

reminds of the time my step mother *insisted* on bring chicken for a family dinner because "she wants to help me", i finally gave in (i learned after that), so my father showed up at my house 2 hours before the dinner, with RAW chicken all spiced and in a cooking bag with instructions to roast for 2 hours at whatever temperature. i was so upset - she said that she wants to help me - but that wasn't "help" it just made things more difficult for me (besides she didn't even think to ask if the oven was free, but that was a whole other story).

I hope you sent him home with it!
nah... that was in my dish rag days. I learned, i grew, i'm no longer a wimp.

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lowspark

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2012, 03:12:18 PM »
That's a really good point, mj. When I host a pot luck I don't tell people what to bring but I do ask them to tell me in advance what they are bringing and I have asked someone to switch to a different dish (still of their own choice) if someone else has already volunteered for that dish. I learned my lesson when I hosted a pot luck once with too many desserts. You might think there's no such thing, but believe me there is.

So yeah, I can see that part of the responsibility for the misunderstanding should go to the mom for asking for a specific dish. But I simply cannot imagine showing up with an unopened box as a response to being asked to bring a dish to a dinner. I'd be way more embarrassed to do that than to just politely decline in the first place.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2012, 03:23:55 PM »
How far of a drive was it from sil's to your mom's?  Making mac and cheese from the box doesn't take that long. I would prefer it hot, rather than have to reheat it via the microwave.

I only make it from the box.  I am a terrible cook.  I made my mac and cheese from scratch once (using my mother-in-law's recipe that my husband raved about).  It was terrible.  He tried to eat it, but never asked for it again.  I even ruined boxed scalloped potatoes last week.

And Kraft Mac & Cheese doesn't taste as good when it's cooled, its best right after it's been cooked when it's all nice and cheesy and creamy.  Dangit now I want mac & cheese! :)
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CakeBeret

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2012, 03:41:10 PM »
My sister does this all the time. She'll be asked to bring green bean casserole, and show up with two cans of green beans and a can of cream soup. It's laziness on her part, but since it always happens we just roll our eyes and deal with it.

It could be laziness, or it could be she just doesn't place value on green bean casserole.  Try asking her what she would like to contribute next time.  I know for me, I am neither cheap nor trying to get out of contributing.  But ask me to bring an h'ors d'oerve or main dish or dessert or _____ and you will get something ordered from a restaurant.  What I prefer to bring?  Good wine, or a fancy cake from a bakery, or something else store-bought.  I am not about to go outside my comfort zone to cook something and then have people critique it.  Not all people, and not all women, and not all mothers.....cook.  I don't.  I am not likely to ever.

Well, we have been having meals this way for the past 7 years, so if she preferred to bring wine or cake, she would have said something by now. Generally our mother provides a main dish and we each bring a side; usually Mom says "I'm making brisket, what would you like to bring?" and we each pick something. Sis usually brings green bean casserole (it's one of her favorite potluck dishes) but other contributions are just the same. If she decides she wants to bring salad, she will arrive with six different types of vegetables that need to be washed, peeled, and chopped before the salad can be made.
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jpcher

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Re: Family Party. Please bring mac and cheese
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2012, 06:34:28 PM »
Mother asked my sister in law to bring mac and cheese since we had a ton of little ones. She showed up with her family at the appointed luncheon time with a green salad and a box of mac and cheese.

This is my question -- for a "ton of little ones" would 1 box of mac & cheese be anywhere near enough? I mean, even if there was time to make it, I wouldn't serve it in fear of not all the little ones getting a fair serving.

When the DDs were little and I was serving mac & cheese as a side dish, I would have to make 2 boxes for the 4 of us. (Okay, LDH was a big eater ;))

I agree. Boxed mac & cheese just does not warm well. SIL should have made arrangements, in advance, in order to have the dish prepared right before serving.

I also agree with others on the point of being asked what you would like to bring and being told what to bring. If the invitation went something like "We'd love to have you at our party, and you need to bring X-item" then that would have been rude on the hostess' part.


Another question that I have is how long has SIL been coming to these annual parties? Is this the first faux pas that she's made?


What I found was that many etiquette experts don't consider assigning a dish a potluck, it's co-hosting at that point.  A true potluck is bring what you want, so you might end up with a lot of salads.  But that's the risk you take with hosting a potluck.

Thanks for posting this, mj! That's where the "luck" part comes in, isn't it. Otherwise it would be a potplanned. ;D