Author Topic: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything. UPDATE post 81  (Read 12316 times)

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snowdragon

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2012, 12:44:32 AM »
Elbow noodles, grated cheddar cheese, a dash of salt and pepper and a tiny bit of milk.  use an oven safe dish, ( casserole- not cake pan),  put a layer of noodles down, then a layer of cheese - alternate to the top of the dish, make sure the last layer is cheese. In one of the corners pour a bit of milk ( not even an eight of a cup) put a dash of nut neg on the top and bake at 350F til  the top is browned. 
  This will make a nice dish, and is cheap.

Danika

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2012, 03:05:56 AM »
that would work johelenc, except that when they mean meat they mean like a whole ham or chicken or whatever. My uncle even suggested us all going in on a big roast beef. But my mom is still wondering where she's going to get the money for this. Oi... if we would have known in advance we could have budgeted!

I still don't understand why she didn't say that at the time?  Or call him and tell him now?  There are 4 options here, only 1 of which is 'work it out'.  The others are:

1. Call uncle, say you can't bring the requested item due to finances.  Can you bring something else such as xxx?

2. Call uncle, say you can't bring anything, as you are too broke.  Is that ok?

3. Call uncle, say you can't attend.

Yes, your mother can always call back and say "I've thought it over but it doesn't work for me to do ask you asked, sorry." It sounds like she was put on the spot.

Even if you had tons of money, you might not have time to go grocery shopping. And it's rude for them to just make the decision that others will provide for a party that they decided to host.

I've been in the position a few times when someone has dictated to me "Oh, for this event, we are all going to donate to charity. Please, bring a canned food item with you." And I'd be told this 3 days before the event. I didn't have extra cans in the pantry. I had already done my grocery shopping for that period (I tend to go once every 2 weeks). A canned food item was $1. But I was working 80 hour weeks, plus a commute, and in grad school. Driving to the grocery store, parking, going into the store to buy the $1 item was an hour out of my schedule that I did not have. I did it anyway, at the expense of getting a full night's sleep.

But nowadays, in your shoes, I would just say "I'm sorry. If you had told me of this requirement a month ago, I could have accommodated. But now it's too late. I cannot bring a side dish." And then I would either show up and not eat. Or if that's something people would speak poorly about, I'd not attend.

mrkitty

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2012, 04:34:53 AM »
OP, it seems to me that other posters have made very good suggestions for an economical solution to your side dish and meat/main course issue, or for communicating your concerns to family members.

I could be wrong, but I'm sensing the real issue here is the manner in which you were "invited" to the event in the first place. Here, I quote: "Apparently we (that is the family as a whole, including the extended cousins and what not) are funding this whole thing. We weren't asked, oh no. We were ordered. My Aunt (mom's sister) called her tonight, and was contacted by Cousin J. Cousin J is the daughter of the Great Aunt who is dying."

From the way you describe it, I could understand if you feel like you and your mother were dictated to by a bossy relative, and as a result, perhaps feel a bit annoyed. It's much more pleasant to be consulted rather than "ordered" to do something.

Since this event is being held for the purposes of spending time with a terminally ill relative, I would urge you to try to be as patient and understanding as you can with your cousin, who is the daughter of your dying Great Aunt. I know from sad experience that people who are in grief during the final stages of a loved one's illness are under a great deal of stress and other strong emotions. Therefore, they might not be as polite or patient as they normally would be. People in grief sometimes act very out of character and say and do things they usually wouldn't. In fact, your cousin might be under a great deal of pressure trying to pull together rather large event in a short time frame, while trying to attend to the needs of her mother and having to deal with her own emotions at the same time -  in addition to her usual responsibilities and daily life.

So, I think it would be appropriate to cut her a little slack right now. I would encourage you to take a deep breath and help your mother put together an inexpensive plate of food (the suggestions on here are wonderful) and go. Don't let the food issue ruin possibly the last time you and your mother get to see your relative.

If there is just no possible way you can manage to put together a plate of food, I'm sure your family will not hold it against you. It seems to me the point of this event is not so much about food, but rather saying goodbye to a family member. So, on that basis, I would either try to put something modest together as a gesture, or just explain the circumstances to your aunt or cousin who is arranging this and offer to bring something less expensive (maybe a liter-size bottled soft drink? Or some store bought potato salad? Perhaps a large bag of potato chips?) or just go and don't worry about the food. Given the situation, the family may not even care if you don't bring anything.

However, if you think doing any of these things would cause a lot of drama and tension, or if the food issue is a huge deal breaker, or if you feel resentful or annoyed, perhaps its best if you don't go. It wouldn't do to inadvertently add tension to a situation that is already painful.

***edited by mr kitty for content***
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 05:20:32 AM by mrkitty »
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cicero

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2012, 05:26:10 AM »
can your mother call someone and explain the situation? can she say something like "I don't want to come empty-handed, but I really can't afford to supply a whole chicken. I would be happy to cook a chicken if someone could help me buy it, or daughter and I will make my famous rice and beans casserole."

I understand that this was thrust on you at the last minute and you couldn't budget for it. But on the other hand, I would think that this is a very special kind of event that you probably wouldn't want to miss.

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YummyMummy66

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2012, 06:10:37 AM »
Where are you located?   Inside the US or outside the US?

I can get a whole chicken at Walmart for $5-$6 and roast.  In fact, my family constantly raves about my roast chicken all the time.

Is this something you cannot afford?

klm75

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2012, 07:25:54 AM »
The way I read this situation is that it was a bait and switch.  The family was invited to a gathering to spend time with Aunt, after everyone had said that they would love to come, a second round of calls informed them that it was potluck and what they were assigned what to bring.  Whether family or friends, this is wrong. 

As for the inexpensive dishes to bring, when you are on a tight budget, every dollar counts.  With a family of four, bringing one dish, we break about even at a potluck.  A family of two bringing two dishes is going wanting.

OP, I would discuss the situation with whoever is 'hosting', if no compromise is possible, decline and see Aunt at another time.

rigs32

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2012, 09:14:32 AM »
A tuna noodle casserole is cheap and has meat.

I can get a pre-roasted chicken for $5.

wildtao

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2012, 09:32:38 AM »
I just don't think the OP should have to bring a side dish. No matter how many cheap alternatives there are out there if she can not afford it then she can not. Even 5-6 dollars can make a big difference if you literally are down to the last 5 dollars you have for awhile. There's also the fact that this party was planned, everyone invited and only after the fact was potluck mentioned. I've seen it mentioned on here before that such a bait and switch is rude and this is no different. Inviting and then saying a week before the event BTW you HAVE to bring food enough for everyone to the party just doesn't fly. The cousin and family making the demands seem rude to me.

Giggity

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2012, 09:48:44 AM »
that would work johelenc, except that when they mean meat they mean like a whole ham or chicken or whatever.

Act on what they say, not what you think they mean.
Words mean things.

Penguin_ar

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2012, 10:29:30 AM »
Can you offer your time instead of a roast?
I did that a couple of times as a poor student... offered to come early to help set up/ come back the next day to clean up instead of contributing financially.

Girlie

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2012, 10:43:48 AM »
I understand that you want to go so that you can see this aunt one last time.
I also understand that you can't afford to take anything.

Since you seem to be okay with the idea of just going and visiting for a few hours without eating, why can you not do just that? If people ask if you've brought anything, just excuse yourself politely and explain that you have no intention of eating, ergo you didn't bring anything.
If I was in your shoes, that's what I would do.

onyonryngs

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2012, 10:47:13 AM »
Asking people to bring something to a potluck isn't rude.  But can you do something like a rotisserie chicken?  They're about $6 ready-made and less if you cook it yourself.  You can stuff it and have both your dishes out of the way with one for under $10. 

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2012, 11:06:33 AM »
When I’m confronted with something I cannot do, I figure out what I can do.  Some great suggestions have been made here.

There’s usually way too much food at these events, so if you have to under-contribute this time, it shouldn’t be a big deal.  I’d let Cousin know ahead of time, and I’d expect her to be gracious about it. 

You and your mom have to eat that day, whether at home or at the party.  If you make yourself a plate early in the party and a second plate later, it’s like having two meals.  There’s a fair chance that you’ll be offered some leftovers.   So, logically you should be able to afford to take the equivalent of two meals for two people. 

It sounds like your mom is determined to fulfill the meat request.  Perhaps the two of you could provide a combined meat and side dish.  For example, you could take chicken and rice, using a smaller amount of both than if you took separate dishes.  You can even claim you brought it because it’s one of your specialties.

It would be a shame for you to miss this get-together for financial reasons.  It sucks to be poor, but most people will understand your situation.  And again, it’s unlikely that anyone will go away hungry whatever you do. 
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

JenJay

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2012, 11:16:09 AM »
Can you offer your time instead of a roast?
I did that a couple of times as a poor student... offered to come early to help set up/ come back the next day to clean up instead of contributing financially.

This is a lovely suggestion.

I agree with what mrkitty said up thread. I understand why you're annoyed, OP, but I would try to look past that and do whatever I could to be there for this special get-together. Talk to your mom and see if she's up for it.

camlan

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Re: After Christmas Party, and Supplying Everything.
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2012, 11:21:09 AM »
Can you and your mom together afford one dish? If so, then I'd call the host and explain that you simply can't do two separate dishes for this party, but you and your mom together can bring one and ask if that's okay. If your cousin says no, then politely tell her that you will have to decline. Maybe ask if there's a good time when you can visit with your aunt, outside of the party.
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