DH and I threw a superbowl party yesterday. One of the guests "Janet" makes amazing cheesecakes and brought DH and I one as a host/hostess gift. It was a small cake just really big enough for the two of us to share. Janet handed me the cake when she arrived and after thanking her, I put the cake in our refrigerator. I didn't tell DH about it immediately, because he was busy with other guests.
Later, I noticed that the cheesecake was sitting on our kitchen table and had been completely eaten. Janet was visibly upset. I asked her what happened and she told me that the guests ate the cake. DH came in about that time and told us that another guest (a friend of a friend that wasn't on our invite list, but had permission to attend), Robert, came to him and told him that Janet had brought a cheesecake and told him he could have a slice. DH, at the time, wasn't aware that the cake existed or that it was a gift meant for the two of us. He was confused why Robert was asking him if it was ok to eat a cake that someone else "said it was ok" for him to have. Basically, Robert took the cake out of our refrigerator, cut himself a peice, and then left the cake out with the other desserts. So one or two more guests helped themselves, not knowing the cake wasn't meant to share. Robert's claim was that DH said it was ok.
We had plenty of food and desserts out (though no cheesecake), so there was no reason for Robert to seek out something new. I'm not even sure how he knew that this chessecake existed except for the possibility that he saw Janet give it to me and me put it away.
There is no question that what Robert did was wrong. But once we figured out what happened, Janet feels that she "owes" us a new cake. Of course, I wouldn't turn down the cake (I am disappointed that we didn't get the one that she made), but I also know that Janet works hard throughout the week. She commented to me (before the cake was stolen) how stressed out she's been and that she doesn't have the time for baking that she would like. I don't want her to feel obligated to replace this gift, but also don't want her to think that we wouldn't appreciate a replacement. I told her last night that she didn't have to make another cake and she looked disappointed that I turned her down, so I took another approach and added that I didn't want her to go out of her way to make a new one but that we love her cakes and would always welcome them in our bellies. And of course, now, I feel like she feels obligated to make us another one.
What's done is done and if Janet brings by a new cake, we'll obviously accept and be thrilled with it. My question is, could I have handled this differently? How would I let Janet know that we would always love her cakes but that we don't expect her to replace something when it wasn't her fault that it was gone.