Author Topic: Hosting horror stories  (Read 12128 times)

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cheyne

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 11:03:01 AM »
This isn't a true etiquette breach, but it was pretty horrible for me!

I hosted a dinner party last July.  I invited Dh's business partners and their wives (Don & Marcy and Ned & Linda).  All of the guests told DH that they adore Mexican food.  DH mentions this to me as I cook traditional Mexican dishes, so we are off and running!

*The day of the dinner, I spent 2.5 hours standing at the counter making enchiladas.  I literally didn't move to use the bathroom, get a drink or anything but make enchiladas for 2.5 hours.*

Guests arrive, apps and drinks are served, and I finish up making the rice.  At dinner time I put all food on the buffet, call the guests and do all the hostess things that take up about 5-10 mins.  My guests are asked to get their food and go ahead and start eating once they sit down.  I heard DH rummaging in the refrigerator while I was taking food out of the oven, but thought nothing of it.  I finally grab my food and sit with my guests.

Everyone is finishing their dinner and Don asks if there is enough for seconds.  I assure him there is plenty (2.5 hrs making enchiladas remember?)  I get Don's plate and put a few more enchiladas and beans on it.   I hand him his plate and start to sit down when I see him grab a bottle of ketchup.  My first thought was, "How did ketchup get on the table?" I was 2 nanoseconds from saying, "Don!  That's ketchup!" when I slammed my mouth shut.  Don procedes to pour at least a half cup of ketchup all over the enchiladas.  He then picks up his fork and tells me how wonderful the food is, how much he loves traditional Mexican dishes etc... :o

I have had the business partners over a couple more times since then.  However, I never fix a meal that requires me to stand for 2.5 hours to make.



artk2002

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 11:44:30 PM »
So, his "sin" of putting ketchup on the enchiladas has relegated him to the "never cooking good food again" category? Sorry, you sound very snobby. Did everyone enjoy the food (with and without ketchup?) Did everyone have a good time at the party? If so, your 2.5 hours were rewarded.

Some people like ketchup. Big deal.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

doodlemor

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2013, 12:43:02 AM »
So, his "sin" of putting ketchup on the enchiladas has relegated him to the "never cooking good food again" category? Sorry, you sound very snobby. Did everyone enjoy the food (with and without ketchup?) Did everyone have a good time at the party? If so, your 2.5 hours were rewarded.

Some people like ketchup. Big deal.

I would respectfully like to offer a few words in cheyne's defense.

She didn't say that she didn't cook "good food" again for Don.  She just indicated that she didn't make such a time consuming dish when Don came back - and she did invite him back.

I think that there was a difference in expectations here concerning the dinner.  Cheyne is apparently an accomplished chef able to prepare traditional Mexican foods.  To her, this was a very special dinner party.  I suspect that Don associates Mexican food with fast food establishments, and thought that this was a casual dinner.

I don't think that cheyne did anything to show herself to be a snob.  She managed not to comment on the ketchup.  I don't think that Don meant to hurt her feelings - some people really do like the stuff. 

We don't know if Don tasted the food and found it lacking, or just automatically asked for ketchup to go with his Mexican food.  I do think that he is missing out on some delicious things if he does indeed put ketchup on items that other people eat without that condiment.

Danika

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2013, 01:04:24 AM »
POD to what doodlemor said.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2013, 10:49:37 AM »
I do understand modifying what you cook based on who is attending.  I have a BIL who really doesn't care much about what he is eating. To him, the paella I spent 3 hours preparing tastes the same as my 30 minute jambalaya recipe.

But I do have a question.  Is it a breach of etiquette to substantially modify a meal served by your hostess?  I'm not talking about a sprinkle of a little salt or pepper or adding a bit more tabasco to your bowl of gumbo.  But more like the OP stated. Dan requested a bottle of ketchup be provided and then doused his meal with the ketchup.  Is that a breach of etiquette for an adult diner? 

The OP's story reminded me of an event from my college days. I had 3 roommates and one decided to make Fettucinni Alfredo and invite over all of our BF's. She served it, bread, and salad. One roommate's BF was suprised there was no meat so his GF went and got a can of tuna to top their servings. The cook roommate was very irritated and I was completely suprised because in my background that would never have been acceptable.  Tuna roommate felt because she lived there she was within her right even though she contributed nothing in labor or cost to the meal.

Amara

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2013, 12:00:04 PM »
Quote
Is it a breach of etiquette to substantially modify a meal served by your hostess?

I think it is if you haven't tasted it first. At least do that, which would show a courtesy to the amount of time and effort and open your taste buds to the possibility of something new and delicious.

Otherwise, you might just be served a bottle of ketchup.  >:D

Lynn2000

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2013, 12:02:12 PM »
The OP's story reminded me of an event from my college days. I had 3 roommates and one decided to make Fettucinni Alfredo and invite over all of our BF's. She served it, bread, and salad. One roommate's BF was suprised there was no meat so his GF went and got a can of tuna to top their servings. The cook roommate was very irritated and I was completely suprised because in my background that would never have been acceptable.  Tuna roommate felt because she lived there she was within her right even though she contributed nothing in labor or cost to the meal.

Interesting. I can see both sides. "Tuna roommate" would have wanted her BF to fully enjoy his meal and might have felt silly sitting there at her own table, not doing anything to improve the experience for him, when she knew a can of tuna was just a few feet away in her own kitchen. On the other hand, it wasn't a meal she had prepared, so modifying it in such a fundamental way in front of the cook seems pretty rude, and if I were the cook I wouldn't bother spending time making a nice meal for her again. I think things get a little less clear when they involve roommates, because the line between who is the host and who is the guest is blurred.
~Lynn2000

cheyne

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2013, 04:17:56 PM »
So, his "sin" of putting ketchup on the enchiladas has relegated him to the "never cooking good food again" category? Sorry, you sound very snobby. Did everyone enjoy the food (with and without ketchup?) Did everyone have a good time at the party? If so, your 2.5 hours were rewarded.

Some people like ketchup. Big deal.

I never said that Don commited a sin.  Why would you even think that?  The story was supposed to be funny and a bit of a horror, not a condemnation of ketchup lovers.  Nor did I say that I never cooked a "good meal" for Don, just that my dinners are not the 2.5 hr standing and wrapping enchiladas variety.  Actually Don has eaten smoked pork ribs, slow roasted beef and other assorted goodies at my home.

My point was that I thought I was preparing authentic food for someone who stated that they loved authentic food.  When Don put a half a cup of ketchup on the enchiladas, he was not eating "authentic" food.  I could have heated up a dish of Swanson's enchiladas and they would have tasted the same with all that ketchup on them.

I am not condeming Don nor did I strike him from the guest list.  Don is a valued friend and partner (who happens to love ketchup on everything).

Roe

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2013, 05:39:17 PM »
Cheyne, I cook traditional Mexican food and Don's behavior would have me quite annoyed.  Enchiladas are time consuming and if someone were to drown them with ketchup than the next time, I wouldn't waste my time and just serve up some fries. ;)

And I'd be annoyed with my DH if he grabbed the ketchup for a guest to smother his enchiladas with!  Not after all of that work!  A lil' salt, fine...a lil' more cheese, fine, a lil' more pepper, still okay but ketchup?!  No way, that totally takes away the flavor of the dish.  Seriously, next time...fries it is!

cheyne

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2013, 06:12:13 PM »
Thank you Roe.  I guess that's what I was trying to say.  I wasn't angry or upset about the ketchup, just a bit taken aback.  I thought the whole idea was to enjoy a traditional or authentic dish since I had never thought of making Mexican food for them until my DH mentioned it.  *I was thinking of ehell later and thanking my lucky stars I had held my tongue.  It would have been rude of me to say something about the ketchup.*

Hmmmmm, that's it exactly!  Modifying what you prepare to match the people attending.  My FIL is a true no spice- meat and potatoes man.  I would never serve a spicy dish to him and expect him to enjoy it.  When he comes I make a pot roast or baked chicken with mashed 'taters and gravy.

doodlemor thank you for your kind words.  However, I don't consider myself an accomplished chef!  I have been lucky enough to have lived all over the planet and have been able to pick up recipes and cooking tips from a variety of cultures.  When I was in the Air Force a friend of mine had his mother living with him for a couple of months.  Irma was from Northern Mexico.  We would practice speaking with each other (her English, my Spanish) and cook at the same time.  She taught me how to make mole, tamales, enchiladas, salsa, etc... The funniest part was when she kept telling me we needed "English sauce".  I had no idea what she was talking about, and spent days trying to figure it out.  I finally took her to the commissary and we walked around until she spotted it.  It was Worchestire sauce!

Roe

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2013, 08:02:49 AM »
Cheyne, that's hilarious!  English sauce!  LOL!   ;D

BTW, I would love your mole recipe if you wouldn't mind sharing.  For a shortcut, I use Dona Maria and add a few spices to it and I'm always curious to see how others make it. It's one of my favorite things to make.  The Native American Museum in DC has really good mole tacos...my middleson is begging to go back this weekend 'cause he's craving them. 

I used to live in STexas where getting tamales was no problem whatsoever!  Now that we are in DC area, I make tamales from scratch but they aren't coming out that great.  Definitely not my grandma's tamales!  They are "okay" but I'm still searching for a better recipe.  I can't ask my grandma because she buys the 'wet' masa while I can only find the dry variety around here so I'm using different recipes I find online.  So again, if you wouldn't mind sharing, I'd love to see how you make your tamales.  :)




Danika

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2013, 06:24:56 PM »
I wanted to try mole and so I decided to see if the grocery store had some. They had a bottle of concentrated mole with instructions for how to make it... in Spanish, which I don't speak. So I had to go to translate.google.com to figure out what to do. I made it and really liked it!

mom22militarymen

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2013, 08:27:09 AM »
Cheyne, I liked your story and it brought back a memory from me from 30 years ago. When in college I taught myself to make bread. I spent a whole day making French croissants. It was a long process but I was proud of my efforts when I got these flaky beautiful croissants out of the oven.
My Future FIL and my dad both loved when I baked. I took some to my FIL and he met me in the driveway with a stick of Promise Margarine in hand and took me in the house, where he consumed the croissants, with that horrible fake butter ;), in just minutes. He wasn't supposed to have butter, but he piled globs of Promise on everything.
When I got home, my dad was raving about his croissants. He had enjoyed him with his bowl of canned soup!
I guess I had a vision of them eating them slowly with a nice cup of coffee. I felt my all day efforts weren't really appreciated. But two of my favorite men enjoyed them the way they wanted to, and that was really all that mattered.

Thipu1

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2013, 11:18:59 AM »
Here's one that didn't really involve hosting. 

Back in the 1970s, there were frequent free concerts in Central Park.  One was coming up that I wanted to attend.  Several other members of our running club were also interested.  I offered a suggestion I later regretted.

Because I got out of work earlier than the others, I volunteered to find a place for us, lay out a blanket and put up a club tee shirt on a broom stick so the others could find me.  The idea was that people would bring sandwiches or take-out food and we'd enjoy a casual BYO picnic.  At this point, the group numbered six.

The concert was still a few weeks away when I started getting the phone calls.  All asked, 'Can I come to your party?' At first, it was people I knew who weren't part of the original six. 

No problem, just bring another blanket.

Then I started getting calls from friends of friends and from friends of friends of friends.  These were people I had never met and they were asking me about dress codes.

Time for some frantic phone calling of my own. 

I learned that, as in the game of Telephone, the 'party' I was supposed to be hosting had morphed out of all proportion.  Instead of the casual blanket picnic for six that I proposed, the affair was thought to be a red-carpet affair for about a hundred people.  Dress was to be black tie.  There was to be a catered meal served inside an air-conditioned tent and the concert would be piped in for the
 guests.

That certainly would never happen when I was making 125 USD a week. 

Unfortunately, the original casual picnic didn't come off either. 
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 11:34:38 AM by Thipu1 »

bloo

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2013, 01:44:11 PM »
This was an occasion that worked out but I was feeling a bit of horror and was sweating it until it was over:

My DH and I go to conventions a couple times a year of a religious nature. A couple of our friends' kids (late teens) were getting baptized. Now these weekends were a little hectic so no one tends to entertain except to hit a restaurant on the way home or hotel.

Money being tight for us we invited the two people being baptized and their parents and siblings to celebrate at our home afterward. Total of 12 people including our family. The night before, DH gets a text from the father  (Chuck) of the young woman (Bella) asking, "Is this a secret?"* DH was confused but then thought Chuck was asking if it was a 'secret from Bella' to which DH replied with 'no'.

So the next morning - on the last day of our convention - , several people walked up to me asking what they could bring to the party - all relatives of Chuck and Bella. I could have taken the opportunity to say, "What party?" and then straightened out what the invitation actually was.

My brain did not align with my mouth, however.

So, after pausing, I asked them to pick up pizzas and drinks and then fretted about having enough food. The best part (sarcasm) was when my BFF demanded to know why she wasn't invited to my party in front of Chuck's wife. I replied through gritted teeth, "Because I didn't know I was having a party." BFF instantly understood my unspoken explanation.

One of the uninvited guests picked up a yummy cake, on the fly, with 'Congratulations Mike & Bella' on it and with the contributions there was enough food (few leftovers though).

No one got drunk, mean or fought and everything actually turned out good and we had a good time, but the 'horror' was what I felt in those seconds between the first uninvited guest asking what she could bring to my house and my answer. The fretting all day afterward wasn't too bad.

*This is why I'm really not a fan of texting when it comes to invitations or anything important really. Too much opportunity for miscommunication that could have been likely avoided with a phone call.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 01:46:14 PM by bloo »