Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Asking for food without "stretchers"

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ladiedeathe:
I couldn't think of what else to title this, so I'll try to be clear. This question comes from something that happened last year, when a good friend was staying with us for a month as a guest. It isn't terribly serious, but I've had it happen before and I'm interested in other's opinions.

When I have guests over, I try to match our meals to their tastes, and preferred meal times/sizes. If they like their heaviest meal at noon and a light meal in the evening, fine. Other way around, fine too. Whatever the big meal is, I make more than enough, and it is well prepared. For the lighter meal there is enough food, but it might be sandwiches, or tuna salad or pizza- not so "serious".

That day, I was making tuna salad for lunch, for 4 of us- my family plus guest. When I make tuna salad, I add chopped egg (I grew up in a home with 4 kids and 2 adults, stretchers like egg were often used to allow one big can of tuna to feed us kids). It tastes good, so I never thought about it.

My friend stopped me before I could put it in, and said he wanted just tuna and mayo in his tuna salad. Without the egg, relish, and onion, this meant that for him to have a tuna sub like the rest of us, he got almost an entire can of tuna to himself, and I had to open a second one.

It wasn't a big deal, but it made me start thinking. I've had a friend ask for no celery in her lobster roll- meaning she got "pure" lobster with mayo, and probably a third more meat than the rest of us. I've had other friends who took tiny amounts of veggies but loaded up on roast portions. Roast with potatoes and carrots isn't just a more balanced meal- it's also a way not to serve a pound of meat each! In each case there was more than enough food and no one was left hungry by peoples' actions.

I'm curious- would you all say it's rude for someone to (presumably politely) request their food in such a way as to get more of the most expensive ingredient, and little or none of the "filler" or side items?

SamiHami:
Interesting question. I think much of it can be explained as simple aversions to particular ingredients. I despise celery, and find it ruins any dish that it is in, so I can relate to your example with the lobster rolls. Same thing with your tuna example. I was raised on tuna/mayo only sandwiches, so that's "normal" to me. I think when we entertain we just need to do as you have yourself-making sure that there is an abundance of food available so that it doesn't really matter if someone takes more roast than you would expect.

All that being said, yes, it would be rude to take a gigantic hunk of roast, especially if others have not yet been served. Better to take a moderate amount and then, if the opportunity presents itself, have seconds.

Anyone else reminded the Mary Tyler Moore show episode where Mary had a dinner party, and Lou took what amounted to 1/2 of the food meant for the entire group? he would up awkwardly putting the majority back on the serving platter. Veal Prince Olaf, I think it was.

flowersintheattic:
I agree with SamiHami - I think a lot of it comes down to how people prefer their food, rather than them knowingly messing up the amounts. I'm from a big food stretching family, too - tuna salad was tuna, celery, pickle relish, mayo, and whatever else happened to be laying around that could go in. When I've had something like that with a friend, she's asked how I make it and we compromise.

The roast example was rude.

Dazi:
I think it really depends.

If their goal is to get more of the "good" stuff, I'd vote inconsiderate. If it's something I wouldn't expect in the "normal" version, I'd give a pass. If it's because of a food allergy or food aversion, I'd also give a pass (says the girl with both).  I personally hate when people out egg in things like potato salad or macaroni salad or raisins in chicken salad, even though it falls into the "normal" version (but then again, I'm allergic to eggs and raisins shall not pass these lips).


That being said, I've never known anyone who put egg in tuna salad. Tuna salad while I was growing up had relish and mayo, sometimes apple.  I like it best with sweet relish, onions, celery,and apple.  I do have a friend that does this totally bizarre looking one with shredded carrots, raisins and apples.  The celery thing I also get.  I love celery, but it is VERY strong to some people.

oceanus:
@ SamiHami

--- Quote ---Anyone else reminded the Mary Tyler Moore show episode where Mary had a dinner party, and Lou took what amounted to 1/2 of the food meant for the entire group? he would up awkwardly putting the majority back on the serving platter. Veal Prince Olaf, I think it was.
--- End quote ---

YES!  It was Veal Prince Orloff. :D (I think Sue Anne Nivens/Betty White helped make it.)

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