Author Topic: Asking for an item before it's served  (Read 11912 times)

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Surianne

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 11:12:14 PM »
It wouldn't have bothered me at all -- especially at such a casual dinner, I'd have been happy Reba asked so Bill could enjoy the dessert before they had to leave.  As Girly said, I'd probably be flattered he liked my desserts enough that his partner knew to ask me. 

Bluenomi

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2013, 11:25:15 PM »
I can see why the host was upset. You can't just give one person some dessert and tell everyone else they have to wait so she would have needed to get all the dessert stuff out. So that throws her plans out of kilter just because someone feels they need dessert but aren't going to wait until it is served to have it. If you choose to leave before all the meal is served that's your problem, don't go making the hosts life harded just because of it.

The only time it might be ok is if you bought the dessert in question.

bloo

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2013, 11:32:48 PM »
Under those circumstances, I'd have put some dessert on a paper plate and not thought another thing about it.

I had one girlfriend on the Carbohydrate Addict's diet and she had to eat her one meal with carbs in an hour's period of time. So at first she'd ask if she could go ahead and partake of dessert right after the meal, which bothered me not one whit since my DH likes to eat dessert right after the meal (too soon for me).

After a couple of times, it was just expected (we traded hospitality a lot).

But if this was typical behavior, this 'eat-n-run', I'd be put out.

Back when we lived in NC, we were good friends with two couples that each had a 16-year-old boy that were best friends with each other. I started to notice whenever we'd get together that the two besties would show up late, shovel down their food and take off. The first time I really noticed it was when we entertained at my house but they did it at everyone's.

So the second time we had them over, when they started putting on their jackets to leave (they did, at least, take their plates to the sink) I pointedly asked, "Where are you going? We invited you to spend the evening with us. You are just going to eat-n-run?"

Cue stammering by them and their parents, but at get-togethers beyond that, the boys made more of an effort to hang out before taking off.

It made me feel like a short-order cook.

As far as the OP, I usually go ahead and have the desserts out at a buffet for those that like to satisfy their sweet tooth immediately after eating - so this wouldn't have been an issue anyway.

I do think that it would've been better for Bill & Reba to make their apologies at having to leave early and, likely, the host would've offered to send them home with some dessert (at least, I would have and so would all of my friends).

gollymolly2

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2013, 11:38:14 PM »
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.

I find this to be a very unwelcoming view of hosting. It changes a meal from people who like each other coming together and breaking bread into a host putting on a carefully orchestrated show and the guests watching the show passively without participation.

If my guests want dessert, and dessert is ready, then I'd be glad that they let me know so I could make it happen. I don't think they were rude at all.

thedudeabides

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2013, 11:43:54 PM »
At a casual family holiday gathering, I'm not likely to break out the formal etiquette for a variety of reasons:

1. It's family.  Use of the most formal manners with close family in a lot of cases is more likely to feel off-putting and cold.

2. It's casual, so I'm going to match my formality level to the event.

3. It's a holiday gathering, so as a host, I'm not going to go out of my way to get bent out of shape over much; there are already a thousand and one pressures on the holidays, so the more that can be let go, the better.  I've been there and done that.  My girlfriend and I had a huge fight as the result of trying to host a big holiday shindig the second year we were together; it was way better the next year when we stopped stressing over things like someone needing to leave early and wanting dessert before we really planned on it, and our relationship was the better for not expecting perfection.

There are absolutely times when it makes sense to be rigid with etiquette, but I have a hard time finding reasons why the situation as described is one of them.

kareng57

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2013, 12:03:53 AM »
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.

I find this to be a very unwelcoming view of hosting. It changes a meal from people who like each other coming together and breaking bread into a host putting on a carefully orchestrated show and the guests watching the show passively without participation.

If my guests want dessert, and dessert is ready, then I'd be glad that they let me know so I could make it happen. I don't think they were rude at all.


I have to agree with this.  If they could see that the dessert was readily available, even if not yet out on display, I would think it kind of churlish of the host to say "no, you can't, if you have to leave now then you're just out of luck".  This of course is assuming that they asked politely as opposed to saying "we need to leave now, please get our dessert ready for take-out".

CrochetFanatic

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2013, 12:25:38 AM »
It would sort of rub me the wrong way, because I "follow the script" when I'm over someone's house, but I probably would have just gone along with it to keep the mood light.  I wouldn't like it, but unless it became a habit I probably wouldn't think too much about it afterwards.  Yeah, I think Reba's actions were a little rude, but depending on how much the host wants to avoid insulting a guest, it might make things easier on the host to just go ahead and do it.

Moray

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2013, 01:10:36 AM »
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.

I find this to be a very unwelcoming view of hosting. It changes a meal from people who like each other coming together and breaking bread into a host putting on a carefully orchestrated show and the guests watching the show passively without participation.

If my guests want dessert, and dessert is ready, then I'd be glad that they let me know so I could make it happen. I don't think they were rude at all.


I have to agree with this.  If they could see that the dessert was readily available, even if not yet out on display, I would think it kind of churlish of the host to say "no, you can't, if you have to leave now then you're just out of luck".  This of course is assuming that they asked politely as opposed to saying "we need to leave now, please get our dessert ready for take-out".

This is where I fall, too. When I host, it's because I want to spend time with, and provide a good meal for, people I care about. I want them to have a good time and feel comfortable, and at the end of the day, that's way more important than me living out some Martha Stewart Living fantasy.
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twiggy

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2013, 01:59:59 AM »
When I host I end up spending most of the day cooking and prepping. I have usually been on my feet all day long and I am typically the last to get to sit down and make myself a plate, especially in a serve-yourself buffet style dinner. I'll either be grabbing just one more quick thing that didn't make it to the table, or making up plates for my kids, or feeding the baby, etc.

I'm imagining this scenarios as: I finally got myself something to eat and sat down when a guest comes up to me wanting dessert. And yes, this has happened to me before. So I get up, get the dessert out, someone else notices what I'm doing and assumes it's dessert time, I end up having to put out all the desserts and the serving utensils/dessert plates. To make room for the desserts on the table I'm packing up dinner and putting it away. Then one of the kids needs something, another guest asks me something or starts up a conversation and I finally return to my place to find that a helpful soul has cleared my plate.
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

peaches

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2013, 02:14:31 AM »
I think Reba was just a tiny bit presumptuous.

If I had to leave early because I was feeling ill, I would be apologizing all over the place for breaking up the party.  I wouldn't be thinking about dessert, for myself or anyone else.

This is one of those situations where you make your apologies, and then maybe hope that the host offers to wrap up some dessert so that it can be enjoyed later.

But asking? I wouldn't. There are too many variables that could make this awkward - host hasn't had time to enjoy her/his dinner, dessert hasn't been plated and cut yet, dessert takes last minute prep, etc.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 02:45:32 AM by peaches »

sparksals

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2013, 02:14:56 AM »
I'm with Toots and Twiggy. 

Iris

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2013, 02:40:39 AM »
I'm with Toots and Twiggy.

Me too. I don't like the way Reba asked and I also agree that as soon as guests see one person with dessert there's a good chance you'll be hearing "Oh, is there dessert? Where's the dessert? What's dessert? Are we having dessert now?" If I have set aside a quarter of an hour of my evening for sitting and actually catching up with guests then I don't want to lose that time for early dessert. That's nothing to do with running a carefully orchestrated event - I certainly don't do that - it's to do with wanting to actually enjoy that little bit of time that I get while everyone's dinner is settling to relax and enjoy my guests.
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Margo

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2013, 06:07:40 AM »
I think it would have been best to give your apologies to the host for not being able to stay longer, then say, "If it's not too much to ask, Bill was really looking forward to dessert. Can we take a bit home?"

Most hosts would have little problem complying with such a request in most cases, is my guess.

And most guests would have no problem taking no for an answer, particularly a no phrased like, "I'm sorry, I was hoping to cut the cake/flambe the pudding/take it out of the oven right when it was time to serve. I won't be able to put aside a single portion right now. Next time you visit, be sure to ask for seconds!"

This. I think it was rude.  And I think if they had started by explaining that Bill was unwell and needed to go it would have been possible for the host to offer dessert, if they wished.

I think the nature of the event does make a difference - but even in a very informal setting I  think it is a bit rude.

Miss March

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2013, 08:05:25 AM »
For a casual dinner with friends or family- really, anyone I considered intimate enough to have over for a meal in my home- this would not bother me.

At my wedding, however, I was approached by a guest who came over, tapped at her wrist indicating the time, and said "Are you going to cut the cake soon? We need to get going. " That I found rude.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2013, 09:57:45 AM »
I think how bothered I would be by the request would be based on a few things.
1)Previous interaction with the guest.  Are they always a little demanding or difficult? If not, then no issue.
2) Is the guest planning to take it "to go" or eat it at your home. If being eaten at your home, then I can see where it would throw off the timing. Say it's a graduation party and your plans were to have dinner, have gifts opened, and then serve coffee and dessert. If one person is suddenly sitting down with a slice of cake, then everyone is going to start serving themselves and interrup your planned flow.
3)The amount of work required to meet the request.  In our family, if a buffet is served, then there is usually a buffet of cakes/pies/cookies ready for people to self serve. So if the guest saw them sitting out and all that was required of me was to unwrap, slice and put it on a to go plate, then I have no issue. But if suddenly I'm interrupting some clean up to finish last minute torching of a creme brulee and making coffee, then I'd be a little more irritated.
4) If dessert was a single large cake (i.e. birthday cake) I would not want to be slicing it before the planned serving and I think it would be rude to request hostess to slice into it on your schedule.

I personally believe the appropriate method is for the party needing to leave early to say,
"Uncle is getting a little tired. I think we'll need to leave in a few minutes." Then I have the appropriate cue to say, "Oh, you'll miss out on dessert. Let me wrap of a couple of slices of cake for you to take with you to have later tonight."