Author Topic: Asking for an item before it's served  (Read 13020 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #60 on: March 27, 2013, 01:24:47 PM »
I was at a pretty large family holiday gathering, a few days before Christmas.  It was pretty casual, buffet-style.  There were appetizers out in several spots throughout the house, and drinks were readily available.
...

After a while, the hostess announced that dinner was ready - so everyone started the meal.  Again, buffet-style - it had been set up in the dining room, and everyone filled their plates and gathered in different areas to eat, so it definitely wasn't a formal, sit-down dinner.


From the OP.  I am not understanding the posters who say this is a space issue. This isn't a situation of people sitting around a table with food on it.  This is a buffet, and there was food in various places.  At a formal dinner, I can see the hostess being upset.  At this type of gathering?  Nope.

WillyNilly

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #61 on: March 27, 2013, 01:32:00 PM »
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.

Maybe we are just used to different types of parties.
For me its not a "ta-daaaa" issue. Its:
1. Host has to find a place to put her plate, because often at buffet type parties its a "hold your plate" or "plate on lap" situation
2. Host has to clear a flat space on the counter that is piled with still boxed desserts
3. Host has to dig out dessert plates that are probably behind the pile of desserts because they were taken out the night before so they were the first thing on the counter and now are in back
4. Host has to find the appropriate serving/cutting utensil for the dessert (the one originally planned for the dessert might be currently stuck in a casserole)
5. Cut and plate dessert
6. Appropriately re-wrap dessert
7. Return to finish now cold meal to a room full of people who have all finished eating and a conversation that has taken several turns in the host's absence.
8. Deal with at least one if not several "oh is it dessert time?" remarks from people who see the one person enjoying dessert.

To me that is making dessert way more important then the people - its asking the host to effectively say through actions "oh room full of a dozen of my guests I have no interest in sitting a moment and breaking bread with you. I'm off to disappear into the kitchen for 15 minutes or so to totally ignore you in favor of a dessert that wouldn't normally be served for another hour or two."

bloo

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #62 on: March 27, 2013, 01:33:28 PM »
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.

I think several PP's have expressed the reasons behind reasonable aggravation felt by the hostess in the OP. I disagree that it makes one shallow or rigid if they have a certain schedule, timetable or flow to their hosting.

All in all, it's definitely a minor sin what Reba did (like I said before they should have just taken their leave and hoped the hostess offered dessert to take home) and the hostess in the OP was not wrong in feeling aggravated but committed a minor sin in seething about it to the point of expressing her aggravation to someone else. I will admit that the last is a 'greater' minor sin than the first, IMO.

To be honest, although I stated in my PP that I'd have the desserts out with the other food, the last time I entertained, I confess I did not. I didn't have the room and had a small glitch in that we had some younger kids visiting that went into the kitchen to start pulling out the desserts because they wanted them. The desserts were pies brought by a few different guests and they didn't know I had bought ice cream so if they served them selves they wouldn't have had the ice cream! My teenaged DD came and got me and let me know what these two 9-year-old boys were up to which I took as my cue that it was time to serve dessert!  :)But I had to interrupt their little kitchen sortie to clear space and start brewing the coffee. I was amused, not irritated and since I didn't have a timeline for that particular evening I just went with the flow of what people wanted.

So while I can't see the situation in the OP as ever being an issue for me because of the way I usually entertain and my own personality, I can totally appreciate the viewpoints of those that would really find this irritating and can easily accept their explanations of why it would be so, especially WillyNilly's list.

Zilla

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #63 on: March 27, 2013, 01:46:09 PM »
Honestly, if the "flow" of a casual buffet is so rigid that my hostess is unwilling to take a moment to get dessert for the guy who is leaving early because he is taking home somebody ill/fatigued then it sounds more like an ordeal than an enjoyable chance tp socialize. It has a "forced march" feel.

Yeah, this is what I've been trying to think of how to express since this thread started and couldn't. It's like the 'Ta-daaaa, look at my wonderful hosting!' aspect of the gathering is more important than people, and - it just *isn't* to me. I would find that rather shallow.

Maybe we are just used to different types of parties.
For me its not a "ta-daaaa" issue. Its:
1. Host has to find a place to put her plate, because often at buffet type parties its a "hold your plate" or "plate on lap" situation
2. Host has to clear a flat space on the counter that is piled with still boxed desserts
3. Host has to dig out dessert plates that are probably behind the pile of desserts because they were taken out the night before so they were the first thing on the counter and now are in back
4. Host has to find the appropriate serving/cutting utensil for the dessert (the one originally planned for the dessert might be currently stuck in a casserole)
5. Cut and plate dessert
6. Appropriately re-wrap dessert
7. Return to finish now cold meal to a room full of people who have all finished eating and a conversation that has taken several turns in the host's absence.
8. Deal with at least one if not several "oh is it dessert time?" remarks from people who see the one person enjoying dessert.

To me that is making dessert way more important then the people - its asking the host to effectively say through actions "oh room full of a dozen of my guests I have no interest in sitting a moment and breaking bread with you. I'm off to disappear into the kitchen for 15 minutes or so to totally ignore you in favor of a dessert that wouldn't normally be served for another hour or two."


I think that is the crux of the matter.  My scenario would be very different.  I would take my plate with me.  My cutting/cake utensils are in a huge big I have on my counter.  The dessert plates if I am using my party plates are in the cabinet.  So for me it would take all of a few minutes.  Or even more probable, I would invite Reba into the kitchen with me while carrying my plate.  Point out to her where everything is while I am eating and we are chatting a bit.  So it's a different scenario, different hosting style.  If I was in your situation WillyNilly I then can understand the annoyance of being asked.  I didn't even realize that scenario.

Sharnita

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #64 on: March 27, 2013, 01:58:47 PM »
Yeah, 1-3 aren't actually the case at buffet style gatheings I attend take a few seconds each. As far ss people asking if it was.dessert time I would just say that it was not bit since  he was taking home somebody who was sick I had served him early. Now if a whole lot of people did want to leave early I think it might be an indication that my timeline was a problem.

audrey1962

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #65 on: March 27, 2013, 02:27:23 PM »
I agree that we have different entertaining styles. I'm very informal and usually place dessert and all its requirements on the buffet. Whatever the dessert is, I put it in a glass cake dome so that guests can see it while they are helping themselves to the meal so that they can decide if they want to save room for dessert or not. (There is also usually a bowl of fresh berries near the cake dome, too). I put out the dessert plates, utensils and serving pieces as well so that I don't have to ask guests to move as I look for those items in my small dining room after dinner, interrupting the flow of conversation.

So for me, it's not much of an imposition if someone wanted dessert early.

Lynn2000

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #66 on: March 27, 2013, 03:22:32 PM »
As for the OP, my feeling is that if you are leaving a party early, you are leaving early. That might mean missing a course or two. But that's your decision. Telling a host you are leaving early and asking for something that hasn't been served yet, is, well, kind of like having your cake and eating it too.

This is where I fall. People get sick and have to leave social events early sometimes, it happens. Nothing wrong with that. But that means you miss out on whatever else was going to happen at the social event. I just don't get why the thought process would be, "I'm sick, I need to go home early. But I really need a slice of cake to take with me!" Some water if they felt dehydrated or something to settle their stomach or caffeinated soda if they were having a migraine, sure. It just seems a little bit like they're saying my dessert is good enough for them, but not my company. Or it's like the little kid who says he's too sick to eat the broccoli, but thinks some chocolate cake would be okay. Much as I like dessert, it's just dessert. There will be other desserts in their lives.

Of course it also depends on your relationship with the person. Apparently Reba thought she and the hostess had that sort of relationship, that the hostess wouldn't mind; but Reba was wrong. Like how my mom could get in my fridge and help herself, but other people I know--no, shouldn't be done.
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Sharnita

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #67 on: March 27, 2013, 03:37:15 PM »
I believe it was the person taking Reba home who had the dessert. And Reba adked as in "I feel bad he has to leave early because of me, it shouldn't cost him dessert, too"

Lynn2000

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #68 on: March 27, 2013, 05:29:38 PM »
I believe it was the person taking Reba home who had the dessert. And Reba adked as in "I feel bad he has to leave early because of me, it shouldn't cost him dessert, too"

I think you're right. It doesn't really change my opinion, though; as a guest I wouldn't have done it. Bill will live without dessert this one time, and Reba can make it up to him later in some way if she feels that's necessary. It shouldn't be incumbent on the hostess to make it up to Bill.

Plus, again, I'm having trouble imagining the mindset of, "I'm so sick I need to leave this social event early, except I can wait for the hostess to get up and pack some dessert for us to take." No one's saying she was violently ill or anything; but... priorities. Either you're well enough to stay for the whole thing, or you (your social unit) are too sick to care about getting dessert. If I were Reba and felt ill enough to leave early, and it was Bill who was hitting the hostess up for dessert thus delaying our exit, I'd be pretty mad at Bill.

I just feel like the slippery slope is, "Can we take a bottle of after-dinner wine with us, since we won't be here when you serve it?" and "Can Junior open his presents now? We want to leave in ten minutes."
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cheyne

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #69 on: March 28, 2013, 05:57:16 PM »
POD to Lynn2000 and WillyNilly. 

Honestly, this story makes no sense to me unless Reba was fibbing about or exaggerating her illness.  If Reba was so ill that she had to leave, why was she the one who asked the Hostess for dessert for Bill?  Either Reba was ill enough to leave immediately (within 5 mins) or she was well enough to stay for dessert.  I could see if Bill asked for dessert and the Hostess boxed it up while Bill was escorting Reba to their car, but why would Reba want to hang around waiting on Bill's dessert if she was ill?

I do think that Reba was rude to ask.  If you leave events early, you will miss out on some things-that's life.  The hostess should not be perterbed but should just let it go.  She will be prepared if this happens again-she can just say no.


Paper Roses

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #70 on: March 28, 2013, 06:05:31 PM »
POD to Lynn2000 and WillyNilly. 

Honestly, this story makes no sense to me unless Reba was fibbing about or exaggerating her illness.  If Reba was so ill that she had to leave, why was she the one who asked the Hostess for dessert for Bill?  Either Reba was ill enough to leave immediately (within 5 mins) or she was well enough to stay for dessert.  I could see if Bill asked for dessert and the Hostess boxed it up while Bill was escorting Reba to their car, but why would Reba want to hang around waiting on Bill's dessert if she was ill?

I do think that Reba was rude to ask.  If you leave events early, you will miss out on some things-that's life.  The hostess should not be perterbed but should just let it go.  She will be prepared if this happens again-she can just say no.

Well, I don't really agree.  I don't think it has to be an either/or situation, and I don't think it was.  I'm sorry you don't think the story makes sense, but it's what happened as I understood it.
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Paper Roses

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #71 on: March 28, 2013, 06:46:33 PM »
I guess the reason I asked this question here is I was wondering if what Reba did was really all that bad (I don't think it was), or if the hostess' feelings about her colored her opinion.  She clearly doesn't think much of Reba, and I wondered whether, if someone else had asked the same thing, the hostess would have thought it was that much of an outrageous request.

Honestly, if I were the hostess, as I said before I wouldn't have given it a second thought.  If I were Reba?  It would depend on who the hostess was.  I probably wouldn't ask, but if it was someone I was very close to (certain close friends, or family members) I might ask but offer to cut and serve the dessert for my SO or whoever wanted it myself, so as not to cause the hostess any trouble.  If she then offered to do it, great, of not, so be it. 

It wasn't anything that required any special preparation or presentation.  And the hostess was not "just sitting down for the first time in several days" after preparing for the party - she had been sitting and socializing for quite a while before dinner was served, and dinner had not been homemade - it was a few things that had been heated in the oven, and a couple of deli platters, all of which had been ordered from outside.  Of course, there was still preparation necessary, but she didn't spend days beforehand cooking, nor did she spend the whole pre-dinner time at the party cooking.  Not that it matters, really, I just wanted to clarify that.
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Iris

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #72 on: March 28, 2013, 07:25:16 PM »
I notice in the OP that Reba approached the hostess "Shortly after dinner had been announced" which makes the timing unclear. Was dinner finished? If Reba was asking before the hostess had eaten her own dinner then I think it woud definitely be rude. I think the timing is very important.
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jpcher

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #73 on: March 28, 2013, 08:02:31 PM »
I have not read the entire thread thoroughly, read some posts and skimmed others. Please forgive me if this was brought up.

Shortly after dinner was announced, Reba approached the hostess and asked if Bill could have a piece of a certain dessert item.  The hostess was a bit put off by this, and said that she wasn't serving dessert yet.  Reba responded with, "Oh, well, I'm not feeling well so we're going to be leaving soon."  The hostess grudgingly complied, but was pretty bothered by it.

I think that Reba was rude in asking for dessert prior to the hostess' scheduled plan.

If I were the hostess, I would also be put-off. I wouldn't want my other guests seeing someone eating dessert before dessert was served. I think that's a bit awkward.

Hostess' response should/could have been "I'm sorry you have to leave early! Please, let me fix you a to-go plate of dessert."

doodlemor

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #74 on: March 28, 2013, 08:36:27 PM »
From reading this thread it's apparent that there are many different hosting styles and opinions on whether a guest can ask for dessert early.

I wonder if the hostess in this instance subconsciously picked up on a bit of trickery by Reba and the uncle.  It seems to me that they might have been trying to make a quick exit because they had someplace else to go, but uncle really wanted a piece of whatever the dessert was.  If Reba were so terribly ill that she had to leave immediately, it seems to me that she would be getting her coat while the uncle made excuses.

Uncle would not be a nice man if poor Reba were terribly ill, and he told her that he wouldn't leave until he had his dessert.  That's always possible, but Reba did not immediately state that she was ill.

Obviously I may be wrong about Reba and uncle, but I have known many older people and couples who get  to some point where they just arrange their lives exactly how they want, and don't always act considerate of others.

As far as the early dessert goes, I think that the hostess would have been completely within bounds to ask if the couple could please wait a few minutes so that she could eat her food while it's hot. 

At my house I like to lay the desserts out on a separate table with glass domes, so probably I'd just fall for it and give them a dessert ** to take with them.**  I don't think that it would be necessary for uncle to sit and eat the dessert in front of others.