Author Topic: Does time of day dictate amount of food?  (Read 2435 times)

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lowspark

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Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« on: July 31, 2013, 12:13:32 PM »
I'm not sure the subject line accurately describes what I'm trying to ask so here's my explanation.

Recently DH & I were invited to a "meet the baby" event hosted by friends of ours for their son & DIL's new child. It was to be held at 2 pm. So I figured there would probably be light snacks or dessert type items. I ate lunch a couple of hours before attending.

In fact, she had a very nice spread with tons of food from which everyone there could easily make a meal and there would still be leftovers. I wasn't hungry so I ate some fruit and dessert (which was essentially what I'd expected to be served).

I sorta wished I'd just eaten a light snack before coming or maybe a late breakfast, so I could have partaken of what looked like a really nice luncheon.

I'm thinking that if you're serving a meal, it should be at mealtime, or alternatively, let people know when you invite them that a meal will be served so they can plan accordingly.

To clarify, I'm not saying anyone was rude or wrong in this scenario. I'm just wondering, aren't there any etiquette rules or accepted practices that dictate the amount of food to expect/serve according to time of day? I kinda thought there are but maybe I'm off base.

What would you expect in this situation?

chicajojobe

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 12:20:46 PM »
Maybe I'm alone in this opinion, but unless the entire event is centered around eating, such as a dinner party or if it's a formal event, I don't really feel like it's necessarily the hosts inform guests about whether they will be serving a full meal, light snacks, or just coffee.
If they want to so that they don't have a lot of leftovers they can, but I just feel like the guests decisions about how much to eat and when aren't the hosts responsibility.

shhh its me

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 12:31:22 PM »
  I think a host needs to tell guests if they will be serving less then people may expect.  8pm is near the end of dinner so to be clear a host should say "cocktail party" if they don't plan on serving  a meal.  I don't think the obligation works in reverse and a 1-2 pm start time on the weekend to mean normally means lunch.
 

Hmmmmm

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 12:38:27 PM »
I always think mid-afternoon events are difficult to figure out how to feed people.

If I'm planning to serve a pretty heavy spread at a time that is not a traditional meal time, I usually inform guests when they RSVP that there will be a buffet lunch. I don't think there is anything wrong with serving a full lunch mid-afternoon, especially weekends when many people will have a late breakfast and be ready for another meal around 2 or 3.

Lynn2000

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 12:39:19 PM »
For 2pm I would probably also be surprised, but pleasantly so, about a large amount of food being available. It's somewhat of an ambiguous time, being the end of the lunch block, so she could've gotten away with something much lighter, but it was nice of her to serve more. I might be disappointed that I didn't have room for all the goodies she was serving, but that doesn't really indicate an error on her part, you know what I mean? Since the main event wasn't eating, and she was serving more than one might expect, I don't think the hostess had an obligation to make the food choices clear to anyone in advance.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 01:15:58 PM »
I wouldn't expect a big spread at 2:00 pm.  I would have eaten lunch, too.  And then I would have eaten again during the party and skipped dinner.   ;D

My Mom planned her own funeral; she decided that it would begin at 1:00 pm so that the ladies who were making the food for the tea afterwards wouldn't have to make enough for people to eat lunch, the way they would if the service was at 11:00, and thus the food would be served around noon.

I don't think it is necessary to let people know what refreshments are being served, although I think it is a nice thing to do.  When I had a housewarming party, starting at 4:00 in the afternoon so we had time to do some stuff outside before dark, I told my friends that it would be heavy apps and to eat a late lunch.  Which everybody did.  Only they ate too much lunch and I had a ton of food left over.  Either that, or I prepped way too much.

But if you are going to tell people, be accurate.  A friend sent an invitation stating that light refreshments would be served.  So some of us were making plans to maybe go out to dinner afterwards.  What it ended up being is a never ending series of various heavy apps.  We didn't go out to supper.
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Sophia

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2013, 01:22:10 PM »
I could see myself being that host.  The thought of not having enough food is just so ... horrifying.  But, of course anyone that knows me knows that. 
The thought that a guest might think that there was too much food would never cross my mind. 

Roe

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2013, 02:13:35 PM »
I'm with Sophia here.   Anytime I host anything, I serve plenty of food.  People who know me, know that about me.  Plus, we enjoy leftovers. 

The time of day doesn't enter into the equation for me.

lowspark

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2013, 02:38:10 PM »
OP here. Just to reiterate, I don't think anyone did anything wrong. I was only trying to figure out if I should have interpreted the invitation differently so I'd maybe know better what to do next time.

The hostess of this particular gathering pretty much never has guests over. We always get together with them at our house or we go out. She's kind of funny about having people over and this joyous event was definitely an exception. So honestly I didn't have any idea what to expect since there was no precedent.

I'm also one who has an overabundance of food because I would be horrified if I ever didn't provide enough food for my guests. However, I always let people know in the invitation, regardless of time, what to expect as far as food goes.

Because I'm like that, believe me, I didn't think "she has too much food" or in any way see it as a negative thing. I think she was being a very gracious hostess.

I was just wondering what most people would expect from a 2 pm invitation to a Meet-The-Baby event like this.

Bluenomi

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2013, 10:54:36 PM »
If it was a meet the baby party I wouldn't be surprised if she over catered on purpose so she had leftovers and didn't need to cook for a few days. Forward planning in my view!

But yes, I wouldn't expect lunch at a party at 2pm.

*inviteseller

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2013, 01:39:08 AM »
The only time I would raise eyebrows is if I was invited to a gathering at a known meal time to find out there was no food.  I don't think a hostess needs to tell people there is going to be a spread of food for a mid day party.  Maybe she was expecting people to pop in and out all afternoon and decided to lay out the food, or maybe she's like me, when I invite people over I always have a ton of food ready, no matter what time it is.  I just like to feed the masses I guess.

hannahmollysmom

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2013, 03:12:59 AM »
Was this an open house type of event, or set times? That makes a difference to me. If it was an open house, then the hosts had food available for whatever time people arrived.

I also am the type of host who goes with it is better to have to much food, then not enough.

lowspark

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2013, 09:10:50 AM »
It was a set times event, not an open house.

She's the grandma (not the mother) but I'm sure she gave some leftovers to her son & DIL and was also happy for having some herself since she doesn't like to cook.

Zilla

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2013, 10:44:24 AM »
It depends on their dynamics and they way it's done.  If I was in my hometown, that would be lunch.  Late afternoon is when we ate lunches so I would expect a full spread. 


Here in my current town I would expect a light snack/dessert type spread. 


And if the opposite happened in either scenario, I would just be surprised but not upset/rude etc.  It's just one of those guessing games and lean for the next time you are invited by the same people.

Sterling

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Re: Does time of day dictate amount of food?
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2013, 01:48:41 PM »
I'm Southern and Italian.  You come to my house and you will be served a full spread no matter what time it is. 
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