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Author Topic: Charging family members for a home cooked meal  (Read 25831 times)

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2013, 10:46:26 PM »
If I were asked to pay a per head charge for my dinner, I would take it I was at an impromptu restaurant.

I'd feel free to request substitutions, and to send back things that were not to my liking.

If I dropped a fork on the floor, I would expect the host to immediately pick it up, and bring me a clean one.

When I had finished eating, I would feel free to leave the table, and do whatever I pleased, including sitting down to watch television, or go home.

In other words, I would be unspeakably rude in a hosting situation. So is charging your guests for their food.
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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2013, 10:57:52 PM »
I understand the temptation, but I would never do it.  DH and I just finished buying all the groceries for Thanksgiving. (That was all we purchased).  We spent $350 on the food for one meal to feed 10 people (9 adults, 1 child age 11.  Of course my brother probably counts as two adults...)

We love hosting the dinner for both sides and we are the only ones with a dining room and double oven.  Since this has become a tradition over the past 6 years (since we purchased this house), DH and I just budget for it, knowing it will be expensive since we do it all from scratch.

10 adults. I'm coming too if you cook everything from scratch.

I'm also in the camp of it depends but my family tend to split up responsibilities. If we're at my parents, we bring a pork roll, wine and/ or whiskey and either fruit or cheese.  My in-laws we either pitch in some money or stock up the drinks cabinet and drive 10 hours to see everyone.  However, at my place, we host everything, mainly to try to get my mother to stop being a whirling dervish and sit down and relax, and also because DH is territorial about his kitchen.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2013, 12:43:38 AM »
I think some of the scenarios above for where it might be reasonable make sense for me. And, in our friend-group we do sort of a group holiday thing fairly often. In that case we all pitch in in various ways; some bring food, some help with the cost of the food for whoever is doing the 'main' dish (usually the people who's house it is) others do lots of cleaning, etc. But, it's super casual and I guess no one person would be considered 'hosting'. If we went by the rule 'whoever's house we are using is hosting so nobody else can help financially' then we wouldn't be able to do it at all, which would be very sad.

Honestly I hate cooking and cleaning and wish I could buy my way out of helping with dinner in any way pretty much anytime I go for dinner, but I can't exactly do that, sadly. :D


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2013, 01:41:14 AM »
I think it's the kind of thing that can work well *if* the participants agree, and it's settled *before* the invitation is issued. In particular, it can be useful when one person is willing and able to do the work of having people over and cooking the dinner, but can't afford to feed everyone (particularly if no-one else is willing to host it fully themselves). It can also be a way for young, broke people to share a holiday dinner that none of them could manage to produce themselves.

The money is for the cost of ingredients, though - charging for labour is over the top.

I think it's not a good idea when the motivation is to upgrade the dinner/ingredients to a higher level at the decision of the hosts- if you want the free range turkey and organic vegetables and high end wine you should probably upgrade on your own dime.

And, of course, sending the bill around after people have accepted invitations (or eaten) is right out.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2013, 01:59:53 AM »
I have a visceral antipathy to  the idea of charging guests for anything. Potluck is fine. Bringing Wine or Appies or Dessert is fine. Charging Money is not fine.

I have twice been offered money for hosting and both times I backed away like someone was offering me a poison snake. I was wondering about it because I would no problem if someone stopped a the liquor store 3 minutes from my house and changed the money into wine. But cash? Ugh!

(I have an exception if a  group of friends get together and decide together that they want to try an especially expensive food or set of wines and they all agree to chip in $20 and buy the lobster/cavier/prime cuts of meat etc...)
I agree that it really depends on how things evolved. and only when we are talking about the big-ticket meals (like t-giving, passover etc).  I don't think i would *ever* be comfortable in paying someone for a meal at their home - even though I would be fine with either bringing a dish or two, bringing wine, or paying my way at a restaurant.

In my family, we don't really have a *family home* that we can *go back to*. my family lives in two different countries. my mother died many years ago, my father sold that home. he is now living in a home that belongs to his current wife who is institutionalized. though he's lived there for so long, and he's been there for a few years on his own, it defiitely has the feel of "her home". (long story of weirdness that i won't go into). and being who he is, he doesn't really have the "host" in him and doesn't invite people over for holidays. (or if he does, it's like "oh so you'll bring all the food, right?").  so in that situation, on a few occasions that *I* invited everyone over or one of my sisters in Other Country has done the hosting, he has offered us some money to cover costs and I am fine with that. But I wouldn't charge people for coming for a meal.

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2013, 02:51:46 AM »
Or you could be like MIL, who organises a family reunion once a year at a park 2 1/4 hours' drive from us, asks everyone to bring a side salad or dessert, and asks for $10 per family to cover the costs of the meat. And makes it very clear that we will attend.

The things you do for family, huh?

If it arose as others have suggested, ie someone can cook, but can't afford to buy, and everyone kicks in, sounds fine to me.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2013, 05:14:40 AM »
I think it can depend. If the family agrees that dinner will be at Suzy's because she just had a baby and it is easier for her not to travel - I don't think she is obligated to pay for prime rib or Honeybaked Ham if that is what the family traditionally eats.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2013, 06:54:36 AM »
I don't like the idea of charging. It sounds like an admission price for an event rather than a family gathering hosted by relatives. I can't really think of a good way to introduce the subject, either.

Thanksgiving can be financially overwhelming and time&talent-consuming, though, so I think sharing the work and the cost is great. I have no problem with the pot-luck invitation: "We'd love to have you for Thanksgiving; we do pot-luck style. I heard you make great almond-asparagus; can you bring that, or is there something else you'd like to share?"

I agree.  At $30 a head, there's no way our family of 5 would be able to attend. Especially if they would be unwilling to adjust the price for kids.  While my older two could eat $30 worth, the two year old most definitely isn't!
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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2013, 07:22:11 AM »
I think it depends on the family dynamics.

Personally, if the fee was $30 per person, I would not be attending.  With a current family of 3, (two kids out of the house), that is $ 90 for our family.   With that 90, I can get a pretty good meal at a restaurant, and that could be including tip.  I would hope that the hostess has a fab spread for that cost, and doggie bags to boot.

I would much rather contribute a dish to the event itself.   


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2013, 07:37:56 AM »
I dunno, maybe where I live groceries are really cheap but $30/person is way over the top. I just bought a 15lb turkey for under $5. No one says you have to make 20 different sides but honestly, I think I could easily bring in a TG meal at around $5/person. And that would also include having leftovers.

I don't do TG, my sister does, but I buy a turkey anyway because they are so cheap and cook it later. I do host Passover though, and spend much more than $5 on a brisket, and counting that + sides, I probably come in at somewhere around $10 per person, again, with plenty of leftovers. And trust me, no one goes away hungry.

In any case, the only way I could see charging is in the example upthread where the host is going to have it catered because no one wants to cook and everyone agrees in advance to split the cost of the catered meal. Otherwise, you either make do with what you can afford or do a pot luck or let someone else host or all go out for the meal.

So put me in the "incredibly rude" camp.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2013, 07:44:04 AM »
If one family is always "hosting" family holiday dinners (in quotes because, many times, it is less hosting and more providing space for family to get together - very casual, informal), I don't think the burden should always fall on them to spend $$$$ to provide the space. Often, distance, etc makes it very difficult for people to make and bring food. Even then, the family hosting usually spends a lot. So, I have no problem for asking for a reasonable amount of donations from family in support of the meal.

ETA: $30 dollars seems high. What are they eating, steak and lobsters?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 07:56:40 AM by Goosey »

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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2013, 07:54:39 AM »
 I'd be ok with contributing money towards a special meal to relieve the financial burden on the host.  However, $30/person seems a bit much for a Thanksgiving meal. Thinking about what I've spent so far for this year's meal for the 5 of us, I don't know that I've even spent $30 total.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2013, 07:56:08 AM »
I think every family dynamic is different.

My brother has generously hosted our family for Thanksgiving now for about 10 years. He takes my sister shopping and buys everything and then she cooks it at his house. This year he has moved out of state and is not coming home for the holidays. I live a couple hours away from everyone plus I will be working til 3 that day. I asked my sister if she would be willing to have the meal at her house. She agreed but I know she isn't able to afford the whole meal and I don't have time to cook. So I sent her a check to cover some of the cost.
I didn't have a problem with this and I sure hope I didn't insult her.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2013, 08:21:49 AM »
If the same person/family gets stuck hosting every year and don't want to do it anymore, whether it's because of the expense, the effort, whatever, then they should certainly figure out some solution. But charging everyone ain't it.


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Re: Charging family members for a home cooked meal
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2013, 08:42:02 AM »
We are visiting family this year, will probably use 1/2 tank of gas and will bring 2 dishes.
Gas: $20
Cranberries: $2.50 (I'm calculating ingredients by fractions used, approximately)
Butter: $.30
Flour: $.10
Sugar: $.25
Walnuts: $2
Couscous: $2
Eggplant: $1
Tomato: $1
Chickpeas: $.80
Herbs: $.10

That's $30.90 if I did my math right. Since we'd be using the gas anyway, we'd be spending $80 @ $30/head. I'd say I definitely like our method better. We would not attend if we had to spend $80 at this point in time.