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Author Topic: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made  (Read 12452 times)

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Dazi

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2016, 05:40:37 AM »
It's really a communication style thing. Kind of similar to people who are raised to ask if you want a drink or food repeatedly, even after you've told them no half a dozen times. They do not believe the no, but think you are just trying not to inconvenience them. Whereas, if I ask you if you want a drink and you tell me no, I'm not asking you again. There's a name for this, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment.

So you have a few courses of action with people like this...

1. Assign them something to bring. Really anything. Ice, drinks, dessert, whatever-just pick something (personally, this is the easiest way IMO)
2. Bring their stuff up and leave your stuff out
3. Put it right along side of yours
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tabitha

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2016, 06:17:31 AM »
I suspect that at least with the mother in law, who absolutely refuses to allow outside food when she hosts, knows exactly what she's doing and exactly how it makes you feel.

"Oh did you forget I asked you not to bring anything?" And take it from there depending on her response.

Or, take food to her event despite her refusing it, see how she handles it and follow suit.  Although, I think that's probably a dangerous game.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2016, 08:04:45 AM »
The chronic people who just can't show up empty handed?  I'll assign them to bring something I'm not planning on making or something that is their particular specialty.

But if I haven't yet identified that person and they brought something when I told them not to?  If it was something that would keep and was very similar to something I already had out, I'd put theirs in the fridge and bring it out when the other was empty.  And if it was never brought out, I'd either consider it a hostess gift and keep it, if it was in a disposable container or I'd offer it back to them, if it was in a non-disposable container, though I might ask to keep a portion and transfer that out to my own container.

If it was something different from anything I had out, I'd just make room and add their dish to the spread.

The one think I would never do is put my item away and just serve theirs.
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Chez Miriam

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2016, 08:06:30 AM »
^^^  Agree with both CakeEater and Wittyone.

You're encouraging this behavior to continue!

I agree, too. 

If someone shows up with food, accept it with a thank you and put it aside.  "Thanks so much for bring the foofoo dip.  I already have mine on the table, so I'll put this in the fridge."  Then redirect them to drinks, where to put their coat, where other guests are, etc while you put the food away.  If you have a second fridge--put the dish in there.

Until they are no long "rewarded" for bringing food, they are not going to stop bringing food.  All the suggestions for saying "I made enough; I'll put yours in the fridge in case we run out" are they way I would go.  Handing the unused dish back at the end of the evening and saying you're sure they would like it for leftovers politely reinforces the message that you are an adult who has catered enough [and you don't end up having to eat leftovers].  Re-directing to bring a nice bottle of wine ["would you choose something that goes well with <main course>?"], or soft drinks might work - worth a try?

Please get out the spine polish and a nice buffing cloth before you start to resent people who don't seem to be treating you as a fully grown-up host - a whole bunch of internet strangers are wishing you well!
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sidi-ji

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2016, 08:20:14 AM »
I agree that MIL knows exactly what she is doing: trampling on boundaries.  She has set her boundaries-and maintains them: no outside food at her events.  She means to bask in all of the compliments her mastery deserves.    In addition she has set your boundaries: "what Blendedfamily said... modified by what  I want to do.  Sure  she, Blended, said that she had it covered, but (affix halo) I am freeing dear  Blended from a lot of work."

In doing this she also frees you of your rightful accolades and  the fun of seeing your guests really enjoying your efforts.

 I don't see malice, just  a stubborn person and (maybe) some professional rivalry.

Going forward I agree with the suggestions to leave your food out.  You can then do whatever is easiest:  put the unneeded extras in fridge or make room on the table.  Good luck!

To Wittyone:  Your story struck me as sad.  I read the family friends offerings as almost... payment for the invitation. Or an attempt to lessen them being a burden on you. 

Zizi-K

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2016, 08:36:15 AM »
I agree with the PPs. If a guest brought a duplicate of something I already made, I would not put my food away. It just wouldn't occur to me to do so. I would probably put them both out and say something like "Great minds think alike!", while privately making a mental note to give this person direction about what to bring in the future. How else would your MIL know that she is duplicating your efforts and that someone's (whether hers or yours) hours shopping, prepping and cooking went to waste? I don't know if your MIL is doing it intentionally or not--maybe not! It's highly possible that your family has well-known likes, and that you are both apt to cook similar things because you know they will be a hit. But why not discuss it in advance with her so that this kind of thing does happen?

In general, I think it actually is rude to bring food to a party without checking with the hosts first. A bottle of wine or beer or spirits? Sure, that can either be served or saved for later. But, even if it is a bigger party with some guests likely to contribute, guest and host should always confer in advance about what the guest is bringing so as to avoid duplicates or too many/too little of food in one category.

DavidH

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2016, 12:55:24 PM »
I understand the idea of not showing up empty handed, but one could always bring a bottle of wine, box of chocolates, or something like that which doesn't need to be consumed right away.  Initially I'd start off and say please don't bring anything, I'm making tons of food and have it all under control.  If they then persist in bringing something, if it fits in and doesn't duplicate, I'd serve it.  If it duplicates, I'd serve mine and put the other dish aside, saying something about saving it for later. If you don't like that option, I'd put it out in addition to mine, never instead of mine. 

For a large party, more buffet style, I'd be more likely to serve it.  For a sit down dinner, I'd almost certainly save it for later, or "forget" to serve it unless it were an extra dessert.

As an aside, I've always had the opposite problem of someone bringing a dish that doesn't remotely go with the rest of what I'm putting out.  Either I have to put out a bizarre combination or put it aside.  Think spicy Asian food and someone brings macaroni and cheese. 

MommyPenguin

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2016, 01:31:26 PM »
It's also possible that the MIL is from a "hint" culture, and when she tells people not to bring anything, she actually wishes they would.  So when she brings something to the OP's, she's doing what she wishes people would do when they come to hers.
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Yvaine

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2016, 01:55:00 PM »
Why are you moving your items off the table? I'd have left both items out.

Same here. I've been to plenty of parties where there were two or three different, say, nacho cheese dips. People enjoyed getting to taste all three versions.

gellchom

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2016, 02:05:04 PM »
That's a good point, Mommy Penguin.

I don't think that the OP wants to make a confrontation out of this.  I see why she'd feel uncomfortable putting their food away and serving only her own. I would, too, even though I'd feel the same as she does about their having brought it.  I get it about not wanting to "reward" the behavior, but I think it would be kind of cold to do that.  Personally, I wouldn't like it, either, but I'd just put it out alongside my own.  I realize that I don't care that much anymore about keeping 100% control or wanting to show everyone what I can do.  I think it's one of those things that doesn't bother you as much after a few years of hosting.

I recognize that it is etiquette-approved to put their food aside and serve only your own.  But I have to admit that if I were another guest at the party and saw the hostess do that, I'd understand perfectly how she felt, but I'd still think that her response was kind of childish and controlling.  And if I saw her put it out next to her own food, I'd think she was mature and gracious.  (I see no need at all for the host to put away what they made and serve only the guest's dish.)

You are wise to see this as not hostility.  They are trying to be nice.  Also, especially with a relative or close friend, they are trying to be inner-circle.  The same as they might stay to help you clean up, try to talk to people who are being left out, etc. -- they want to help you host.  You may not want help, but you are correct that their impulse is a good one.  So I wouldn't put it aside.  Definitely don't say anything snarky or PA (like "Oh, did you forget I said not to bring anything?").  Just say thank you and either serve it or don't.  You are entitled to look out for your own boundaries, but not to try to teach them a lesson, especially by making them feel bad or humiliated -- no matter what they did, that's poor hosting.  If you want to talk to them about the issue and ask them please please not to bring things, that's fine, but do it another time, not in front of the other guests and through words, not through behavior.

With people that you just know are going to bring something no matter what you say, I agree that the way to go is to control it rather than fight it.  They really want to help; let them.  Just tell them something to bring.  It's really no tragedy if a guest, not you, made one of the items that's served; these are guests, not an audience.  If that doesn't quite fit the bill, at least tell them your menu so they won't duplicate.

artk2002

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2016, 02:05:54 PM »
For situation #2, I would talk to your MIL (or have your DH do it) saying something like: "When you host, you refuse any offers to bring food; please respect that we feel the same way. Coming with food unasked makes us feel as if you don't think our hosting is adequate. I know that you want to help, but, in the future, we've got it all covered. If we need anything, we'll ask." Don't do this at the event, do it right after and then again right before the next one.
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TeamBhakta

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2016, 02:09:31 PM »
If your guests showed up with a different table cloth, set of china or centerpiece, you wouldn't put away your own table cloth / china / centerpieces to accommodate their's, right ? Same with food. Their unwanted contribution goes into the fridge, pantry or somewhere else out of reach until that guest wants to leave

*I'm reminded of the Minion birthday cake post:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=137559.0
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 02:18:51 PM by TeamBhakta »

maksi

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2016, 04:51:37 PM »
What does your MIL do when someone brings an unwanted dish to her party? Do the same to her.


I'd just set it on the table with other food. Also I'd tell already in advance very strictly "the biggest favour you can do is not to bring anything, I have the menu planned already" + giving something else to bring, "if you really want to, a bottle of wine is always appreciated".

BlendedFamily

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2016, 08:25:28 AM »
It's also possible that the MIL is from a "hint" culture, and when she tells people not to bring anything, she actually wishes they would.  So when she brings something to the OP's, she's doing what she wishes people would do when they come to hers.

I'm considering that this may be a pissibilitiy.
Facts of the matter: 1.  mil hosts everything (except when I can claim it as mine: ie my sons own baptism
Party). And I mean everything. Every tday, Easter, Xmas, mom day, dad day, may long weekend, July 1st, labour day weekend. She will gather everyone and host for each of her kids bdays (4) and most all of the 9 grandkids
Bdays.
2. Lately she complains about the amount of work this all takes and wishes there was "someone to take over"
3. When anyone else offers to hosts, mil says no. She finds justifications that she should host. (Bigger home, bigger kitchen, more open layout, pool)

She may be "hinting" that I should bring something or help out even though she says no, but um, I just can't. It's rude to do something once it's been offered and the offer has been turned down. I just can't do it, as I know how it feels.
I did try the method of assigning her something once. I said bring salad. She brought salad fixings to my house to assemble in my one person kitchen where dh and I were already overcrowding each other trying to get ready to feed 25 people.

Since the consensus is put my food out along with hers (still seems embarrassing to me) I will try that!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 08:43:58 AM by BlendedFamily »
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Harriet Jones

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Re: A guest brings food to your party that you've already made
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2016, 08:38:57 AM »


Since the consensus is put my food out along with hers (still seems embarrassing to me) I will try that!

Personally, I'd put her food away, unless/until something runs out.  If I've set out a spread, I probably wouldn't have room to squeeze in something I haven't planned for. 

Also, I'm not sure who's supposed to be embarrassed here.  Your MIL's behavior is no reflection on you.