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Author Topic: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?  (Read 5963 times)

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LadyL

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2017, 11:48:10 AM »
The social norms for hosting vary enormously by region, socio economics, age, etc. in my opinion. Many of my friends are early in careers in high cost of living areas. Potlucks are way to make large group get togethers attainable for my social circle. In two years living on the West Coast I have attended one fully hosted dinner party and everything else has been either potlucks or splitting the bill at a restaurant. If everyone waited until they could afford to do traditional full hosting there would be no parties and I'd be sad.

I genuinely envy people who live somewhere where it's the norm to have the space and budget to fully host large groups regularly. It's one of my favorite things to do when we can afford it (we are doing so in 2 weeks actually). But in the land of everyone renting tiny overpriced apartments, a potluck picnic in the park is about as good as it's going to get for "hosting" and I think denigrating that as lazy, cheap, etc. ignores the real financial and logistical barriers involved. No one is trying to exploit anyone, we're all just trying to not be broker than we already are.

Easter Hat

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2017, 12:33:12 PM »
In our circles we attend a lot of potlucks.  Sometimes I make a really nice dish.  Sometimes I make two.   Sometimes I bring a bag of chips.  Sometimes I arrive empty handed and if it's been a crazy, crazy week - I don't feel a bit bad about it.  It evens out in the end.  Almost every party has a nice mix of food and usually excessively plenty of it.

One family member used to host parties for their many children (birthdays, religious events, etc) and decline any offer of contributions.  Sadly, their food was always sparse and not of good quality.  A couple bags of chips would quickly disappear and you'd find a huge bowl of salsa and nothing else.  A small crock pot of meat was indication that you should fix yourself a very small sandwich in order for everyone to eat.  If you saw a tray of cookies you better grab one because soon they'd be gone.  They'd have their kids (children) make the pasta salad and it would just be - not good. 

Of course when you go to a party in honor of someone you shouldn't care about the food or judge the hosts.  I know they hosted on a budget.  However, I would have loved if those family members would have followed the norm and allowed their events to be pot luck.

I'd never expect to bring a dish to a bridal shower or a graduation party or something like that.  However if the host asked me to bring a dish I would do it happily.  I would be happy to HELP a sister in law HOST and not judge her for asking.  People are BUSY and it's nice to have family and friends to count on.

If I felt I NEEDED to bring a dish for EVERY party I was invited to I'd probably decline a few invites.  It would get tiring. 

TeamBhakta

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2017, 01:00:42 PM »
In our circles we attend a lot of potlucks.  Sometimes I make a really nice dish.  Sometimes I make two.   Sometimes I bring a bag of chips.  Sometimes I arrive empty handed and if it's been a crazy, crazy week - I don't feel a bit bad about it.  It evens out in the end.

You just showed up to (some) potlucks without an item ? Did you tell the hosts in advance "I won't be able to bring a dish" ? Had you already promised to bring something prior to deciding that ?

Devils Advocate

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2017, 01:17:03 PM »
If a group of friends decide to get together on a Saturday night and there is discussion: where do we want to go? Whose house? What kind of food? Games? Movies? That's different than what I'm describing.

I'm describing someone who decides to throw an event, takes on the event solely and then invites others to their house for their party and demands that everyone bring a dish to share. (Demand is maybe too harsh of a word, but it's certainly not a request).

I guess I was raised more with traditional etiquette. If I'm hosting then I'm providing for my guests and if anyone brings something it's appreciated but not expected or demanded. I feel like if you want to throw a party but can't provide for it (or are too lazy to) then don't throw a party.

I guess I'm not quite sure of the difference beyond someone specifically saying they are hosting perhaps?  Let me look on this as perhaps someone hosting a holiday get together--in my group it is expected that it will still be potluck.  We call it Friends Thanksgiving or Friends Christmas, we do ugly sweater parties, superbowl parties, and the like.  More likely than not it will be potluck with the host providing a main dish of some sort.  I don't think it has anything to do with etiquette and I don't think it's an etiquette violation to host and have others bring dishes. 

I really think it just depends on the crowd that you run with and what their normal is.  It sounds like you are out of sync with some of the group and I would just simply decline the invitation.  But I don't consider the hosts rude or without etiquette.


lmyrs

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2017, 01:40:58 PM »
The social norms for hosting vary enormously by region, socio economics, age, etc. in my opinion. Many of my friends are early in careers in high cost of living areas. Potlucks are way to make large group get togethers attainable for my social circle. In two years living on the West Coast I have attended one fully hosted dinner party and everything else has been either potlucks or splitting the bill at a restaurant. If everyone waited until they could afford to do traditional full hosting there would be no parties and I'd be sad.

I genuinely envy people who live somewhere where it's the norm to have the space and budget to fully host large groups regularly. It's one of my favorite things to do when we can afford it (we are doing so in 2 weeks actually). But in the land of everyone renting tiny overpriced apartments, a potluck picnic in the park is about as good as it's going to get for "hosting" and I think denigrating that as lazy, cheap, etc. ignores the real financial and logistical barriers involved. No one is trying to exploit anyone, we're all just trying to not be broker than we already are.

Very well put LadyL. I have a mix of fully hosted and potluck affairs. My family Christmas is a minimum of 50 people. If we expected one person to carry the burden of that... well no more family Christmas, I guess. I suppose if someone feels it's more important to stand on ceremony than to see their loved ones, they are free to decline attendance.

It's clear that potluck is the accepted norm in the circle of friends that the OP finds herself. If she is not comfortable with the conventions of this group, she should probably look for a group that better fits her expectations, not try to change the accepted and established norms for everyone else.


trichele21

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2017, 01:51:55 PM »
People keep misunderstanding me. Having a family Christmas in which you rotate houses is NOT the same as saying "let's throw a pool party next weekend" or "let's throw a housewarming so everyone can see our new place".

The Christmas/thanksgiving/book club/game group is/are GROUP activities in which you all participate
And share hosting responsibilities.

I'm not sure how else to explain that.

Ah, well.

TeamBhakta

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2017, 02:10:00 PM »
People keep misunderstanding me. Having a family Christmas in which you rotate houses is NOT the same as saying "let's throw a pool party next weekend" or "let's throw a housewarming so everyone can see our new place".

The Christmas/thanksgiving/book club/game group is/are GROUP activities in which you all participate
And share hosting responsibilities.

I'm not sure how else to explain that.

Ah, well.

I think you mean it's like being asked too often at work "Let's pass the hat for Barbara's baby shower, John's get well card, Milton's retirement party, etc" ?

Zizi-K

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2017, 02:20:37 PM »
People keep misunderstanding me. Having a family Christmas in which you rotate houses is NOT the same as saying "let's throw a pool party next weekend" or "let's throw a housewarming so everyone can see our new place".

The Christmas/thanksgiving/book club/game group is/are GROUP activities in which you all participate
And share hosting responsibilities.

I'm not sure how else to explain that.

Ah, well.

I agree with the distinction you are making. There is a big difference to me as well between big cooperative organized celebrations like family holidays, and things like a housewarming where you the host are asking someone to come and celebrate you (your house, whatever, as the focus of attention) and then asking them to contribute food to a party in your own honor. Like, if you want to throw yourself a party, take responsibility for it!

I do agree with you that if it's someone's idea to have a party, it would make sense for them to take on the majority of the cost in throwing that party. I get it that young 20 somethings living in big cities don't have a lot of money, and in general I think its fine for groups to have their customs. But now as a late 30-something, I would get pretty tired of being constantly invited to potlucks. Luckily I do not really have that problem as potlucks are not a preferred mode of socializing for my friend group.

My family is actually another story. Most recently, my sister threw a birthday party for herself and (mostly for) her 3 y.o., because their birthdays are a few days apart. I ended up bringing a big meat main dish and the salad, and my mom brought an expensive cake. My sister provided some munchies and another meat dish. There were no other sides. That contribution ended up being my gift to my sister for her birthday, because it was a lot of work and a not-insignificant amount of money for all the meat I made. It's annoying, because when I do these kinds of things I either cook or have it catered. There are a lot of options for catering in her area, and many of them are not expensive at all. I'm not counting her money or anything, but suffice it to say that she can certainly afford to provide the food for 10 people. Personally I think she is ambivalent about having all the people over (probably doing it at least somewhat in response to pressure from my mom) and just doesn't love hosting. But I am really sick of having to cook and schlep food over for other people's parties. I am finding it tiring enough doing for my own (rarer and rarer) parties! And don't get me started on the cleanup...

Easter Hat

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2017, 04:12:47 PM »
Quote
You just showed up to (some) potlucks without an item ? Did you tell the hosts in advance "I won't be able to bring a dish" ? Had you already promised to bring something prior to deciding that ?

Yes, I just show up (very occasionally) without an item. 

I would not do this if I was going to a lesser known friends party.  If it was the first time I attended a new friends potluck I would fear that I'd look like a moocher.  I'd make the effort to bring something nice regardless of my personal situation.  Or I'd opt to not attend.

Most of the potlucks I attend are family and close friends and no really reveals (or cares) what others are bringing.  At this point we know "X always brings a cheeseball" or "Y usually brings a dessert".  If they don't follow through with their norm no one cares, other than to maybe be disappointed to not get a taste of "X's cheeseball".  If no one shows up with chips someone will run to the store to purchase a few bags.  No big deal.

I don't tell the host that I'm not bringing something because they don't care if I bring something or not.  The covered dish isn't an entry fee for us - it's a an indication that the night is casual and fun and we should come over.  Like I said, there is always tons of food so I'm not going to slink in with embarrassment if I arrive empty handed every once in a awhile.  These people know that the next party I will have something delicious.

That might not be everyones experience with potlucks but that's how we roll.  It is nice to go to parties and get to try all kinds of different food (and nab their recipes).

One thing I would never, never, do is promise to bring something and then bail.  If I promised a pie and couldn't make it happen on my own I'd throw money at the problem and purchase a nice quality pie from a store.

chigger

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2017, 04:23:43 PM »
People keep misunderstanding me. Having a family Christmas in which you rotate houses is NOT the same as saying "let's throw a pool party next weekend" or "let's throw a housewarming so everyone can see our new place".

The Christmas/thanksgiving/book club/game group is/are GROUP activities in which you all participate
And share hosting responsibilities.

I'm not sure how else to explain that.

Ah, well.

I understand what you mean exactly. I would not want to bring a dish to share to a housewarming or a shower, that I'm already bringing a gift to . A casual got together, sure no problem. I don't understand when more formal events are porluck.

Pumpkin Spice

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2017, 08:31:40 AM »
If a group of friends decide to get together on a Saturday night and there is discussion: where do we want to go? Whose house? What kind of food? Games? Movies? That's different than what I'm describing.

I'm describing someone who decides to throw an event, takes on the event solely and then invites others to their house for their party and demands that everyone bring a dish to share. (Demand is maybe too harsh of a word, but it's certainly not a request).

I guess I was raised more with traditional etiquette. If I'm hosting then I'm providing for my guests and if anyone brings something it's appreciated but not expected or demanded. I feel like if you want to throw a party but can't provide for it (or are too lazy to) then don't throw a party.

I agree with you here.  I think it's tacky for the host to not handle all of their own food details in that case especially if the event is a shower, b-day party, etc.. which has the usual expectation of bringing a gift.   If someone is thoughtful enough to bring a side or dessert, then great, but I don't think it should be mandatory in that case.  That's just my opinion though, I'm still learning this whole etiquette game.  :)

Luci

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2017, 10:40:35 AM »
We try to host Thanksgiving, but people insist on bringing something anyway. That may have something to do with my several disastrous sweet potato casserole or the fact that we have between 30 to 40 people. At our camper for the same group, it would be almost impossible to serve everyone due to limited space, so that's always potluck. Every spring we take 20-30 out to a buffet, so that is completely hosted. Our New Years Eve and Day is always pot luck because the invitation is like an open house with no RSVP. I just need a rough count to know how many filets to have ready to thaw and all is good.

OP mentioned a pool party. That I would always expect to take something to.

Our nephew has the worst tasting tap water in the world, so our contribution is always bottled water.

I am going to a bridal shower this afternoon and it was hinted that I take something. My answer was not taking the hint.

Mary Lennox

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2017, 12:53:27 PM »
When it's purely a social activity not celebrating anything like a birthday or shower, I don't have a problem with it being a potluck.

If these are the only people with a pool in your social group, I'm sure they will be doing more than their share of entertaining during the summer months. They're probably going to be opening their home multiple times a month for hours at a time and people will be using their pool, bathroom, pool toys etc. Why should they have to provide food and drinks and snacks on top of all? The least guests could do is buy a packet of chips or two for an afternoon of using their stuff. And this goes for any situation where one household takes on more hosting "responsibilities" because they have a pool or a game room or an x-box or whatever.

Now, in terms of a rotating event, I think it's important to stick with whatever is the norm of the group. If it's normally a potluck, but one person fully hosts their turn, it can sometimes be uncomfortable, as if the potlucks aren't good enough for them and they have to "show off" their money/skills/adulting. And the reverse, where everyone hosts, except one person potlucks it, I would resent having to do my turn and then contribute to someone else's turn too. It's about works for the group and you have to be conscious about how going against the norm appears to the others.

lakey

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2017, 02:44:43 PM »
Quote
You just showed up to (some) potlucks without an item ? Did you tell the hosts in advance "I won't be able to bring a dish" ? Had you already promised to bring something prior to deciding that ?

Whether that is a problem is probably due to the type of potluck and the number of guests. My experience of potlucks is with large groups such as work potlucks or very large family reunions. In these instances there is an enormous amount of food, so if a couple of guests didn't bring anything, no one would notice.

If it were a smaller potluck with a group of close friends as some of the commenters here are referring to, it might be noticeable, depending on the situation.

One time I knew I wouldn't have time to make something for a work potluck, so I purchased a large amount of a salad from the grocery store deli. I confessed that it was for a potluck. The employee said, "Hey, we have people bring in their own containers so that no one knows they didn't make it." LOL

Harriet Jones

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2017, 04:20:00 PM »
Quote
You just showed up to (some) potlucks without an item ? Did you tell the hosts in advance "I won't be able to bring a dish" ? Had you already promised to bring something prior to deciding that ?

Whether that is a problem is probably due to the type of potluck and the number of guests. My experience of potlucks is with large groups such as work potlucks or very large family reunions. In these instances there is an enormous amount of food, so if a couple of guests didn't bring anything, no one would notice.

If it were a smaller potluck with a group of close friends as some of the commenters here are referring to, it might be noticeable, depending on the situation.

One time I knew I wouldn't have time to make something for a work potluck, so I purchased a large amount of a salad from the grocery store deli. I confessed that it was for a potluck. The employee said, "Hey, we have people bring in their own containers so that no one knows they didn't make it." LOL


Yep.  My work would have regular potlucks.  There was always plenty of food, and if someone forgot or their dish didn't turn out right, it wasn't a problem.