Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

More Lack of Food for Your Guests

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The recent thread about the in-laws not having enough food for extra guests reminded me of the times where I have been someone's invited guest and there hasn't been enough - or any -food.

10 years ago DH and drove 45 minutes to attend an engagement party for some friends' of ours (engagement parties are a big deal in Australia, probably more common than a bridal shower).  We arrived at 6pm assuming that we would be fed a decent sized meal/buffett or plenty of finger food.  There were about 60-70 guests there, spread out at various tables.  Some tables had bowls of potato chips, crackers and dips, others did not.  About 90 minutes after our arrival a few trays of party pies and sausage rolls were brought around.  We only took a few, assuming that as more food would be coming later we didn't want to spoil our appetites.  Nope, that was it.  Aside from the engagement cake, the only food that was served to 70 guests all night was a few bowls of chips and a couple of trays of finger food.  We stopped at McDonald's on the way home.

I've also noticed lately that when I go to visit someone's house I'm often offered nothing more than a glass of water (I don't drink tea or coffee).  If it wasn't for the food I took with me to share (a cake or muffins etc), then there would be nothing to eat.  These people know I'm coming as they have issued the invitation, so I'm puzzled as to why this happens.  When I issue an invitation I always ensure there is plenty to eat and drink as I can't imagine having someone sitting in my house for 4 hours with only one drink of water (or tea or coffee).  I'm not expecting a 3 course sit down meal every (any!) time, but how hard can it be to at least offer a piece of cake, or to put out a plate of biscuits?

Am I being too picky, or has entertaining gone by the wayside these days?

It's not you.  I've noticed this too.  IMHO if you invite someone to a party that is being hosted between 5-7 pm and dinner is not included you should state that clearly on the invite. 

Chocolate Cake:
Also, I think a lot of people were never taught how to "receive" guests.    It used to be a very formal process, with lots of guidelines and clearly understood expectations (on both the part of the hostess and the part of the guest).  However, because this kind of activity is not so common anymore, people don't think through what is needed for their visitor's comfort.    Common sense should prevail, but many people don't have much of that these days.  The only thing a guest can do is cut short their visit when it becomes clear that the host is less than hospitable.

Oh my, I wouldn't even know what to do. I don't think I've ever not been fed in my life. Sometimes I've been fed horrible awful food I have gulp down as not to taste it, but never been left starving.

I might cut my visit short and go get something to eat.

We went to a 6 PM wedding last year, and at the reception were served crackers, cheese, pickles, bottled water, champagne, and wedding cake. The wedding program instructed guests to "fill their plates and enjoy the festivities."  Guests were streaming out of the place by 9 PM to fill their plates elsewhere.

A few years ago, we were at a wedding reception that ran out of appetizers and punch for the many guests about an hour into the reception.

At a different reception, an hour and a half after the ceremony, the B & G were milling around the church hall, greeting guests, but we had no idea what was going on as food and drink were not served.  We heard that the reception for the families was taking place elsewhere.

I later discovered that these events had amateur wedding coordinators and caterers giving poor advice.  Vendors that had no business taking on the jobs.

IMO, food is the backbone of hospitality.  People are not accustomed to issuing invitations and the obligations of a host, and bad, self-serving advice is everywhere.


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