Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

When is it reasonable to let guests go hungry??

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I received some great advice in my last post (about the socially inept friend), so I thought I'd ask you all about some advice on a new situation:

SO and I are both students. We both work besides studying, so it's not like we're turning every cent - but we're far from well off either. When we have guests over, I like to go all out on making a good meal, and I always enquire about food allergies, dislikes etc., to make sure I serve something my guests like. If we have guests over, we of course make sure that we can afford it - if we could only serve pasta with ketchup, we wouldn't entertain that week.

Now, we are friends with a couple, let's call them John and Jane, whom we see about once a month, alternating between their place and ours. The problem is that they eat a lot. The first time they were over, I had made a pot roast. The roast was of a size that would have given me and SO food for at least 5 days. When our guests left, there was no more roast left! I think John had 10 slices, along with 10-12 potatoes. I had cut up the whole roast, because I thought it'd be easier to clean away later, and when John had finished his first 4 or so slices, he said "Wow, this tastes great! Is there any left?" - I couldn't very well say no, because they'd seen me cook the whole roast. I brought the whole plate in, thinking he'd just take 1 or 2 more slices.

The next time they were over, I'd made chicken curry with rice, and again, the whole portion was gone. This time I had made maybe enough for 5-6 people, and I got the feeling that especially John wasn't full when we left the table. I felt like such a bad hostess, but honestly, I couldn't afford to buy more chicken and still have money left for the rest of the month!
They eat just as much when we're at their place - and Jane always makes an abundance of food so that there's plenty left over. So it's not a question of just eating on other people's "budget" (I've had friends who'd go hungry for days so they could eat like pigs when it was for free).

Please help me - is it rude to knowingly make too little food to feed your guests, when they have such an abnormal appetite? And yes, not to offend anyone, I find it abnormal how much they eat, especially John.
Also, is it rude to ask for more food when you've already eaten what is to be considered a good share? If I'm out and I'm not full by what I'm served, I don't ask the hostess for more food - I've always been told it's impolite, and if you're hungry you can eat more when you come home.

I guess my real question is, is it required to cater to people's huge apptites - along the lines of whether it's required to cater to picky eaters?

Harriet Jones:
Do you think they might raid your kitchen if you don't satisfy their appetites?  ::)

You can serve less food -- go ahead and put away what you'd like to save.  And/or you can provide larger amounts of cheaper food.

My mouth dropped when you mentioned the amount of food that these two eat. Wow. I think in this case, you are not required to feed their food over-indulgence. Your pocketbook and time should not have to take such a hit because of their personal food problems. Just fix an amount of food that is slightly larger than the normal portion a person would eat, and leave it at that. If they're still hungry afterward, then they'll realize that they should fill up a little at their house before they come over to yours.

I feel that you should provide your guests with a good meal for them. That feels like good hosting. Now being a good guest means you should not complain and enjoy what you get, but if I had someone like that come over, I would want to serve them all they wished to eat.

I would probably also start cooking some cheaper dishes.

I have been on the other side of this. I found visiting some people that I was usually a bit hungry and my husband was ravenous after staying with them. We go to the gym a fair amount and have healthy appetites. As good guests we just started bring trail mix and granola bars when we visited. Though I will remember the host cautioning us that we didn't want to spoil our dinner on the appetisers. I could barely stop grinning as I remembered my husband  eating a cup of trail mix (while on a walk) a half hour before so he could make it to dinner.

While it's hospitable to make sure your guests are well-fed, I don't think you are required to feed each person enough for 3 or 4. Your home is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. I second making cheaper foods, a LITTLE more than you normally would. Lots more rice/potatoes/macaroni/stuffing, so if they are still hungry, they can fill up on the cheap stuff, not the filet mignon.


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