Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Guests Bringing Unsolicited Food

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The threads regarding guests bringing food reminded me of my late MIL, who always brought unsolicited food when she and FIL were invited guests. These were not hostess gifts.

The premise usually was: my parents, who lived 1200 miles away from me, would be visiting DH and I. We'd invite MIL/FIL for a dinner, prepared entirely by me. I'd have everything, including a dessert made from scratch or a high-quality bakery item (my mom esp. loved petit fours).

MIL would inevitably breeze in, carrying a dessert. She'd announce that it was "better than what I'd planned," and tell me to put mine away for another time. She'd go on and on about her dessert and would fish for compliments. Yes, she was an attention hog. My parents, being polite, played along. So did DH or FIL (they'd long since tuned her out, unfortunately).

To my credit I did serve my dessert as well as hers, and for the sake of peace I didn't tell her exactly what I thought of her actions.

In retrospect, should I have had more backbone? I believe so, but I'm a stronger person now. Have other ehellions experienced this, and how did you handle it?

Chocolate Cake:
She'd announce that it was "better than what I'd planned,"

With this comment, she's just asking for it, so I'd probably have replied, "Oh, I doubt that.   Besides, it's the hostess' option to set the menu, so I'll be setting YOUR dessert aside for later and will serve mine as I had planned."

I'd probably have done what you did -- served both -- probably not the hill to die on -- but her manner (not just bringing something which could be viewed as gracious) her manner of insulting your menu and cooking should have been slapped a bit

e.g. when presenting the desserts you might have said 'MIL brought this lovely dessert which she has declared is much better than anything I could have cooked -- so we have a chance for a little taste test; Bill what do you think, Mom what do you think -- is MIL's dessert better than mine?'  -- and watch the fun

I love both the responses! If I'd been the person I am now, I would have done these things. I was a wimp, I admit. She was a highly dysfunctional person who pretty much intimidated the family.

I agree with Jaywalker, it's not a hill to die on.

The best option is to serve both and give your MIL plenty of rope to hang herself.  Fishing for compliments is so endearing, after all.  Bleh.


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