Recently, an acquaintance and her family moved back to our area after living in a different part of the country for several years. We were not particularly close when we had attended graduate school together, but we were friendly, and once she and her family moved back, we invited them over for dinner. I prepared a home-cooked meal, including entrée, side dishes, appetizer, salad and dessert; our children played together nicely, and my acquaintance (let’s call her “Rachel”) and her husband brought a beautiful bottle of wine as a hostess gift. It was a lovely evening, and Rachel, her husband and children, my husband, our children and I, all had a good time. Over the next few months, we had had several play dates, mostly at our house or at a local park (her twins are the same age as my oldest, and her younger daughter is right between my younger children), and the kids played together very nicely, and we had a nice time catching up. None of these visits took place at Rachel’s house, as her family was in the process of house-hunting and was renting a small apartment, so they did not feel comfortable entertaining there, or that was at least, the reason Rachel had given for not inviting us over. Some months later, Rachel and her husband invited us over for brunch and to see their new house that they had just purchased in our area. We appreciated the invitation, and I asked if I could bring anything and offered to bring a side dish. Here is the exact conversation, “May I bring anything? I make a mean spinach quiche”. “Yes, that would be great, thank you”. “Is there anything else you would like for me to bring?” “No, we’ll take care of everything else, that’s fine”. Fast forward to the day of – I make the quiche, bundle the family in the car, and off we go.
We tour their (lovely) home, the kids are playing; Rachel makes coffee for the adults and pours juice, milk and water for the youngsters. About 40 minutes later, she asks if we are hungry. At this point, it’s after 12 pm, seems like an appropriate time for brunch, and I offer to help her set up and follow her to the kitchen. She asks me how to heat up the quiche; puts it in the oven and puts some chips and dip into a bowl and asks us to come to the table. Our brunch is chips and dip, and quiche. I only made one quiche, as I assumed that since we were being invited to brunch, she would take care of a main dish and some sides – even a platter of bagels and cream cheese would have been fine. There are, at this point, 4 adults and 6 children at the table, who, as I gathered, were expected to brunch on 1 9-inch quiche and a bowl of chips and dip with some beverages. She asks me to slice up the quiche since I brought it, so I cut it up in very small slivers and serve it, making sure that there’s enough for everyone. Thankfully, our kids, despite being fairly young, did not utter a peep about being hungry and ate what was in front of them. At one point, Rachel did get up and get a few yogurts from the refrigerator and gave them to the children. That was it as far as food was concerned. After she stood up to clear off the table, her husband actually asked, “Will you be staying much longer? I have some work to do”. (We were invited for 11 am, and it’s about 12:45 pm at that point, so it’s not like we had been there for 5 hours). I helped Rachel bring the dirty dishes to the kitchen, while my husband gathered up our children, and at that point, we thanked them for their hospitality and took our leave. Needless to say, as soon as we got home, we fed our hungry family a second lunch, as a small slice of quiche and a handful of chips was not enough for their midday meal.
My husband and I were quite befuddled by how rude Rachel and her husband had been – who has someone over for brunch and does not offer them more than a bowlful of chips and a handful of yogurt cartons? And who asks their guests less than 2 hours into a brunch-time visit, if they would be leaving soon? If they were not prepared to host that day, would it not have been more gracious to cancel? Even the day off would have been fine, as we certainly would not want to visit with someone who was not interested in visiting with us. Or, did they assume based on the conversation above that they would be providing the house, and we would be providing the brunch since I prepared them a lavish meal when they came to my house? Am I completely off my rocker? 0906-16
I think successful hospitality requires both practice and a willingness to serve others. This kind of hosting blunder is something I expect from a young person who has not had the opportunity to witness gracious hospitality in action. But even if there is a lack of knowledge, if there is an intentional heart attitude to serve one’s guests, efforts are made to be hospitable and sometimes that means you get served chips and dip and any other odd combinations of food. Rachel, at minimum, did serve you coffee, juice, milk and water with that bowl of chips. I suggest giving her another chance but also host her for breakfast and show her how it’s done by example. Nothing fancy…juice, coffee, danishes/pastries, fresh fruit, maybe a egg strata. If she doesn’t get the clue after that, it’s best to lower your expectations a bit inregards to Rachel’s hospitality.
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Young people learn from seeing their parents, or older people host guests. I had learned from my parent’s hosting skills, and I used to have a hard time trying to do as good a job hosting as I saw my parents do. It got easier with time.
Granted that I might have been lucky to have parents as the role model. But in the case of Rachel and her husband, they definitely are not young. They should have known better! Seems like they at least had a few friends invite them. Or, just look online to see what to expect to be a good host. (That’s how I came across this site 10 years ago while researching how to be a good guest at a friend’s wedding – one of the first ones in my adult life).
I learned by bad examples like this story. I’ve been to enough bad parties with inadequate food for the people invited, that I have an almost obsessive tendency to put out TOO MUCH food when I host people at my home. Because I never want people walking away from my home feeling the way I did when I walked away from those bad parties, like I was a burden, like the host didn’t care enough to offer me food and drink when THEY were the ones who asked me to come to their homes.
I agree with Admin that maybe Rachael is somewhat clueless about entertaining, but, specifically inviting you and your family for brunch brings up eggs, French toast etc, at least in my mind.
I think it’s rude and confusing that she didn’t have any food for her guests.
She could’ve invited you over for cocktails and snacks instead.
I DO think it was very rude of her to ask “how long are you planning on staying”?!?
I’ve posted before about a family we were friendly with, who we would get together at each other’s houses for dinner once in a while.
When we were hosting, we would get texts about what they wanted to eat or drink, always expensive food and top shelf liquor, while we were once served hot dogs and water….not joking.
The last time we went for dinner, we asked if we bring wine and dessert, how about steaks?
Well…not THIS week….been a rough week money wise.
Okay, not a problem, burgers sound great….Thanks!
We bring wine and dessert, and as we are sitting down, one of their kids very casually mentions “Wow, you guys, too bad you didn’t come over LAST NIGHT!!! We had buckets of clams and really yummy porterhouse steaks!!!”
Really now….how lovely!!!
Who sends texts when invited about what they want to eat or drink? That is terribly rude unless they were expressly asked what they’d like.
Just 4 Kicks: How would you guys like to come over for dinner next Friday night?
Guest: Great – we’ll be there. We would love some steaks/lobster and some Crown Royal to drink.
They did that all the time…One of the reasons we don’t hang with them anymore.
“Oh…hey…if you don’t mind…could you get (top shelf) vodka/tequila? We will bring the mixers!”
Which of course, they didn’t.
With friends like those, who needs enemies? Sheesh.
While my family is certainly not perfect, these are the same people who called my son a p@ssy and a f@g when he refused to play with the new hunting rifle the one 13 year old son got for Christmas one year.
Can’t say we miss them all that much.
When I was growing up, there was a family in my parents’ social group that did this to us frequently. They would host lavish dinner parties with ‘luxury’ entrees for their other friends, and when my Mum hosted, she would go all out to buy nice food and make something really extravagant (despite not really having the money to splurge on expensive food items), then the ‘Jones’s would come ’round and they’d go on and on about this amazing recipe Jan Jones had made for the ‘Smiths’ or the ‘Browns’ and how we really must come to dinner and try this amazing recipe. When it was our turn to go to theirs ‘Jan’ would promise to make this special meal she’d made the Smiths and the Browns. When we turned up, she would usually have made Lasagna or a roast. Not that we were ungrateful for this and not that we ever said anything about it, but we were treated differently. She’d go on and on about how she’d hosted this dinner party in her ‘formal’ dining room, but we’d get invited to draw up a chair at the kitchen table. She’d break out her ‘fine china’ for the Smiths, but we got the mismatch ‘everyday’ stuff from the kitchen cupboard.
It is tacky to boast to ‘lesser’ friends about the things you do for ‘more important’ friends, promise to do the same, and then make it obvious that we weren’t important enough to warrant the ‘proper’ dining room or the decent chinaware. I wouldn’t mind but she was ALWAYS going on and on about the super-fun dinner parties she’d have with the ‘Smiths and the Browns’ (for some reason they would always be invited around together). In the end it got the point that ‘Jan’ and ‘Tony’ were barely civil to my parents (which made us wonder why on earth they invited us in the first place) and Jan was openly hostile to me (but not my sister because her daughter ‘Penny’ was friends with my Sister at school). ‘Tony’ was always a bit intimidating to me because he drank heavily and the filter between his brain and his mouth disappeared…. He said several extremely inappropriate things to me about my developing pubescent body and once kicked our cat just after her spaying surgery. I loathed him so I wasn’t sorry when my parents stopped inviting them over…
In the end, my mother just quietly let the friendship die. She stopped issuing dinner invites to Jan and Tony, and contact with them and their daughters just fizzled out. I think my sister is still friends with ‘Penny’ on Facebook, but honestly, I think if I passed them in the street I’d no longer recognise them. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and treat people how they treat you and see what shakes loose.
Perhaps next time the OP should present the exact same food to ‘Rachel’ and her family that they themselves were given. If Rachel wants to make an issue of it, she was the one to set the precedent. The OP is simply taking her cues from Rachel.
How terrible! Although reading this story I found myself wondering if the Smiths and Browns got lasagna and chipped china while being fed stories about the amazing meals they’d served for the Jones.
Nothing like being told you’re a second-tier friend.
When I got to the part about “Tony” kicking the just-spayed cat– there is no reason to associate with a person who abuses animals. When “Tony” kicked the cat, I would have immediately terminated the visit and demanded that “Tony” and “Jan” leave my house. And ended the acquaintanceship (can’t really call it a friendship) permanently.
Abusing a host’s pet is a relationship “death penalty” situation.
to be fair; maybe the clams and steaks were provided by someone else? (parents, in-laws, etc).
In this particular instance, nope, just them and their kids….I was fed up (after being asked if I could do with only half a piece of cheese on my burger…No joke.) and made some comment about other friends who bring the goodies. No….it was just us….why?!? Never mind.
Though they’d been over to the OP’s house several times, Rachel should have had an idea by then that one should provide food when inviting someone over. Perhaps she didn’t realize what a quiche was… but. Give it one more try and if that doesn’t seem to get it across to her, then figure out some other arrangement.
Rachel and family did show up once and bring wine for a dinner so they seem to have some sort of idea how things should work… give them another try. Maybe give a few more words over, when you offer to bring a side, to sort out what she’s planning for main and dessert, or if you offer to bring dessert, what the sides and main will be. It might clue Rachel in that it’s expected they provide more food on their end of the deal…
Eh…some people are just cheap. Or they weren’t raised in families who hosted well, so they in turn do not host well. Trust me, it is not from lack of exposure. These are the same people who will come to your house and eat every morsel of the lavish spread you prepare for them. For some reason, it never clicks they should do the same. My parents have a similar story of hosting a family from our synagogue, who like our family had two young girls. When it came time for them to reciprocate, we arrived to their house with very little in the way of appetizers/snacks. Then they ordered a single pizza for 8 people (4 adults, 4 kids). My parents were appalled. We did not stay long.
Oh, I can’t stand when people are so cheap like that.
My younger kids are only allowed to invite their friends over on weekends where my husband has gotten paid that Friday, so we make sure we order out for dinner and have plenty of snacks on hand.
Just4Kicks – Would it be a bad thing to have your kids’ friends over for regular meals instead of takeout? Kids generally don’t care about the food as long as it’s edible, they just want to get together to play. I don’t know if I’d want to teach my kids that they couldn’t entertain until they had the money to do it expensively (most takeout is expensive, it seems). I just remember being a kid and exposed to all kinds of weird and sometimes not-so-good meals at friends’ houses and it was good experience for understanding the very different ways families live. As long as the hospitality is there the shortfalls can be ignored.
No, it wouldn’t, and there have been a few instances of unexpected car repairs/broken oil heater etc where I did cook and it was appreciated by the kids who came over.
….And I always make a nice breakfast the next morning.
Even I can’t screw up French toast! 🙂
I agree with you on this one.
I’d be so bummed out if my parents only let my friends come over when we could also afford take-out. Maybe it’s from growing up with a tight budget but my mom would just make us the standard meals. She’d just make more of it, my friends loved eating at our house, even on fish stick night.
I see what you mean just4kicks. I have two daughters and when they have slumber parties they hit my refrigerator HARD! So its better to do it when you can have plenty of food available and money to buy it 🙂
Amazing point and reminder.
My SIL did something similar. She and her husband and another BIL come and stay at our house once a year to attend an event in our city, so they stay with us at least one night. We are happy to have them and it’s nice to visit and a fun event for us all to go to. They were arriving a day ahead this time and said they would bring pizza for dinner the night of their arrival. Which, awesome, who doesn’t like pizza?
The brought two like 10 or 12 inch, take and bake type thin crust pizzas. They were good quality, so not frozen/cheap, but nowhere near enough food for 6 adults (Or 7? I don’t remember if this was the time Surpise! We brought grandma, too) and a child. Thankfully we had other stuff to eat, but it was not what I was expecting for a “Thanks for letting us stay! We’ll bring dinner!”
Not that it was malicious or even being cheap, I think it was just not thinking through the details… or how much food people actually eat- especially when all of the men could have probably eaten a single pizza themselves and still been hungry.
When my husband, kids and I moved into our current house, we had my parents helping us unpack as well as two other couples and their kids. All told, there were 8 adults and 4 young children. I can’t remember how much pizza I ordered, but it was a lot – something like ten extra-large pies. My very thrifty mother was appalled and said “We’ll never eat all that!” She completely underestimated how much pizza people can eat, especially hungry people who’ve had no lunch and have been lifting heavy boxes all day. If memory serves, we had about three slices left over.
We helped friend couple move. He was the nice one she wasn’t, but. DH and I, and three others, showed up on moving day, and they had a rented van. She hadn’t packed yet, and was just flitting about the place. I knew where to find boxes and we went on a box raid, nabbed a bunch of newspaper (the free trader stuff and some indie-print, we were desperate) and started packing. I can powerpack. The sink was full of dirty dishes and I tasked her with DO THE DISHES so we could pack them. Three hours later she hadn’t touched them so I packed them dirty (and she complained for months about it). That was how the whole day went. We were there from 7 am to 8 pm, and no beverages were provided and no food (we all snuck off at various times and got our own takeout and scarfed it before getting back) and had the van loaded. She orders ONE medium pizza and one bottle of soda. She opened the box and went ‘there’s supper help yourself’. She took the first piece. We all sort of looked at each other, took a piece and inhaled it. One piece sitting there. She went ‘oh good’ and grabbed the last piece. She couldn’t understand why we all walked off and left them to take the van to the new place, unload it themselves, and get the van back by 8 am. Lunch should have been provided, rather than she sent him for some takeout without saying anything and waved half an Arby’s sandwich for an hour, and 4 large pizzas would have probably done it for supper… I guess she never did get the clue, either. Your nickel, she could drink top shelf and eat filet mignon, her nickel you probably got tap water and an 89c/pack boiled hotdog on a bun (filtered back from other friends). I feel sorry for him.
Thanks to all for nice comments! 🙂
On the infamous hot dog and water night, I forgot to add that as we were leaving to head over to their house, my husband got a text from them “Hey….on your way over could you please pick up more rolls and a bag of chips and pretzels. We are out of mustard too…..” Sheesh.
These sound like people who do not know how to plan meals ahead and tend to just fly by whatever they have in fridge and pantry. They don’t actually make plans for dinner beyond saying, “Hey, let’s do hot dogs tomorrow and invite the Kicks family,” assuming they’ll have enough in the fridge. Then they don’t, and now they’re asking their guests to make the store run (because it just wasn’t important enough to check earlier).
My husband and I try to avoid the “oh, we’re out of all these things for hot dog night” by planning out our meals for the week (I go grocery shopping once a week for the bulk of our food), making a list of ingredients we currently lack, and composing a shopping list from that, all on Monday night. Then on Tuesday morning after dropping the kids off at school, I go to the store and pick up everything we need. This also means we either invite guests over for dinner a week in advance (or at a point where we can make the supplemental grocery run ourselves), or only invite guests on a night where we have a meal planned that’s easily expandable to include the extra people (and the ingredients are on hand). This has kept us from ever shorting our guests food, even the recent time where our guests brought two extras (with our permission).
I don’t give these people a pass. Google is a thing!
I would be so embarrassed to be served wonderful meals several times, then “try” to reciprocate with only food the guest brought, chips and dip, and yogurt, a “When will you be leaving?” instead of “It was nice to have you over!”, and in what I can only imagine, awkward silence. I would have no idea what to say to someone who would do what these people did…
I would agree – I don’t allow people to take advantage of me or be allowed to humiliate me more than once.
I have to disagree and say that I wouldn’t give them another chance and “host her for breakfast and show her how it’s done by example.” When the OP hosted Rachel and her family, and they brought a hostess gift, etc. its clear they have some knowledge of how hosting works. I don’t know why they didn’t reciprocate in kind, but for me, its not really that difficult to make sure you have enough food if you invite people over. And the husband asking if they were leaving soon?
I agree with the OP she would have been ok if they had cancelled, even last minute, rather than had to experience sub=-par hospitality.
I do agree however, with its learned; i have family members, siblings, who live near each other, and a few hours from me. I go visit a couple times a year. I stopped staying with one, because her hospitality was actually non-existent. I don’t ask for much, but she’s quite selfish, and only thought of herself, never her guest. I started staying with her sibling and his wife, and wow, what a difference. Mainly his wife, but he’s learned through her. They are gracious, and while I don’t ask for much, they know what I like, i.e. coffee in the am and so on, and always have it,.
But the siblings parents were never really ones to “host” it was kind of fly by the seat of your pants, nad the wife of my relative, her parents are gracious and welcoming, and wanting to attend to their guests.
No you aren’t off your rocker. I’m assuming that since you both have kids then Rachel is at least old enough to know better. It’s funny though, something similar happened to me and hubby two weekends ago and now I wonder if my friends thought me rude. We invited a couple we have been friends with for years over to watch the game a week in advance and they never would commit, giving us the “well maybe we will see ” kinda thing . The morning of , we still didn’t know if they were coming . We had planned to barbecue for them but my husband said not to buy anything as they were so flaky in the past as well. I felt bad and bought some chips and dip so if they did show up we would have something but if they didn’t we wouldn’t have spent a ton on food for four extra people. They showed up without calling right before the game. But I ended up just ordering pizza for everyone . Next time she invites you over for lunch you could say, great! Hey what are u cooking , I need to know what side dishes to bring with whatever your entree is. That should clarify.
I think in your case, you were fine. I don’t blame you for not buying food that may have gone to waste. And even if you had gone out and bought food, they probably wouldn’t have shown up! But once they did show, you showed hospitality by ordering pizza. I proably would have done the same thing.
I really do hope that you’re friends don’t think you rude, especially considering nothing was ever firm. You provided more than enough with chips, dip and pizza! Sounds like a wonderful evening to me. 🙂
Startruck – You weren’t rude at all; in fact, you were too accommodating, in my opinion. The couple did not commit so, if it was me, I would have assumed they were not going to attend. If they showed up I would have mentioned this and, unless I was willing to have unexpected guests, I would tell them that, unfortunately, we have other plans now, such a shame as we had been looking forward to them coming, etc. You teach people how to treat you by setting boundaries. In the case of the OP, she should absolutely NOT invite Rachel and co. over again. If she does feel that there is still some value in the relationship then there is no harm in meeting in neutral places such as a park or at a restaurant, each family paying their own way. But Rachel has shown herself to be a poor hostess and disinterested in changing that so why expect differently?
I agree. People can be peevish and sometimes take it out on others. In this case, their heart wasn’t in hosting and it would be a pity to waste your limited free time trying to teach them the basics. Better to find more congenial company.
Well, it’s a wonder that Rachel bothered to host at all. I’ve learned some things about others and entertaining: Alot of people, simply don’t do it – ever. I’ve invited and invited friends over for little parties, big ones, a small get together – only one other couple seem to reciprocate. I’ve eventually learned that it isn’t rudeness that keeps them from inviting – they either aren’t capable of entertaining with space/ money restrictions – or they don’t know how. Still it’s disconcerting.
There are different styles. I’m not a natural hostess – I really need to plan. If you drop in on me – I couldn’t whip up something at a moment’s notice. So when I have a party – I make up a list, go to the store and pull out platters, bowls, utensils, etc. I’ve gone over to a friend’s house for a get together and she put a bag of chips on the table and had some salsa in a tupperware container she pulled from the fridge. Then there was a pot of boiled hot dogs on the stove with some buns. That was it. Somehow – it was enough. I was amazed – there was really no fuss and it seemed to work.
As for Rachel – again it might just be inexperience – or they might just be cheap. I can’t think how she thought a bowl of chips was brunch.
I disagree with Admin on this one. OP invited Rachel & her family and put out a nice spread. Rachel invited them for brunch but did not prepare anything- just threw chips and dip in bowls and then expected 10 people to eat from a single quiche. Then the husband rudely wanted to know when they were leaving because he had some work to do.
If you really like Rachel and her family and want to continue the friendship, then next time you are invited over to their home, ask what her main dishes are so you can coordinate a side or dessert. Maybe she will get the hint that when you invited people to your house to eat you are supposed to actually serve enough food and not just what amounts to a snack. Also, be prepared to leave as soon as you finish the last bite because her husband will probably have more work to do.
I can’t help but think Rachel might have been miffed because OP only brought one quiche. She asked OP to cut so OP would know that it wasn’t enough and everyone had to get by on such small pieces. She had to raid her pantry for chips, dip and yogurt just to pad the meal. This annoyed them so much that they wanted to cut the visit short. They thought they had been slighted. Yes, I believe Rachel and her DH are that clueless.
Unfortunately, I think you may be right on the money.
The alternative scenario my mind is producing involves an emotionally abusive husband who hates guests and won’t let his wife out alone (to the store, etc). But I’ve probably been watching too much Law and Order SVU.
I’ve told the story before of being invited to a party, asking if I could bring anything, and being told “Nope! My mother is a great cook and will put out a feast.” I brought cake and chips, and that ended up being the only food available. I never found out if the hostess forgot about the party, forgot to ask her mother to cook, or whether the mother very reasonably said “You volunteered me to cook for YOUR friends? Guess again.” Mind you, the girl in question was only 18 or so (as was I), and maybe she didn’t know how hosting a party was supposed to work? Rachel doesn’t have that excuse.
I think I recall you sharing that. It was a birthday party for a third girl, wasn’t it?
Good memory! Yup, that’s the one.
My brother learnt the hard way that you do not volunteer mum for anything without asking her. She would almost always say yes to requests made in a timely manor and if you had a friend visiting she would allows prepared to make an extra plate. But my brother at ~15 had a habit of having 3, 4, 5 people round and often made promises about food that my mother would refuse to meet only because she had not been consulted in advance)
Neighbor had a large family and all had left, but due to family problems a grandson of one of her daughters ended up living with her. He had a few friends over from church group (two other boys, three girls) for supper and grandmother knew that boys that age could eat so she made a HUGE pot of pasta and lots of spaghetti sauce and meatballs. The boys went first and pretty much cleaned out the entire supply (they did empty the pot) while grandmother finished setting the table. She had to make another batch so the three girls and herself could eat. The boys didn’t see anything wrong… and after they left she ‘educated’ her grandson, and made him start cooking when he had friends over. She was really upset with him (and his guy friends) for not letting the ladies go first and she could have made seconds while everyone ate…and taking all the food before everyone had firsts. He actually had a flair for cooking, and turned out to be really good…
I think this was a good lesson for the grandson to learn. On several levels.
1) That food doesn’t just magically appear. It takes effort to make it and feed your guests, so consider carefully before you invite people over.
2) To be considerate of how big of a portion you give yourself when eating with a group. I know teen boys tend to think with their stomachs, but it’s not OK to leave other people with nothing while you pile your plate high. It’s a valuable, necessary social skill to be able to eyeball the amount of food on the table and estimate how much you can take without being rude to the others in the group.
3) The inherent sexism that seems to be implied here, as if the females don’t need as much to eat because they have lady parts and they can just scramble to make more food for themselves while the men folk are gorging themselves. I come from a community where the primary source of income used to be farming, so there’s still an attitude of, “Men are served first and served more because they do all the hard physical labor. Women can make do with whatever is leftover.” It has led to a lot of uncomfortable social situations, where myself or my daughter have been left with very little to eat at parties, and have had to grab fast food on the way home.
My spouse has never EVER learned how to dish out spaghetti. A small stab will give you lots. He will ALWAYS stab in and get a big gob and end up with half the strainerful on his plate every time. I make sure I serve up the pasta. The grandmother said to me, had she known that was going to happen she would have stood at the pot and served up the plates to be then dressed with sauce and meatballs as the diner wished.
I grew up farmgirl but, we were short on hands so sometimes escaped the ‘cook and wash dishes’ cycle that went on all day. Guys didn’t always get to go first. Hog it all and tomorrow you’ll be left a can of porkNbeans and a canopener and a note that the ladyfolk(s ) had to go to town for something (such as parts run, which couldn’t be argued with) and oh dear they ran long. Only time our guys got to eat first is if it was Thanksgiving, but serving dishes were put on the table and not all the food got put out at once (we often had to seat twice because of room). My paternal grandma would not have been above taking a potato masher (wooden pin type) and reeducated one of the men if she needed to… she could boss a thresher crew in her kitchen just fine.
My Godchildren do this. We can be cooking a dinner for several people and lay a platter on the table while cooking other things. These 2 will clean the entire platter without a thought of the other 8 people who are going to sit and eat.
They never eat at the table at home. It is always fast food eaten with their hands in front of the tv. They are in their early teens and they use a knife and fork very awkwardly. When God-daughter spent a week with me, we always ate at the table and I taught her how to roast a chicken with vegetables, make a fruit pie, and make a pasta dish. She complained of being home alone all day with nothing to do. “How cool would it be if your parents came home to a hot meal?”
I became the family cook because my mom wasn’t a good cook. Never was. Dad had to teach her how to cook (and he was really good). Her piecrust was shoeleather and it was actually forbidden to make a pie because it would ‘waste so much expensive Crisco’ (vegetable shortening). I went to stay with my paternal grandmother and grandfather for a few weeks in August and said to grandma, ‘will you teach me to make piecrusts?’ so… she did. I came home and offered to make supper. Roast beef with carrots and potatoes in the pan, and made a lattice crust blueberry pie and hid it in the breadkeeper and hid the bread. Parents came home, dad could smell the pie and sort of looked trying not to get caught and ate supper. THEN I brought out the pie. Mom’s face darkened and she thundered about the rule about ‘wasting crisco’…. and the crust was perfectly flaky, tender and delicious. Dad was in the middle of his second piece and he couldn’t hide how good he thought it was and said ‘I really hate to say this but this is really good’. He ate three pieces and went to die on the couch, mom left me to wash dishes. A week later school started (7th grade, junior high) and I came home to find a recipe card stuck to the fridge for hotdish. I cooked until I left home…. she complained for about 20 years after I left about losing her cook, and dad started cooking again, as he couldn’t stand eating her cooking after six years of fairly good food. No wonder in grades I liked school hot lunch program and actually thought dorm food wasn’t too bad.
Given that these people had experienced the level of hospitality that OP describes, and had previously behaved as good guests – and clearly are bringing their children up well-mannered, judging by the remarks about the children playing nicely – I do wonder if they had totally meant to be good hosts and offer a proper brunch, but were in the throes of some unexpected crisis too embarrassing to explain – imagine, say, a ghastly conjugal row, or the husband losing his job, or a close family member being arrested – and really only wanted their guests to go away again as soon as possible. That whole description sounded to me less like rude mean hosts than people utterly discombobulated.
Aleko – that’s actually a really good point. Maybe there was some family drama that they didn’t want to explain. But, if that was the case it would have been far less rude to have called and cancelled at the last minute than to have let them come over and not serve them any food for brunch! An then all but asking them to get lost in under 2 hours. I wonder what would have happened if OP hadn’t brought a quiche?
‘And’ then all but asking them to get lost… left off the ‘d’!
If that was the case then a quick phone call to say, “Hey, there is an unexpected issue that requires our attention. We cannot host you at this time. Can we try a different day/weekend?” That would have been polite and still provides OP plenty to time to feed her own family. Family emergencies, what ever those may be, always take precedence in my opinion.
Sure, that would have been the best and most logical thing to to do; but often people can’t think straight in a crisis. They know the Smiths are coming, they can’t possibly tell them what the problem is, it doesn’t seem possible to put them off without explaining, so they just dumbly stumble into the visit hoping it won’t take too long.
I have to say there is no way I would invite these people over for a meal again..to me that is just rude.
and the husband very rude…I would have said OH I am sorry YOU invited us over…I do not want to take anymore of your time.
and that would be it…sure we can meet at the park for the kids but that is it..
That is really strange.
It seems like when you offered to bring the quiche she thought it would be enough to suffice as the main dish. So she only planned chips and dip as the side, and then scrambled to provide yogurts when she realized.
Things like that can be super embarrassing, but it would have been better if she said something.
If she’d said “Oh my goodness. I’m so embarrassed. When you said you were bringing quiche, I thought that it would be some sort of large casserole. So I only stocked drinks and chips and dip for a side. Let’s go through my fridge and see what else we can throw together to make this a party!”
Most likely she could have come up with french toast (milk, eggs, bread) or maybe even just some bowls of cereal. Or she could have sent her husband off to pick up a dozen donuts. And it could have been a moment to bond and laugh.
But it seems like she was too embarrassed to say anything. Which means she couldn’t be proactive and fix the issue.
Maybe money is really tight. She couldn’t send hubby out for a dozen donuts because they were going to need that $7 for gas. And if she thought the quiche was going to be the main offering, she may have so quickly agreed because it lifted the financial burden of entertaining.
It is your call if you want to give her and her family a pass and try again.
If you do want to continue hanging out with this family, I would call her and talk to her.
Also, I would accept that she is probably never going to be a gracious and generous a hostess as you are. If you are going to resent the relationship being a little one sided in that way, it might be best to let this friendship cool and move on.
The OP offered to bring a ‘side’ – she was specific about that. So the ‘hostess’ assuming that would feed everyone when SHE invited the OP and her family for brunch is incredibly rude. If money was tight, she should not have invited them for brunch.
I’m just trying to give the benefit of the doubt.
Sometimes communication, what gets said vs what gets heard, isn’t perfect.
It’s possible she thought once the OP said “Quiche” that the main dish was now taken care of for brunch.
It’s possible that there was some sort of financial issue and she was too embarrassed to say anything or cancel the brunch.
If the OP wants to keep this friendship, she should give the benefit of the doubt and make sure in the future that communication is very, very clear.
On the other hand, if the OP is indifferent about keeping this friendship, she doesn’t have to give the benefit of the doubt.
It’s possible that Rachel is clueless about hosting and selfish and felt she had to make the offer now that she has a house.
Without the OP talking to Rachel, it’s impossible to tell what actually happened to cause this poor hosting by Rachel.
Something similar used to happen in my husband’s family. His parents and sister’s family live about an hour from us, so we would visit occasionally (on Sunday, once a month, usually). We always met at my in-law’s house and they would provide lunch for everyone. Except, usually, there wasn’t enough food. They were not poor – this was not because they could not afford to feed us. We have two children and his sister does too – so there would be 10 people for lunch and they would serve a 1/4 sliced ham (always served cold), 1 can of green beans, and 1 can of corn type of thing. My in-laws were elderly, but my sister-in-law never jumped in and made more food or anything. Then, about an hour after lunch, people would be in the kitchen, looking for something else to eat. I was raised in a German/Italian home – so I tend to lean the other way – too much food!!! 🙂 My husband has the same mentality – when he cooks supper for 4-5 people, he’ll only open one can of vegetables to accompany the entree. ???? I raised my kids to eat most of their food during dinner and not eat a small dinner and then snack on junk later.
I’ve learned some people just seem to have an aversion to leftovers and, not wanting to overeat just to keep leftovers from happening, end up making not enough to go around. I’ve never understood the whole aversion to leftovers thing either. I love leftovers when a dinner has been really good because then I get to enjoy it at least once more (usually for lunch the next day).
Of course, some people are also just terrible judges of how much food a single adult can eat.
Or some kids. If you were to measure out what people will put on their plate, that total can be very surprising. When catering or planning a big event, the food is figured by the PORTION and by the head; and a food service portion is usually no where near a ‘reality’ portion.
Whenever I host I provide everything, from appetizers to desert and beverages to accommodate everyone. If someone offers to bring something, it is always welcome, and placed out for everyone to enjoy. We got an invite to a neighbor’s 60th birthday party, the invite was sent to my husband’s phone so I didn’t see it right away. When I did finally look at it to see what time we needed to be there, I saw this: “Please bring a dish to share”. Thankfully I saw that and was able make preparations, but once there, not even hotdogs or hamburgers were offered, the only food there is what people brought…..it is just me or was that weird?
I have to agree , I find this strange. There’s nothing wrong with a good potluck, but hosting a birthday party usually means the host provides the food and drink.
That’s not weird, it’s rude. That’s someone throwing a party and having your and the other guests cater it.
OP, I think she should have already learned how to feed guests from the examples you gave her. I don’t give her a pass for being clueless — she saw what you did, didn’t she? So she had a clue. If she invites you again, don’t offer to bring anything over. Just show up with an unannounced bottle of wine or with nothing at all if you choose, and let that be it. Yes, she served coffee, juice, etc., all of which I feel sure she had in the house for her own family already and didn’t have to prepare or buy. Digging out yogurt cups tells me she’d decided she’d better scrounge something else up when her guests failed to read her mind about providing the food for the very meal they were invited to, but did she have no eggs? No bread? No cheese, no veggies to cut up, no sandwich fillings, no hummus, peanut butter anything? She was giving you the things which cost her no effort at all, except to make coffee, which I’m sure they did every day anyway. Who invites someone over and expects them to bring the main course? Although, after reading this site for years, I can say sadly that it seems a number of people expect just that! And that’s just what I believe she did.
And her husband is rude.
I agree about make PB and J, or scramble some eggs and put a little cheese on it… pasta, boil pasta and make a quick red sauce or anything. There should be something quick and cheap around in almost any kitchen. I am celiac but I am not ‘airborne’ (aka ZERO in the food but a loaf of bread or sealed bag of pasta is okay to exist). I still have things like that and could whip up spaghetti or rotini with some sort of sauce fast.
I said before, I only give Rachel a small pass because she may not have known what a quiche is and thought it was some sort of big casserole. And to try again with them to see if Rachel buys the clue.
It seems odd for me that the host family invited OP’s family over specifically for “brunch” and then provided pretty much nothing in the way of food. I mean, I think hot dogs and burgers with chips and dip would be fine for family play date food, but just to pull out the bags of chips? Host family basically didn’t provide anything that required actual preparation.
I’d see it as a oops if you got invited over and the hosts forgot about feeding you entirely. I know with me, I don’t eat lunch a lot. I generally have a late breakfast and then an early supper, so I might forget to provide food if someone is over around noon time. But the family in this story specifically promised a meal and then completely flaked out on it. So, I’d say don’t cut them off or anything if you generally enjoy their company and the kids like playing together. But don’t go really out of your way with fancy meals just for them and keep in mind they’ll probably flake out in the future if they extend further invitations.
I would have been more bothered by the husbands “When are you leaving” comment. The lack of food could be chalked up to inexperience or bad planning, but the comment is completely rude. He was trying to get rid of his guests. That’s just insulting.
I am still hung up on the fact that you were not close with her when you went to school with her but you invited her over. I don’t invite people over I am not close with. Maybe that threw her off and she felt she had to invite you over to thank you for having her over. I see her lack of hospitality as a clear message she doesn’t want to be friends.
Maybe I am way off, but it seems strange she would act like that.
I invite people all over the time in order to get close to them.
My grandparents didn’t have much money and lived in a rural area and used to drive around picking up hitchhikers and bringing them home so they and their kids could get to experience the world. My parents and I don’t go that far, but to me part of the joys of having a home is being able to open it up to visitors.
And, I’ve found with people I know from school that while some friendships are solid and we can not see each other for 5 years then pick up again like it was yesterday, others have changed to be closer or distanter as people change.
Maybe her family doesn’t eat much at midday? I’ve known people who had odd eating schedules such as eating a large breakfast, snack at midday then large supper. Or large breakfast and snack middle afternoon and nothing else.
Now the “how long till you leave” question, that was a bit rude.
To share a rude ‘hostess’ story from my life: My sister was planning my bridal shower (etiquette faux pas that it may be), and asked my future SIL and MIL if they wanted to help with anything (so they’d feel included if they wanted to help with planning). FSIL invites my sister & mom over to talk and ‘have some drinks and snacks’. When they get to her house she gives them a “you don’t want cheese and crackers, do you?” comment – then pours them each a glass of wine. My FMIL comes in with a sampler platter from the BBQ place she’s having our rehearsal dinner catered from so everyone can try it. My FSIL takes that food into the kitchen, and comes out with ONE PLATE for her mother! So she invites my family over for snacks, serves them nothing to eat, then expects her mom to eat a plate of delicious BBQ in front of them! My FMIL loses it – tells her daughter to go bring out the rest of the food so they can all share it, and while she’s out of earshot says to my mom and sister “I swear to God she was raised better than that”! 🙂 I truly love my MIL! Oh, and she never offered a refill on the wine or anything else to drink.
I still can’t image what the heck my SIL was thinking! And I’m really glad my slightly hot-headed sister smiled through it all. She saved this story for after the wedding.
I once had kind of an opposite problem. I had made plans to go see a movie with my friend Tara. It turned out that her husband Clive, who was also good friends with me and my husband, didn’t have any plans that day. So, my husband said “Why don’t you and your sons drop by this afternoon? We’ll hang out and wait for our wives to come back from their movie.”
Tara picked me up in her car, and off we went to the theatre. According to my husband, at exactly 12:01 p.m. (which, technically, WAS “after-noon”), Clive rolled up in his car with his two little boys, and it became glaringly obvious that none of them had eaten lunch. One of the boys started complaining about being hungry, and Clive said “Oh, I guess we should get you something to eat” while looking at my husband expectedly. Husband ransacked our fridge and pantry looking for sandwich fixings. It so happened that he had enough for everybody, fortunately.
Cheap? Uncouth? Selfish? It doesn’t matter which label you choose for her. Do not invite her back into your home, only feed your family and she can feed her own family. She knows better and she fed her family after you left, probably referring to you as a boor for bringing just a “pie”. Keep your expectations low until she WANTS to impress you or just let the “friendship” fizzle out.
People do odd things. I have had several situations that left me gaping: the co-worker who did me a favor so I took him out to dinner-and he ordered two entrees and sat there smirking at me while he ate his way through both of them; the friend who invited me out to a nice restaurant for my birthday and then announced he could not afford to pay for mine so I had to; the friend who wanted to go to a park and then for pizza on my birthday, brought his own son and a friend so the boy would not be lonely,and insisted I pay the entire bill; the guy I invited over after church for breakfast, stayed until 8 pm and refused to leave, “Because it’s still early!”; and the person who suggests going places and then tells me that she never carries cash so I have to pay for anything that can’t be paid for with a debit card.
Sorry, I have given up on second chances. Fool me once, shame on You. Fool me twice, and I had it coming.
Your use of the term “friend” is confusing, I suggest “leach”.
I find “former friend” is adequate.
From where do these people come? How do I manage to find so many of them?
Bringing food to a gathering at a friend’s for everyone from restaurant, for ten, should have been adequate. Roomie also attending hit line first and took over half the food, asked if she could take even more of the meat after she already piled while in line, ate her overflowing plateful while the rest of us made do and wondered why we weren’t eating. And was disappointed there weren’t seconds. Next time I brought for twenty-five, and we all got in line first, she took almost everything left (including eight servings of meat) and was still upset there weren’t “seconds”. On her turn she brought weird gloppy hot dishes that only she liked and would eat half of without ‘competition’ [and we would lie about preordering pizza].
I wonder if Rachel had a financial crisis or some other hiccup after extending the invite to the OP’s family? With a new house, some major repair could have come up, or a paycheck didn’t get deposited on the correct day, etc. Of course the OP probably would have understood if Rachel needed to reschedule, but maybe she felt too embarrassed to do so after OP hosted her so many times? At any rate, I agree that one more chance is reasonable for Rachel, and after that, just lower expectations rather than tossing the friendship.
Many years ago, DH and I were invited to his aunt’s house for Christmas dinner along with his parents (his mother and aunt are sisters, and his father and uncle are brothers). When we got there (an hour drive)-no food, and no food was offered. I was six months pregnant, with a hungry 3 year old as well, and finally took my MIL aside and asked her to do something. We left soon after, but being it was Christmas, there was nothing open. I believe we found Chinese food and MIL made ham sandwiches back at her house. We never did find out what happened, and Aunt and Uncle have been absolutely delightful since. There was just no dinner, and nothing Christmas-y at all.
I was wondering if Rachel didn’t actually know what “brunch” meant — that it was a MEAL and not just a period of time between breakfast and lunch. But I don’t see how any interpretation of Christmas dinner does not include food. Unless you were caught in some kind of behind the scenes war about some people always hosting and others never helping out.
I agree that maybe you should give Rachel another chance if you have had fun with her up until this hosting disaster. Is it possible that Rachel had a fight with husband or something prior?
This story strikes me as so odd (the lack of food deity the brunch invitation and the husband’s comment) that surely something else was going on?
Could it have even been some sort of miscommunication? Regarding time or date? Or, as people suggested, what the OP implied by offering to bring her “mean quiche”.
It’s just too weird!
*despite, not deity
I agree that there might be something going on in the background that led to the lack of hospitality, coupled with someone else’s suggestion that maybe Rachel didn’t realize “brunch” is an actual meal and not just snacks. Especially since OP didn’t seem to note any annoyed reactions from Rachel as she went to get yogurt for the kids or when it was evident that chips and a small quiche were the only food on offer. I’ll bet that Rachel’s family had breakfast just before OP’s family arrived, and were possibly even waiting on OP’s family to leave to have lunch (since that’s not brunch).
I do wonder if there’s a little bit of mis-matched expectations going on in terms of timeframe.
I was always taught that you don’t arrange to visit someone’s house around a mealtime (that’s 12pm for lunch, and 5pm for dinner). Therefore, if someone has invited me over for a visit at 11am, I would expect to be leaving by around 12.30 so as to not impose upon the host for lunch. Even if a brunch or morning tea was arranged, I would not expect this to stretch to the mid-day meal and still expect to vacate their house before any ‘main meal time’ arrived.
If Rachel and Husband were expecting a short visit (maybe an hour or so), that would explain the drinks and light snacks, and total lack of preparedness for lunch, as well as the husband’s concern that he needed to get on to do his work. He should have phrased himself better, but we’ve all had foot-in-mouth syndrome before so as a once-off I’d give that a polite pass.
I think next time I’d slip in a subtle comment about length of stay, and perhaps avoid a formal mealtime as much as possible: “Oh we’d love to visit for a couple of hours, how about 2pm on Tuesday”…
Which might make sense if Rachel hadn’t invited OP over for bunch. Her home isn’t a restaurant, and I hope they weren’t expecting the same kind of “turnover” that a restaurant would encourage. And forgive me if I’m mistaken, but “brunch” is a combination of breakfast & lunch, right? So being invited over for brunch wouldn’t impede on the homeowner’s midday meal. Since Rachel issued the invitation, if she had such a short timeframe in mind, she should have shared it with OP. I’m all for being charitable, but it seems that some people here are twisting themselves into pretzels to let Rachel and her rude husband off the hook. Brunch can mean a lot of things, but chips, drinks and some yogurt cups are not it. Not sure why these folks were so negligent in their hosting, but OP shouldn’t invite them over for meals anytime soon. Play dates and visits, sure but I wouldn’t be cooking a meal for these folks until they show they understand what reciprocation is.
I totally agree, DancerDiva. Brunch is a meal, and, to me, it’s usually a bigger affair than either breakfast or lunch. It’s not a snack between breakfast and lunch. If I were to make a guess, it would be that Rachel and her family ended up making plans to do something *after* she made plans with the OP, and figured she could hurry brunch along by having almost no food.
Brunch is not a novel concept. I remember first reading about it in one of the Ramona books way back in the second grade: the Quimby family, who often struggled with their finances, hosted a brunch for friends/neighbors because they were celebrating something – can’t remember, it has been 25 years since I read it! – and they worked hard to be good hosts for their guests. Now I so want to read those books again.
“Ramona and Her Mother” is the book you’re thinking of 😀
“It’s not a snack between breakfast and lunch.”
I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that Rachel thought brunch *was* just a snack between breakfast and lunch.
I agree, and some have commented maybe Rachel thought “quiche” meant a large casserole of some sort vs. an actual quiche, in a pie pan, which is what it generally is. That aside, if I’ve invited people for brunch, and they offer to bring quiche, I’m going to also provide other stuff too. Brunch to me, at least when I host, is a whole bunch of stuff, so in addition to any kind of quiche, or breakfast casserole that other may be bringing, I’m going to at the very least provide fruit in some form or another, maybe some potatoes, and some kind of meat, bacon, sausage, or all of the above!
Yeah, DancerDiva! I agree 100%! There is no reasonable explanation for someone inviting you for brunch, throwing chips in a bowl and expecting your ‘side dish’ to feed everyone. Then giving you the bum’s rush out the door. Rachel and her husband remain on the hook of rudeness!
But they were specifically invited over for brunch, which is a meal. ‘Please come to our house for a meal’ is the essence of the invite and why the OP offered to bring a side dish. If they meant to invite OP and family for a short visit with light snacks, then she doesn’t know what words mean.
If someone invites you over for a meal, I think it’s reasonable to expect an actual meal.
It also didn’t seem like they were overstaying their welcome. Maybe I’m misunderstanding but it sounded like they had barely finished the not a meal meal and hubby was ready to push them out the door.
Shel, I love this! I agree…Rachel does not seem to understand that words mean things, and it’s not the OP’s fault for interpreting “come over for brunch” as “come over for brunch”, not “come over and I’ll pour coffee/juice and put some chips in a bowl”.
A few years ago I was invited to a reception for a friend of mine who had gotten married a month before. They had been married in a small ceremony with only family present. The reception was held at his in-law’s home in the backyard, a casua, smalll get-together to celebrate the couple. It was held in early afternoon. You’d think a reception would have ample food, right? We were served only nacho chips with a shredded chicken sauce. No side dishes or anything else – not even a cake! I couldn’t believe it.
I think the problem is that some people assume that everyone else has the same idea about food serving as they do. When in reality it’s much better to have too much food than not enough!
One from the archives, two monied families and from crust circles had their children marry. Everything looked good until they got to the reception, which was a few folding chairs, a few card tables, some stale chips and expired fruit and veggie trays set out and a few room temperature bottles of the cheapest soda. (compared to the rest of the wedding it was expected that there would be a full catered sit down meal and live music at a really nice venue). The B&G showed up after an hour or so and most had already left, and they had enough people left to line up to toss rice for the picture and that was it. The Bride’s grandparents were MORTIFIED about this and would have gladly paid for a real reception. Meanwhile clueless couple BAMF’ed off to their tropical month long honeymoon… (I wonder about how their life progressed after this one. I’m sure the parents on both sides weren’t too happy about the fallout amongst friends and family over that one)
When my friend got married in the 80’s, her reception was cake, punch, pastel cream cheese on white bread finger sandwiches, and those creamy mints. No music, no entertainment. That’s the way she wanted it. Although they are wealthy, her son’s wedding featured punch and lots of apple pie instead of cake. She still talks about “over the top ” weddings as being tacky and de clase. I wonder what she thought about my wedding – lots of finger food, margaritas, champagne, and a jazz pianist. My daughters wedding will probably be the same.
A place I worked at, the owner’s brother’s fiancé worked there (waitressing) and was putting every penny aside for her huge over the top BWD wedding. She was mad because my diamond (in my wedding set) was bigger than hers so she didn’t like me. She couldn’t believe how little and low key my wedding was either… and I had a friend that was going to get married at an SCA event and I was helping her with designing and sewing her wedding gown. In greens and golds (it was very lovely). It totally was foreign that anyone would do anything OTHER than a BWD fantasy… she ended up ticking the wrong person off one night on crew and got fired. So she went home to spend the next year and a half doing nothing but run the planning for her big wedding (she’d been at it for over a year already). There were fights, there was massive debt run up, and the marriage lasted eight months.
The one in the archives was ‘BWD’ monied upper crust event until it got past the ceremony, then things fizzled out fast. The person reporting said the chips were stale and the veggie and fruit plates were past date on the containers… aka instead of a sit down catered in a nice hall which was expected. And just enough to really feed a couch full of people watching tv, not a few hundred guests. They’d collected the gifts already so people couldn’t take them home. Then they blipped off to a month long honeymoon in someplace tropical. Most of the close inlaws didn’t know this was coming and were majorly embarrassed in their social circles at the two boorons. It’s okay to have a simple event if you want, but don’t do a half and half and basically treat your guests like gift-machines.
I had a couple of similar situations:
1.The rich Uncle – and I mean rich; he came from Country A where he lives to visit Country B where I live. Not to see me, but to see the country. He invited my husband and me to visit him at his (very luxurious) hotel. He specifically said “Come to see me between 6-8pm.” Sounds like dinner time to me. During the two hours we were there, he did not so much as offer to buy us a glass of water.
2. The time I went to fix a computer in someone’s house on a very hot day. I was there for about 2 hours before the person I was working for offered me a glass of water. When I accepted she said “Oh, now I have to actually get you a drink.” Did she offer expecting me to say ‘no’? I mean, I wasn’t an invited guest, but I even offer the mailman a drink on a hot day if I am home when he comes by my house.
3. My husband and I were invited to brunch at a “friends” home. We couldn’t figure out why she was rushing the meal (whisking the soup bowl away when I was only 3/4 finished and similar tactics) until she said “You have to finish in 15 minutes (we had been there about one and 1/2 hours) because my next set of guests is coming.” Sure enough we saw the next couple in the parking lot as we were leaving – we know them so we stopped to chat and they said they were invited to Family Rush-Your-Meal. I felt like I was in a restaurant and they needed the table for better paying guests. To add insult to injury, most of the meal was one or two pieces of different casseroles, two pieces of chicken, one of schnitzel, etc. The hostess claimed she wanted to give us a variety. To me it looked like she was serving us her left-overs. Last time we ate there!
Has anyone else ever had a slightly different problem; i.e. inviting a friend over for a meal and having that friend misunderstand the invitation? I once e-mailed my friend and his wife and said “Come over on Saturday around 6:30 and we’ll have a barbeque!” He called Saturday afternoon and said “We’ll be there after dinner.” I said in consternation “What do you mean, ‘dinner’? You’re having dinner here!” He said defensively “Your e-mail didn’t say anything about that.” I said “What part of ‘come over for a barbeque’ doesn’t say ‘dinner’ to you?” He didn’t have a good answer for that.
I’m afraid I’m not nearly as forgiving as Jeanne is. If I’m invited to someone’s home for a meal, I think it’s reasonable to expect that I will be given a FULL meal. What was Rachel planning to do if the LW had forgotten the quiche? Did she really think ONE quiche would be enough for 10 people – including 6 kids that are all at the age where they are permanently hungry? Not to mention that there are kids who wouldn’t touch quiche with a ten foot pole! I will give them a little bit of a pass on the time limit issue – although the husband was very rude in the way he voiced this. Next time, LW should make sure that everyone is on the same page with the timeframe.
I suspect Rachel thought the OP had offered to bring quiche as the main course. But it’s still weird. You don’t invite someone over for brunch (which to me, suggests a substantial meal) and then have someone else bring the food.
Reminds me of a story of my mother’s which still baffles me (and her) 40 years later. Someone at work invited her and her friend over for dinner. (I asked my mother if she was sure the coworker meant dinner, and she said, “Yes, she said come over for dinner, I’ll make a roast chicken…” etc etc.) So my mother and her friend arrived at 6 or so, and CW offered drinks, and then more drinks, but something was weird…there were no food smells, and the hostess never went into the kitchen to check on anything cooking. There were no signs of anything being prepared or cooked. More drinks were poured. After a couple of hours, my mother and her friend were starving, so they said, “Well it’s been a nice evening, thanks for having us” and the hostess said, “It was so nice to have you, please come again” or something to that effect, and they left. They went home and raided my mother’s friend’s kitchen and scarfed down a can of tomato soup and some crackers. I still wonder what that was all about.
The Admin’s line, “efforts are made to be hospitable and sometimes that means you get served chips and dip and any other odd combinations of food” made me instantly think of an hilarious interview Jimmy Fallon did with Nicole Kidman on the Tonight Show. They had met once before when a mutual friend had tried to “set them up” at Nicole’s request. Only Jimmy didn’t know that until the interview and his reaction to finding out it was supposed to be a date is hilarious. But the part that relates here is that as the conversation unfolds Jimmy says his friend told him to get some cheese and crackers or something for when she came over. Jimmy bought brie…and then it’s revealed later that he served it with corn chips and old Chinese food. LOL
OP here. Thank you, everyone, very much, for your feedback. I appreciate it!
A few clarifications: 1) Neither Rachel nor I, for that matter are particularly young. Both of us are South of 35, so to speak, so both of us have been entertaining and hosting for some time, and she is not a young naive hostess.
2) I cannot speak to any possible financial issues that I am aware of Rachel and her husband having, nor would I presume to speculate about that (it’s none of my business), but it’s possible that they had had a huge row before we came over, as I am aware of some interpersonal problems that they have had. However, neither seemed terribly upset when we had come over (maybe, they’re both just good actors?) As someone had posted, it would have been possible for them to cancel the day off – we certainly would not have taken offense, as emergencies do happen.
3) I am fairly certain that Rachel knows what a quiche is – she was a French major in college. I am not sure if she had thought I would make more than one; I do remember telling her about a quiche, not many quiches. She suggested a time that would be reasonable for us to come over (11 am), and she specifically said “brunch”, several times, which to me, implies, a meal. By 12:45, we were being hustled out the door.
4) Rachel and I were friendly, although not terribly close when we were in graduate school. However, there were 11 people in our Ph.D. cohort, so most of us had gotten to know one another fairly well. We have all maintained friendly social relationships. The reason that my DH and I had originally invited her to dinner was because she was new to our area, and we were hoping to be welcoming and get to know her and her family better.
Rachel and her husband seem to like us – we have gotten another invitation from them a few weeks ago to get together for a card game at their new house (should we bring the cards? The table? The lamps?) My DH is a bit more categorical than I am; he is adamantly not interested in socializing with them again, outside of playdates, so I said that unfortunately, we had other plans that night. DH and I agree that we will remain friendly and have the kids play together occasionally, but we are not going to go out of our way to be hospitable or try to maintain sociability.
Thanks for the updates, OP! I thought it was odd that other posters assumed that maybe Rachel didn’t know what a ‘quiche’ was (a French major – LOL). IMO, it didn’t matter – she invited you for brunch, had no ‘brunch’ to serve you (chips and dip are not brunch!), let you awkwardly try to slice up your SIDE DISH quiche into 9 pieces and then rushed you out the door. I am 100% with your DH on this one – I would NOT invite them over or accept an invitation to eat at their house ever again! Life is too short to try to figure out why idiots do what they do, so why bother? Just don’t put yourself in that situation again! 🙂
I won’t; at least, I will actively try not to! 🙂
This happened twice to me, my ex and children. We had become friends with a family and often got together on holidays, etc. Then it happened. Two times, the wife invited us to dinner and when we arrived they looked at us like deer in the headlights, pulling random food out of the freezer, concocting strange combinations from whatever was around. It turns out the wife was a severe alcoholic and would invite us during one of her blackouts. When we would show up at the appointed time, they had no idea why we were there.
Ouch. After the first time it seemed it was haphazardly random I’d be checking a day or two after the invite to make sure of the invite… (say it was issued Monday for Friday night, I’d be asking Tuesday about ‘oh, you invited us over at 6:30 on Friday, I forgot to ask if there was anything I could or should bring?’ )