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Oct 14, 2005 02:24 PM

Invited, and brought nothing

  • n

OK, here's my question/peeve. When I'm invited to eat at someone's place, or even if not eating, I always offer to/bring something to eat, or drink. Last night I had a Yom Kippur break-fast, invited five families consisting of over 20 people, and only 1 ( a single guy) brought food; another threesome brought flowers. I only want people to ask, and then I can respond accordingly. But, am I wrong to think you can be invited, not ask, show up and eat/drink, and not at least make the offer to bring something?

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  1. Maybe it's me, too, but I never appear st someone's home without first asking what I may bring and then bringing something anyway regardless of the response. I hesitate to take food but always bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party as I don't want to insult the hostess with a food dish. If invited just for cocktails I take a simple hord'ouerve or bottle of wine. It's the way I was raised!

    5 Replies
    1. re: claree

      If they were coming straight from services it could be very inconvenient to bring something. Plus, they may figure they will be reciprocating sometime soon. I think host/ess gifts are nice but only really important if you think you won't be having them over in the near future.

        1. re: bibi rose

          It can't be that inconvenient to buy a bottle of wine before services and put it in the trunk.

        2. re: claree

          Agreed. Thank you

          1. re: claree

            If I invited you for cocktails you can bet there would be some good hors d'oeuvres being served. I would be a bit offended by someone thinking that I would not provide something to eat and that if I was providing something to eat that it might not be enough.

            The wine I would be glad to see.

          2. "am I wrong to think you can be invited, not ask, show up and eat/drink, and not at least make the offer to bring something?"

            Clearly one CAN, and clearly among the people you know that is common. I would never show up empty-handed, and generally find other ways to enjoy the company of friends who are so inclined. (Or write them off...which is to say that manners are part of the entire cost-benefit calculation.)

            While I am not an athority on manners, my general policy is to offer help (labor, food, equipment) if that seems to fit the occasion. If it is turned down then bring flowers or a bottle of wine (that need not be used during the occasion). For a brunch, a bottle of Sparkling Wine would do.

            1. I always bring something too. But on the other hand, I never expect people to bring anything, unless I ask before hand. Nor would I expect people to ask if they can bring anything.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Peter

                I agree - while the invited guest should ask, I think it is equally offensive for the host to even think that the guest should ask to bring something, let alone feel they have a right to get upset that they didn't ask.

              2. I always thought flowers or another host gift served as an appropriate substitute for bringing food/wine - either if the latter was offered and declined or never offered in the first place - but admittedly, I'm unsure. What do others think?

                1. I don't expect it. When I am invited I usually ask if I can bring someting but most hosts really don't expect it. Bringing a bottle of wine as a gift is a nice thing to do or sending flowers as a thank you the day after is nice too. I think bringing flowers is okay but it requires a host to stop with whatever he/she is doing and find a vase for them etc. Also when I bring a bottle of wine as a thank you I do not expect the host to serve it. It is up to them, it may not go with the menu. It is just a thank you for the invitation. I see bringing food to a dinner as turning the meal into a sort of pot luck. When I have a dinner party I want to entertain my guests and cook for them. There is no rule of ettiquette that says a guest should bring anything to a dinner party but an appetite and appreciation.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Candy

                    I agree on all counts. And, people bringing food without asking first, when I've planned out a menu etc. can be awkward. One of the most thoughtful hostess gifts I have received was a box with some lovely croissants, other breakfast goodies and a nice jar of strawberry jam - for breakfast the next morning. Another day, a close friend coming to dinner dropped by with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my mantel - since I hadn't gotten around to flowers it was a welcome gift, and I appreciated not having to arrange them/put them in a vase when she and other guests arrived that evening.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Absolutely. I would never bring a dish to share, but would feel terrible without bringing something like a bottle of wine.

                    2. re: Candy

                      Candy, I agree with every word of this. Whatever happened to proper entertaining?! When I was growing up (in the 70s) my parents were very social and I don't recall anyone bringing dishes along to dinners.

                      I like to bake and will offer to bring dessert to a barbecue or similarly casual get-together, if I know the host is not so enthusiastic about baking. But I find the expectation that guests will chip in--apparently widely held--really depressing.

                      1. re: Candy

                        As I understand it, proper etiquette is that you do not serve the bottle of wine you're presented by a guest. It is for you. Not for everyone. It can also be misinterpreted as you not being happy with the wine selection and pawning it off on others.


                        1. re: Davwud

                          This year-old topic is thrashing out the same evergreen issue as this current topic: