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Mar 29, 2008 10:40 AM

Hosting Horror Stories?

I was reading the thread, "Do your friends invite you to dinner?" and as the thread meandered into stories of hosting and being thoughtful guests, I was reminded of a story. We once hosted a dinner party for a group of people. One of the guests had several dietary issues- soy, dairy, gluten, among others. The guest emailed me and said, "Don't worry about me, I probably won't eat." I should have listened-- I went crazy trying to plan and make sure there were plenty of food choices available-- and it's hard to make things truly luscious and delectable for a VERY restrictive diet, at least for those who are omnivores. The night of the dinner party? The guest doesn't show up. No call, no notification until the next day, when there was a voice mail with a feeble excuse.

Anyone else with hosting horror stories? Btw, that guest was not invited back, we host all the time and LOVE doing so, with really no care as to if or when we are reciprocated. I am one of those weird people who would much rather entertain at home than go out.

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  1. We invited my in-laws and several other relatives to our town (about 2 hours away) for our granddaughter's birthday. It wasn't so much a "party" as just a get-together for a casual meal, cake, ice-cream, that sort of thing. After he had been there about 30 minutes, my father-in-law (God rest his soul) turned to my husband and said loudly "Did we just drive 2 hours for cake?" It got really quiet and my husband hurriedly explained to the entire group that we had planned to just go get chicken and fixins' from the local Popeyes or something, whatever our daughter wanted, really. I always hold him up as a prime example to my kids of what never to do when invited somewhere, even to your relatives' houses.

    1. So many bad guests through the years.

      We made a lovely Michael Field's Beef Bourguignon, a 6 page recipe. Crystal, sterling, good china. At the stated time of arrival, the phone rings, "So sorry we can't come. A friend dropped in and it would be rude to tell them we are going out." The guests, my parents.

      And there were the guests for a brunch in their honor. I made egg casseroles, fritatas, green salads, marinated shrimp. Everything had chilis, peppers, lettuces, peas, avocados, do you see a theme here? One guest of honor ate only the English muffins. It seems he was phobic about ANY green food, he wouldn't eat anything that was touched by the green.

      Parents were invited back, not the brunch people.

      1. New Year's weekend at a country retreat, large group of friends.

        first night one tries to light the gas stove and blows it up and loses her eyebrows. next morning same guest fiddles with the water heater and manages to flood the house and effectively wipe out the plumbing. (fortunately there were 2 houses).

        I felt worse about her embarrassment than our discomfort, she sort of slunk back to town as soon as she could. sweet person, just kind of clueless.

        we just pulled out the skewers and grilled in the fireplace.

        1. We used to host informal gatherings with friends nearly every Saturday night. It became known as the Saturday Night Social Club and generally it was between 12-20 people. I had gotten burned out on it (as we did all the work and expense) and one friend (who has a small house and couldn't host) said his wife made great meatloaf and would be in charge of the entree the next Saturday and all we had to provide were sides (I made scalloped potatoes and southern style green beans and cornbread). Mid-week I called the wife and made sure she was okay with everything and she was and gave her the final headcount I had...14 or 15 people. She arrives Saturday night, meatloaf in had to be baked and it's one small meatloaf. Feeding 4 people with it would have been a stretch, much less 14. Fortunately as luck would have it, I had baked a ham the day before and served it. And that was the final night of the Saturday Night Social Club.

          1. Not sure if family truly counts, after all they sort of sit astride the line between guest and not guest. Having said that.... My grandfather could always put a stop to dinner conversation. When he was done eating he liked to take out his false teeth and drop them into his water glass. Didn't really bother family members, but "bonifide guests" had an amazing variety of reactions.