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May 27, 2008 06:58 AM

Guests Sitting at the Hors d'ouevre Table

Has this ever happened to you? We were telling gauche guest stories at the beginning of a party yesterday and I related the story about one of my guests and his date pulling chairs up to the table with the canapes and proceeding to eat. We all chuckled and I commented that I never put chairs or anything near the hors d'ouvre. I was helping to set up and we put most of the hors d'ouevres on a free standing counter between the kitchen and family room. Later on in the party I noticed that two women had gotten stools from somewhere and, yep you guessed it, pulled them up to the counter. You actually had to say excuse me to reach the food! Even after that they didn't move. Ever happen to you? What are your gauche guest stories?

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  1. Totally tacky. I just wish I was nervey enough to do it. LOL. I live hors d'ouevres, appetizers, etc.
    I guess I should try tapas some time.


    1. Not exactly a ruin-the-food-or-presentation story, but after the dinner party, when it was too late to do anything about it, the wife of a couple complained that she and her husband and been "stuck" seated with another couple that she did not know prior and whom she intensely disliked during the dinner party. I was so surprised because the dinner was a buffet for about 25 and the guests could sit anywhere they liked. If she didn't like where they were, they could have gotten up and moved! Then, later I learned that the complainer had agreed to get together with the supposedly offensive couple. So "gauche"? I don't know, but I felt bad as a hostess that she would complain to me about my guests as if I created the supposed problem.

      1. Oh, I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't guilty of this occasionally. I honestly think most of the time, people prefer to graze on tasty hors d'ouevres over 'the meal" that is offered up at many gatherings. Happened just this weekend. We had so many good hors d'ouevres between what I made and what friends brought, that I wound up not putting everything on the grill that I had planned on grilling. Too many tasty morsels to choose from. If it weren't for the kids wanting hot dogs and hamburgers, we probably could have made it 100% tapas. It's that time of year. if you really want to avoid it, best plan is to spread the hors d'ouevres around the room and not have them all in one place.

        1 Reply
        1. re: southernitalian

          I've had parties where it was a pot luck, hors d'ouevres only.

          I just have this mental picture of the offenders in question pulling up a chair like it was a dinner table and facing the HD's.


        2. My gauche guest story concerns a dear friend and her husband who always bring back whatever food they bring to any potluck gatherings we have. But my question is: is this gauche? I always thought it was and would never think to do something like this unless the host/hostess insist (which I don't).

          16 Replies
          1. re: gloriousfood

            The bigger question is, why would you want to??


            1. re: Davwud

              If you mean why someone would want their guests to take their food back with them, there could be several reasons: 1) you don't like the food so don't want to waste them; 2) you can't finish all the food so don't want to waste them; or 3) there are some cultural issues involved that I'm unaware of--i.e., in some cultures, perhaps it is acceptable to take back what you brought. I don't know! Just trying to be open-minded here--see, for example, my post in the current "bringing your own cake to a restaurant" thread.

              1. re: gloriousfood

                No, I mean if you take a dish to a party, why would you want to take it back home with you. I don't mean the vessel itself, the contents. Make, take it, forget about it.
                If it's offered back, then fine. But to just take it??


            2. re: gloriousfood

              I think it's definitely gauche. I can see bringing back the pot/ceramic dish/container that the dish was served in but never the food itself.

              1. re: gloriousfood

                There's a whole LONG thread about this someone on CH. Started with a pot of store bought beans, I think. Actually, I always bring my stuff home because I thought it was part of cleaning up after myself, rather than some other hidden agenda thing, but now I know I'm supposed to make some comments to the host before ... bringing my stuff home because there's way too much food. It could also be that I don't like having leftovers in my fridge, so I'd prefer my guests to bring food home when they leave.

                1. re: boltnut55

                  I agree with you, botlnut55. I do not want a bunch of leftovers in my refrigerator. I do not want to have to hunt people down to return their serving dishes. On those rare occasions when I host a meal in which others contribute a dish, I want them to take their leftovers home with them. It certainly helps me with the clean up.

                  1. re: Sister Sue

                    You nailed it - I don't want to wash all those dirty casserole and baking dishes! Please take your left-overs and your container home with you. But then again, I normally try to use inexpensive or even disposable dishes for pot-lucks. (Foil trays are wonderful for baked dishes, and can then be recycled).

                    1. re: Catskillgirl

                      Agreed! I went to a cook out this weekend, and brought my food in zip lock bags ( even the potato salad). No dishes to collect or wash, and the hostess used her own disher to serve. If I am making a LOT of food to bring, I use disposable tin foil pans.

                      1. re: macca

                        Genius! I never thought of using bags! Good idea.

                        1. re: Catskillgirl

                          smart and final has the most wonderful disposable food containers, they are nice looking and afterward one can toss or recycle.

                2. re: gloriousfood

                  I was at a BBQ over the weekend and there was quite a bit of food leftover, including more than half of a second pan of potato salad that I made. The hostess ( a good friend of mine) asked me if I wanted to take it back with me. i didn't get offended as a.) it's just her and her husband at home and about 20 guests brought food b.) her huband travel often and was leaving the next day on a business trip c.) my very hungry younger brother in law is staying with us and regularly eats me out of house and home.
                  So I don't think it's always gauche. I think, as with anything else, its all about the circumstances and also the tone with which it is suggested.

                  1. re: HungryRubia

                    I think they mean, they just take it. It's not offered to them to take as in a doggie bag. They just take it home. If I understand correctly.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      Yes, you are correct. They don't ask anyone. And the hostess/host does not say, "Please take some food with you" or "Take back whatever you brought." If the food they brought is still around at the end of the gathering, they simply take it back, no comment or anything.

                      I'm not offended, more intrigued and surprised.

                      1. re: gloriousfood

                        I saw this happen with a cake before. It was casual, people were at differing points in their meal. One couple had eaten very quickly & decided they were ready to leave. Walked over, picked up their cake, went to the kitchen to cover it & left after a brief wave good bye to the hosting couple. Only two people had been ready for desert, and one of them had cut a slice.

                        The hosts pulled out some assorted cookies, but it was a bit odd!
                        Follow up info indicated that the cake couple had enjoyed themselves, just got antsy and was ready to go...I could see getting with the hosts and transferring your cake to another platter so you could bring your empty dish home. I can't see taking your food home , especially when the party was still very much in force.

                  2. re: gloriousfood

                    I've always thought that a potluck includes everyone bringing their own food, and taking it home afterwards. I can't imagine being a hostess saddled with all of those half-eaten potato salads and lasagnas.

                    However, if you leave before everyone has eaten, taking your offering would certainly be gauche.

                    1. re: gloriousfood

                      Potluck or not, my in laws always pack food to go after a dinner. I've gotten used to it and even save take out containers so they have something to take it in. They used to leave me w/ no tupperware. Funny, I never thought of it as rude. I just thought they liked the food.

                    2. You must have been setting up in my house - same configuration and same guests. The only thing worse than the homesteaders are the thieves who comandeer an entire bowl or platter for themselves by removing it from the "official area".

                      DH and I often host "After the Concert" receptions for the artists and members. I have seen an otherwise well-mannered person take the whole bowl of chocolate mousse over to the couch with the large serving spoon and dig right in. It's in the same category as asking me for a Doggie Bag to cart home some soon-to-be-leftovers.

                      Over the years I've had guests rummage through closets & drawers; opening the refrigerator to see what else is available has also happened. My least favorite - and well-remembered - guest threw a Waterford wine glass at the fireplace at the end of a toast "because he'd seen it in a movie and always wanted to do it".

                      It's unfortunate but the older I get the less surprised I am at gaucherie.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Sherri

                        Sherri, I was 'wow'ing' and 'wow'ing' at your post, then I remembered a pie dish that was shattered with its contents at a backyard event. I know, dumb to bring glass to an outdoor party. However, after the oops was a promise to replace the dish.

                        Nope, nevah happened.

                        Did your miscreant replace your Waterford glass?

                        Linda VH, I like the picture in my mind's eye of the guests bellying up to the appetizer table. I might be tempted to do that if it was a pig in the blanket festival....but still wouldn't.

                        1. re: dolores

                          Nope Dolores it never happened. Replacement was on my nickel. My grandmother used to tell us that some people were put on this earth just to serve as bad examples to others and I nominate my least-favorite guest for place of honor as The Bad Example.

                        2. re: Sherri

                          that waterford trasher is SUCH a moron! is he otherwise a total idiot? has to be!