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Guests Sitting at the Hors d'ouevre Table

l
Linda VH May 27, 2008 06:58 AM

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?

  1. Davwud May 27, 2008 07:03 AM

    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.

    DT

    1. b
      Bite Me May 27, 2008 07:32 AM

      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. southernitalian May 27, 2008 07:48 AM

        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
          Davwud May 27, 2008 09:13 AM

          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.

          DT

        2. g
          gloriousfood May 27, 2008 07:52 AM

          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
            Davwud May 27, 2008 09:14 AM

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

            DT

            1. re: Davwud
              g
              gloriousfood May 27, 2008 11:45 AM

              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
                Davwud May 27, 2008 01:24 PM

                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??

                DT

            2. re: gloriousfood
              Miss Needle May 27, 2008 11:20 AM

              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
                b
                boltnut55 May 27, 2008 12:52 PM

                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
                  s
                  Sister Sue May 27, 2008 01:22 PM

                  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
                    Catskillgirl May 27, 2008 02:47 PM

                    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
                      macca May 27, 2008 04:08 PM

                      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
                        Catskillgirl May 31, 2008 11:49 AM

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

                        1. re: Catskillgirl
                          chef chicklet Jun 11, 2008 07:51 AM

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

                2. re: gloriousfood
                  HungryRubia May 27, 2008 12:52 PM

                  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
                    Davwud May 27, 2008 01:26 PM

                    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.

                    DT

                    1. re: Davwud
                      g
                      gloriousfood May 27, 2008 02:02 PM

                      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
                        meatn3 May 27, 2008 03:19 PM

                        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
                    m
                    miss_bennet May 27, 2008 06:12 PM

                    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
                      chowser May 28, 2008 02:48 PM

                      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. s
                      Sherri May 27, 2008 07:53 AM

                      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
                        d
                        dolores May 27, 2008 09:38 AM

                        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
                          s
                          Sherri May 27, 2008 10:01 AM

                          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
                          alkapal May 28, 2008 07:31 AM

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

                        3. maplesugar May 27, 2008 09:41 AM

                          The most "gauche" behaviour is usually exhibited by my BIL and his kids. I don't blame the kids but I do correct them on occasion, ok frequently, ok 3x at Sunday dinner I asked his eldest (almost 10yo) to eat with her elbows off the table & mouth closed. They're also the ones who stand at the kitchen bar and hoover up appetizers without moving away from the platter (and since most of the chewing is done open-mouthed this is particularly disgusting to me). I've started making a point of showing them where the side plates are (2 ft to the left of the spread) and please help yourself and move along so others can ALSO partake. If they weren't family I dunno if I'd be so forward though...like if it were DH's colleagues I don't think I'd have the nerve, I'd probably just pick up and move the platter.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: maplesugar
                            macca May 27, 2008 10:47 AM

                            yeah- but if they weren't family, you probably would not have them over after their first visit!:}

                            1. re: macca
                              maplesugar May 27, 2008 06:21 PM

                              You are soooo right about that. ;)

                          2. j
                            Janet May 27, 2008 05:02 PM

                            Oh the bad guests over the years. The chairs at the hors d'ouevres is becoming too common. The cocktail plates piled high as if it were a Vegas buffet. Picking out all the almonds, putting them on their plate , and then putting the mixed nut bowl back.

                            We serve a wonderful wine punch that people love. We know that because we have to make so much of it. We had one guest who took a sip and didn't like it. That is OK, you don't have to like what I serve. Drink the non alcoholic stuff then. But she yelled this is horrible. Get me some real wine. She spent the whole party telling everyone how awful the punch was.

                            Then there was the vegan I carefully prepared special food for. Food we would all like, so she wouldn't feel different. There were also meat and cheese options for the other guests. She looked at the cheese and the shrimp cocktail and said I want that. And then ate it. Which made my count wrong for the meat lovers.

                            I am all for making the guests comfortable. But work with me people.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Janet
                              Davwud May 27, 2008 05:33 PM

                              Oh, one of those vegans.....

                              I'm lucky that the crowd I run around with and do dinner parties with don't have much in the way of faults.

                              DT

                            2. Miss Needle May 28, 2008 12:37 PM

                              My gauche guest story has to do with my dad. About a couple of years ago, my dad, sister, sister's B-friend, and my BF (now husband) drove about 2.5 hours for dinner with my aunt (on my mom's side), her husband and my cousins. We got there, schmoozed and chit-chatted for about a couple of hours. We then ate dinner. Right after my dad was finished with his meal, he just jumped up and said, "Ok. I'm finished eating. Time to go now." The whole table had a look of shock on their faces, including me.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Miss Needle
                                MMRuth May 28, 2008 12:51 PM

                                Well, mine is my husband. Years ago, when we lived in Miami, we hosted Christmas dinner. A friend from London was visiting. I had ordered two nice sized tins of caviar, one for my husband, one for the guests. On Christmas Eve, I made latkes etc., and my husband got the first tin pretty much to himself. On Christmas Day, I'm in the kitchen cooking, while the guests are nibbling on hors d'oeuvres, including the second tin, and my friend comes into the kitchen, to tell me that whenever one of our guests goes to have some caviar, my husband is there before her, gobbling it up. So much for having provided him with the first one!

                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  Miss Needle May 28, 2008 01:37 PM

                                  Wow! That's a lot of caviar, especially as he already had one tin to himself! You may need to buy three tins next time -- though it may not solve your problem as he may eat all three tins. : )

                                  Kind of reminds me of this story many years ago. Was at a small party where there was one tin of caviar. One of the guys there was a bit clueless and ate most of the tin himself while we all barely got to have a taste.

                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                    MMRuth May 28, 2008 02:00 PM

                                    I, sadly, don't think that would help. Where there is caviar, there is my husband. This was American caviar, though only earlier that fall, we had two beautiful tins of caviar (500 grams each) that he had brought back from the Ukraine. Amazing. He had a horrible trip home, lost luggage etc., and my only question was - do you think the caviar is okay? When he was a child visiting NYC w/ his father, he once ordered, as someone's guest at a restaurant, the caviar - he thought it was free, b/c there was no price! His father quashed that, then took him elsewhere the next day, to eat it to his heart's content!

                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                      maplesugar May 29, 2008 01:58 PM

                                      Well, at least you know what to get your DH for his birthday ;)

                              2. chowser May 28, 2008 02:44 PM

                                My BIL picks and chooses the best of every course. He'll literally dig through everything to find the one he wants (eg. biggest lobster, crab cake, etc). He took the cake, literally, when I brought a large rectangular cake to a get together. He enjoyed it so much that he wanted to take some home--there was about half the cake left so he cut the whole center out, leaving a one inch edge all around. I just didn't know what to say.

                                1. nofunlatte May 28, 2008 06:29 PM

                                  Wow--some of these stories are amazing! I feel blessed to have had sane guests throughout my life!

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: nofunlatte
                                    m
                                    miss_bennet May 28, 2008 09:54 PM

                                    I thnk it may be less about sane guests and more about hosts who can let things go. Hey, someone likes the food you served enough to wolf all of it down. Next time, double the recipe.

                                    1. re: miss_bennet
                                      psb May 29, 2008 12:40 PM

                                      i have the opposite view: dont invite these people next time.
                                      in a lot of these stories, especially the egregous ones, it's not
                                      about ignorance of social conventions [say elbows on the table]
                                      or even really about the food [guests who start looking through
                                      your closets etc] ... it's about these people being selfish, opportunistic,
                                      not valuing your relationship etc. if somebody hogs all the caviar
                                      which he found via an unauthorized trip into the pantry and then
                                      takes the pearl spoon home with him, i dont want to be around this
                                      person even if it is somebody elses caviar/pantry/spoon.

                                      [of course i'm not talking about a social death penalty for minor
                                      transgressions, but a lot of these stories are waaaaaay, waaaay
                                      over the line and in some sense that makes the intellectual problem
                                      easier, although confrontation may not be. and of course family
                                      and other thick "ties that bind" changes your options.]

                                      1. re: psb
                                        Miss Needle May 29, 2008 12:47 PM

                                        I've got to say that I must be socially ignorant, but I really like to put my elbows on the table. It's a lot more comfortable eating that way. Not saying that I'm a total Neanderthal, but I'm more of a relaxed eater. And in case I seem like somebody that couldn't be taken out anywhere, I also know what is appropriate. If it's a more upscale situation I do abide by certain customs and don't put my elbows on the table.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle
                                          l
                                          Lizard May 29, 2008 01:28 PM

                                          Yes, you may put your elbows on the table, but somehow I doubt you do so gnawing into a steak you just grabbed from someone else's plate and now hold in your hands. :)

                                          ETA: Sorry, this must make no sense-- once upon a time I witnessed something of this kind-- admittedly with a much younger person, but still someone who should have known better (or had parents who did).

                                          1. re: Lizard
                                            Miss Needle May 29, 2008 01:53 PM

                                            Ha ha. I can only excuse that type of behavior if he or she is under the age of 3.

                                          2. re: Miss Needle
                                            psb May 29, 2008 01:47 PM

                                            um i'm not sure if you are replying to me, but i thought it was
                                            clear i was much more offended by the stuff that had a moral
                                            element ... selfishness, opportunism, freeriding etc ... than social
                                            convention ... elbows on the table, chewing with your mouth open,
                                            not tearing off a piece of bread before buttering, but gnawing on the
                                            large piece etc.

                                            the guy who threw the wine glass into the fireplace might even have
                                            a more honest "ignornace defense" than somebody who "privatizes"
                                            the communal mousse.

                                            on a camping trip, one fellow took a plastic container with some
                                            snacks i had brought and put it on his lap and started eating it ...
                                            so he had both "privatised it" as well as was eating right on top of
                                            the container [mouth crumbs]. as i had brought this item, i took it
                                            and put it back on the table. he later again took "adverse possession"
                                            of it. again, i had to repo it ... and this time moved it out of reach to the
                                            other side of the table. i felt within my rights to do this as i had brought
                                            this item and the norm on this trip was "you should be self-sufficient
                                            foodwise, but bring stuff to share". but i think under many circumstances
                                            these kinds of oafs get away with this kind of thing.

                                            and you know what? this guy actually kinda looked like an oaf ...
                                            imagine an english national front football hooligan.

                                            1. re: psb
                                              Miss Needle May 29, 2008 01:51 PM

                                              No, I wasn't replying to you at all. I totally understood what you were trying to say and definitely agree with it. I just hit reply because I read your thing about the elbow remark which reminded me that I read it on this thread someplace else. Sorry if it seemed like I was trying to negate your words, but that wasn't my intention at all.

                                        2. re: miss_bennet
                                          maplesugar May 29, 2008 02:18 PM

                                          Depends on the situation I guess... Personally I bake for the other volunteers on my night at the Food Bank. Production (where I volunteer) finishes at 7:45-8:00pm, Distribution however closes at 7:30pm. When we got to the volunteer lounge after our shift only about 3 of the 3 dozen cookies I made were left. I was a bit miffed at first but it's a common room, and we all work together so really I should be flattered. Next Monday I'll be doubling the recipe :)

                                          1. re: maplesugar
                                            Catskillgirl May 31, 2008 11:57 AM

                                            Absolutely be flattered! wouldn't you feel worse if, out of 3 dozen, there were 34 left, and one with a bite out of it? :-) They enjoyed them and I'm sure they're thankful that you provided such a delicious treat! and good on you for volunteering.

                                      2. p
                                        pengcast May 28, 2008 09:46 PM

                                        I organized a posh reception a few years ago that was a stand up, mingle and meet kind of affair. The food stations were on small high cocktail tables scattered through out the room with different kinds of food on each table to entice people to move about the room. The only chairs were a few regular height chairs against one wall well away from the food and the bar. During the reception, I noticed two women had dragged the chairs across the room and had set up camp beside one of the high cocktail tables and had basically decided it was going to be sit down affair just for them. My assistant and I tried to conjole them over the the side of the room but they played like they were oblivious to what we were saying. I had to give up being any more persistant because one of them was the wife of someone on our board of directors.

                                        But one of my colleagues was even more gauche. I had asked for food replenishing service to be temporarily stopped during the short remarks by our President, and my colleague actually took the tray from the waiter and said 'where you going with that, I'm not done'. When I tried to whisper to him that more would be out in a few minutes and he went away sulking like he would never have another crab puff in his life.

                                        1. j
                                          Jase May 29, 2008 02:07 PM

                                          I'll play.

                                          I was at a Chinese wedding banquet and there was a plate of suckling pig as part of the first course of appetizers. Just gorgeous looking pieces and about 2-3 pieces for each person in the usual table of ten.

                                          Guy next to me who had never attended one before asked me what it was and I explained, describing what a wonderful treat it was. He went for that before anyone else did and scooped up 5 pieces, promptly took one bite, made a face and declared loudly that he didn't care for it and left the rest untouched on his plate.

                                          The rest of us were quietly fuming at the waste and blatant violation of banquet etiquette since you usually spin the lazy susan around and take a couple of pieces until everyone has had a chance at it. Only then if someone else passed on it, do you politely duke it out to split what's left. I and a couple of the older males took one for the team and only took one piece each so the rest of the party could have their usual share.

                                          After that first course, we all kind of looked at each other and made it a point to police this guy. When the abalone showed up, we were all very vocal in asking him if he'd had it before and loudly commenting to each other, "oh look, there's 10 pieces, just enough for one each."

                                          This guy was one of those who thought they were adventurous eaters but made faces at everything he didn't like and wouldn't take a small piece to try it first. He was going for the big portion of everything. It was a very annoying meal, which was a shame since the rest of us enjoyed the wedding and attended enough of these events, we were looking forward to the great meal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Jase
                                            Miss Needle May 29, 2008 02:41 PM

                                            Oh boy. Triple whammy. Kind of reminds me of that scene from Joy Luck Club. In addition to taking more than his fair share, he violated the Asian thing of letting the elders get first choice and talked badly about the dish, which reflects negatively on the host.

                                            And those people who think they're so adventurous annoy the crap out of me when they start doing things with the sole purpose of showing off. I get this with spicy eaters as well -- you know, those people who order the stuff mega spicy just to prove how much of a "man" they are and then eat hot chili peppers by themselves just to show off and then make fun of those who can't eat as spicy as they do. I've run into people who would say, "What's wrong? Can't handle the spice?" as they would down an entire chili pepper -- and not in a humorous, light-hearted way but more of a machismo kind of thing. Really irritating.

                                          2. g
                                            gryphonskeeper May 29, 2008 02:27 PM

                                            My brothers girlfriend is about as gauche and piggish as they come. Take for example our latest family party where she attended. She not only "double dipped" but stuck her fingers in the dip bowl and licked her fingers! Oh but that was not gross enough, she then decided to try some homemade pasta salad, heaping a huge portion (well over a pound) onto her plate, covering it with a ton of salt, taking a bite and saying "ewww, this is gross... and then dumped it salt and all back in the original container!

                                            She comes to my moms house, and goes into her freezer all the time looking for "the good steaks" and just steals them..

                                            personally I do not invite her over to any events on purpose.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                              alkapal May 29, 2008 05:32 PM

                                              she steals steaks from your mom? i'd kick her sorry a$$ out -- and FAST. and your brother is equally an a$$ for permitting such outrageous behavior? i hope you've confronted him.

                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                psb May 29, 2008 06:55 PM

                                                i think at that point i'd worry about her stealing things more
                                                easily convertible to cash ... like "cash".

                                                as i said above:
                                                1. the stuff way over the line is at least intellectually easy to deal with
                                                [no discussion about cultural factors, ingoance vs willful etc] ... although
                                                the confrontration may not be

                                                2. with these degenerates, it's not about food, but about "who they are"

                                                1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                  maplesugar May 30, 2008 01:46 PM

                                                  Wow, and I thought some of my inlaws were clueless in the social skills dept. I don't think any of them (except maybe the kids) would dip their fingers in the dip bowl and they wouldn't dream of stealing food. Your brother's girlfriend should make sure the door doen't hit her backside on the way OUT.

                                                2. podunkboy May 29, 2008 06:19 PM

                                                  Worst I've seen is when my wife and I hosted a Halloween party when we were much younger, and although the announced time of the party was 8 p.m., he stepsister and husband showed up around 5. We were still cleaning and getting things ready, and tried to keep them entertained. As soon as I started putting out the food and drink for the party, they stood up, grabbed plates, and totally wiped out everything we put out. Evidently, it was their only meal of the day. I had to start over and make more food, which they put a serious dent in before the party even started.
                                                  And close family friend or not, if I saw someone helping themselves to my steaks from the freezer, they'd be an EX-friend ASAP.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: podunkboy
                                                    p
                                                    platypus Jun 4, 2008 07:27 AM

                                                    I've had the reverse happen, and it's just as annoying. When I was a newlywed and my brother came to town for a rare visit, I invited him and his wife for Sunday brunch at 10:30 am.

                                                    It was one of the first times I had entertained after being married, and I wanted everything to be perfect. I baked scones, made refridgerator jam and squeezed oranges for juice, in addition to making hashbrowns and having sausages ready to heat.

                                                    They showed up an hour late and then picked at their food. I asked if everything was okay, and they said that everything was great but they weren't hungry because they'd had a late breakfast at their hotel. Apparently they couldn't resist because it was free.

                                                    1. re: platypus
                                                      Scargod Jun 4, 2008 09:37 AM

                                                      I have similar issues with a "frequent eater" who drops in (sometimes unannounced). If I know they are coming I also know that they are typically late, so I won't start cooking the serious stuff till I hear them coming down the drive. When they arrive they are ravenous and have helped themselves to "appetizers", meaning anything in the cupboard....
                                                      I complained about this and after several fusses and yelling, they quit. Still it's like they hadn't eaten all day, which, I guess is a compliment, that they will wait 'cause they know I throw a good spread...

                                                      1. re: Scargod
                                                        d
                                                        dolores Jun 4, 2008 10:18 AM

                                                        Drops in unannounced? Does that mean uninvited?

                                                        Helps themself to stuff in your cupboards?

                                                        I take it you consider this person a friend?

                                                        Yikes. You are reallllllllllly patient, Scargod.

                                                        1. re: dolores
                                                          Scargod Jun 4, 2008 02:19 PM

                                                          Well, it's complicated. Let's just say that they know what ticks me off, now, and what my limits are. Yes, I'm somewhat patient (like in a mental institution).
                                                          Now if I could just get them to stop inhaling the food.....

                                                  2. lulubelle May 31, 2008 04:01 AM

                                                    One of my dearest friends will scoop out the center of the brie and leave huge hunks of exposed rind on the serving plate. I finally called her on it and she said that she didn't like the rind, but other people did, so she thought it was more polite than taking a piece of cheese and only eating the center. After I explained to her that people only liked the rind when it was connected to the rest of the cheese she stopped doing it. (At least at my parties).

                                                    As for the potluck conversation, I live and work in a community where potlucks are a monthly or even more frequent event. In general, people will offer up their food "Does anyone want some of this hummus before I pack it up?", and then feel free to take home what they brought. I live by myself; there is no way I want 15 different foil-wrapped dishes slowly molding in my fridge. Usually the food ends up going to the teachers' lounge the next day for everyone to enjoy.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: lulubelle
                                                      psb May 31, 2008 05:46 AM

                                                      I think the cheese story is interesting ... on confrontation ...
                                                      1. expedient ignorance phase (view it as "there is no norm, or only
                                                      a weak norm")
                                                      2. cognitive dissonance/rationalization phase ("i'm looking out for the Rind Lovers")
                                                      3. cost-benefit analysis phase ("lulub >> cheej")

                                                      >At least at my parties
                                                      >
                                                      an astute observation.

                                                      1. re: lulubelle
                                                        l
                                                        Linda VH May 31, 2008 06:15 AM

                                                        I only like the center of the brie as well. I won't scoop and leave the rind but I have a couple of friends who LOVE the rind and will come to me and ask if we can "share" some brie otherwise......

                                                        1. re: Linda VH
                                                          b
                                                          bubbles4me Jun 3, 2008 08:17 AM

                                                          I'm with you Linda, I only like the gooey center of the brie and found that we are not alone on my first trip to France where I watched lots of French people cut a wedge of brie, and from their plate just ate the yummy center and left the rind.
                                                          Worst behavior I saw was a guest loading up on shrimp after commenting that they really didnt love shrimp but they are expensive and these were free....tacky!

                                                      2. Scargod May 31, 2008 01:37 PM

                                                        I have a mature friend, who is a professional and well-connected. We were at a function in some folk's home and there was quite a spread of food to snack on. There was poached salmon and crab, among other things. He stood in front of the best food area of the table and ate like a just-saved, shipwrecked sailor. You couldn't even talk to him because he always had his mouth full of food or wine. He pretty-much stood there for an hour. I have no idea where he put all the food, and I have been known to eat!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                          maplesugar Jun 2, 2008 07:53 PM

                                                          "...and ate like a just-saved, shipwrecked sailor." Well said, what an image.... I can't believe he hoovered food for that long! :)

                                                        2. Scrapironchef Jun 3, 2008 10:46 AM

                                                          While visiting the in-laws in Atlanta for a big family birthday party, I agreed to help FIL throw a bbq the day after for all the out of towners. Everyone was told it would start at 3 in the afternoon giving us plenty of time to get everything ready.

                                                          So why did they all show up at 9 am expecting breakfast, lunch and dinner? I actually had to send my own parents out to pick up more food while I scrambled to make everything work.

                                                          1. d
                                                            DaisyM Jun 3, 2008 03:46 PM

                                                            This happened at a friend's house. Somehow a woman felt the need to bring her 17 year old son to a clearly adult party without clearing it with the host. Anyway, the host was passing two racks of lamb to be carved and the kid took an entire rack and put it on his plate! It was so ridiculous and hysterical. The host said, "If you take that there won't be enough food" and the kid reluctantly put it back on the platter. Then and this was sort of the topper...they were serving a particuarly fine(aka expensive) wine and the kid's mother insisted that her son have a big old glass. Remember...he was 17 AND uninvited. Priceless!

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: DaisyM
                                                              g
                                                              gryphonskeeper Jun 3, 2008 04:24 PM

                                                              If I were the host I would have told both he and his mother to please leave immediately. Asking a host to break the law and leave themselves open for a huge liability lawsuit for serving a minor alcohol is not gauche it's criminal at best.

                                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                                d
                                                                DaisyM Jun 3, 2008 04:58 PM

                                                                I sure would have handled it differently, too. But to actually witness this mother who truly thought her son was a real charmer was the most amazing part. My husband and I threw a birthday party for my father in law. It was a seated dinner for 75 close relatives and his friends at a lovely hotel...engraved invitations...beautfiul centerpieces, etc. During the cocktail hour I saw two "Dudes" long hair, torn jeans....you get the picture. I thought they had crashed the party and was about to ask them to leave when I was told that they were cousins so and so's kids. I went over to her (I never had met her before) and introduced myself and then told her very firmly that this was a seated dinner and unfortunately "the Dudes" would not be able to stay. They did leave...but can you even imagine the gall?

                                                                1. re: DaisyM
                                                                  Sarah Jun 3, 2008 07:34 PM

                                                                  So glad to hear your story. You are one of the too few who had the "gumption" to treat rude guests the way they should be treated -- family or not!

                                                                  1. re: DaisyM
                                                                    l
                                                                    Lizard Jun 4, 2008 12:57 AM

                                                                    You think it's difficult entertaining this generation of precious snowflakes? Try teaching them. Sorry. Just had to say it.

                                                                    1. re: Lizard
                                                                      alkapal Jun 4, 2008 02:06 AM

                                                                      lizard, no better characterization: "precious snowflakes."

                                                                      each one unique, perishable under heat, and ... well, (lord of the rings kind of...) "precious". http://www.granitegrok.com/pix/precio...

                                                                    2. re: DaisyM
                                                                      Davwud Jun 4, 2008 04:43 AM

                                                                      Good stuff Daisy.

                                                                      These days it seems there's too much accomidating and the lesson gets lost.

                                                                      DT

                                                                      1. re: Davwud
                                                                        d
                                                                        DaisyM Jun 4, 2008 05:14 AM

                                                                        I'm an event planner and I'm continuously amazed at the behavior that I see. I did a gala where tickets were over $200. The centerpieces were huge glass containers filled with multi colored jelly beans and then filled with huge branches with flowers. Okay...would you believe that women were sticking their hands in the containers and putting the jelly beans in their expensive evening bags??? Understand that those branches were dirty!!! And those jelly beans were sitting in the containers for days before we added the branches. And don't think that the guests were hungry. It was a lavish sit down dinner and can you even imagine throwing the moist jelly beans in a good purse? Imagine the stains. And this was happening at all of the tables! Or I've had guests at a buffet stuffing rolls in their pants pockes! Holy Cow it is amazing what I've seen.

                                                                        1. re: DaisyM
                                                                          d
                                                                          dolores Jun 4, 2008 06:00 AM

                                                                          I'm surprised they didn't just walk off with the centerpieces. I've been to uber rich events where the people take the centerpieces.

                                                                          Yup, some people are amazing all right.

                                                                          1. re: dolores
                                                                            d
                                                                            DaisyM Jun 4, 2008 06:28 AM

                                                                            That has happened too and usually the containers are rented. So there I am running after people in evening gowns and tuxes trying to get the containers back so that the non profit doesn't end up paying for what they rented! I honestly still don't get it. IS it cause they want something "free" or that they feel entitled. I mean, I've practically seen fist fights break out over gift bags. Does anyone need more stuff in their house? I'm always trying to get rid of clutter...who wants more of it?

                                                                2. cheeseguysgirl Jun 3, 2008 07:01 PM

                                                                  Great stories, all! Here is a recent thread with even more stories, some more outrageous than I thought possible. My tiny story pales in comparison.

                                                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/510097

                                                                  1. purple goddess Jun 3, 2008 08:26 PM

                                                                    I've mentioned this before...

                                                                    I WAS ASKED to made Xmas dinner once. Catered for 17 FAMILY members. (plus 6 kids)

                                                                    Decided to do an Australian summer Xmas, so ordered TONS of seafood. Was told 10 days before Xmas, that THE FAMILY wanted a traditional dinner, NOT seafood. Cancelled seafood order (lost my deposit) and had to buy "trad" food at primo proces (cos I hadn't ordered anything in advance)

                                                                    Confirmed attendance by ALL fam members at least 2ce (with matriarch of fam)

                                                                    Did:

                                                                    Cream of cucumber soup and roasted capsicum soup (served side by side in the same bowl with an Xmas tree piped on top with horseradish creme fraiche),

                                                                    crab meat and camenbert mousse, wrapped in wilted butter lettuce

                                                                    Whole Turkey with roasted chestnut and bacon neck stuffing, bacon and sage cavity stuffing.

                                                                    Beggars Ham (honey baked ham in a salted bread crust that you hit with a hammer at the table. The crust shatters and voila, the steaming ham is revealed)

                                                                    All home made condiments.. apple and Calvados jelly, red currant jam, 2 types of gravy.

                                                                    potatoes, glazed carrots, baked pumpkin, vine ripened tomatoes stuffed with feta and pesto.

                                                                    2 salads.

                                                                    Xmas pud with 2 sauces, brandy butter and custard,

                                                                    Summer berry pudding.

                                                                    Pavlova.

                                                                    Centrepiece was a croquenbouche of home made truffles

                                                                    I decorated the house with tartan bunting, fresh flowers, made all my own nibbles from scratch (roasted nuts, toffees White Xmas, various dips, etc)

                                                                    Provided all the booze. ALL. THE. BOOZE.

                                                                    Set the adult table with best crockery freshly shined silverware and ivy garlands.

                                                                    Made my own Xmas crackers (putting lots of thought into each individual one and personalising them)

                                                                    I even had a table for the 6 kids and did mini-versions of all the grown up food. (sub chicken for turkey, did them individual chocolate puddings, that sort of thing. did cream of tomato/cream of zucchini with a crispy Xmas tree cracker on top)

                                                                    Too bad only 2 adult people showed up and had to leave early, as they had "other commitments".

                                                                    And when I say "leave early", I mean they stayed to eat some nuts AND THAT WAS IT.

                                                                    True story.

                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                    1. re: purple goddess
                                                                      l
                                                                      Lizard Jun 4, 2008 12:59 AM

                                                                      They do not deserve you. However, if you feel like adopting me as family...

                                                                      1. re: purple goddess
                                                                        alkapal Jun 4, 2008 02:11 AM

                                                                        purple goddess, what truly horrifying people they are. as lizard says, they in no universe deserve you. and if you adopt lizard, you have to adopt me! ;-D

                                                                        please tell us you've taken some hera-like retribution!!!

                                                                        1. re: purple goddess
                                                                          d
                                                                          dolores Jun 4, 2008 03:24 AM

                                                                          purple goddess, I hope you never made Christmas dinner again?

                                                                          1. re: purple goddess
                                                                            Scargod Jun 4, 2008 04:06 AM

                                                                            I keep asking myself, "what's wrong with this picture?" I was reading (blog)about you, Furry and his irreverent humor. Still don't get it. Did the family matriarch come? Do you get along? Was this people from both sides of the family? Was there some big sports event happening, where you have no TV? I'm amazed. You look so sweet...

                                                                            1. re: purple goddess
                                                                              Davwud Jun 4, 2008 04:46 AM

                                                                              PG

                                                                              You wouldn't have to adopt me but I'm pretty good at getting rid of leftovers....

                                                                              ;-)

                                                                              DT

                                                                              1. re: purple goddess
                                                                                Sam Fujisaka Jun 4, 2008 06:51 AM

                                                                                I'd almost fly from Colombia to Oz to kick their collective a**es ... and eat the leftovers.

                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                  jfood Jun 4, 2008 09:27 AM

                                                                                  jfood might contribute the frequent flyer miles

                                                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                                                    Sam Fujisaka Jun 4, 2008 03:12 PM

                                                                                    Next time I do fly to OZ, I'll think of you fondly. Thank you.

                                                                                2. re: purple goddess
                                                                                  Passadumkeg Jun 4, 2008 09:31 AM

                                                                                  Next time Velveeta on white w/ Kool-aid and watch the fun!
                                                                                  Old New Yorker proverb: Don't get angry, get even.

                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                    Scargod Jun 4, 2008 02:20 PM

                                                                                    Spiked Kool-Aid?

                                                                                    1. re: Scargod
                                                                                      Passadumkeg Jun 5, 2008 07:06 AM

                                                                                      No, electric!

                                                                                      Timothy Leary went to Wesleyan U (and so did Bill Bellachek)

                                                                                  2. re: purple goddess
                                                                                    Scrapironchef Jun 4, 2008 09:45 AM

                                                                                    Next time invite some students from the local college or host an holiday "orphan's" party and leave the family off the invite list. I'd be willing to bet they'd be a lot more appreciative of the effort.

                                                                                    BTW, what did the person who asked you to throw the party have to say, any plausible explantions from the other no-shows?

                                                                                    1. re: purple goddess
                                                                                      j
                                                                                      Jeanne Jun 4, 2008 11:02 AM

                                                                                      That has to be the worst thing I have every read - purple goddess I also hope that was the last time you went tp any effort at all for those people.

                                                                                      1. re: Jeanne
                                                                                        Cheflambo Jun 4, 2008 02:48 PM

                                                                                        PG - the fact that they had the temerity to tell you what to serve might have been a clue that they were going to be difficult. But how tacky of them to not even show up, especially after all the trouble you went to! Frankly the meal you prepared and served was not worthy of any of the gluttonous cretins Ive been reading about here. Im with the others -- lets just charter a plane and all go to PG's for holiday this year! I'll help you cook, and we'll all help with the dishes........

                                                                                        1. re: Cheflambo
                                                                                          Sam Fujisaka Jun 4, 2008 03:16 PM

                                                                                          I can work on your line, chef.

                                                                                          1. re: Cheflambo
                                                                                            purple goddess Jun 4, 2008 03:44 PM

                                                                                            Why thank you all!!

                                                                                            You'd all be welcome at my table ANY time... Seriously,, if y'all ever get to OZ, look me up!

                                                                                            Actually, it was my EX's-fam.. which is funny, cos it was my ex MIL who taught me to cook.

                                                                                            I would need a whole board of my own to devote to the dysfunctional dynamics of THAT lot. But in a nutshell, my seriously F'd-up SIL had decided SHE wanted to cook Xmas lunch, and nobody had told us OR invited us. This woman was such a freak that no-one in the fam had the guts to tell her "No" and felt obligated to go to HER luncheon instead.

                                                                                            Needless to say, I have NEVER been able to offer to cook an Xmas dinner since.. and that was 15 years ago.

                                                                                            It's the only time I've ever thrown a hissy fit. Well, actually I've thrown PLENTY of hissy fits, but NEVER one that involved throwing food. I was so upset I actually picked up the cannonball-sized pud (which I STILL remember cost me $80 in glace fruit) and threw it outside to the dogs.

                                                                                            I went on a crying jag for about 3 days. I couldn't even eat the food as left overs. It got to the point where the dogs would just look at you as if to say "NOT goddamn turkey and stuffing AGAIN, ma?"

                                                                                            And of course, my ex.. aka Mr Charisma By-pass just kinda brushed it off...told me I was the one being "silly"

                                                                                            Anyway.. divorced Mr Charisma By-pass and his sorry, weird little family and am now cooking for Furry (who has a fam of 3), ALL who love and appreciate my cooking.

                                                                                            It will be a LOOOOOONG while before I can steel myself to do an Xmas dinner, tho.

                                                                                            1. re: purple goddess
                                                                                              d
                                                                                              dolores Jun 4, 2008 03:51 PM

                                                                                              Thanks for the follow up, purple goddess. Good for you.

                                                                                              BTW, love your blog.

                                                                                              1. re: purple goddess
                                                                                                g
                                                                                                gryphonskeeper Jun 4, 2008 04:25 PM

                                                                                                I would have tossed it at Mr Ex... and pegged him off the bean. :D

                                                                                                1. re: purple goddess
                                                                                                  Scargod Jun 4, 2008 06:18 PM

                                                                                                  Perhaps you could pass around a link to this discussion and let them see what jackasses we all think they are.....

                                                                                                  1. re: purple goddess
                                                                                                    alkapal Jun 5, 2008 05:24 AM

                                                                                                    God bless you, purple goddess, esp. for getting out from under those wicked folks who so abused you!

                                                                                                    1. re: purple goddess
                                                                                                      Scrapironchef Jun 5, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                                                                      Next time they come over, give them a big old plate of Ex-lax brownies to take home....

                                                                                                      1. re: Scrapironchef
                                                                                                        Passadumkeg Jun 5, 2008 10:26 AM

                                                                                                        Mean! Alice B. Toklas brownies and watch the fun!

                                                                                              2. r
                                                                                                RGC1982 Jun 5, 2008 10:06 PM

                                                                                                I have a friend who hosts a Christmas Eve party each year, and she has this problem with her own parents. For some reason, they, and another elderly aunt, just seem to think it is just fine to pull up chairs and sit at the table on which her buffet is set out.

                                                                                                After watching her fret over this for a couple of years (she is afraid of how it makes others uncomfortable to reach over them to get to the food), we decided that no chairs would be allowed in the room where the food was. None. If one came in, we apprehended the carrier and directed them somewhere else with a gentle comment about how it is better not to block off access to the food. Enlisting others to suggest to the guests to sit elsewhere seemed to solve the problem. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to us the first year it happened.

                                                                                                I think this particular situation presented itself because her parents were more accustomed to sit-down dinners and did not much like the idea of balancing a plate on their laps at a buffet, but it wasn't as much a problem as it was something that really bothered my friend.

                                                                                                1. r
                                                                                                  rtms Jun 10, 2008 05:56 PM

                                                                                                  this has been a riveting read! I only had a story about a friend who, during a fabulous dinner in a very small apartment, bolted to the bathroom from the table to relieve themselves of the food. It made for a very awkward dinner conversation.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: rtms
                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                    jujuthomas Jun 11, 2008 06:45 AM

                                                                                                    I had a friend who used to do that - turned out she was allergic to whatever they inject into meat.

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