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What to do about bad hosts?

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She invited us to a backyard BBQ and asked all guests to tell her in advance how many burgers/hotdogs they will eat and asked all guests bring some alcoholic beverage. Then sends a list of side dishes that you can sign up for to make sure no guests bring duplicates. The party ended early due to the wife not allowing "too many" guests in the house after the night chill made everyone freeze outside.

Just a few weeks ago, she emails an invite because her husband is throwing her a Welcome Home party for her return from a 3 month business trip. They'll provide the meat and guests can each bring a dish to share. All but one person declined the invite and there was no party.

As a host, I supply generous portions, variety, and enough for seconds. We're not poor college students anymore but it still feels like I'm going to a frat party. I'm sure some people think these invites/food requests are fine, but I'm really turned off to going to any more of her "parties" and know for certain she will be offended if we continue to turn her down.

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  1. Wow.
    She really is a bad host.
    But hosting is part learned skill and part natural good people skills... and for people who never learned past that "frat party stage" they really may mean well and simply be clueless. If she is so thick that a few low turn out parties don't make her think twice hopefully a close friend of hers will politely explain to her (when she is complaining about low party turn out) that their are certain responsibilities of hosting.

    5 Replies
    1. re: quovadis

      Agreed. Sometimes people don't realize what a good host means. Have been invited to past events similar and declined. Outcome is that we stopped being invited which was fine. Sometimes however people are just being cheep. We have hosted many events where lobster, steak, fixings and drinks are in plentiful supply. We do it because we enjoy it. Only thing I have noted is that some folks don't return the invite but that is fine too - we invite folks who's company we enjoy. It is about the event.

      1. re: juliewong

        Serving less expensive food doesn't make you a bad host, just like serving caviar doesn't make you a good host. It's about the spirit of the thing (generosity, ideally) and the company.

        I have no problem with potluck gatherings, as long as everyone's in agreement that that's what it is. I also think you shouldn't invite people over if you don't want them in your house!

        1. re: Kagey

          I am faced with this situation several times a year due to my daughter's involvement with her sports team. The parents and families get really close because we spend every weekend with each other. The differences can be startling.

          At my home, I cook (usually) several entrees and sides, or cater, and usually provide desserts, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, do the entire set up in steam trays, and the clean up, unless some volunteer stays to help. I draw the line at beer, because the beer drinkers seem to each have personal favorites, and we don't drink it, so the leftovers are hard to get rid of. That is what I might suggest people bring, or perhaps a dessert, if they insist on bringing something. I insist that they bring home their leftover beer or cake, which is the custom in this region.

          At other's homes, the worst example was the pseudo-lunch invitation, in which a sign up list was circulated for people to bring lunch meats, rolls, side dishes, paper products, and, believe it or not, ketchup/mustard/mayo. Would you believe that the "hosts" signed themselves up for ketchup/mustard/mayo? Not even the paper products. With hosts like these, you are better off trying to eat at the nearest fast food drive through.

          BTW, money does not appear to be an issue.

          1. re: RGC1982

            It goes far to sometimes just say *@#($ the money and host a generous party, even if it's pasta and meatballs. People remember genourosity (sp...) and often return it!
            Mae

            1. re: RGC1982

              LOL you sound a lot like me. We don't drink beer in our house (except for the Peroni my husband loves and few others do) and I have a rule about keeping sweets in the house because of health/dietary reasons. I love hosting and having people over for dinner or gatherings, and typically tell people who ask not to worry about bringing anything, unless they want to bring dessert or beer since neither is my area of interest. And I try to pack them off with the leftovers of each because they will just go to waste in our home.

              When I was a poor college student it was another matter entirely, and yeah I did throw pot-lucks back then or ask people to contribute to the "party pot o'cash" if I'd laid out for all of the drinks ahead of time...but that's a lot different an environment than an adult dinner party.

              (When I threw my housewarming last December I spent about a week preparing food and drink for it because I insisted I would not put out anyone to cook any dishes in advance for me, family or friends-wise...and we ended up with so many bottles of good wine and spirits as house warming gifts it ended up way more than making up the difference for what I spent!)

      2. Continue to turn her down. She didn't care if she offended anyone -- so why are you worried about "offending" her because you don't wish to be at one of her not-so-fun parties?

        If she asks why you repeatedly turn down her invitations, explain why to her TRUTHFULLY. The truth is sometimes no fun, but unless someone is kind enough to tell her and you all keep showing up -- you'll be encouraging her behavior.

        Reinforce positive behavior, ignore negative behavior. Turning her down = ignore.

        1. I would not feel obligated to spend my precious free time with someone so rude and controlling! I don't think she'll be offended if you continue to decline - if she cared what people think she would be a better hostess in the first place. I think she may feel hurt that no one wants to come over anymore and I doubt she'll single you guys out - as you said, everyone but one said NO.

          1. I don't really think that she meant to be rude in any way. I think she is just a bit clueless about hosting parties. I have to ask: are all the people HER friends, or her husband's? My theory is this: perhaps she has not hosted/been to many parties, either in college or later in life. She could be someone with lower-than-usual self-esteem who lacked confidence when she was young and as such lacks social graces many learned by experiences from being exposed to various social situations.

            I mean, think about it: how did YOUR first party go? Perfectly? Mine certainly didn't! Then again, maybe she's just a selfish ...

            1. It's interesting to read about people's expectations regarding the so-called "good host". Isn't she just having a "pot luck"? Are Pot Lucks considered gauche these days? Are they a thing of the, say, 70's, or 80's only? I'm asking in earnst because it's a word and custom i learned when i first came to the US in the mid 70's, and i had/have no idea that it would be considered bad hosting now a days. It was just as interesting to hear in another thread a host complaining about guests who insist on bring a dish, and considering it rude. Maybe there just are mis-matched hosts/guests out there as far as expectations go?

              Now the part about no allowing certain amount of people inside the house and thus freezing some guests seem like it could be bad hosting, but not knowing the details it's difficult to say.

              5 Replies
              1. re: HLing

                If I was freezing and not allowed in the house I WOULD consider her rude and a bad hostess. As to the potluck - she invited people and then told them to bring their own drink, a side dish and asked them to say AHEAD OF TIME how many hot dogs or burgers they would consume - that is not a potluck! The potlucks I have been to (and not lately thank you very much) were when everyone brings a dish period! They may or may not bring their own drink but it is usually defined as a potluck not as a "regular" party. We used to have monthly parties with our golf group that consisted of playing golf and then going to a different persons house every month. The host/hostess provided the main course and all the drink. We brought apps, dessert and maybe a salad. Of course most of us brought a bottle of wine for the host/hostess (not necessarily to be consumed during the party) as a gift. I was NEVER asked how much I was going to eat. Sometimes the person would theme the evening as in Italian, etc. but that was it!

                1. re: Linda VH

                  If I am freezing and it is an outdoor party , I go home.

                  1. re: LaLa

                    Agreed! And I would always have extras at a bbq. The main focus of the event is eating!

                  2. re: Linda VH

                    I don't mind potlucks under certain circumstances. For broke students it's pretty much standard. It's also pretty standard for get-togethers of a particular group - gaming, or sports teams, or meetings, or clubs, where it's basically a shared event with one person providing the venue. It's also common when only a few people in the group have the facilities to host a party, or for family get togethers, so that one person isn't stuck with all the preparation and expense.

                    In this case, it sounds like BYO parties are not standard in this social group, and people are rather taken aback at being expected to sign up for a side dish and bring their own alcohol. When you combine this with poor hospitality in other areas (like not letting the guests into your home when they are cold) and the request to pre-order how many hotdogs you want, then going to another party becomes not very enticing.

                    If you have to maintain good relations with these people, I'd suggest going to some, but not all of the parties, or scaling back on how you participate - bring the absolutely minimum required for the shared dish (like a couple of bags of potato chips or cookies) and one beer, stay an hour, and then have to leave.

                    As an aside, you can throw a generous party without spending a lot of money. Put the hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, buy some bags of chips and salsa, make a big batch of coleslaw, some lemonade and iced tea and a pitcher or two of sangria, and cut up a watermelon for dessert.

                  3. re: HLing

                    There are many facets as people have been discussing. I will not be addressing allowing your guests to be uncomfortably cold or asking how many burgers people will eat... though I will point out that the economy is affecting people in many ways.

                    I have worked at a museum with very social people who worked for little more than minimum wage. The party ethic there was bring "Something to grill, something to drink and something to share." It meant that you could throw a party for 30 bucks and spend $10 to go to a party 2-3 times a week. Poverty didn't preclude a very active social life.

                    That said, there are a few (There are ALWAYS a few) whose idea of something to share was a bag of Doritos. If this woman has been burned to many times earlier stuck with 6 bags of chips as the "something to share" perhaps she has swung too far to compensate.

                  4. I don't really know what's going on in her mind but I'm guessing it's a combination of her being clueless and being cheap (she included in her BBQ email invite that meat is expensive so if you don't want burgers or hotdogs, bring your own "other" meat). These invites include both friends of the husband and wife.

                    Clueless: if you invite people over for a BBQ or Welcome home, it should be hosted as such, not as a Potluck. Call it a BBQ potluck. HLing, I love potlucks, however, if it's not stated as such, don't ask guests how much food they'll eat, tell them to bring addti'l food AND wine. As for the welcome home party, if your husband is THROWING you a welcome home party, it should not be a potluck at all. He should do the whole thing. And why is the wife emailing the invitation to a party and asking for food if her husband is throwing it for her?

                    I haven't hosted as many potlucks, I try to take care of the whole shebang and really enjoy it. Miss Bennet, they're never perfect, and I am definately a rookie, but I try my best (I hope!).

                    I agree, Quovadis, that she really does mean well..at least she's inviting us all to her home and trying her best to make sure we're comfortable. I'll have to remind myself of that.. In the meantime, I will pass on the next one if she does this again. I know plenty well on my own to be a good guest and bring a bottle of wine or a gift for the host - I don't appreciate being told to do so.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: QueenPeach

                      I'm not convinced she's well meaning or that she's trying to make sure you'all comfortable. It sure doesn't sound that way. At outdoor parties that turn chilly, as a host, I suppy blankets (and lend sweaters if need be). A copper fire pit on legs works well too. What did she expect to do if it started raining? Chastize you for not supplying tents & umbrellas? Send you packing? And I suppose then she'd keep your food 'donations'? Ick.

                      In my early twenties I lived in a big loft with 4 other women in an artists' building & we had weekly potluck/Monday-night dinners with others in our community... we had to stop after a year or so when 20+ people were showing up. At least half a dozen of them would be from outside the building & bring a loaf of bread. It couldn't be maintained that way. However, it was really fun when it was just the core group (and the various dates & 'friends' we got to vet) and everyone agreed on the rules. Our success attests to that,; folks wanted to come. Potlucks are also okay when held on netural ground (like your book club or what-have-you).

                      If you are going to throw the party; set the rules, control the menu & the venue...especially if it is in celebration/honor of something you are inviting folks to celebrate with you then the party is your responsibility: throw the party you can afford. If you don't want to serve frozen patties from Sam's Club either save your pennies, or don't have a BBQ. It is the height of rudeness & audacitiy to tell a guest how much you are spending on them... whether it's a burger or a plated-table-service-wedding-hall-surf-&-turf... if you don't think I'm worth it - don't invite me! If you don't think I'm worth it, I don't want to come!

                      If you have the party you can afford, you can throw in last minute guests: Say you meet a neato, hot, new neighbor that morning & you think he's perfect for your sister... invite him... the more the merrier!
                      If anyone ever asked me to list, in advance what I would eat at their party, there is no way I would go.
                      Decline her future invitations. You know her parties will be unpleasant, uncomfortable & leave a bad taste in your mouth. Why waste a perfectly good Saturday afternoon?

                      As for the hostess who was uptight about guests bringing things, she needs professional help. Turning up you nose at a gift is extraordinarily rude. Any decently mannered person would find it akward, if not impossible, to show up empty-handed. I have been brought some weird and interesting things (a vintage fire extinguisher, an industrial meat-hook, a package of a dozen toothbrushes) by folks who don't have the time or ability to cook (or money for booze) and I was pleased as punch with every one of them. It's the thought that counts!

                      1. re: butter and whiskey

                        B & W, I am guessing that the poster that mentioned the rude guest insisting on bringing something to dinner was in referance to a thread from last summer. It was very interesting and stirred up lots of opinions . You need to read it for yourself and the follow up thread.

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41121...

                    2. A couple of weeks ago, a friend was telling me about how she and her husband were "invited" over to a friend's house for some pizza along with some other people. Just wanted to mention that these are 30-something-year old people with developed careers, and that these hosts have been invited to other dinner parties in that social circle where they have eaten for free. The hosts then proceeded to collect funds from everybody for the cost of the pizza.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        numbs the senses how social graces are lacking in so many these days.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          OK, I'm just stunned at this. I honestly think I would have just looked at them and said "Are you kidding me?" What did your friend say/do? And a bigger question - will they go back to this supposed "friend's" house if another invite is offered?

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I think my friends have given up on them. Not sure if they're going to be invited for any more dinner parties. Maybe they should be invited and ask them to pay up front.

                          2. re: Miss Needle

                            Heh. I guess we're guilty of that. And I'm probably one of those "raised by dippy hippie generation parents", though my parents are (were) immigrants raised in post-war very impoverished Japan, so I don't know if that counts.

                            The thing is, if I invite a few people over for pizza or sushi or whatever, I never expect them to pay, but if a few of us get together for games and we order pizza, my friends and I (range of ages between late 20s and mid-30s; mostly single except one couple) almost always give the host $ to chip in, or at least ask. I've noticed this with gas, too. I know it's been quite a while since most of us were in grad school, but people still ask and offer gas money to the driver. Again, I never take it (though if I were driving w/ a bunch of people to say, LA, we'd likely split the gas cost), but I think just by habit, we're still default to "grad-school" mode.

                            1. re: anzu

                              Yeah I have a group I've been friends with for 20 years (since junior high). When we get together it's quite natural to do potluck, share costs etc. We also treat each other especially in time of need (one friend did not have the same advantages as most of us and remains chronically broke, but is also the most generous in many ways). Anyway we recently went out to dinner with a "new" friend (as in I've only known her 10 years, LOL) and we had quite the discussion over splitting the bill - we couldn't figure out the math or something, plus it was my birthday so they were treating (pro forma for our group!). From the look on her face she was MORTIFIED, she stopped participating and sank back into her chair. But it was just totally natural for us with no hard feelings or awkwardness for them or me, the birthday girl.

                              1. re: anzu

                                Anzu and jules, I'm sure there are different social norms in different circles. It seems that chipping in for things is the norm in your circle. However, in the circle I mention, these are very wealthy people with nobody ever going broke -- it's more of the circle of -- how are you going to spend your six-figure bonus this year. This couple also has been guests of many of the people's homes with nobody asking them for payment. They don't offer to pay when they're the guests at another person's home. So it seems a bit odd that within this circle, you've got this couple who demands payment -- it's more of a social cluelessness and not understanding the idea of reciprocation. It's not a diss on circles who go dutch.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  Totally understood - I was just identifying with anzu that when you've been friends since you were broke (or very young), the habits continue, and stuff that I can totally understand is embarassing for others comes very naturally :)

                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                    Oh. We're not destitute by any stretch of the imagination (though in this area where the average wage is $90,000, I think several of us qualify as "low income"), but none of us are making anywhere near six figures, much less a six figure bonus. :)

                                  2. re: anzu

                                    Anzu I definatly agree. Sometime getting the ball rolling by kicking in $20 at someone elses "casual get together" reminds them it's a little rude (if it's a regular thing) to not help out the host.

                                2. I actually just had a discussion w/ a friend about the potluck issue, because I was complaining about another friend throwing only potluck “parties” much as you described (telling everyone to sign up for a dish in advance, reminding everyone what to bring – and in her case, she doesn’t even provide a main course.) My issue is not with the potluck per se – we do belong to groups which do these. But these are group get-togethers. In our social set, everyone else tends to throw parties where they actually provide food and drink. I think that whatever you can afford to offer is fine – if you are in reduced circumstances, have a brunch now and again. It is pretty cheap to make pancakes and the like (I know because that was my go-to party in my student days.) But going to everyone else’s parties, eating their free food and drinking their free drinks and then asking them to cater your events every single time (even, recently, her husband’s birthday party) smacks of selfishness to me.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: meg944

                                    I agree with you completely.

                                    1. re: meg944

                                      +100

                                    2. Are men allowed to weigh in on these types of etiquette issues? ( I hear hisses from vulpines and she-cats...). We all have friends, some of whom are very anal and socially unaware, as your friend seems to be, but we forgive our friends for their foibles. The same characteristics in our "foes" and we want to stone them to death. If she is a good and reliable and supportive friend, let it pass.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        you may just so happen to be a man, but it's a good point nevertheless ;)

                                        Count me as one of the less socially adapt..the more i read posts like these the less i go to social events as paranoia sets in. The thing is, even though i may have learned some of the grounds for possible social faux pas, and will try not to commit them, i now think there will ALWAYS be other things that people will judge you on that I would have never thought would offend. (that pretty much describe paranoia, doesn't it?)

                                        On the other hand, these are moments and events that will gradually break up incompatibles so that they can each regroup with others of their own kind. Seems to be just the nature of things. It' probably healthy to have a group vent session.

                                        1. re: HLing

                                          HLing, in the long term, people will judge you only by the purity of your heart. And they will determine that on their own. A hundred faux pas will never matter.

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            Yes, Veggo - I agree. I think WHENEVER you invite people, you should do it out generosity and not expect to be "repaid" in some way. Generosity without expectations WILL be reciprocated although maybe not from the same persons. Please do not make assumptions about why people may be "cheap" or "rude" or "non-reciprocating". Unless you know them well, you may not know about their financial, emotional state, etc.

                                      2. Some people are anal and socially clueless. They are. If they're otherwise good friends, they can learn some and you can learn to work around them.

                                        One of my dear friends hosts what she calls an Easter dinner "Potluck." I put the "potluck" in quotes because the first year she did this, after people RSVP'd, she sent around a list of dishes that she wanted people to bring that were extremely specific like "new potatoes au gratin with gruyere cheese," had a small breakdown when not everyone was seated at the dinner table at 5 o'clock sharp (a number of people didn't realize that there was a strict sitdown time for this "casual ourdoor potluck"), and threw away the outdoor tablecloths I had lent her for the party "because they were old, and I didn't think you'd want to use them again."

                                        Anyway, as time went on, she realized that her potluck invitations needed to list her sitdown time. I gently advised her that she might want to reign in her expectations on what some of our less culinarily experienced friends could realistically bring. Others became good at RSVP'ing with a "first strike" on what they would be bring to avoid having some uncomfortably complicated request from her.

                                        She's still a good friend, and it's become a fun even for all of us after a rocky beginning.I don't lend her anymore of my dinnerware or linens, though.

                                        1. When we lived in the Chicago North Shore suburbs many years ago when our children were little, we were invited every year to a HUGE 4th of July BBQ at the home of a family friend with a large mansion right on Lake Michigan. The hosts catered cheap hot dogs, hamburgers and watermelon and served store brand soft drinks to about 50 people. The highlight of the evening was a cash bingo game everyone played.

                                          The reason for my post is that NO ONE was allowed into the house for any reason whatsoever. This event easily lasted 3-4 hours between dinner, bingo and the fireworks. The truly disgusting thing was to see such fancy men with big jobs in the city relieivng themselves on the side of their house because no one was allowed to use the indoor bathrooms! At least the men had conducive plumbing and were able to solve their need. As the mother of 2 daughters, we stopped going the year after our youngest had to relieve herself on the sand of the beach and undress and enter the Lake to clean herself. NO MORE!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                            That is astounding. I have no words.

                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                              Wow. I have been to a couple of functions like that, but the hosts at least had the consideration to provide portable toilets. I can't imagine why the hosts would want people relieving themselves in their garden. Surely they knew that was bound to happen? That is just nasty.

                                            2. Question,

                                              Were these situations as common 30+ years ago or are we seeing the results of the me generation or is that generation X Y and Z?

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                Tough question, my family, extended family and family friends of my parents and grandparents are the go-all-out type of hosts. My cousins and siblings are the same way and maybe we're this way b/c we learned from these experiences what to do as a "good" host. Or maybe some of us just watch so much foodnetwork and learn it from there. (that would also be my default channel of choice).

                                                1. re: QueenPeach

                                                  Queen Peach,that's just the way your were raised. We saw more of my dad's side of the family than momma's cause all her relatives live up in Buffalo,Ny. Whenever we would visit my dad's aunts in Hot Springs,Ark.,the old ladies always offered you coffee and something to eat.I recall us kids offering to help,but they would tell us to play outside.As a teenager however on these visits we would set the table for them, or wash dishes after the meal for our great aunts. It didn't matter who came to see them,family or friend,they always provided some drink and cake or something,unless it was near lunch time,then they fed you lunch.
                                                  My parents even when we kids had birthday parties always provided food and drink for all the guests.And the few times that they had adults over for dinner,it was the same way.A guest never had to bring anything over but themselves.
                                                  But my parents came from a different generation,that of the 1920s and Great Depression era, when people tried to help each other out.When being a good host meant making people feel comfortable in your home.When men opened doors for women,and pulled out their chairs in restaurants and ladies consulted Emily Post for matters of social ettiquette.
                                                  When it was considered gauche to eat peas with a knife and slurp soup
                                                  and good manners were very important,even i f one didn't have money.

                                                2. re: scubadoo97

                                                  Based on personal experience and the reports here, there doesn't seem to be much of an age factor involved. Many of the rude hosts (and guests from other threads) are not young x,y z generation, but rather mature (supposedly) MIL, FIL, 50 somethings at least.

                                                  I don't think youth has a lock on bad manners.

                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                    Interesting question, and in my experience, things were "better" thirty (and more) years ago than they are today.

                                                    Today the standards for child-rearing are so different, and my guess is that that is the primary reason for the change. The majority of the youngest adult generations among us has been raised by two working parents and day care. Or nannies, which in some cases can be even worse. But my point here is that "social graces" don't rank high on day care curricula. Not letting the bully in the group reign supreme over all others does! And now that we're moving into second generation -- and sometimes third -- of latchkey and day care kids, I doubt things will get better. So in today's world, it not only has to occur to young adults that there is a "social standard" that is worth abiding by, but in addition they also have to have the time and incentive to search it out and put it to practice.

                                                    If you look back to the world of thirty years -- and more -- people were eager to conform to social codes. It was the most effective way to overcome "class barriers." If you obseved etiquette, were a gracious host, and paid attention to dress codes, you could go far. When one "goes far" socially, then going far economically usually follows to a greater or lesser degree. In any case, the person won't be going backwards!

                                                    In today's world, there is a vocal group of young peple that refuses to believe there is any value in a value system, who insist it's okay to wear cut offs and a tank top to a white table cloth restaurant, and who just generally appear to take great pride in their ability to have a negative impact.

                                                    And then there is the youth factor. No matter how well anyone is brought up, it still takes time to learn the ropes of gracious hosting. And some, unfortunatley, are very very very slow learners. Sometimes I look back at some of my faux pas as a young bride and cringe. I think that's not too rare in all of us.

                                                    It sounds like your former "hostess" is getting her "just desserts," what with no one accepting her invitations. Maybe she'll learn from it, maybe she won't. It's up to her. But declining the invitation sounds very satisfying. '-)

                                                  2. We've have a similar problem. SIL (who has serve Danish at a cocktail party.) annually throws 'The Worst Party of the Year.' To her credit she somehow makes each party worst than the last. It must be point out here that she is throw these parties not 'with good intentions.', or 'from the heart' but from the point of view of expectation. She feels that she is expected to throw these disasters. Which she isn't because no one wants to go to them.

                                                    She dose as little work as possible, the parties are cater and she even she her event catered same food every year hearty rich Italian food. It should be pointed out the party occurs at the height of summer. They have a very good grill and expensive grill but refuses to let her husband use it because as she is so fond of telling people he is a bad griller (he isn't) and make too much of a mess(he doesn't). She also has her seventy something mother get up at 4am to make other food. (She has also recently begun trying to manipulate a sister who is recovering, and on crutches, from a serious car crash into cleaning and setting up the house for her.)The hostess does not cook but does take the credit.The food won't be served hot she waits up to five hours before serving it. People are discouraged from going into the house or make use of the kitchen. There was a melt down last year when someone got salt 2doz grains or so on the counter.

                                                    Throughout the even she make it known how stressful planing things has been and how much of a mess the house will be in when afterward(she has a house keeper). In other words the guest feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.

                                                    The odd time she does go to someone else's party she is very unsocial and spends the evening being loudly overly critical of the event. And has even gone so far, after some wine, to make fun of a child with special needs. Her husband was quick to get her out of there at that point.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                      whew! too bad she's a family member, I'd boycott otherwise!

                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                        So many of these posts sound like my ex SIL. Has the biggest house and the biggest paycheck, yet when she throws a party the apps are potato chips, olives & pickles and salsa. One Christmas she had eight of us over for dinner, we ate cold ham on plastic plates and plastic utensils.

                                                        Just last week I got an email from her inviting me and my 3yr old son over for my nieces birthday dinner, she was turning 7. I replied with “what can I bring”. She said she wasn’t sure what she was making for dinner yet but cookies or brownies are always enjoyed at her house or something for an appetizer. Since I know her and her budget, I wasn’t about to spend a lot of money or time making some fancy appetizer. So I opted for a simple plate of veggies and dip. The day of the dinner I called her to finalize what time she wanted me over and then she tells me that she’s been working the past few days (I work everyday) and doesn’t feel like making dinner so we’re just going to McDonalds. So I ask if she still wants me to bring my appetizer. She said no, don’t bother, we’ll leave as soon as you get here. And now here is the best part, once we get to McDonalds as we are about to go stand in line, she leans over and tells me, we normally order from the dollar menu, its so much cheaper that way. Are you freaking kidding me? First you invite me to a sit down dinner, now we’re at McDonalds and you’re limiting me to the dollar menu???? Needless to say I HATE going to her house and if it wasn’t for my niece and nephews I would never go again!

                                                        1. re: jesoda

                                                          Ok sounds like a bad host for sure, but since she's an ex-SIL, it is nice, on both your parts, that you maintain a relationship for the sake of the kids.

                                                          1. re: jesoda

                                                            woah, next time I would order from the <gasp!> regular menu and see what she does! haha.. crazy story

                                                            1. re: jesoda

                                                              She's got big brass ones, doesn't she? Yikes.

                                                              1. re: jesoda

                                                                Oh, wow, that is good. An invitation to dinner that ends in the McDonalds dollar menu.

                                                                1. re: jesoda

                                                                  WOW, I don't even know her and she pisses me off. If I were in that situation I would've said "F that, everyone get anything you want I'm buying".

                                                                  1. re: jesoda

                                                                    McDonalds? I'm sorry but I laughed out loud.. I am absolutely sure it was less than amusing at the time though!

                                                                2. re: Withnail42

                                                                  She sounds really unhappy.

                                                                  1. re: three of us

                                                                    Thanks for saying this. It's too bad how many unhappy people there are out there. At least we have food and can smile when we eat!

                                                                  2. re: Withnail42

                                                                    As with so many questions involving situations like this, relatives or no, the answer is so simple: DON'T GO!

                                                                    She's not happy, you're not happy, so "just say no."

                                                                  3. What an interesting thread. My worst experience so far is as follows: The beer was from Trader Joe's (which is OK), and had its first experience with the insides of an refrigerator barely a couple of hours before the "party" started (NOT OK). The *ONLY* cold beer, was the six pack we took (SO and I). The *ONLY* appetizers were two (or three) different types of cheeses (3-4 bit sized pieces per person). The entrees (two or three) were almost done by the time we got there (we took servings which are half of what we normally take, and my SO is a SMALL eater). Finally, we left hungry, thirsty and exasperated.

                                                                    Our host, was previously invited to numerous parties at our place. What I found funny was his sheer inability to understand, observe and learn from others. After spending a whole night caressing our pot, due to the after effects of a rather strong German brew on an empty stomach, he should have known if you are serving beer it better be COLD or CHILLED (Sorry, no lame arse excuses allowed). Don't you always insist on a cold beer when you go out? Secondly, if you are inviting 10 people and 8 have RSVPed, what's the harm in having food for 10 if not 12? My pet peeve is when people run out food. I mean how difficult is it to estimate how much your friends will eat, when you have been a guest at their parties and observed the food they make/order (unless you lack basic observational abilities)? Finally it is about comfort, graciousness, and honesty, the willingness to say - "guys, I f*cked up, let me order a pizza" which IMO, does more to hunger than the pizza itself.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: losfelizhound

                                                                      I'm sorry you were ill. But to me what you describe is excusable, especially from someone who doesn't entertain often. Some people *do* lack basic observational abilities when it comes to this stuff... just like some people see dust, or fashion crimes, where others don't. Yeah, this person is not great at throwing parties. At least he tried to reciprocate, and let you into his house and bathroom :)

                                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                                        I have the 'not enough food' and cheer peeve also (which is why we always have way too much, but that's another thread). But it reminds me of something that happened back in 2003 after Hurricane Isabell hit and we had to stay out of our house for over week. Our golf club has a lodge and we decided to stay there and one feature is it has a huge room perfect for entertaining. A good friend suggested he invite a couple of people and bring a bunch of Chinese food over and make a party of it. We'd supply the booze.

                                                                        He ends up bringing 4 other couples with him (which was fine as they were all friends of ours), so there was a total of 10 of us, 3 of which are men with notoriously big appetites. Our friend brought 6 spring rolls, 4 entrees and one order of fried rice. Dh and I still laugh about having Mike bring the food to this day.

                                                                      2. re: losfelizhound

                                                                        German beer is SUPPOSED to be served room temp, not ice cold. That is how it is consumed in Germany. So, no, I do not always insist on cold beer when I go out.

                                                                        1. re: binkychow

                                                                          One would drink german beer from the tap at room temp, not pastuerized bottled beer that was purchased warm.

                                                                        2. re: losfelizhound

                                                                          Maybe it's just me, but I don't equate the statement "guys, I f*cked up" with graciousness. :)

                                                                          Not enough food is a peeve of mine as well, but some people just aren't as food-centric, much to my dismay. We've got one cousin whose parties are always really light on food; a catered milestone birthday party with out of town guests was more along the lines of just appetizers, a SuperBowl party with host-provided bar, held in a lavishly decorated game room with bigscreen tv iis light potluck, with even out of towners asked to bring something. It's just the way these people are. I suspect in this case it's from "observing and learning from others"--in this particular case, parents who were similarly unbountiful when it came to entertaining. Luckily for our friends, the spouse and I entertain in the style of my parents, not the spouse's.

                                                                          1. re: losfelizhound

                                                                            I feel you.. anything less than ice cold beer is a dealbreaker with me ;)

                                                                            1. re: losfelizhound

                                                                              Regarding the cold beer thing, most craft beers are not supposed to be served ice cold. Maybe he's a beer guy and was serving good beer that wasn't meant to be ice cold. Now if it was Miller Lite that's another story. I agree, at least he tried to reciprocate.

                                                                            2. I would say that the worst hosts- regardless of whether they provide everything or nothing- are those that have large gatherings and then throw out comments about how it is such a burden on them. Nothing makes me feel worse than being at a holiday party and hearing hearing my B&SIL complaining about the burden of having their families at the house all day. Please note that everyone travels to their house which means that they don't have to go anywhere that day.

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: lhb78

                                                                                This is a good point and unfortunately at Thanksgiving I am guilty of it. Everyone knows how much I dread Thanksgiving because I tell them endlessly <g>. It's going to be the same amount of work whether I complain or not, so I need to do a better job of keeping my attitude in check. I'll just whine here instead. But damn, I do hate Thanksgiving from start to finish.

                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                  OK, I'm curious: is it the cooking you hate, or just the fact that you don't like Thanksgiving food. If its the work, maybe its time to let someone else take over the job.

                                                                                  I know: tell your family that you are going on vacation for Thanksgiving; grab a cheap fare, and come on out to my place. Two trips to Vegas in one fall are a good thing! Besides, I already have (at last count) around 20 coming for the meal; what's two more? :-)

                                                                                  (In case you haven't figured it out already, I LIKE to cook Thanksgiving dinner. I must be sicko....)

                                                                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                    It's both. And it's cooking with Dh, which is a nightmare. And it's his favorite day of the year. Two years ago he had the stomach flu and could not cook and it was so.much.easier. There really were no words and even our daughter commented on how I wasn't a frazzled mess. And it's dealing with leftovers and clean up and the never ending leftovers and then throwing out the leftovers <g>. It's the holiday that won't go away and that leaves me physically and mentally exhausted. And Dh will not hear of going out or going someplace else. But thanks for the invite :-)

                                                                                    I love Christmas dinner as we have beef tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, salad and stew. Good food and easy preparation to do ahead of time and clean up is a breeze.

                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                      You know, DH and I used to always seem to have spats when we cooked one of our Indian dinners for company (if its just the two of us eating one of us cooks and the other rests...and at Thanksgiving he NEVER cooks. He claims he doesn't do "American Food" :-) But recently we made our first Indian dinner for guests in our new home. Its a MUCH larger kitchen..and guess what? No spats; not even a few words....I think we used to get into it before because we were in each other's way....things were much easier this time!

                                                                                      I think the solution in your case is to tell DH that you want to do something different because you are left exhausted after the holiday. If he insists on being at home and cooking, then fine. Let him cook. Put your feet up and watch football..:-)

                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                        I did a late Thanksgiving dinner last night for family and friends. The food and conversation were terrific, but I'm utterly exhausted, and that's with DH and kids doing 90% of the cleanup. Thinking of giving up on fancy sit-downs, and just making a huge pot of chili/stew/soup and inviting folks over. (Bring your own bowl and spoon!)

                                                                                  2. re: lhb78

                                                                                    I don't know about you lhb78, but I think it's a lot easier to drive to someones house than it is to throw a party yourself! Not that's it's nice of them to complain about it, but planning and throwing a party doesn't simply mean you wake up late that day and take it easy as you have no where to drive to.

                                                                                  3. "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity."

                                                                                    You should not worry whether this "hostess" is worried about being offended or offending anyone. Simply continue politely declining her invitations. This is the safest "good neighbor" policy.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: The Ranger

                                                                                      I still remember going to a T-giving dinner many moons ago where the hostess complained (boy I was sorry I was there) AND had calculated for just a certain size serving per person. I still remember lusting after the peas and pearl onions but only having a dollop. I'm not a big fan of turkey but it was the first and last T-giving meal where I went home hungry and had to find something to eat.

                                                                                    2. I think we know the same person!

                                                                                      I had a friend who invited people to her house for bbq. She supplied the deck and yard and a bowl of spaghetti salad. The salad consisted of 1 package of spaghetti, 1 chopped zucchini and a bottle of Kraft Italian dressing. The party was bring your own booze and meat. I was horrified, and I have to admit it really changed our friendship.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: kkak97

                                                                                        So I just remembered another story from the same SIL.

                                                                                        Two years ago Christmas, we were invited over for Christmas Day dinner. This was the first time she had such a large group for a sit down dinner. We arrived at 1:00pm at which time her usual, potato chips, olives & pickles, chips & salsa and cheetos were all lined up on the counter. At around 2:30pm or so someone made a comment about when’s dinner? She replies, O…..I figured every one was full on appetizers so I wasn’t planning TO START dinner until around 3pm. So sure enough at 3pm she turns on her oven and starts to cook dinner. I couldn’t believe it. I mean nothing was even prepared at all. I watched her wrap her sweet potatoes in foil, I watched her open her package of seasoning for the tenderloin and I was just flabbergasted.

                                                                                        O…and another classic move from her was my first Thanksgiving dinner….I had told everyone to arrive at 12:30pm, dinner would be served by 1-1:15pm. She doesn’t show up until 1:30pm and she brings an ice cold green bean casserole. Both my ovens were full keeping things warm and I was worrying about things being dried out since I was serving later than I had thought. I literally put it in the microwave for 5 minutes and put it on the table, with the middle still ice cold. I could have rung her neck!

                                                                                        Thankfully after 12 years of this I think have finally caught on to her, I make sure I eat before I go and don’t spend a lot of time or money if I bring something. But somehow she still surprises me every time we go over with another “bad host” move.

                                                                                        1. re: jesoda

                                                                                          You shouldn't have waited for her.

                                                                                      2. This is terrible to say but I just got divorced three weeks ago and I think the best part is not having to deal with her on a regular basis and I am no longer required to go to her house for holidays. I will be “friendly” because we both have kids and I want to keep the cousins close but no more meals! (I hope)

                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: jesoda

                                                                                          Hey JE, it could be a lot worse. At least your former SIL attempted to cook. In the almost 20 years my ex SIL was married to my brother, she expected every holiday to be at MY house, where I set up, cooked and baked, served all the food and cleaned up. She showed up like some kind of princess/queen and sat on her a** waiting to be served. The one time I asked her PLEASE to have a holiday, as I had just recently had surgery, she pitched such a last minute fit, she claimed to have swallowed a bottle of aspirin and ended up in the psych hospital for a week. You can't make up the kind of stories I could tell over 20 years with her. Again, our kids are EXACTLY the same ages and the cousins have always gone to school together. She's been divorced from my brother for 4 years now, but still whines about my yummy holiday parties every time she sees me. No thanks, she can stay home!

                                                                                          1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                            Diane, maybe they are related. That was her for years until they bought this fancy house and now have a kitchen I would die for. Since they have a Wolfe stove and sub zero appliances I think she figured she had to make more than tater tots and hotdogs.

                                                                                            In their old house before I had my son, DH and I would go over and I would bring dinner. Grilled pizza’s were one of our favorites and more than a few times I would bring the dough, all toppings and literally olive oil with me. The first time I did this I ran short on time so I planned on preparing the dough when I got there. I asked for flour and her husband actually said “what does flour look like”. (not kidding) So anyway, about the third time of me doing this and her just sitting on her butt watching me, not asking if she could help or anything I finally caught on and stopped doing it. I mean, I’m at her house, making her dinner, buying and preparing all ingredients and she couldn’t even offer to set the table or get me a drink?

                                                                                            There is just so much more I could talk about with her. I actually cancelled Thanksgiving once because I was sick and she wouldn’t have the holiday. I mean did she really expect my 82 year old MIL to have it? And the year my son was born, I was due Dec 7, she didn’t offer to have the holiday so I “bought” Thanksgiving dinner in a box from Stop and Shop. Turns out I went into labor Thanksgiving morning and still had the holiday. You think the following year when I got sick she could have stepped up. Nope.

                                                                                            SO as you can tell, I get frustrated just talking about her. LOL It usually takes me three days to get over an event with her.

                                                                                            1. re: jesoda

                                                                                              I know what you mean about the three days. It's Thursday (4 days later) and I'm not over this one. I had put a post on this thread about my SIL who lets her small children into the host's house unsupervised when everyone is outside. It recently resulted in a trip to the ER but I realize it's not about food and that's why my post was removed. However, her latest move puts her in the Bad Host Hall of Fame. This past Sunday she invited the family over for my nephew's birthday. She clearly did not want to do this and I'm not sure why she bothered. It was well into the 90's and way to hot to be anywhere but the pool. We never expect her house to be clean and it did not disappoint. Filthy house, hot, tired, cranky children. No place to sit. No appetizers put out. So she comes outside with a platter holding an oversized zip-loc bag with ribs and a marinade in it and starts up the filthy grill. Throws the ribs on the grill and lets them go. A while later the ribs look done. She puts them on the dirty platter she brought them out on a (WAIT FOR IT) pours the contents of the zip-loc into the cooked ribs! All hell breaks loose. Even my 15-year-old niece knows you don't do this. SIL's reaction? "Too bad. That's dinner." and walks off.

                                                                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                sounds like 2 pieces of b'day cake for dinner.

                                                                                            2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                              Wait a minute Diane, are we related? You must be talking about one of the 2 jack-sses that 2 of my brothers are married to. We only wish there would be a divorce...sigh...wishful thinking.
                                                                                              Wait a minute...I think I am also related to southernitalian and jesoda as well. Does one of your SIL have a sing-song voice, a low IQ (or none), and no cooking ability AT ALL?? The other SIL, Lady Di, as we call her also has the $300,000 kitchen with the Wolfe range. Christmas day neither she nor my brother even knew how to turn the oven on. They were out there for 20 minutes messing with the controls until I went out and figured it out in 2 minutes. Not much cooking goes on in that house; mainly take out! I must say the Wolfe stove works much better than my $500 Caloric range!!

                                                                                              1. re: mschow

                                                                                                For all the lazy SILs out there, a toast to you and may you find a new husband with family that don't know how to cook! Yes, MSCHOW, her IQ is just above educable in my book and everyone else thinks she is SO SWEET (so stupid). She is the youngest of 5 children and never learned how to do ANYTHING. No cooking, no cleaning, no ironing, no nothing. But she LOVES to shop, not for food though. How my brother lasted 20 years with her is remarkable.

                                                                                                One of my SIL's Irish family favorites for Tgiving was chicken and dumplings, which she used to BEG me to make because neither of her parents are alive. So, I tried to please her, looked up chicken & dumplings in the Fannie Farmer, figured it was close to chicken fricasee, made homemade dumplings with parsley in them - they turned out light as feathers, fresh onions & carrots in the chicken, homemade chicken stock, even added a little white wine to jazz it up a notch. When I put a big serving bowl of this on my buffet table, SIL asked what it was. This was nothing like her mother used to make, Swanson's or Marie Callendar or some kind of crap.

                                                                                                She converted to Judaism and loved stuffed cabbage, stuffed peppers, challah, matzo ball soup, brisket, corned beef, noodle kugel, apple strudel, honey cake, etc. My mother & grandmother often offered to teach her how to make any of it, her remark - "Why should I learn? Diane does it so much better" My niece and nephew come to our family events and literally beg doggie bags of leftovers for her. I absolutely refuse, it's a question of principle with me. My brother offers to send her some laced with rat poison, but that's another story.

                                                                                                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                  Murphy seems to be at work here; there just seems to be one of these in every family (two in my case)...

                                                                                                  The pain-and-suffering you've endured will be worthy of martyrdom. <G>

                                                                                                  1. re: The Ranger

                                                                                                    I look forward to seeing you all at the next family reunion.

                                                                                                    Turns out the martyr no work, no food, no fun all the while making sure to let the guests/hostages know what a burden they are SIL actually believes that people look forward all year to her party...and I can assure you first hand that no one does...ever.

                                                                                                  2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                    Actually, all of these posts blasting SILs has me wondering why you're not also attacking the husband. Why is SHE responsible for all entertaining when ostensibly, she has a partner whom you all love more and are actually related to?

                                                                                                    That doesn't mean that these stories aren't horror stories, nor that it is unfortunate that they are poor cooks and poor hosts. but really, the constant heaping of all blame onto the SIL makes me think I've entered a time warp or a thread about entertaining in the 1950s. Oh those inlaws! *shakes fists like angry cartoon cat*

                                                                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                      I see your point I can say that in our case it is the SIL that controls things. She makes ALL of the decisions. Her husband (a very friendly guy and a good cook) would like nothing more that to bbq for everyone. She won't allow it. In order to appease her and for the sake of peace he lets her call the shots. In the past he has tried to step in she caused such a big stink that he just does what he is told.

                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                        Don't get me started on said BIL....I need weeks to get over him!

                                                                                                        1. re: jesoda

                                                                                                          Sounds like me in regard to my MIL. Thankfully Dh stopped inviting her to holiday dinners after my FIL went into a nursing home. We take her out for her birthday and Mother's Day, but it's always lunch out and the goal is to pick her up and drop her off in an hour or less.

                                                                                                          1. re: jesoda

                                                                                                            I should have added that once or twice we have gone over when SIL was away. It was a completely different scenario. With the BIL on his own and doing his thing it was actually fun. People could enter the house w/o an interrogation. People are made to feel welcome. There was a ton of good home cooked food. Plates could be placed on the kitchen counter drinks were cold. (SIL dose not like a crowded fridge. Nothing like warm beer or white wine on a hot summer day.)

                                                                                                        2. re: Lizard

                                                                                                          I'm an equal opportunity enforcer; I blast both (men and princesses) right between their eyes. Usually the men will immediately start to pitch in and help or drive off to the store to provide for those items we need. SWMBO often doesn't appreciate my directness (her family dances The Dance [uberpassive-aggressive]) so it can be very upsetting to her.

                                                                                                          In my clan, directness is more appreciated so when someone doesn't pull his or her weight, _the group_ is sure to immediately let'em know. If you get blasted more than once, you're on the short list. Our short list isn't permanent but no one wants to go on it, either, so we never have a shortage of helpers, and rarely does anyone continually act the boor.

                                                                                                          It was a culture shock the first time I actually met the two couples and wasn't allowed to do anything.

                                                                                                    2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                      Holy cow - she really didn't want to host a holiday dinner, did she?

                                                                                                      You're right - you just can't make this stuff up!

                                                                                                  3. I have friends who don't like a lot of people in the house. I learned the hard way that their parties are backyard affairs complete with crotch sniffing neighborhood dogs running around and a million mosquitos- I usually decline their invites.

                                                                                                    As far as being disappointed over a party- I once went to a wedding (as a beard for a gay friend who hadn't come out to his family) and we decided to make it a road trip (oh, to be young again). We drove from NYC to North Carolina for his 18 yr old cousin's shotgun wedding. There I am, all Dolce and Gabbana, at a poolside keg party- complete with a footlong sub and chips. The festivities even included bailing most of the bachelor party out of jail after they got into a bar fight...

                                                                                                    talk about bad hosts...I considered my contribution to the bail fund a wedding gift and haven't been back to NC since

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: chef4hire

                                                                                                      Lord Help me...The McDonalds Dollar Menu Queen invited me over for dinner again.....NO NO NO!!!!!

                                                                                                      1. re: jesoda

                                                                                                        yeah, and let us know if there's anything new on the Dollar Menu!!!

                                                                                                    2. In my BF's group of married friends, we get together a few times a year and there is an e-mail list that goes around beforehand with a list of items that gets split up amongst the guests.

                                                                                                      I don't think it's the best way to go about having a party, but honestly we probably wouldn't get together otherwise. Nobody can ever agree on a restaurant. Nobody wants to get saddled with the costs of hosting more than others - because, unfortunately, the BF and I are condo dwellers and could never host a party for this group at our place. Though I feel I've more than made up for my lack of hosting with engagement/wedding/baby/new home gifts that I'll never see a return on ;)

                                                                                                      I suppose it depends on the type of party and who is invited, ultimately. When I decide to throw a party/dinner, though, I expect nobody to bring anything - food or alcohol. My Portuguese boyfriend has definitely rubbed off on me in that respect.. I had to tell him at 30 what "BYOB" meant and he was horrified an acronym like that existed.

                                                                                                      1. I love to host parties and the hubby and I usually lay out quite a spread and have a house drink or 2, plus beer, on hand to get people started. But because I never feel comfortable going to a party without bringing things, I *try to* leave room in the buffet for things others might bring.

                                                                                                        However. Thanksgiving is another matter. I have hosted an orphans thanksgiving with some of the same people and some new people every year for the last 10 years. I make the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, the gravy, the cranberry sauce, the peas, and pie, but I ask that my guests bring whatever dish it is that they absolutely love from their Thanksgiving memories. It's totally optional. But I end up with people fighting over who gets to bring the green bean casserole and who gets to wine. Needless to say, we always have plenty of leftovers and I send home care packages. But I like this half-potluck format, even though I tend to be a full shebang hostess in general. It's Thanksgiving. And my guests seem to like it.

                                                                                                        1. If I was invited to a party and given the option between hot dogs or a burger I wouldn't go. I am not sure when these became the only food choices. Also for some reason when you invite people to a party they automatically think its a BBQ. THey get to your house and look all confused when you have more to serve them than ground beef and sausages. There are other ways .

                                                                                                          I am sure we could allago on about our SILs and our best friends lack of skills when it comes to these events - for me I want people to know if they accept an invitation, they will be taken care of - I think if funds are limited you should limit your expectations for yourself and your guests up front and invite accordingly.

                                                                                                          Also as for this beer chat - what happens in Germany is great - the beer is great - what happens in the states is even better because its gets awful hot here and that spells relief via a cold beer whether it be german or belgian or micro brewed. In europe they don't believe in ice. But its not as hot. And If Ice makes me a smug American then so be it.

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Ljubitca

                                                                                                            I don't see a problem with hot dogs or a burger. For many, if not most people, get togethers are more about the people and not the food. I have some friends I see only once every few years, if that, and I would not pass up an invitation simply because the food was burgers and hot dogs. I think there is a lot more going into that choice than just finances. If you have a smaller kitchen, it's easier to prepare larger quantities of food on a grill. In addition, you can grill items to order and probably offer a bigger variety- veggie burgers, hot dogs, chicken, hamburgers, etc. Most people will probably find something to like at a cookout.

                                                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                                                              Well said. Not everybody is into food like the people on these boards are (and one can argue that some people may take the food thing a bit too far). I agree that get togethers are more about the people. That's why I keep the food easier to deal with when I have people over so that I spend time with the people as opposed to being in the kitchen for the entire party.

                                                                                                            2. re: Ljubitca

                                                                                                              Interesting that you would not go to a BBQ with "friends" because they dared to serve you, OMG, burgers and dogs.

                                                                                                              Jfood had a group of friends over and served steaks and salmon and their comments were that they all wanted to come over and have a great time without the jfoods going through so much expense and time and please next time burgers and dogs would be great.

                                                                                                              Labor Day at Casa Jfood is burgers, dogs, and just a little salmon and some rolled flank steak with Chimmy stuffing. He just can't help himself.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ljubitca

                                                                                                                My wife and I recently threw a party for her family, with 24 people. We had burger s and dogs and some sides and spent about $40. Everyone was happy, enjoyed the food, and enjoyed seeing family that live scattered about the country. It's not always about the food and money.

                                                                                                                Had the only acceptable option been filet and lobster, wine, etc., the party would not have happened and the family would have had one less party together during their week stay.

                                                                                                              2. I'm not necessarily a good host. I try to figure out just the right amount of food for people because I really don't want to pay for food that they are going to take home or for me to eat for days, but I estimate; I don't ask! I totally beleive in potlucks, but they are announced ahead of time when I make the invitation, not after everyone has replied! If people ask to bring stuff, I will assign them something; it's my personal mission to ensure that my friends know that you have to be sincere when you offer to do something, not just to look good (it's a cultural thing), so they may get assigned chips or drinks or quick, easy, and inexpensive like that (ie. 2 bottles of soda, not all the drinks for the party).

                                                                                                                How do you keep people out of your house though? What happens when someone uses the bathroom? Does someone lead them back outside? Or do these people have porta-potties?! Every so often I'll end up in someone's house where the weather is extremely hot, but they won't/don't turn on the A/C. Umm, it's over 90 degrees outside, sometimes 100 degrees.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: boltnut55

                                                                                                                  Yeah, i went to a 4th of july party once, it was well over 100, starting to get humid out (rainy season approaching), and she turned her AC OFF. I remember walking through the kitchen and seeing a quarter-pound of butter or margarine in a liquid puddle in its bowl. And that was a couple hours after dark.

                                                                                                                2. My husband has an old friend from college who has an Octoberfest party every year. Each of the guests is required to bring different Octoberfest beer (not cheap!) plus they are assigned a dish (appetizer, dessert, etc.). The hosts wind up with tons of extra beer and food, they barely have to do anything. In spite of that, the hostess is always saying how she "outdid" her self each year.

                                                                                                                  A few years back, friends of ours apparantly broke the rules for this party. The arrived with (expensive and rare) Belgian style beer plus a tray of brownies. Well the hosts were all up in arms because they were supposed to bring an Octoberfest style beer and they were assigned an appetizer, not a dessert. So, the hosts had the nerve to charge them before they left. I think it was $25, and they actually paid (said they were shocked and did not know what to do)! Considering the party is basically potluck, I'd be surprised if the hosts even paid that much for what they contributed.

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: AmblerGirl

                                                                                                                    Was this party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Heinrich Himmler ? That is so ridiculous. I hope they at least puked on their lawn !

                                                                                                                    1. re: AmblerGirl

                                                                                                                      And people go the their "party" a second time? Not me!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                        "Shame on you the first time. Shame on me the second." I'm with you on this one. There just wouldn't be a second time...

                                                                                                                      2. re: AmblerGirl

                                                                                                                        How on earth could they justify charging the guests?? It's not as if they came up empty handed. That is disgusting.. I'd probably pick up what was left of my beer and leave.

                                                                                                                        1. re: NovoCuisine

                                                                                                                          At least my SIL didn't charge me for the dollar menu. That is a bit much.

                                                                                                                          1. re: NovoCuisine

                                                                                                                            I love the fact that they bucked the trend. Good on them! And if any host ever tried to CHARGE me for bringing the wrong thing to a party, well, I would pick up my "wrong" beer and my "wrong" food and flip them the bird on my way out the door.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                              I would probably lose my manners and throw that wrong stuff at them.

                                                                                                                          2. re: AmblerGirl

                                                                                                                            And people continue to go to this party.....WHY??? As Cheflambo said, if someone actually attempted to charge me for what I didn't bring to the party, I'd be so out of there.

                                                                                                                            1. re: AmblerGirl

                                                                                                                              AmblerGirl, this is not a party, it's extortion pure and simple. Only charities charge money to attend a party.

                                                                                                                            2. I don't have a problem so much with the bring a side dish part as I do you weren't allowed in the house. If you only want X number of people in the house, only invite X number of guests. Certainly not a blanket rule, but I've found many people that get upset with having to bring a side dish or alcohol are people that don't ever seem to host parties themselves. Whether you're a poor college student or not, hosting a party for 20 with food and alcohol can get to be pretty expensive. I for one would prefer to have a group of friends/family that have lots of parties where everyone brings something than a group of friends where one or two couples throw a big bash once a year with expensive food and drink.

                                                                                                                              1. This lady sounds extremely tacky. Is she throwing a party or arranging for her friends to throw it for her? Hopefully she'll get the message when only one person accepted the "invitation," that she's being stingy. You would do her a favor by gently letting her know that this is really a faux pas.

                                                                                                                                1. Sounds like either she's truly clueless or she has has more than a few control issues. I've been to parties where the guests were pretty much banished to the outdoors so they didn't mess up the house, and I find it insulting. Really insulting.

                                                                                                                                  With you on the generous portions and variety, too. Guests at a party don't want to be made to feel like a burden or inconvenience to their hosts.

                                                                                                                                  1. After reading through the thread, it seems to me that the issue may be the nature of the party vs. the group of people invited. Personally, with a group of old friends during hard times, I might just throw a potluck and ask folks to contribute, but it would be clear from the outset that that was the nature of this particular game, and I wouldn't be inclined to invite anyone not from that circle to such a casual event. When we do "throw a party", it's all-inclusive, including a wider circle of friends and acquaintances. It may just be in the clarity of the invitation, too. I don't think these folks were trying to be rude; just a bit misinformed. Planning a party, potluck or no, includes planning for the unplanned-for, e.g. rain, sleet or snow, and accomodation should certainly be made.