HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Rude to Bring my Own Dinner to Party?

My MIL is having a dinner party on Saturday and I asked what I could bring. She said nothing and said bring the wine that you like, if you want to, which was fine.

I have another issue though. I have nut allergies and I'm a picky eater so even though she said not to bring anything for HER group, I'll probably make my own chopped salad and take it. I know some people who think that's a rude thing to do, and most people I know think it's fine. I personally think it's fine and I never mind when someone does it at my house. I'm curious what you CHers think!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would just call her up and ask. "Since I have a severe nut allergy, do you mind if I bring a chopped salad?" For me, it would be less awkward to just make a dish that everyone can eat, but that you can enjoy as well w/o fielding the questions that eating a separate dinner entails.

    23 Replies
    1. re: Mattkn

      I tried that and my MIL said no, just bring the wine. She has ordered a salad with grilled chicken from a local restaurant near her house. I don't know if I'll like that salad - I might - but i figured I have back up. I'm supposed to be on a special program for a diet and though I have been very lazy with it recently I could just say I'm on the program...and leave it at that.

      1. re: Bite Me

        Well, if you need an "excuse," you can perhaps say that you are concerned about cross-contamination from the salad as it's from a restaurant (the chicken could have been prepared with peanut oil, the lettuce could have been placed on the cutting board where there were nuts previously, etc.). And I find that some people, even though they are well-intentioned, do not really understand the extent of severe allergies and cross-contamination. I, for one, have an issue with one thing and have had a reaction, even though the cutting board was washed before my dish was prepared as I think the allergen seeped into the wooden cutting board and didn't fully come out with washing.

        If they totally understand about cross-contamination and assure you that they've taken the proper precautions, then I would just deal with that salad for one meal. It won't be the end of the world.

        And I probably wouldn't bring the salad without making sure it's OK with your MIL.

        1. re: Bite Me

          "I don't know if I'll like that salad".
          You don't, but she's hosting the party. As her guest, you should not bring something "just in case" you don't like what she's serving. That is most definitely rude.

          As jeanmarieok suggested, eat something before you head over to her house, in the event you decide you don't like/cannot eat the salad with grilled chicken she is providing. But bringing your own meal is rude.

          1. re: Bite Me

            Rude. Allergy, special dietary program that you aren't following and picky eater? Any other excuses to cause drama at this family gathering? Your question was answered twice by your MIL and it seems she has taken precautions and gone out of her way to accomodate your allergy, pickyness and special program. To bring anything other than wine would be insulting to your hostess.

            1. re: Bite Me

              Great plot for murder mystery:
              DIL can’t stand MIL; it’s mutual; MIL plans dinner party; DIL wants to bring own food because of allergies and diet, also to piss off MIL and/or embarrass her in front of guests. MIL tells DIL she’s ordered a specially prepared dish from local eatery to accommodate DIL. DIL, frustrated, writes to Chowhound to get the collective sense. Chastened by the “Don’t bring your own-it’s rude faction”, DIL gives in and eats MIL’s purchased dish, but MIL was already pissed off and didn’t tell local eatery “NO NUTS"!

              1. re: mnosyne

                That's the problem in a nutshell (pun intended). Thank you - you totally get it and you gave me a great laugh.

                1. re: Bite Me

                  Bite Me, if you think your MIL is out to kill you, your problems are so much greater than this chopped salad. May I ask: Is this the first dinner party she has ever hosted that you've attended and were severe, deadly allergic reactions part of those? Or is it still, as you noted in your first response, a sense that you just won't like the salad she purchased?

                  1. re: Lizard

                    Dear Lizard: No, I do not literally think that my MIL is out to kill me! Come on. But she admittedly forgets about my allergies from time to time, and apologizes after the fact, so I am careful. I did not say, as another poster said, that she is ordering the salad for me, with my allergies in mind. She is just ordering salad. Also, her girlfriends are making some dishes. So, who knows what will be. The salad could have peanut oil dressing on it. I don't kow what to expect. I take three different allergy meds daily which help reduce my sensitivies greatly, and I do carry benadryl and an epi-pen; I have chronic hives that can get very bad and my tongue can swell, but right now the situation is being managed with the meds under two doctor's supervision. (I add the medical info only to answer the doubting Thomas of another post, but I forget who it was.) I am most appreciative of everyone's responses, not matter how hostile, and regardless of a failure to fully understand my two original posts, which is probably a result of my inaccurate writing. I did not expect the level of hostility. I was surprised to receive the pyschoanalysis that was shared by others. I was always taught to critique the problem, but not attack the person who poses it. My post pushed a lot of buttons, I see.

                    1. re: Bite Me

                      With all that said maybe it would be in your best interest to bring a salad (or other dish) for everyone to share. Your MIL has forgotten your allergies in the past, others are bringing dishes to the gathering, and it appears that your allergy is not a slight one.

                      Maybe the best option is for you to bring a dish, get there early so that you can discuss your concerns with your MIL. If what she has planned works for you then your dish may not be needed. If what she has planned doesn't work than you have something. Any discussion/discomfort is not witnessed by friends or family.

                      1. re: Bite Me

                        BM, I'm sorry if our collective responses seem hostile; given your OP (with its lack of detail), I think most of us stand by what we said. However, we mean no ill will toward you or wish you any harm. I don't believe we were attacking you, the person, but more so questioning your behaviour since you solicited our thoughts.

                        However, now that I know how your MIL conveniently "forgets", if I were in your shoes, I'd either (1) politely decline or (2) eat before going and eat carefully while there (of course, inquiring about the ingredients first). Regardless of how low your MIL might stoop, I hope you stick to the higher road and play the gracious guest.

                        Good luck & report back!

                        EDIT: Even though she may have asked her friends to bring dishes, I would still stick to the wine she requested. (At this point, I won't second guess if she's being snarky or has a good reason for this.) If anyone asks why you didn't bring anything, simply be honest.

                        1. re: Bite Me

                          Given the severity of your allergies, its certainly makes sense that you would be concerned. However, your OP and another post seem to focus more on your pickyness and the fact that you may or may not like the salad. Judging by your posting history, you've been around long enough to know that many CH'ers aren't especially tolerant of picky eaters which may have led to the hostile responses. If you're truly concerned about your allergies, then by all means bring something along. If you're using the allergies as a crutch for your pickyness, then I say its rude to bring your own food.

                          1. re: Bite Me

                            And you might want to ask your self "how will my MIL feel if I can't eat anything because she once again forgot my allergy?". And think back to other meals when she has forgotten about your allergy. What was her then reaction and how was the situation dealt with?

                            It's not clear if she is just absent-minded (even after 5 yrs my mother will occasionally forget that my SIL is a vegetarian and will cook her eggs in bacon fat) or if she is being passive-aggressive with her forgetting.

                            It is hard dealing with family and sometimes what might be rude in other settings, might be acceptable when it comes to family when invitations are harder to decline and not going isn't an option.

                            1. re: viperlush

                              "...when it comes to family when invitations are harder to decline and not going isn't an option."

                              Fortunately, I have no problems declining invitations from family. Sometimes it's better not going and skipping the family drama altogether.

                              1. re: viperlush

                                VL, your Mom/SIL story reminded me that it took 20 years before my own mother stopped offering me anything with fruit in it. When I'd remind her that I didn't eat it, she would be honestly embarassed/horrified that she forgot. Nothing passive-agressive, just didn't register with her.

                                1. re: gourmanda

                                  And that is why it might be okay for the OP to bring their own dish. Might save the MIL embarrassment in front of her other guest of her not being a "good MIL".

                              2. re: Bite Me

                                You know, now that you've gone into more detail about your allergies and previous episodes with your MIL, I'm thinking maybe you're right to bring something for yourself in a small cooler/bag. Maybe leave it in the car? Then, once you've scoped out the dishes on offer (and asked a few questions of those who prepared them?), you can decide whether or not to bring out your fall-back.

                                I don't *think* people meant to be hostile - they were reacting more to the "picky eater" thing than to the allergy issue. We 'hounds have little tolerance for that, it seems.

                                1. re: Bite Me

                                  Apologies, Bite Me. It seems the button pushing was all mine-- I was amused, not angry. And yes, a bit curious about these dynamics...

                                  1. re: Bite Me

                                    my ex MIL was a witch from hell and whenever she invited us over, especially when the kids were little, she would make wierd foods full of ingredients I specifically would not eat such as pork, ham and shellfish, and foods that young kids would not touch or not be able to eat due to them being so young. She also served the food so late at night my kids were almost asleep.
                                    I learned to eat before we went and fed the children at home first.

                                    1. re: smartie

                                      Smartie is indeed smart!

                                      BM needs to stop playing victim. Many of us have MILs from down where it's hot; either BM's husband needs to step up and put his foot down or BM needs to learn how to let it roll off her back.

                                2. re: Bite Me

                                  Is the mutual dislike possibly related to the cycle of her trying to accomodate the killer combo of "picky eater, special diet, allergy" and you not being sure there will always be exactly what you want to eat on any given day?
                                  My sister changes her dietary requirements regularly. I can't keep track of whether she is not eating meat or sugar or dairy at the moment. Because of our other relationship issues, she may take it as a personal affront if I don't accomodate her, or she may get embarassed when I obviously *have* tried but failed due to ignorance of the latest diet developments. While having her bring her own food might be a solution for us at this point in our lives, I would never, ever try that with my MIL, who would be hurt and insulted. Why add issues to an already fraught relationship?

                                  1. re: julesrules

                                    For some reason my mother-in-law got upset, 35 years ago, when I set a large, sharp hunting knife next to my dinner plate when she served her brick pork chops. Go figure.

                            2. re: Mattkn

                              Eat before you leave for the dinner party, if you don't think you'll be able to bring yourself to eat what's provided. It is rude to bring your own food, especialy after the hostess is already accomodating your allergy.

                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                Best advice yet. Beyond that, have your spouse deal with MIL.

                            3. I just think it's rude. It's one meal. If she has addressed your allergy, whether or not the salad is the most fabulous one you'd ever eat is not the point.

                              When I was a very little kid my family had a huge falling out with people dividing up and taking sides and not speaking to the other side for literally decades, because one member of the family insisted on continually bringing her own food to family gatherings where another member did all the cooking. The cook finally got really insulted, they got into a huge fight, and it created a huge, decades-long rift in the family. Is it really that important to have your salad?

                              1. Yes, it is rude. Presumably you have informed your MIL of your nut allergies, and if you've been married long she's probably aware that you're a picky eater, too. In the name of family peace, at least pretend to eat her food - take small amounts, cut it up, move it around on the plate, etc. And as another poster suggested, eat before you leave home. If anyone notices that you're not eating and mentions it just tell them you're not hungry right now or something innocuous like that.

                                1. Sorry, I have to weigh in with the "Don't Do It" crowd. If your MIL is aware of your allergies and is accomodating them, you should not bring your own dish to the party if it has been offered and declined. Eat a little bit prior to the dinner and then take small amounts of food to try. You can always wait for dessert or have a sandwich at home for after the party.

                                  Just because you don't mind it at your house or some of your friends tell you they think it would be ok does not mean that someone else would be fine with it.

                                  1. I am with all the others. Eat before you go and don't embarrass her. It would look as though she did not accomodate your pickiness/diet deliberately and everyone would feel uncomfortable. You can survive one evening of taking a plate of food from her table and not eating much or any of it and saying how nice it was!

                                    1. No brainer BM, do not bring a dish.

                                      Your MIL has graciously purchased a dish in consideration of your allergy and your "special program" that you have not exactly followed 100% of the time. Now all of a sudden you get religion?

                                      If you would like to have a little something before you go that is probably a good idea, but please be a courteous guest and eat some of your MIL thoughtfulness.

                                      1. One more with the 'it would be very rude to bring your own food' opinion. This is your MIL, and she certainly knows you are a picky eater. She is accommodating your allergy with a meal that you have already decided you may or may not like, so you think you'll bring a back up meal? Ouch. Sorry, but that is very rude. I've been to dinners with food I haven't liked and just ate tiny bites and chopped the rest up into small pieces.
                                        Do not insult your MIL. This is one meal out of your life; suck it up and be polite, even if her choice of food isn't what you prefer.

                                        1. I think it's rude both do your MIL and to the guests. The guests will wonder why you didn't bring any of the food for them, and your MIL will be annoyed that she went out of the way to make sure you could eat her food and still insisted on bringing your own anyway. I don't know how a grilled chicken salad can be so objectionable that you can eat absolutely none of it, especially if the dressing is on the side. Eat something beforehand and try to eat what you can at the party.

                                          1. Please don't do it. Someone did this to me at a dinner party I threw--after I went to the trouble of preparing a special meal for him. Not only was I aghast, but then I had to field calls from other friends asking what was up with my picky eater guest.So it's not just the host you're potentially offending, but also the guests.

                                            Like another poster wrote, it's just one meal in your life, so suck it up. You won't starve.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: gloriousfood

                                              If the person has a life threatening allergy, I can see doing this. This may be a way of life for them. The host should not feel offended if this is the case and it is explained upfront.

                                              1. re: michele cindy

                                                Agree, but this does not appear to be the case with the OP.

                                            2. rude.

                                              I often go to parties, or gatherings where I know I will not like the food for one reason or another(no dietary issues, I just will not eat prepared, or processed foods that alot of folks serve). So I will typically eat before, or after the gathering, and graze on things I may be able to eat at the party.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                I think it's fine to bring food to the party (enough for everybody). The more food the better! I have done this many times with excellent results, much appreciation from hosts and guests. Swsidejim, you are right about the prepared and processed food being served these days. I can't eat it due to high sodium content, and it's not tasty -- but sometimes its all some people can manage when they're entertaining. Not their fault, the important thing is that we all have a good time. I'm also very gracious when they bring processed stuff to my parties, always thank them and rave about it. No food feuds here!

                                              2. Taking your own food subverts the whole intent and point of hospitality: to present food to your guests and share dining with them. In other words - yes! It's rude. Extremely. And no one just made this up last week. It's a global practice, the way in which strangers are welcomed and friends are honored. And by the way - as an invited guest to your mother-in- law's dinner party - you ARE part of "her" group, And why do you think it's fine for someone not to appreciate and honor your own hospitality by refusing the food and/or drink you've prepared and offered to them by substituting their own? It's an insult; hence, rude.

                                                1. If you must bring your own food eat in the the car before or after.

                                                  1. I think it's ok as long as you have a serious allergy. For those who don't have allergies, eat something before you go if you don't like the choices. As they say to kids in preschool, "you get what you get and you don't get upset".

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: michele cindy

                                                      I wouldn't be that upset if someone with serious health issues brought their own food to my party, BUT I would be incredibly annoyed if I ordered in a special meal for them and then they still took it upon themselves to bring their own food. Tell me ahead of time that you don't think the special meal will be adequate. Don't let me waste my time letting me get the special meal.

                                                      1. re: michele cindy

                                                        The OP indicated that the primary concern is that "I don't know if I'll like that salad - I might - but i figured I have back up." The allergy seems to be a secondary issue at most.

                                                        I try to be understanding and accommodating to my guests, but it would be very difficult for me not to be incredibly offended with a person who brings a "backup" meal to a dinner party because they "might not like" what I'm serving.

                                                        To the OP - if you don't like what's served, don't eat it. You won't starve. If missing the meal would cause you to have serious medical problems, have a snack before arriving and another after you leave. But it would be incredibly rude for you to bring your own meal, especially after your MIL has specifically asked you not to.

                                                      2. Assuming your MIL knows about your nut allergies, yes it would be really rude to bring your own. It's saying I don't like what you have. The gracious thing to do is to eat whatever the host provides, esp. since the host specifically said don't bring anything (see the other thread). If you are a picky eater, eat up before you go.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: PeterL

                                                          If I had a life threatening allergy, As awful as it seems, I wouldn't eat out, I wouldn't eat anyone else's food no matter what. I related this story once before, a friend of ours grew up with a girl who managed to get by most of her life while having a life threatening peanut allergy. On her honeymoon they went to an island, she asked all the important questions she normally would to the server, he didn't get it.. They used peanut oil when cooking her food, and she past away. After hearing this and those I've read about, no way would I eat out or eat anywhere else. It's not worth it, the host needs to understand this.

                                                          1. re: michele cindy

                                                            michele - this is not quite the same thing. The OP isn't going to an island; the OP's own MIL is the host. She's fully aware of her DIL's allergy, it seems. The OP can quite easily call the restaurant herself and ensure that no peanut products were used in the making of the salad with grilled chicken with dressing on the side.

                                                            This doesn't seem to be a communication issue between the MIL and the OP. It's the OP saying "I'm picky and I don't know if I'm going to like it, so I'll bring my own food" situation.

                                                        2. If it's simply a matter of personal preference and what you might or might not like, I'd say it's extremely rude to bring your own meal. It's like saying you already know you're not going to like whatever it is because she's a poor cook.Don't do it if that's the only reason. It's one meal in a lifetime with your MIL. She knows about your allergy - that should be enough. Someone else suggested you eat a bit of something before you go - not a bad idea.

                                                          That being said, I did once bring my own meal. My husband and I were last-minute guests for a Thanksgiving dinner party where the main course was definitely going to be roast turkey, to which I have a severe allergy (anaphylaxis can result). I called the hostess to 1) thank her for the including us at the last minute and 2) make sure it was okay if I brought something for myself because of the allergy, which she already knew about. She was fine with it but did insist that it had to be kosher, so I went to the local glatt kosher deli and bought a prepared roast cornish game hen with its own stuffing and gravy. When we got to her house, she made a little room in one of her ovens for my silver foil take-out dish and, when we all sat down to dinner, she plated it and quietly slipped it in front of me so there was no big deal made of it. Very gracious.

                                                          1. I'm with the it's rude crowd. Your secondary post seems to be that it's much more about you being a picky eater than any allergy or diet consideration.

                                                            You're not 5 years old anymore and she is aware of and accommodating to the nut allergy. Grow up, be polite, don't lie.

                                                            1. As to rudeness, well of course it's rude and you know it or you wouldn't be posing the question.

                                                              As to the business of your allergies - I hope you carry an EpiPen with you at all times - you never know what's lurking. I also question if the "allergy" thing is an excuse for your otherwise rude and picky nature.

                                                              As to your picky eating, get over it! You'd be amazed at what you're missing in life. Try everything once. When someone offers you something, please don't be so juvenile as to exclaim "I don't like that". Instead try saying, "thank you but I don't care for any right now".

                                                              Grab life by the tastebuds and enjoy!

                                                              1. I am a picky eater, and what if Ido not like the dish, are signs of social immaturity. You can either decline the invite, and be in hot water with your significant other or go to the party and be polite, take a little and try it,if you like it have more, if not just sit there. You can always contact the place or ask your MIL too contact them to make sure that there is no nuts.

                                                                1. How long have you had this MIL? Has she invited you to dinner parties before where you were unable to eat anything she prepared?

                                                                  When giving dinner parties, I (1) factor the occasion, (2) invite accordingly, then (3) consider what my guests can/cannot eat. If I really wanted the guest to attend even with their allergies, I'd prepare appropriate dishes. I hope your MIL would do the same.

                                                                  Otherwise, I too am with the bunch that say eat before hand "just in case" and go with only a bottle of wine. Another option is to politely decline b/c to take your own meal to a dinner party is unbelievably rude.

                                                                  1. I agree with the other posters who said it depends on why you want to bring your own food. If you just think you won't like the food provided at the party, too bad - suck it up and try it, eat before or after, etc.

                                                                    If, on the other hand, you cannot eat the food provided at the party due to a severe allergy or otherwise, then I think it's fine to bring your own food so long as you tell the host beforehand and eat your own food discretely. If the host has a major problem with it, I'd decline the invitation with regrets.

                                                                    For example, one of my coworkers keeps kosher. Prior to a party she'll inquire about the menu and if there isn't anything she can eat, she'll explain her situation to the host and bring her own food to eat. No problem.

                                                                    I think for me it also depends on how long of a party we're talking about - if you can just eat your own food before/after the party (and it's not a sit-down meal), then that's easier and more polite. If, on the other hand, it's a really long party and you will get hungry or have to eat there, then I'd do as I suggest above.

                                                                    Even if the host goes out of his/her way to make/purchase a special meal for the concerned guest, sometimes it's not good enough and there is no reason to take risks with your own health or beliefs. For example, some people just assume that if there are no actual nuts in a dish it's safe, without considering cross-contamination. I think it's better to be upfront with the host and suggest that you'd prefer to bring your own food rather than task the host with preparing a special meal.

                                                                    1. Your nut allergy is an OK issue for a host to deal with; your pickiness is very definitely not. You do not bring your own meal to non-potluck meal hosted by anyone else unless the host OK's it. To do otherwise is severely rude.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                        We also haven't heard whether the MIL has a full understanding of the allergy and knows what questions to ask about the preparation. If the host is prepared for the allergy and doesn't want any additional food brought to the party then they have the burden of diligent follow-up with the caterer/restaurant to be sure that they adhere strictly the no nut request. It is also rude to cause extreme illness or death to your guests.

                                                                        Picky eaters are a pain but if the allergy is serious then I'd allow someone to bring something they felt comfortable eating.

                                                                        1. re: lhb78

                                                                          What caterer? This is a dinner party at home. There is no indication MIL is not away of the allergy issue. Rather, the OP is pretty clearly indicating a desire to use the allergy as a cover for picky food issues. Picky food issues for adults with full capacity are anti-social and inimical to hospitality.

                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                            The OP said her MIL was ordering from a local restaurant.

                                                                      2. outside of not wanting to offend anyone or it being a family issue, why on earth would you ever go to a dinner party if you didn't want to eat there? (I also find it a bit funny from time to time when people with such a high eww factor frequent a board all about food..but that's another story)

                                                                        Unless it's a potluck or bbq type thing, or you're bringing something for the host to have later, i'd lean towards it being a no no. I understand family is a different ball game and lots of times anything goes, but you asked and she said not to bring anything, which means she's providing something for you.

                                                                        I've had a couple of extreme picky eaters at my place for dinners...aside from the faces they put on, some of them brought their own food (actually their girlfriend brought their food and explained that they did so he'd have something to eat , another story ). I had accomodated as best I could, and there was a wide enough selection of dishes for just about everyone. Never mind the fact that I also cooked meat dishes, and i'm a vegetarian and therefore felt i was being extra accomodating........it just left me wondering if they were a: 4 years old, or b: unable to make it through two hours with out eating, lest they starve to death.

                                                                        Now that wasn't a relative, but I was taken aback and a bit offended because i had worked very hard on the dinner.

                                                                        I sometimes find myself in the midst of a carnivore dinner, and if i had to, i'd eat a roll or something or suck air all night rather than say anything. If i may be having a few drinks and worried about that being on an empty stomach, i eat before hand..

                                                                        If it's that concerning....stick a little bag of crackers in the bottom of your purse and scarf a few down in the bathroom.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                                                          completely agree!
                                                                          other then the obvious fact that youre going into this with a crappy mindset " incase i dont like the salad she went out of her way to get for me" I dont see why you would even go? if you(and i mean you in the everybody sense) are going to get that locked up over one party and whether or not you are going to be able to choke down the horrendous food, then make it easy and stress free on everyone......dont go.

                                                                        2. Is it rude to bring your own dinner? Without a doubt. Will I invite you again? Doubtful

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: rich in stl

                                                                            Just bring the wine, drink it and get happy!

                                                                          2. I'm somewhat reminded of an incident at our summer cottage, many, many years ago. My mom and dad invited an old school friend and his family for a long weekend. My mom was appalled when the wife brought out a cardboard box full of food and drinks (like milk, juice, etc.), and put that in our fridge, and then fed her family out of the box for the whole weekend. On the Sunday, my folks had planned a big BBQ dinner - steaks and chicken for the adults, burgers and dogs for the kids, fresh corn on the cob, apple pie (and my mom was the best baker EVER), etc. Sunday afternoon, friend's wife announces they are going to a local restaurant for dinner - doesn't invite us, they just take off. My mom kept her temper in check until after they'd gone, but then I learned that my mom knew some swear words I'd never heard before.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: KevinB

                                                                              Funny story! Puts me in mind of the time we invited my cousin and her husband to our weekend place. They keep kosher but she insisted that, as long as we provided paper plates, and plastic cups and cutlery, they'd have no eating problems. Our pots and pans would be acceptable. We went crazy, buying tons of fresh fruit and veggies, as well as certified kosher chicken and hot-dogs, non-dairy coffee creamer and margarine, you name it. There were U's and K's on nearly every can and condiment in the house. They ate nothing but cereal and milk the whole weekend. Needless to say, we've never invited them back.

                                                                            2. Simple, don't bring any food, that will cause the volcano (MIL) to erupt. eat before you go, at the party get a small plate of stuff take your fork and move the food around on the plate but, don't eat it.

                                                                              1. I'm guessing because the OP has gotten pretty silent here that she has made up her mind, one way or the other.

                                                                                1. If someone brought a "back up" meal to my house because they were worried they wouldnt like what I am serving, that would be the last invite they ever get.

                                                                                  1. Bite Me, you are still experiencing MIL angst! I remember this thread very well: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/372878

                                                                                    If you have a nut allergy, there is nothing to negotiate. Nothing trumps health. But you didn't mention the menu MIL is planning or if there is a reaction possibility. Does MIL use nuts in her recipes? Does your MIL know you're allergic to nuts?

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                      VERY interesting link.

                                                                                      Bite Me, it seems you have repeated issues with your MIL.
                                                                                      I'm not sure they are at all related to food.
                                                                                      Yes, you have a nut allergy. Yes, your MIL knows.
                                                                                      But underneath that, there seems to be some ongoing friction or irritation that
                                                                                      has nothing to do with food. Perhaps address that, and the food issues
                                                                                      will also fall into place.


                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        Dear HillJ, You are a genius! I have forgotten about that link, but not the issue. I have considered whether I would be facing the clean up issue at this upcoming party, but focused so much on the food issue that I had back burnered the clean up issue. It is "MIL angst" and I have been thoroughly pschoanylized on this thread. I think that you, Maria Lorraine, and Dr. Veggo have really hit on it. After this thread, I've decided not to bring a back up dinner. I have to go - if i don't go family relations will be worse in the long run. And, yes, she knows I'm allergic to nuts, perfume, etc. and she has said to me that she forgets. However, my sister in law told me once that she warned my MIL not to give me a hostess gift of a scented candle and she told my SIL that she didn't care -- that was her hostess gift, she was giving it to me, and i could do with it what I wanted. (I gave it away.) So, I am inclined to think that some of this is intentional, but not necessarily with malice. Well, let's see what happens. I am going to play it by ear, try to be a great guest, and have a good time. Thanks.

                                                                                        1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                          Have a glass of wine before you go and another when you get there. Let the other 7 guide the flow of the conversation; be a good listener. It may end up as a passable or even pleasant experience.
                                                                                          Good luck- let us know Sunday morning after services...

                                                                                          1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                            Any chance we're married?

                                                                                            Your most recent post has me looking at your mother-in-law in a whole new light. I'm still pretty confident that the polite thing to do would be to eat beforehand, push food around on your plate, and have a snack in the car on the way home. But it's a lot tougher to be polite in compulsory family gatherings, especially when your antagonist doesn't feel any obligation to reciprocate.

                                                                                            You (and my lovely wife) have my sympathies. Good luck.

                                                                                            1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                              Ah, very nice.
                                                                                              Eat before you go, then just let the events of the party wash over you.
                                                                                              Don't react. Go lightly. See if you can have a couple of laughs.
                                                                                              Focus on the positive, good things.
                                                                                              I like this idea of drinking a glass of wine first.
                                                                                              You can always inquire quietly -- so that your allergy doesn't
                                                                                              become a focus -- of the preparer of the dish,
                                                                                              Oh, does this have any nuts in any form in it?


                                                                                              1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                Bite Me, I rarely forget MIL angst! Been there. You've gotten alot of sound advice tonight and I hope it brings you closer to closing the chapter on angst in family settings. No one said it would be easy but it doesn't have to be impossible.

                                                                                                1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                  Bite Me - Wow! Read the earlier link & it breaks my heart that you & the MIL have such a strained relationship. Not really a chow related issue after all. So, my Dr. Phil-esque advice is to do what she wants you to, better yet do it voluntarily before being asked and with a smile. Takes the fun out of it for her! One of the best lessons I've ever learned was that "we teach others how to treat us." Time to re-train the MIL by how you react to these situations and hopefully end up with a better relationship. Good Luck & Cheers!

                                                                                              2. Bite Me, if it's really about your allergies there's nothing stopping you from calling the restaurant that is preparing the meal and telling them that you are allergic and that you worry. They can tell you whether there's anything in the meal that can harm you. Once you arrive at MIL's house, you can ask her discreetly "We're OK with my allergies, right?" to double check.

                                                                                                If it's more or less about you being a picky eater, you can do what most of us do in a similar situation: eat before you get there, choose small portions, take a few bites, and push the food around your plate while you engage in animated conversation. To bring your own meal once MIL has asked you not to bring any food would be rude and may seem hurtful. It would hurt my feelings if someone did that to me after I had gone to so much trouble to serve a nice dinner. The picky eater problem, by the way, is much more difficult to separate from the whole issue of your relationship with your MIL. I'm curious whether MIL has seen you eat at a restaurant or at anyone else's house without insisting on bringing your own meal.

                                                                                                You say that you personally think it's fine and never mind when someone does it at your house, but I tend to think that most people don't feel that way and it isn't something that is done very often in my experience. You also mentioned that MIL's girlfriends are making some dishes. Those are her friends, and they might have some kind of routine going among them. I hope you are not reacting to the fact that she is serving their dishes but has declined a dish from you. Just bring a really good wine and concentrate on the social experience rather than the food.

                                                                                                1. Dr. Veggo thinks you loathe your MIL and are hell-bent on annoying the piss out of her Saturday night. Stay home with a cramp or a headache and let your husband visit his parents without your tension and negative energy.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                    I have to say there could be something to this theory also. Again, grow up and deal. Remember, your husband can gripe and criticize his family but if you do it, it's just asking for trouble.

                                                                                                  2. While I think the ultimate answer is that it is rude to bring something, why can't you just call your MIL and remind her of your nut allergies and let her know that is why you offered to bring a dish and ask if she minds if you bring a chopped salad? I think letting her know ahead of time (if you are set on bringing something) is much better than just showing up with something after she said no.

                                                                                                    1. If you have severe allergies or diabetes or some other serious health risk that involves food, why not just say "I really look forward to your dinner party---I want to see you!---but I am going to have to bring some of my own food for health reasons. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine." This will a) take care of your health b) get her off the hook for worrying she might have to call an ambulance c) weed out hostesses who actually like you vs hostesses who just want to show off. I have no patience with people who think this is rude. If my husband, a heart patient, gets too much salt in a meal, he is soon in the emergency room unable to breathe. This is not about being a picky eater---it's about picking what you eat so you don't get sick.

                                                                                                      1. Are you kidding me? Will you starve, to the point of hospitilization, in the 4 or 5 hours you are committed to beng there? Eat before, pick during, thank for the lovely meal, and pick afterwords. As my Irish relatives would say, "You could do with the fast..."

                                                                                                        Be gracious - it is so much more important than a full stomach.

                                                                                                        1. Surely salad won't be the only thing served. Anyway, I would probably stuff myself BEFORE the party, munch and nibble what I can at the party, and hopefully everything will be fine. MIL will see you eating, husband won't have to listen to his mother gripe, you'll have a happy tummy. All's well that ends well.

                                                                                                          EDIT: Oh. And yup. It's rude to bring your own food to a party. ANYBODY'S party! When your MIL asks you not to? Well. That's the first salvo of canon fire. Don't do it!

                                                                                                          1. How long has this person been your MIL anyway?? If she clearly knows about your food pickiness, she would be a most gracious hostess to suggest that you bring something you can be comfortable eating and then both of you just not bring it up at the dinner. OTHERWISE, yes it's rude and will cause hard feelings in the family. And who is coming to this dinner that it would be so awkward for you, a known allergy-sufferer, to just deal with it upfront?? It seems to me that this is family and everyone should be considerate of each other's feelings but that's just me and I'm fortunate enought to have a family who would understand. ON THE OTHER HAND, if you're just a fussy eater, grow up - it's only 1 meal.

                                                                                                            1. Okay, it's the day after the dinner party. What happened? Inquiring minds want to know :)

                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                Ok! Here's the day after report. I took nothing but the wine, and I think that was the right call. My MIL's friends, two of whom I already knew, were a lot of fun. Very interesting folks. The food was not great (and both my husband and I ate a bit when we got home), but nothing that would affect my allergies until we hit dessert.

                                                                                                                There were three desserts: pisctachio ice cream, choc chip cookies, and a choc cake. The ice cream had nuts and the other two were made on the same machines as nuts. I didn't have any. My MIL had pulled these out of her freezer and said that she had not considered any of them to be a problem and, frankly, had not given it too much thought. None of the ladies who brought the food were aware that cross-contamination, etc is somehting that I would watch out for and were interested to learn that. My MIL said that one of her girlfriends loved me because I watch out for what I eat -- I was a strong woman, she said, and that I protected myself in a nice way and was okay with everyone else having these things. Overall, we had a nice time because the company was good and the wine was flowing. As we were leaving, my SIL, who may have been trying to have fun with me, said how can we leave all these dishes, etc for her? I cleared but I was not staying to do the dishes and my SIL knew it. I learned today that she and my MIL's girlfriends stayed and did them. The end.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                                  All's well that ends well...

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                                    Sounds like letting your MIL's friends know about your allergies and what you had to watch out for was helpful. Hopefully future visits won't be as angst-ridden. :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                                      Glad to hear that you " had a nice time because the company was good and the wine was flowing". Also, by letting your personality shine through the issues you seem to have acquired some allies among MIL's friends. Way to go!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                                        It sounds like your MIL tried to be gracious; you definitely were not.

                                                                                                                    2. If you are a picky eater and bring some food despite being asked not to then yes it is quite rude.

                                                                                                                      Allergies are anoher issue, but don't use that as an excuse to meet your own picky issues.

                                                                                                                      You don't even follow your own diet despite being treated by two doctors. How can you expect your MIL to remember and follow all your guide lines

                                                                                                                      Sounds like MIL is going out of her way to meets your needs. Suck it up eat before or after but don't go out of your way to be a pain.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                        I decided to read all the way to the end of this thread before commenting, and Im glad that the dinner party was a happy occasion for everyone. The OP does have to be very careful about her allergies, and quite honestly, a MIL who "forgets" about such a life-threatening aspect of entertaining is indeed exhibiting passive-aggressive tendencies. Since the OP knows that this might happen, she has every good reason to be suspicious of what her MIL serves, but bringing her own food in THIS situation would have only aggravated the undelying issue. Im glad she was able to "eat around" the problem. Too bad about dessert though!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                          Thanks Cheflambo for your thoughtful reply.

                                                                                                                      2. With the holidays coming, I googled and landed on this board. THANK you.

                                                                                                                        It is indeed rude. Be well!

                                                                                                                        1. This is way after the dinner party and I did not read the responses, but it would be incredibly rude for you to bring your own dinner.