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When you bring a dish...

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  • Kater May 20, 2009 06:02 AM
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Do you typically bring enough for the entire party? Or just enough for some?

This is one of the many reasons that I decline (or at least try to) when people offer to bring a dish. First of all, as many on CH will agree the social dance goes like this:

We'd love to come for dinner, thanks for inviting us. What can we bring?

I'm so glad you're coming, just bring yourselves!

Then you turn up with wine for the hostess or a nice little gift.

But sometimes the host will accept or sometimes the guest will insist... so you've got a situation brewing.

As the hostess, I serve enough food for all of my guests. Running out of something is not an option even if that means I have double the food that people could possibly consume. I am certainly not going to make only enough of one dish for some guests to consume and think 'tough luck' to the rest.

When a hostess accepts my 'What can we bring' I bring enough for everyone to eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a midnight snack. Otherwise I might put the hostess in an embarrassing situation. But that is certainly not the case with everyone.

If someone comes to your home with a dish that is too small to feed the group, do you still put it out? If not, what do you do with it?

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  1. Just like you, I always make enough for everybody and their brother when I bring a dish. I remember my parents always said "Don't bring it at all if you don't have enough for everyone." And how hard is it, really, to make an extra tray of brownies?

    If a guest brings a small amount of something, I still put it out, but with a small serving utensil, to discourage people from taking so much that others will not be able to try it.

    18 Replies
    1. re: phofiend

      As you phofriend, if I bring a dish it will be enough for everyone unless it is a very lot potluck in that case everyone brings a little of everything. A dinner party absolutely. But if I am cooking I always make enough and probably have some leftover. I always make sure everyone has enough. When asking can I bring something I usually offer a cocktail, the last party I went to I mentioned I would make a cocktail so I took everything needed for it which went over well. Other times ... Just wine or may be a nice kitchen gift I knew they were looking at. Another time a few bags of fresh caught grouper which I knew they would enjoy. Depends on the hosts.

      If someone brings something that doesn't feed everyone or wine I may not like, I still put it out just in respect. unless they say, this is for you. I want you to enjoy it, then I would keep it. It may be right or it may be wrong but usually if just given to me for the party I always put it out and it tends to work out better. But it is always a hard call, I may have to take a deep breath but I try to make everyone happy when entertaining whether I agree with it or not.

      1. re: phofiend

        This is a general reply to all those who have suggested one just make an extra tray...
        Brownies can be cut into a variety of sizes, and I would say there is no standard size. In addition, the amount people will want to eat will depend on what other dessert options are available. I do bake popular brownies and if asked to bring them a party, I bring one tray and cut them small. I hate bringing more food than is needed because I don't like thinking it might go to waste, nor the awkward dance of whether the host will tell me to take them home (sometimes not all that graciously "Oh don't leave those HERE! My DIET!"). Given the cost of butter and good chocolate, effort of making my own caramel, etc, I don't think it's unreasonable to want my brownies mostly consumed and appreciated.

        1. re: julesrules

          I think you make a really good point. I'm not a dessert person at all but have my mother's brownie pie recipe. The texture is between a brownie and fudge. I've taken them to parties after baking in a square pan rather than a pie plate. I think cut them no bigger than 1" square. That's SO rich and that makes them go farther. But as someone said here, I'm sick to death of potlucks. I don't host them EVER so that relieves half the issue. And if asked to bring something I'd bring a normal serving assuming all 20 people will too. It would be overkill to the extreme to have 20 dishes serving 20 people, wouldn't it???

          1. re: c oliver

            "And if asked to bring something I'd bring a normal serving assuming all 20 people will too. It would be overkill to the extreme to have 20 dishes serving 20 people, wouldn't it???"

            True! An eminently reasonable rule for potlucks.

            (I detest potlucks, too.)

            1. re: browniebaker

              In defense of potlucks...
              they have their place. If I'm Having A Dinner, I'd rather I do all the cooking (with the possible exception of dessert.) BUT I happen to have more entertaining space than many of my urban cohorts and having people over doesn't freak me out -- so people are at my house all the damn time! I like our friends, but I don't want to run a restaurant...so pot lucks and take out food make a lot of sense. I guess the specific circumstance is when reciprocity is not practical. Also in many informal afterwork get-togethers - it's just plain too expensive and unbalanced for us to provide everything all the time. I started having people over when most of my friends were broke -- too expensive to hangout at restaurants all the time.

              But I never call it a Pot Luck . . . I too think of that with prejudice and stigma . . .

              1. re: browniebaker

                I don't mind pot lucks IF (and only if) They are billed up front as a pot luck. My kids were both high school swimmers on a team that had an extremely active parents' group. We had pot luck dinners at least 4-5 time during the season for the parents & the kids. Always well organized, always with a TON of food (do you have any idea how much swimmers eat???), and always a great variety. And yes, there were parents who brought stuff from Sam's Club or Costco, but that was just fine. Ravenous HS kids are not known for their refined culinary tastes. With them, it was all about volume.

                In addition, my family has always had a pot luck-ish approach to family gatherings, with everyone (now, even the kids) bringing/making something. I think where things fall apart is when it's not made clear that it's pot luck, or when the expectations are not clear.

                If it's NOT a family gathering, I don't expect people to bring anything. If they insist, I will try to feel them out for what they want to contribute. Likewise, I may offer to bring something to a party I've been invited to (depending on my relationship with the host), but I'm not going to push my dish on someone who has already planned their meal. I'll bring flowers or wine or something I think that they might enjoy once the party is over.

                1. re: browniebaker

                  Well, I should be more specific: I detest potlucks where the host invites guests and tells them to bring food.

                  I like potlucks where a group has jointly decided, or has an understanding, that each person will share in providing the food for a get-together.

                  My favorite potluck is the semi-annual potluck dinners that my son's Boy Scout troop has. Each family signs up to bring a dish in the category to which they've been assigned. About 50 to 60 people in all. And, no, no one brings a dish that serves all 60 people -- there would be a ridiculous amount of food. Each family just brings a dish of a reasonable size: a cake, a tray of rolls, a pan of lasagna, a salad. Some people are known for their specialty dishes, and those dishes are eagerly awaited. Good eats!

                  1. re: browniebaker

                    Yep, we had potlucks at work a lot. Is was the one way to get a couple of department together which normally would not. I always organized them but always gave them a category and they had to let me know so we didn't end up with duplicates. Yes, someone would bring, green bean casserole or bag of lettuce with bottled dressing, but who cares. It was just to get us all together and have a good time. Usually we had a great turn out, good food but we always organized it well which makes a big difference.

                    And PattiCakes, when I was married was always potluck when the family got together. 50 so people so we always pitched in.

                    And even work now, when a bunch of us get together we pitch in. Too expensive and too hectic for everyone to do it all. Small dinner parties or special occasions can be different, but get togethers after work are usually everyone picks a dish or at least pitches in cooking at whoevers house.

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      Funny story....

                      When my hubby and I got married in 1976, all of our other friends were already married, some with young kids. Nobody had much money. We were 30, had already been living on our own, so we didn't really need (or want) wedding gifts. We also had also kept our engagement a secret -- didn't want all of the drama engendered by it since we both working in the same large company.

                      Anyway, 1976 being the bicentennial year, we decided to get married on the 4th of July. We didn't want people to have to get baby sitters, or get caught up in all of those nutsy pre-wedding crap, so we decided to have a "surprise" wedding. We planned a huge 4th of July picnic, hosted in my parents' big back yard, and invited over 200 people. Since all of our friends would have suspected something if they had NOT been asked to bring things, we had a big list carefully mage up of what we needed: 4 potato salads, 3 coleslaws, bags of chips & pretzels for the people who couldn't cook, & etc. When we ran out of items to assign, we told them just to bring wine. We rented 6-foot long grills, tables & chairs, set up badmitten & horseshoes, got 4 kegs of beer, provided burgers, doggies, over 1000 steamed clams, and 500 ears of corn. My sister's college buddies came & manned the grills. We had people show up with their kids, their dog, and dressed in bicentenial regalia. Half-way through the picnic, we gathered everyone together to make an announcement. As we broke out bottles of champagne, THEY thought we were going to announce that we had gotten enganged. Were they ever surprised when we announce that we had gotten married that morning. I ended up throwing my bouquet out of the second floor bathroom window. Many people went home to attend to their own family obligations, but ended up coming back later to ours.

                      We had an awesome time, and our friends STILL talk about it. Now THAT was a pot-luck success.

                      1. re: PattiCakes

                        A pot luck wedding. How festive!

                        1. re: PattiCakes

                          I love it!! And what a great story to remember. At that point when friends and family are just having fun ... no one seems to remember 4 potato salads, 5 green bean casseroles, 7 bags of lettuce, 3 pork and beans, etc. You know what I mean.

                          It is just fun and good times which is what it is all about. Even those store bought cupcakes with more frosting than cake but they always seem to get eaten.

                          Nice story. And love the dog dressed up, lol! Times to remember!!
                          See Potlucks can be fun. Just don't worry about the food, just enjoy your friends and all the memories.

                          1. re: PattiCakes

                            That is a wonderful story!

                    2. re: c oliver

                      you have obviously never been to a Hawaii potluck, where 20 people bring food for 40. The host is expected to have paper plates and tinfoil so that EVERYONE goes home with a plate or two (or three) of whatever they liked best. It is kind of rude to leave a potluck empty-handed, everyone would assume you didn't like the food. it is also pretty much unthinkable here to show up empty handed, no matter what the hosts say. you can never have too much wine, too much poke, too many desserts.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        Excellent post, Kaimuki.
                        If the rest of the mainland could take a few lessons from the people of the Islands the world would be a much better place, in my opinion.
                        It's statistically proven the locals live longer from the lack of stress...I can say, without hesitiation, there's most likely not one person in Hawaii who would give one second of thought to how/if/when/, should I/shouldn't I/, bring brownies/pies/cookies/cakes to a home where someone is thoughtful enough to bring family and friends together.
                        Where you live....I love it all.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          I ditto Kaimuki's post. Good point

                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                          Fun! What I like about this Kaimuki is that EVERYBODY is IN - everybody participates, everybody knows the deal, and the party-throwing is understood to be collective - - which is why everybody can just enjoy. Reminds me of some long-gone Italian-American family gatherings...

                          That of course is waaaaay different from singling one auntie out for special duties that nobody else is expected to participate in...

                          1. re: pitu

                            very different. of course everyone (including that one auntie) knows that she better bring her famous noodles, or potato mac salad, or banana lumpia, or...

                            of course in many instances she may also bring along her next door neighbor, or high school classmate who happens to be visiting, etc. but now I am getting a little bit off topic.

                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                              Oh I love it, KaimukiMan! We just went to a 1st Holy Communion party in South Philly. The Communion Boy's grandpop did all of the cooking (ham, kielbasa, pieogies.....), and the family actually bought those styrofoam takeout containers for everyone to take home the leftovers! Elegant, it was not, but it sure was a good time.

                              My mom always "over cooked" -- made WAY too much food for the family gatherings. Now that I am older, and am in the same position as she was, I understand that she made so much so that she could give it to her kids to take home. She knew we were on shoe-string bugets, probably didn't have time time to cook dinners, and her "leftovers" would keep us fed for a week. Now I do the same thing with my kids (AND any random friends that they just happen to bring along).

                              Now that all of the kids in our family are older, both my sister and I are very adamant about having all of them contribute is some way to large family dinners. They may have to bring an app, or a dessert, cheese & crackers, or maybe do the clean-up, but we've succeeded in making them realize that these large feeds are communal efforts. Sometime we even have them do an appetizer or dessert "throwdown", and "present" their dishes to the rest of the family. Not only does it lighten the work load and the stress level for the host, it is also a hell of a lot of fun. At Chrismas dinner, my 3 1/2 year old grand daughter proudly served cupcakes she had iced, and my nephew made that disgusting strawberry jello, sour cream & crushed pretzel thing. Neither of those dishes "went" with anything else that was served, but nobody cared.

                  2. Kater, I believe a similar thread was floating around recently. You are under NO obligation to put out food a guest brings. You can say, "Thanks so much for the XXX. It will be a great dinner/snack/side dish for us tomorrow when we are too tired to make dinner." Wrap it up and stick in fridge.

                    Although, as a woman of a certain age, I no longer fool around with people who offer to bring food. They are looking for an assignment, so give them one. Something benign that won't spoil your party. "Thanks much, I won't have time to pick up some wine/flowers/nuts/mints whatever. Please stop at XXX market along the way and bring some."

                    We have a family friend we have known for 25 years who used to do that all the time. Last fall, I decided to try the assignment approach, worked like a charm. She feels like she is helping and I am glad for the wine/flowers/nuts/mints whatever.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                      If I really don't want a person to bring something (for whatever reason) and they seem itching to bring something, I assign ice. It's cheap and you can never have too much ice at a party and the end of the night whatever is left goes down the drain.

                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                        That is great advice. Now, I would not have the nerve to put their dish away, but I do think that replying at once with some innocuous assignment will solve the problem. I decline and demure because I do not want them to bring something but the persistent ones then start offering suggestions so it would be difficult to revert to mints or cocktail napkins!

                      2. Depends on the number of people and if it's a designated "pot luck" or a case where it's a group and I've offered to bring something. Typically I think of number of people when deciding what to bring.

                        As a host we ALWAYS have too much food. I have a big fear of running out of food and so often have much left and fortunately we have one friend with a 20 something old son and he and his friends are always more than willing to take free food off our hands.

                        If I would put it out if a guest brings it depends on a number of variables. But generally the answer is yes even if it isn't enough for everyone.

                        1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621000

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Cachetes

                            Did you intend to link the entire thread? I didn't see anything about whether your bring for some or all but that thread is pretty long.

                            1. re: Kater

                              Well, it depends if it's for a large group or a small group.

                              But more interesting - WOW - disingenuous, Kater. Someone posts a thread about how they feel ambushed into catering dessert for a largish party, when they were making a casual social offer to Bring Something. You attack the original poster of that thread several times in a bit of a nasty way that assumes all sorts of hostility, and go start this related topic... and say Whyd'ja link to that long thread?
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621000
                              Bad girl!

                              There are limits, set by the relationship. People can agree to cater something together, but a pot luck can mean one dish for 8 people. A big party is different from a small party. If you're a guest asked to bring wine, you probably don't bring wine for 50 if that's how many people are on the guest list.

                              1. re: Kater

                                not cool kiddo.

                                you drew a line in the sand in the other thread stating you were done (that was also your recommendation to the OP there), then start this thread and then throw sand at linking to the other.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  I think this thread got started before the other thread started to get really nasty, so I don't necessarily think it was done out of spite, aggressiveness, etc.

                                  The original start day of this thread was May 20, 2009 08:02AM, only a day after the brownie drama (May 19, 2009 09:02AM). Kater makes some statements about if you are going to bring something, bring enough for everyone in that thread (May 19, 2009 12:12PM). She then pose the same question here. The line in the sand wasn't drawn until after this thread had been going for a couple of days (May 23, 2009 09:19AM) so I don't think it was meant as an attempt to be disingenuous, but rather a legitimate question.

                            2. I cringe inside, but put it out. I had a friend once (who I said to not bring anything, just yourself) bring 6 sauteed scallops. WTF? My meal was planned, all courses accounted for, and here's this interloper appetizer. So everyone got approx 2/3 of a scallop. Some people just can't help themselves. They can't imagine not bringing something, and flowers, wine or candy just won't work for them.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: leek

                                How incredibly rude.

                                I used to work with a woman who told me she was designated to bring brownies to a family holiday dinner. There were to be five people at dinner. She brought five brownies to the dinner, and kept the rest for herself at home. Can you imagine?

                                1. re: LJBTampa

                                  I would just like to understand it. Is if a financial problem? If so then why insist on bringing something? Or is the guest bringing it for herself because she doesn't like your food? Then again, some are surely just exhibiting a strange/weird/cheap tendency to starve their guests.

                                  1. re: LJBTampa

                                    LJB, except for the part about working, I was getting suspicious you know my MIL. She used to make brisket for our holiday dinners and bring one thin slice per person. She is not cheap, in fact very generous. However, she is very, very thin (think social Xray thin) and doesn't have much appetite. After being pi$$ed off for many years, I came to the realization that she truly thought it was enough. I always made sure we had another protein - roast beef, chicken, lamb, etc. as one slice of brisket would not satisfy my 6'2" husband or his 6'3" brother.

                                2. Unless I asked them to bring something (or its a potluck), I don't put out anything that guests bring. Way too much confusion. I don't put food out on the table - that way, we are not excessively jammed on the table - normally, it's all arranged in the kitchen (on the counters and on the stove) for service (I am a single host, and I've learned the hard way that trying to serve at table results in Twister and cold food - once I switched, I've never gone back, and almost all my friends now imitate my service because it makes so much more sense), and every space is taken when I cook.

                                  Period. Do not be defensive about this. Hosts host. Guests guest. The blurring of those roles leads - as altogether too many threads on CH demonstrate - to misery.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    "Hosts host. Guests guest." Perfect. Just perfect. Now everyone has to write it on the blackboard 100 times.

                                  2. I think it depends on what it is. If I was bringing pie to a Thanksgiving dinner and it's the only dessert, I'd make sure that there was enough for everyone to have a reasonable slice. But I wouldn't bring enough that everyone could have a slice of pumpkin, and a slice of custard, and a slice of coconut.

                                    Generally in my experience with potlucks, there are always a few dishes that get gobbled up and not everyone gets a "full portion" and others that don't get finished, but it seems to even out in the end. It strikes me as overkill to make sure that everyone could have one of everything unless it's a seated dinner or yours is the only dish of a particular course (e.g. the only salad or the only dessert).

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: akq

                                      well just to be clear, in this scenario the party most certainly is not a potluck - it is a nice party and the host plans to cook all the food but a guest insists on bringing something!

                                    2. I bring more than enough, always... It's a party- we are there to eat, drink and enjoy. Empty serving plates make me nervous, so I try to always have lots.

                                      1. I bring way more than more than enough. I seem fundamentally incapable of preparing food in small quantities any more. Maybe it's because I have a 15-year-old who loves to eat.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: jmckee

                                          But to you and some others upthread, if the host says "oh, just bring yourselves." will you go along with that?

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Generally yes. I can not stand it when people insist on bringing something when I am the host.

                                            However, I do know some people who host parties where many people bring a dish so if I get the impression that they are demurring but really would like the help I'll say "Oh, I'd really like to bring something. Do you need an extra hors d'oeuvre?'. If they refuse again then we're all set!

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Yes, I will, but only if it's not one of my friends who I know doesn't meant that when they say it.

                                              if I am the host, and someone brings something, I accept it graciously even if I said just bring yourselves.

                                          2. I don't mind asking if I can bring something and they are likely to assign me a dish IF I know I will have the time to make it. A mid week dinner and I know I won't likely be able to put anything good together. Best to preface the question 'can I bring anything' with I won't have time to cook you a dish but would you like me to bring some alcohol?

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: smartie

                                              That is a really good comment. If you don't know the host well enough to anticipate their approach and open ended question like "What can I bring" exposes you to unreasonable requests or reasonable request that you happen to be unable to meet.

                                              I would suggest that a guest only offer to bring something if she really has time to do it and makes a specific offer if she knows her time is limited.

                                              1. re: Kater

                                                More and more I don't ask if I can bring anything. I then bring a hostess gift. I assume that if people want to have a dinner party but don't feel up to preparing it all, they'll make it a potluck or ask speciffically for something. And if I were asked I would respond by inquiring as to how many serviings and then make my decision.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  i'm with you coliver. my friends all lead such busy lives that when i get invited to their dinners, i provide host/hostess gifts that reflect their foodie interests to reward their efforts - gourmet oils, fine wines, kitchen gadgets, etc. it's also often more fun to shop for gifts than spend a weekend afternoon preparing a dish for someone else's dinner party IMHO. win/win

                                                2. re: Kater

                                                  kater, I am learning to say NO (only taken me 50 years) or to set my boundaries right at the start of these kind of conversations.

                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                    Yes. All through life I was conditioned that if someone asked "can you do me a favor?' the answer was "of course." It took a lot to learn to say to say "what" rather than "yes." (I'm 62)

                                              2. Golf has a handy little rule book that addresses any possible occurence. It's too bad that life doesn't have a little rule book that addresses awkward acts of kindness, to and fro.

                                                1. Depends on the number of the party.

                                                  1. This is somewhere between silly and get caught up in your own underwear.

                                                    Jfood has asked and has been asked thousands of times that simple question "can I bring something?" The idea that this is an opening for anything other than a reasonable request is just silly. Oh "please bring 5# of shrimp, 2 whole filets, one medium, one medium rare, 25 ears of corn, 4 pounds of hamburgers, 3# of hoitdogs, rolls of course for each, 3 fifths of JW Blue and 8 cases of assorted wines."

                                                    And if you hear something that does not work, just say so. If you think about it within a few hours callthe host back and explain. These are friends, or family.

                                                    Jfood cannot even blieve this is such an issue with mature individuals.

                                                    17 Replies
                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      Today my friend called, BBQ on Monday, he said he was having chicken, burgers, a shrimp boil, some grilled corn, and everyone ws bringing a dish. Now he was organized. He said dips and apps were taken care of, deserts open and a salad. One lettuce salad so far. 40+. So I am bringing a roasted veggie salad and some blondies a fave with the kids who will be there.. I dont think it is a big problem if you knw the host and make sure they don't expect you to bring food to feed the whole group. Large pot lucks are pretty easy to figure. People just bring a dish. It would be nice if the host kept a list so there wasn't 4 green bean casseroles, 3 apple pies and 2 tins of cup cakes lol. I will take additional wine to the party which he can serve or not and a small gift for him (filet knife) Big fisherman and we go out a lot so I know he will appreciate it.

                                                      It becomes an issue cuz some just don't know what do to receiving or giving. I've been on both ends. I give when I feel it is appropriate, I receive even when I disagree but just smile accept and put it out with everything else. Just suck it up and smile. It won't kill you. Not a big deal.

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        jfood should spend some more time reading these boards - there are individuals who will argue that your outrageous example is perfectly reasonable and other who will lose their minds if asked to bring a bottle of ketchup.

                                                        When two reasonable parties have this discussion there is nothing more to discuss.

                                                        1. re: Kater

                                                          jfood thinks he spends quite a bit of time on the boards. Comes from spending too many nights in hotel rooms.

                                                          And if someone thinks the outrageous example of bringing "5# of shrimp, 2 whole filets, one medium, one medium rare, 25 ears of corn, 4 pounds of hamburgers, 3# of hoitdogs, rolls of course for each, 3 fifths of JW Blue and 8 cases of assorted wines" is acceptable, then jfood would very much like his/her number so jfood can invite them for a BBQ, but it is by no means "perfectly reasonable". But jfood does understand the hyperbole in your response is equal to the hyperbole of his.

                                                          Jfood knows what is proper etiquette and hosts should respond, "no, everything is taken care of" when this innocent question is asked. (se KarlS response) and then a hostess gift is in order. The gray area is when people leave this protocol. And by no means asking someone to bring an enormous amount (i.e. dessert for 19) falls into proper etiquette.

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            J, normally I agree with tou but not on this. I really think people who say that want an assignment, to show they are helping/contributing. It's a mitzvah to give them something to do. Not to be obnoxious, but 5 lbs. of ice, as Janet point out, is always helpful. I would never ask for 5 lbs. of steak, etc. but simple tasks like ice/wine/nuts/mints etc. are called for to prevent Aunt Minnie from bringing her lime jello & pineapple mold (yuck!). Maybe it's a Midwest thing. This assignment precludes the need for a hostess present in my book.

                                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                              I can see how in the U.S. there might be regional and class differences in the interpretation of the question, "Can I bring anything?" Generally, however, unless the guest and host are very close, this question is much like "How are you?" Just as the polite answer to the latter is "Fine, thank you," the polite answer to the former is "No, thank you. Just come to the party." Both questions are social niceties that should not be taken too literally if one does not know the asker very well.

                                                              1. re: browniebaker

                                                                Excellent analogy, bb.

                                                                1. re: browniebaker

                                                                  Something else I say is "oh, no, thanks for asking. But you can invite me to YOUR house and I won't bring anything either. A little vacation from cooking for each of us."

                                                                2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                  NP DB. But here is where jfood is comeing from (other than CT & NJ).

                                                                  There are instances where hosts are alllowed to have "control" over their dinners. In this instance, the host may want / not want others to bring. Then a hostess gift is in order whether is is wine, flowers, coasters, etc. Different threads we have all lived through.

                                                                  There are times when the dinner is developed from a cup of coffee and its a hey let's get together tomorrow for dinner. In this case it is sorta a division of duties and supplies.

                                                                  If Aunt Minnie bring the irredescent concoction, jfood would always graciously accept, put it on the table and let it act like a beacon to the other food on the table.

                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                    It is really a simple question of "Don't ask the question if you don't want an answer."

                                                                    If you ask what you can bring, be prepared for the social misfit who makes an unreasonable request. A friend of mine was once given not just a specific dish but a recipe to follow when she engaged in this social nicety.

                                                                    What constitutes an unreasonable request?

                                                                    Well that is really in the eye of the beholders, now isn't it?

                                                                    But as a general rule, guests should be asked to bring a type of dish, not a specific one. Guests should not be asked to bring the main course. They should not be asked to bring more than one dish. Also guests who are not capable in the kitchen should be steered towards very simple contributions.

                                                                    All of that said, I wish that people would just stop with the pot luck foolishness, it creates so many problems and turns a dinner party invitation in a landmine.

                                                                    If you don't have to entertain guests, meet them out at a restaurant for dinner!

                                                                    1. re: Kater

                                                                      It is really a simple question of "Don't ask the question if you don't want an answer."

                                                                      On one, extremely simple level this is correct, but please, this is not an episode of CSI where the lawyer states, "well judge they opened the door." So social niceties and grace go to the least common demonimator? Should we not say "good morning" in the event someone replies, "what's so frekin' good about it?" should the server reply about the breakup with his/her SO when you ask "how are you?"

                                                                      No, jfood does not buy into this keep your mouth shut philosophy whatsoever. And if we all aim to please the least common denominator, we have failed. we need to educate those who need coaching, not go to their level or opt out because it may be a bit difficult.

                                                                3. re: jfood

                                                                  I'm with you until enormous.

                                                                  Dessert for 19 at a family bbq is not enormous in my book. That is a small party. If I'm making dessert I am making that much anyway. It is two pans of brownies. You could probably get away with one but that would seem stingy and making two is no more trouble.

                                                                  1. re: Kater

                                                                    So, to be clear -- you really DID just start this new thread out of incredulity re: the brownie thread situation.

                                                                    Yawn.

                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      To be clear, this is a thread.

                                                                      Did I begin to wonder whether anyone else felt it was OK to bring a dish for only some portion of the guests after reading Dessert Storm?

                                                                      Yes.

                                                                      I wanted to know how the rest of Chow approaches this and I was reassured that most are generous to a fault.

                                                                    2. re: Kater

                                                                      On my thread you promised you had said your "last word" on this issue, but clearly you had not.

                                                                      I'll say it again here: Dessert for 19 is not too much to make if I am hosting or if I agree to join in a group potluck. However, dessert for 19 is too much for a host to ask a guest to make if the guest has just accepted an invitation to dinner without any prior mention by the host of its being a potluck.

                                                                  2. re: Kater

                                                                    Kater, you've got to be kidding, right? Seriously, you've got to be kidding. jfood is probably one of the more prolific, and respected posters on Chow. Most of us are light-weights compare to him in that respect. You need to do a little research yourself before you make a remark like that.

                                                                    Actually, jfood might have been referencing the veiled request for lemon bars or Tahitian Blondies on "that other thread".

                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                      Thx PC, the other thread is getting ever more interesting. The Blondie twist is fantastic. Maybe Brownie should get a copy of Blondies' "Beat on the Brat" and bring with.

                                                                      BTW - jfood just clicked on your avatar. That is now jfood's favorite. Outstanding. Does the pooch have a personal favorite cuisine or is s/he whipping up some homemade cookies.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        She is whipping up dognuts for 19. She made a mouserolle yesterday for the cat's Memorial Day shindig (a pot luck) -- served 30.

                                                                        BTW, your avatar is charming as well. Diggin' the shades.

                                                                4. I have vivid memories of someone showing up at my parents with 6 devilled eggs (3 eggs halved) when the group was about 15. But my Mom is so classy. She said thank you, and quickly turned them into part of an inpromptu appi plater by adding some sliced tomatoes and pickles.

                                                                  But my impression of that person, the egg bringer, has forever since been that of a cheapskate.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: pengcast

                                                                    You just can't get away from it. I can tell myself that they are unable to gauge what is a reasonable portion but there are examples like yours where there is just no way to pretend they though it was enough. I would love to understand the rationale because I sense that it may not be inherent stinginess - but that certainly is how it comes across and you just don't forget it!