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Etiquette question for using someone elses kitchen

I'm house sitting for some friends who just had a wedding anniversary and are off on vacation. They got a pizzelle maker as a gift for their anniversary and haven't used it yet. I'm tempted to make them some pizzelles for them to come home to, but I don't know if it's rude or not to christen someone else's appliance before they get to, especially when it's attached to a special event like this. They're very generous people, and are the "use our stuff/eat whatever's in the fridge" kind of folks (I house sit for them alot). Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

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  1. that's an interesting one! are they avid cooks/bakers or total gadget freaks? and are they likely to *ever* use it themselves? (i'm wondering if it's something they asked for, or just a random gift from someone who thought it was the kind of thing they'd personally like to receive.) if the answers are no and no, then i'd do it. it's a really thoughtful gesture on your part, but it is a tricky situation.

    you could always make them something else, and explain to them that you had thought about making pizzelles but were concerned that they might be upset if you christened the gift. their response will likely give you a good indication of whether or not it would have been wise...and the next time you house-sit, you'll know where they stand if you want to break in their new ice cream maker or ebelskiver pan ;)

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I had to look up ebelskiver. In the Netherlands they had something similar called a poffertje pan.

    2. not sure . . . I guess if it was still in the box, I'd leave it. If it was unwrapped & put in the cabinet (or wherever), I'd go ahead. Sounds like they probably would not mind, but I would hesitate to open the box & take it out for a first-time use.
      So nice of you to think of making something for them, though!

      2 Replies
      1. re: elfcook

        I agree with elfcook. If in the cupboard - go for it. Otherwise, leave it for them.

        1. re: elfcook

          I'm with elfcook on this one too. I do house-sitting for friends and relatives (who always say, "help yourself to whatever you want in the fridge and pantry"), but still I don't think I would ever open a gadget or appliance still in a box (I wouldn't even do it at my mom's house without asking). It is nice of you to think of making something for your friends; maybe you could make cookies, a casserole, or something else that wouldn't require you to use a brand-new appiiance for the first time.

        2. Probably wisest not to use it, but to take the opportunity to mention thinking about it, as goodhealthgourmet suggested, to get a feel for their general position on such matters. Definitely not if it's still in the box an/or if you gave it to them. They may be planning on putting it on eBay.... If, on the other hand, it is something that they requested and it has been taken out of the box, you could make s batch for them, and say that you hoped they didn't mind that you used it before they did.

          1. To the contrary, I think its a lovely gesture. I respect the sentiment that they should open it and use it first but, you can be the one who seasons the grill (making it more useable for them when they make their first try) and welcome them home with home baked goodies. For you to even think of the offer, you obviously have had the knowledge of what to do. Share it with them and have a stack of crispy pizzelles to welcome them home. While the anise flavor is the most popular, there are other recipes with citrus zest, vanilla, etc.. Print a few out and present them with a mini-pizzelle cookbook. You might be opening a whole new world.

            Hey, they said "use our stuff!" Make a pot of espresso and have a plate of fresh fruit to go with it..


            P.S. If they trust you enough to house sit, you shouldn't hold back on any kind thoughts you have for your friends.That's what memories are made of.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chefpaulo

              I'd be willing to bet my firstborn child that Chefpaulo is a male, the OP and all the rest of the posts being from female. Guys are likely to take the "make yourself at home" greeting literally; women to analyze it more, and think about possible negative ramifications. ;-}

              1. re: greygarious

                I read your comment and bells went off in my head. I think you're on to something. And the fact we worry about it means it's a legit question.

            2. This is a lovely and generous thought on your part, but I would err on the side of caution and let your friends break in their own gift. I would be upset if someone got to play with my toys before I did (because I am petty and immature). They might have a special "let's christen the pizzelle maker" night planned. Do you want to ruin their special "let's christen the pizzelle maker" night? Of course you don't.

              1. OK...I seem to be in the minority here. How about a compromise?

                Blkery, I support your kind wishes, as well as the others who say your friends should be the first to open the pizzelle maker. How about you open it with all due vigilence, carefully save every bag and twist-tie, make the pizzelles, meticulously clean the appliance before rewrapping and replacing it in the box? This way, you have respected their rights of first passage, made your good will gesture and allowed for return of the appliance to Macy's or Bloomie's or wherever if they have no interest in it.

                OK with you, Hounds?


                5 Replies
                1. re: Chefpaulo

                  No, I woulden't do it that way, either. You "used" it before the owner- no way around that. (even if cleaned/put back into box)

                  It's a bit presumptious to use an anniversary gift for another before THEY get to use it, first, at least to me. BUT (and it's a big one) if you are all very close, and open with another..MAYBE they'd see your gift of making them goodies in a greater light than using new kitchen equipment they haven't used themselves.

                  I always think: "If I -have- to ask if it's allright, it's probably not" and err on the side of your friends' right to open/use their gift first.

                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                    In this scenario you'd have to say you made the pizzelles at home, with your own appliance, and brought them over. Because the idea of using people's stuff and then covering up the evidence of same is a tad creeps-inducing, if the homeowners ever found out. .

                    1. re: Chefpaulo

                      That is a very strange suggestion. The OP wants to present the couple with pizzelles made with their pizzelle maker, as a favor. Your idea would be to make the pizzelles and then lie about the equipment you used to do it. What's the point of that?

                      It's also sneaky and dishonest and not AT ALL respectful of their "rights of first passage." Quite the opposite.

                      1. re: small h

                        It is obvious Chefpaulo was kidding. Geesh.

                        1. re: chow_gal

                          I'd like to believe that, but I'm not so sure - and neither were Honeychan and greygarious. Of course, if Chefpaulo weighs in & confirms your suspicion, I will retract my harrumphing.

                    2. I'd be very careful with this. You never know if someone is planning to return an item, even if it's in "its place" and unwrapped. The box could be in the basement and on their to-do-list of things to pack up and return.

                      1. out of curiosity....how do you know whether it's been used / where it is etc ? I know my friends pretty well, but I wouldn't be able to say with certainty whether they have used or not used a particular gift someone else gave them.

                        I'd probably stick to the broken-in items in the kitchen. Nothing's saying you can't make them a treat to come home to, but resist your urge to use their brand new stuff.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: im_nomad

                          just a guess, but it's probably still in the sealed packaging.

                        2. I would not use it. If it is that new they probably haven't had a chance to use it yet. "Christening" is part of the fun of getting a new kitchen tool.

                          I think it would be great to relay your excitement and experience with making pizzelles...they may have no idea what to do and welcome the chance to learn from you once they are home.

                          1. Restating what a lot of have here, but only to invoke the babysitter rule. You can eat/use what's started, but don't open anything new.

                            Your impulse is kind, and your instinct, to question the use of this machine also shows decency. If you have to ask yourself if it's ok, best not to do it. Given that they just received this item, you have no idea what plans they have for it, christening or not.

                            There are other nice things you can do for them if so inclined. Also, if you housesit a lot, there may be a chance to try the pizzelle maker out one day...

                            1. If I was house sitting for my best friend and her husband, I would use it in a heartbeat, because she would LOVE to come home to a plate of pizzelles, and she and I have no boundaries when it comes to our kitchens (or closets, or medicine cabinets). But she is the ONLY person who I would make this assumption about.

                              In general, it is probably bad etiquette, but only you know your friends. The fact that you have to ask leads me to say that you probably shouldn't.

                              1. Got to be honest - I would be horrified to come home and learn that a new appliance had been used by someone without my telling them to do it.

                                Also, you don't necessarily know that they will keep this gift. Maybe they will return it even if it is to exchange it for a different model more suited to them. Even if you saw them open the gift maybe they just acted gracious in front of the gift giver and saved their feelings for private.

                                Why not make something else if you want to give them a food gift... Maybe they would like a dinner waiting in the fridge for the evening they get home? Breakfast for the morning after return?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Allice98

                                  Horrified? I'd be totally PISSED to come home and find that someone - best friend or not - had taken a present out of the box and used it.

                                  1. re: KiltedCook

                                    I am with Allice and KiltedCook and I am very glad somebody said it...if it was new towels or a board game or garden tool, I might feel differently, but I would HATE for one of my precious kitchen gadgets to be used AND SULLIED before I got a chance to do with it whatever I wanted!

                                    1. re: LJS

                                      Well. I actually would be pissed off and would run someone out of the house.... but I was trying to be polite =-) I would have a pretty difficult time composing myself for sure.

                                      Seriously people - if it isn't your play toy, don't touch it unless specifically told to do so by someone. No matter what it is, cooking tool or not. And you don't ask if you can use something, you need to be invited by someone to do so, with it being their own idea, unprompted.

                                2. I'm with everyone else who says if it's still in the box, don't touch it. They may not want it at all, and even if they do, there's still a chance it could be defective or somehow not work properly. If I came home and someone said "Hey, I took this appliance out of the box and it didn't work," I certainly wouldn't be sure I believed them. I'd have no way of knowing whether the friend dropped it or somehow abused it and tried to pass it off as a defective item. If you go ahead and season it or otherwise "prep" it, it may also make it harder to return.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: queencru

                                    Well.... If you don't trust someone enough to believe they are telling you the truth when they say an appliance was already broken when they went to use it, then you probably shouldn't pick that person to house sit for you.

                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                      I'd trust a person not to open up any new appliance/gadget in the first place, so I feel like anyone who would take the opportunity to break something in herself would lose my trust regardless of whether she broke the item or it came that way. If I think someone might be interested in using something before me and I don't mind, I would make it clear before leaving that it's fine to set it up and use it.

                                  2. As others have said, only you know your friends.

                                    I'm surprised how many people are opposed to this idea. If i went out of town and came home to a delicious treat made on my new pizzelle maker, I'd be thrilled. I think it's cute and thoughtful.

                                    I don't get the idea of "christening an appliance" It's an appliance. The first time they use it will still be the first time they use it.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: lucygoosey

                                      It'll be the first time they used it, but not the first time it was used. It's a personal thing. Maybe I'm selfish, but I like to be the first to play with my toys. Same as I don't lend out my books or DVD's until I have read/watched them. Kitchen appliances and gadgets are the ultimate toy for me and I want to break them in my own way.

                                      I also don't think it matters if it's in the box or not. The OP knows it hasn't been used yet and I would err on the side of caution.

                                      1. re: Sooeygun

                                        I get so giddy over a new kitchen thing! I usually plan some special way of breaking it in for the first time and plan a special meal around the item. I would be so sad if someone touched it first. I could care less if someone thinks that I am selfish be being this way. Tough!

                                        If you want one so badly, get your own!

                                        1. re: Allice98

                                          I don't think you're selfish. I think there are plenty of cute and thoughtful ways to welcome the happy couple home that don't involve busting out a new appliance. Bake some delicious cookies in the oven or make some other yummy treat that doesn't involve the pizzelle maker.

                                    2. I'm with the "if it's still in the box don't touch it" camp. If they're not planning on returning it, it's still too much like taking someone's new toy and playing with it before they get a chance to.

                                      1. If it's still in the box, I would say no. If it's unpacked and put away or on the counter, I say go for it. I understand some people would want to be the first to use the new equipment, but for me, I'd love to come home to a plate of homemade goodies. (and a clean house, and a pantry full of groceries to get me throught he first few days back from vacation, a clean dog, oh sorry, I'm daydreaming again, :) )

                                        Like others have said, only you know your friends and whether or not they might be upset about it. If you've made the decision to make the pizelles, but still feel doubt, then I say don't do it and make something else for them.

                                        I'm not sure if they check in with you , but you could always send them a text or call and casually ask if they have any plans for the pizelle maker....then you have you're answer. They might not be as suprised, but then they have something to look forward to when they get home.

                                        1. What if you made something to compliment Pizelles, such as, jam, ice cream, or lemon curd. Something that would keep and not send send them off to make pizelles immediately before "your gift" spoiled. Then say, "I thought about making pizelles but I thought you would like to use it first!" Then gauge their response for the future. This way you have left a gift and received the information you need for the future!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: dcdavis

                                            dcdvais is a genius! the thoughtfulness without the violation!

                                            1. re: LJS

                                              Southern gentleman training from a very young age!

                                            2. re: dcdavis

                                              This is the best suggestion! Perfect on all counts.

                                            3. If you have any doubts (which you obviously do since you posted this question), then don't do it. Listen to that inner voice!

                                              1. This is not even close. The answer is: NO WAY, NO HOW.

                                                1. As others have said, it depends entirely on your friends and your friendship with them. I would find it very sweet if my best friend used my new pizelle maker to make me pizelles while I was gone. In fact, that is the exact sort of thoughtful thing she WOULD do, and one of the reasons I love her.

                                                  BUT, I'm also not one of those people who is very attached to things. I could not care less if I got to "christen" my appliance and it wouldn't bother me in the slightest if she used it before I did. BUT BUT, I also understand that others feel differently, and that it would bother them. I can understand that, and I see why they feel that way.

                                                  So you just have to figure out what kind of person your friends are. If they are like me, the go for it. If they are like others in the thread, then don't. And if you aren't sure? Err on the safe side and don't. I like the idea upthread about making something else to go WITH the pizelles, and using that as a segue to feel out how they might have felt about you using the pizelle maker, so you know in the future.

                                                  1. There is a universe of things you could make for them to come home to, but you are contemplating one that could seriously backfire? I think you want to make pizzelles more for your curiosity than for your friends -not a good idea. If they e-mail or call to check on things while they are away you could ask (although I would not).

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      You are right on the money. And so is Karl S. No, no and no. Bake some cookies, iron their sheets, polish the furniture, leave their new toys alone.

                                                    2. We have housesitters a lot, and I am totally cool with them using anything in the house. I trust them to keep our cats alive, so why not with the breadmaker, or whatever. But I would be a bit annoyed if they used a new gadget before I'd had the chance to use it. Only a bit though.

                                                      And I have to ask, what's a pizzelle maker? I have never heard of such a thing.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                        Pizzelle are crisp Italian cookies made from a thin batter in an elaborate waffled shape - the appliance is a sort of waffle press. IMO, they are pretty to look at, disappointing to eat, with a taste like a fortune cookie.

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            Ack! You haven't been eating good pizzelles! They don't taste a thing like fortune cookies.

                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                              Sorry - I guess I am reflecting my upbringing in an area where all the home bakers and bakeries were German, French, and/or Jewish. "Ack" has been my reaction to every Italian sweet baked good I have ever tasted, doubly so when anise is involved. A chacon son gout.

                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                When I was little we'd go to my parent's friends house - Emma & Giulio made the best pizzelles, although if I remember correctly they were never as sweet as north american cookies. These days I have (so far) settled for store bought - unfortunately they never fail to disappoint.

                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                  When I was little, my mom would buy pizelles from a bakery (Eastern European or Italian, I think), and I never liked them because they were made with ANISE. I always thought they had a slightly medicinal taste. "Ack" as a reaction is putting it mildly...That is not to say that some pizelles aren't good, but IMHO, not the ones w/ anise.

                                                          2. Don't risk it. (Be honest - you want to try it.)