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Thanksgiving etiquette question

We had a large Thanksgiving party this year, and one of the guests brought two pies and took them home with her after the evening was over. I am curious if this is proper etiquette. Thanks for your help!!

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  1. This will probably get moved to the Not About Food board.

    Did anyone eat the pie or were they untouched?

    1. Hi, Burtuka.

      I can only speak for myself, but . . . I would certainly have left the pies, unless my Host/Hostess told me to please take them with me. Of course (LOL!), having my Host/Hostess tell me to please take my pies with me would let me know, in no uncertain terms, that my pies were not up to their standards. :-)

      Do you think that might have happened?

      1. I probably would have left the pies unless there was so much dessert that the host felt the pies wouldn't be touched and asked me to take them home. I would not have been offended in that case.

        1. If I bring something to your meal, I do not leave with it. If the host/ess was dividing up leftovers & pressed it on me, I would, but that is the ONLY way. I certainly would not claim my contribution's leftovers as due to me.
          To me it is not a strictly proper, but not a big deal either.

          1 Reply
          1. re: elfcook

            I agree with that last sentence. One thing to note is that sometimes economic conditions are in play ... especially the way things are now. Someone who may look like they are financially secure, could be secretly struggling with paying the bills, even on the edge of foreclosure and losing it all. Sometimes that food means a lot to someone ... even people that would surprise you.

          2. Strange, but maybe they just wanted to be sure they got their pie tins back?

            My own etiquette quandary - My wife's niece whom I have specifically asked if she is coming to thanksgiving three times and who told me she'd check with her husband and get back to me finally calls at 9:15 T-day morning to ask what time dinner is. This takes my table from 6 to 11 (her, hubby and 2 teens and am 8 yo). 6 hours before dinner at 3. I quietly push dinner to 4 since this woman has never been on time in her life. She and the gang finally show up at 5:45 after going somewhere else for a meal.

            After dinner her husband wants us all to try out some smoothie concoction he wants to market and starts hinting at start up money. He's converting to Islam and doesn't think the family should be involved in holiday celebrations but seemed to be able to put this aside so he could pitch a business opportunity to the family.

            My question is should I even bother inviting them to Christmas dinner or should I just suggest they show up when/if ever they want to after dinner? This has been an ongoing problem but christmas is the once a year all-family get together I can't actually exclude anybody from but I'm done with this sort of behavior.

            13 Replies
            1. re: Scrapironchef

              Aw, come on scrapironchef. You've been on Chowhound long enough to know not to hijack someone else's topic.

              My two cents, never the less, tell them out of respect for their conversion to the Islamic faith, you will honor their wishes not to be involved in holiday celebrations and will npt expect them at Christmas dinner.

              Since you know these people are late, why did you push back your plans. At 9:15 I would have told them dinner was at noon.

              1. re: rworange

                Telling them noon would have made no difference, I'd already told her mom (also coming) 3. The niece is completely irresponsible but nobody wants to leave her three daughters out of family gatherings.

                1. re: Scrapironchef

                  Leave it up to them and forget about it. Sorry about the daughters, but if the dad and mom are assholes, that is not your problem.

                  Give them some rope to hang themselves. Notify them that you are respencting their new found faith. If the want to show up, give them a time. However, if the are not there when dinner starts ... go on without then ... not one single second of waiting. Maybe it will clue the next generations to be polite and show up on time. If they are late feed them leftovers. If you do otherwise, you are enabling their horrible behaviour and the whole situatation becomes YOUR problem.

                2. re: rworange

                  And just so as this isn't a threadjack, she brought 3 bottles of sparkling cider, poured one for her kids and took the other 2 home, Never asked and I didn't notice until I cleaned out the cooler I had placed them in.

                3. re: Scrapironchef

                  Salaam alaikum. How was the smoothie and what was it made of?

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Carrot, rice milk, sweetened condensed milk and eggnog type spices. Nothing I'd pay $4 a pint bottle for.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Wa'alaikum salaam. Sam. since it's Eid, that's a good question, as it's also a feast of Thanksgiving. Smoothies aren't traditional for either culture, but food cultures are adaptable.

                    2. re: Scrapironchef

                      Whether you invite them by phone, email, snailmail, give them a date by which to respond to you. Tell them in the original invitation that you need their answer by whatever deadline works for you. Explain to them that it does not work to plan a significant dinner without knowing in advance how many guests there will be and that their late responses have been problematic. Tell them you do hope they can join you this time, but if you do not hear from them by the date you have specified, you'll understand that they will not be attending, and you'll look forward to getting together with them some other time.

                      Then stick to it.

                      By no means push back dinner just for them. You're not doing yourself, any other family members or guests, or your niece and her husband any favors by enabling their rude behavior. At some point her husband will be pushing business opportunities to non-family-members, and courtesy will count.

                      Family matter cans be dicey, scrapiron, but have you ever noticed that people tend to push around those who let themselves be pushed around, but don't push around those who don't let themselves be pushed around? All of this can be explained to them in a firm, yet loving and courteous manner. If you are done with this sort of behavior, then it's up to you to let them know that. Direct communication solves a lot of problems. Good luck.

                      1. re: Normandie

                        Could not agree more with Normandie. At some point, the pushee needs to stop the pusher. Simply say "Dinner is at 3pm - we need to know by Monday if you're attending - if we don't hear from you, we understand that you will not be attending." You know this woman is chronically late; don't put out the other guests at your dinner just for her.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Actually, wifey and I have decided to not even invite them for Christmas. We're going to tell them they're welcome to stop by after dinner to visit, but I don't plan on feeding them.

                          If it were up to me alone I would have cut them off year ago, but this is a big deal for my FIL. He wants the whole family together and the three girls are the only great-grandkids.

                          1. re: Scrapironchef

                            Good idea on the not inviting for Christmas. As for the FIL wanting his family there - then perhaps he should say something to his daughter/granddaughter to be more respectful to you and your wife as the hosts of the dinner (and the rest of the guests!). When it gets down to brass tacks, that's what it is - a complete lack of respect on your niece's part.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Anybody that thinks I'm being harsh is going to be invited to be responsible for getting them there on time and can wait outside for them.

                              1. re: Scrapironchef

                                FWIW, I think you're doing the right thing. I agree with Linda; if this issue is so important to FIL, he can explain to "the perps" ;-) that an essential element to "family togetherness" is mutual courtesy.

                                I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised and find out that not inviting them *once* will be all it takes to teach them some manners and appreciation for the fact that they are so lucky to have family with whom to spend holidays. But that's up to them. Regardless, I hope you'll have a more pleasant holiday this time, having headed off the irritant, and I'm willing to bet you will.

                    3. Maybe your guest bought the pies at Marie Calendar's or the grocery store and then got her feelings hurt by hearing other guests saying that they wouldn't touch the store bought pies. Her response may have been to remove the offending pies. This is not far-fetched in that lots of hounds have dissed store bought pies served for holiday meals.

                      1. certainly anything brought to a potluck belongs to the host(ess). IF there is no one hosting then you bring home your own leftovers, in whole or in part. Otherwise it is up to the person holding the party to decide what to do with the remains of the day. It is not at all uncommon for untouched items to be sent home with the one who brought them, but it should not be expected. Still, is it worth getting worked up about?

                        1. Maybe she thought 'they didn't get eaten, good, I can take them to Aunt Em's tomorrow...' or else she really likes pie and wants to be sure it won't be wasted! IMO, if you bring a contribution and it's not specifically a gift to the host, you get to decide what happens to the leftovers... personally I'd probably leave them there, or in the case of the two-pie situation, take one home and leave the other.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kajikit

                            I am kind of curious how this squares with all the threads about how rude it is when you're asked to bring something to a potluck and the host pockets it (or deep freezes it) for personal consumption later. Does the host have an obligation to at least offer (insist?) one of two untouched pies back to the guest? At most of the potlucks I've been to the host doesn't want to end up with all the leftovers and sends everything home with whoever brought the dish, unless they really like something. Leaving all the leftovers with the host is often a burden on him/her to have to pack everything up, throw uneaten food away, etc.

                            I don't think it's weird to take the pies home if they didn't get eaten. I'd probably ask if the host wanted at least one of them (since it's unlikely I'd have use for two whole pies anyway), but I don't think the host has a "claim" to them.

                          2. I'd take back my pies if they were in good glass or ceramic pie plates and hadn't been transferred to other containers by the end of the evening when the other food had been put away. I've probably donated $100 worth of pie plates to the potluck gods over the years and would like to hang on to the plates I have now.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chococat

                              I'm with chococat. Nobody transfers anything to storage containers at the family gatherings I go to, they let everything sit until it's unsafe/inedible and a lot of good food goes to waste. Everyone brings a little something so they don't come empty handed though I wouldn't call it "pot luck" as all the food is provided that you could want, these are just things people bring on top of all the food provided. I have lost several dishes at these family gatherings, even when they are labeled with my name, I never see them again at future gatherings so now I just bring something disposable or I take my dish back home. I brought a homemade spread to Thanksgiving which was completely untouched because there was so much food, and it was in a really cute little dip serving dish with a matching spreader knife, and I wasn't about to lose it to potluck hell, so I took it with us when we left. I don't feel bad about it at all.

                            2. In all the years of "potluck" parties, the majority of people tended to take home any of the leftovers of the dish they brought because no one wants to be bothered at the end of the party to move food into different containers, wash dishes, and then head on home.

                              I have never presumed that leftovers would automatically belong to me. Half the time there isn't room in the fridge for additional food after a party.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Roland Parker

                                exactly! potluck leftovers go home with the bringer of the dish. i always offer the host/hostess (and others) if they would like it, but generally things go back home.

                              2. I'm wondering why people are talking about pot-luck? You don't say it's pot-luck. Anyway, were I the guest and the pies were in special pie plates, I would suggest the host remove the pie so I can take my pie plates home with me. If the host replies they have tons of dessert or are out of storage containers and space and suggests I go ahead and take them with me, ONLY then would I take them home.

                                On the other hand, when I've invited people I didn't know well to holiday or other dinners, I've had some pretty strange results. Like the new-in-town/new-with-the-company couple we invited to ADULTS ONLY Christmas dinner who brought their teenage daughter, then scolded me when I told the teenage daughter that the $120.00 crab claw appetizer platter was for everyone. "Aww, let her have it. She's just a kid." No! I was tempted to add "Go home," but let it pass and never invited them again. Live and learn. I think the pies should have stayed in your house! Maybe not the pie plates, but certainly the pies.

                                31 Replies
                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  Good Lord- how many crab claws did she eat before you spokde to her?

                                  I do have a couple of questions- why would you have an adults-only Christmas dinner???
                                  And how old do people have to be to be considered nonchildren?

                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                    The dinner was "couples only," with guests whose children were grown. The menu was assorted appetizers on the sofas around the fire in the living room, then sit down dinner with candelabra and beef Wellington as the centerpiece nestled among small arrangements of flowers. Lots of crystal and glitter. Showing up with an extra (uninvited) "guest" wiped out all of my planning. Squeezing one more person at the table certainly kicked all of my carefully planned seating in the head.

                                    For the apps, the coffee table is a large mirrored square, nearly four feet per side, and was pretty much covered with various finger foods and a stack of glass dessert size plates. Stuffed mushroom caps. Small tyropitas. Individual quiches. Stuffed cherry tomatoes. Things like that with the silver platter of mounded of crab claws at the center. I think the daughter was around 16, and she just reached into the middle of the table, took the platter of crab claws, seated herself on the hearth and began digging in.

                                    At dinner, the mother unceremoniously carved herself two more large portions of beef Wellington while loudly announcing to everyone that she couldn't cook like this and I would NEVER EVER be invited to her house for dinner! I no longer remember her name. I never saw her again. No, she never called to say thank you. But she certainly made that pre-Christmas dinner memorable. Not the way I had hoped for, but nevertheless unforgettable.

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      <<Showing up with an extra (uninvited) "guest" wiped out all of my planning. Squeezing one more person at the table certainly kicked all of my carefully planned seating in the head.>>

                                      Doesn't matter. It's nothing you should have to justify.

                                      Whether the invitations were mailed or telephoned (for a less formal invent), the only persons invited were those specified via the invitation. If the daughter wasn't mentioned in your invitation, they had no business bringing her.

                                      (And I know you know that. Just backing you up.)

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        I have to admit, I'm not sure how I feel about limiting dinner parties to 'couples only'. I know that has little to do with the poor behaviour of those guests you mentioned,I guess I'm responding to my own situation when I've been excluded from gatherings because I didn't have a partner and apparently, singletons are hard to accommodate,

                                        1. re: Lizard

                                          I'm with you there. I quite enjoy being single, so I imagine staying in the singleton category for a long time.

                                          1. re: Lizard

                                            I can empathize with feelings of being left out because you're single. But that says more about those hosting than it says about you. Well, assuming you're not a royal pain at dinner parties! '-)

                                            As for whom I invite, I feel very strongly that until someone else starts picking up the tab for my property taxes and monthly utility bills, the house is mine and I have final say on who I invite. I do love entertaining. I also love cooking and presenting unique and memorable menus that are NOT designed for children. So if prospective guests feel my offerings are not worthy of the expense of a babysitter OR don't have a baby sitting pool they can take advantage of, I will exxpect a "Sorry, we can't make it," and NOT a "Gee, we can't get a babysitter so we'll be bringing the kids." NO! I don't do escargot for kids. Which is NOT to say I don't have occasions where children are not only invited, but very much desired and the menu is planned accordingly. Oh, and for the record, I do invite single people, and if it's important for sit-down dinners, I try to invite singles in pairs with no obligation beyond comfortable conversational seating at the table.

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              I figured you probably invited singles. :)

                                              I see no problem with excluding children on certain occasions. Not every event will be fun for children, nor should a host(ess) have to change the menu/seating arrangement to include children. I know people who make excuses about not being able to afford babysitters even though I know they are involved in plenty of activities where people would be happy to trade babysitting services. With regards to the teen, I can't imagine why the parents felt they could bring her. She's old enough to stay at home alone and occupy herself. If they're that worried that she can't behave on her own for a few hours, I don't think taking her to adult parties is the way to solve the problem.

                                        2. re: EWSflash

                                          You would have an adults only party for adults. Obviously, you would not invite people with kids at home to such an event.

                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            It was one of those cases where it is totally unsafe to assume that just because one half of a couple is well mannered, intelligent, and interesting that the other half of the couple will be a match. NEVER assume! The husband was a new hire on the engineering staff on the missile system my husband was working on. He'd been over for drinks a couple of times and we liked him. His wife and dating teenage daughter arrived in town about a week before our dinner party, so we invited him making it clear the invitation was for him and his wife. If the kid didn't have a date, she was certainly old enough to stay home and watch TV. Ever meet a couple that just boggles your mind on how the two of them ever got together?Well, that's what happened. Mr Nice Guy married to Mrs. Godzilla. Who knew?

                                          2. re: EWSflash

                                            "How old do people have to be to be considered nonchildren?"

                                            Every year, on Dec. 26, the women in my family indulge in a fun tradition. We go out for sushi and a movie. No children, no husbands, boyfriends, or brothers. It's just the women. Our non-children (joking) cut-off is, "If you aren't legally able to order a cocktail, you're not old enough to attend." I think, if pressed, we'd say the attendees should be out of high school.

                                            1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                              Oooops! I messed answering that one about how old people have to be to be considered "non-children."

                                              It isn't a matter of children or teens or adults. It's a matter of a well planned, well thought out, and well prepared dinner, then someone shows up with an UNINVITED guest. So whose hors d'ouvre does the uninvited get? Whose main course? Whose dessert? It's not like I was serving take-out and could just make a phone call and order another delivery.

                                              And that's the thing that absolutely amazes me by the attitued from some on these boards who seem to think it is their inalienable right to take their children along to any and all dinner invitations. If you're one of those, have you ever thought of what you're doing to someone else's food budget? Hosting a meal is not a minor budget afterthought. The logic of "if my kids aren't welcome, I won't go" kind of thinking absolutely escapes me!

                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                I never had a baby sitter growing up because my parents never felt the need to attend anything where I wasn't included. They reveled in being a family and were married 26 happy years. My mom never remarried after my dad's death.

                                                Some peole just enjoy the family life and choose not to go to things where the whole family can't go. So that's your answer.

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  No. It's not MY answer. But it's obviously your parent's answer. Look, I don't have a problem with people who don't want to go anywhere without their kids. That's their decision. What I DO have a problem with is people who have kids and drag the kids along uninvited because they would rather hike the host's food budget than figure out how to pay for or arrange babysitting. THAT is what I have a problem with. Not all of my friends make the same guest lists.

                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    Exactly. With those people who show up with an uninvited guest (be it child or adult) is that it is a complete disregard for and lack of consideration of the hosts wishes. It's rude.

                                                    1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                                      I agree. Parties or evenings for adults are fun to attend. A night away from the kids, ADULT conversatation, and sophisticated food...not prepared with children in mind. Both of my children are mannerly and have excellent palates, however, I do not schlep them everywhere just because we are "one". Please...get a life. What a nightmare to have children show up at a party uninvited! I would have been very upset.
                                                      One of my biggest pet peeves is to have a fine dinner at a great restaurant with screaming children in the room....with parents who think that kids should go everywhere. NOT!

                                                  2. re: rworange

                                                    But that is a choice that stays within the confines of the nuclear group. Once you move into the real world others have opinions on how and who should be included in events if they are the hosts.

                                                    If your parents chose that lifestyle, that was their choice. But the idea that the host has to accept the uninvited guest is not within the choice of the invitee.

                                                    If the jfoods want to have an adult gathering for their adult friends and someone decides not to attend because little precious was not included, then it's their choice. And if that was their outlook in life it probably would not have been a16 year old since that friendship would have gone away a long time previous to this event.

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      I never said that a host should accept uninvited guests. I was responding to this specific statement

                                                      >>> The logic of "if my kids aren't welcome, I won't go" kind of thinking absolutely escapes me

                                                      Some people prefer their whole families. My parents never pushed me on anyone, they just chose to only attend events that included the whole family.

                                                      Adult life includes kids. Now those who need time away from the kids that is just one of the many decisions and choices.

                                                      It is just no one should be insulted if an invitation is turned down to an adults only party. My parents were never angry about these events. They just weren't interested. Family was all to them. I wasn't considered an inconvenient appendage to be escaped from but rather someone who made their life more complete.

                                                      They waited to start a family and did their nightclubbing and adult-only stuff in their twenties. As others have said ethnicity plays into this. It was pretty much the same with most of their freinds and relatives.

                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                        That may be fine for your family, but there are plenty of people without kids who simply don't have the house/resources to hose a party that would be able to accommodate children. I think if I were in that situation, I would be offended if someone turned down my invites every time because I didn't have a house that was child-friendly. To ask someone to rearrange a house to make it child friendly and set up areas that will be appropriate for children's activities is a bit much. I agree with jfood that the outlook that children must be included in everything will result in losing friends.

                                                        1. re: queencru

                                                          What? So someone should do something they don't want to do to accomodate you? Does that sound like a good friend?

                                                          No one is asking you to rearrange your house. Just accept that some people with families don't want to attend adults only parties. Sorry.

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            People's lives don't change just because a friend has kids. The reality is that people do get offended when invites are regularly turned down because children cannot attend. A person who skips out on a friend's important life events because children cannot attend is not really a friend at all, IMHO. While your parents may be fine with alienating friends because the children can't come, I don't think it's surprising that the friends may be hurt.

                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                              But on the other hand, what if the person who you are expecting to leave their children at home is just as hurt by you not wanting to have their children included? One could just as well say a person who doesn't want their friend's children to attend is not really a friend at all. Jane may be angry Alice didn't attend her 40th b-day party because the kids weren't welcome, and Alice may be hurt that Jane didn't want to spend time with her children. I think it goes both ways and I don't believe it's correct to say which side has more 'right' or reason to be upset.

                                                              I'm not advocating bringing your children (or spouse, bf, gf, friend, dog, or monkey) someplace uninvited because you want them there (that's rude), but rather the host should not be overly offended if their invitation is declined. Likewise, the guests shouldn't be overly offended that their children aren't invited. (I think I've basically restated what rworange has said).

                                                        2. re: rworange

                                                          "I wasn't considered an inconvenient appendage to be escaped from"

                                                          And to think that others feel that they are having a child-ectomy when they attend an adult only party is not fair either. Jfood has a life of his own, mrs jfood has a life of her own, little jfood1 has a life of her own and little jfood2 has a life of her own, likewise the permutations of the 4 into separate sub-untis have a life of their own (think manny / peddies for the ladies; jfood ain't going).

                                                          It is just a different POV. Jfood believes the family-unit is not an all or nothing march through life and telling people that you take us all or take none of us have repercussions. Your parents were very comfortable with that answer, others would not be.

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            It seems like the people having tantrums are those insisting it is their lifestyle or nothing. What makes your attitude any different that the person who chooses not to attend an a party with children.

                                                            On top of this, refusing to acknowledge someone's ethinc upbringing does not show respect. Lord, one could be more respected choosing any other life choice.

                                                            They chose friends with similar lifestyles and did not suffer for lack of friends. From the events I attended growing up, I didn't see them deprived of adult conversation. The kids played with the kids. The adults got together and talked, danced, etc.

                                                            I respect your right to party hardy with other adults only. People who make different choices should be afforded that same respect.

                                                            This has gone from you shouldn't take your kids, to you MUST leave your kids.

                                                            With all the constant bitching about children on the boards, you would think that people who chose not to include themselves in adults only activities ... be it parties or restaurants ... would be a relief to those bothered by children in certain situations.

                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              "It seems like the people having tantrums are those insisting it is their lifestyle or nothing."...please look in the mirror, there lies the face of the words. It was your position that it was 100% or nothing. Jfood has parties that are adult only and jfood has parties that are full families. Seems to jfood that it was casa-rworange that was the all or none for 100% full families all of the times.

                                                              And who the heck brought in ethnics? What, purple people cannot separate children from adults. And here is Jfood's position yet again. People who host a party decide WHO should attend. People who are invited decide IF they will attend.

                                                              Jfood has NEVER stated that he did not respect other choices, has NEVER brought up ethnics and has NEVER stated it was 100% adult only parties. Those statement, may have come from others.

                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                I stated in my very first reply that ethnicity played in my parents decision. There have been a number of comments in this thread saying some ethnicities expect children to be included.

                                                                Yes. My parents choice was 100 percent or nothing. So what?

                                                                You obviously don't understand that choice and that was what I was responding to in another poster's post.

                                                                Some people at the time they are raising their families don't WANT to go to adults only parties. It is no reflection on you. If your friendship cannot survive people who make that choice, you are not a good friend in the first place.

                                                                No one is forcing their children on you on times you don't want them to be included. They just don't want to attend. That should not be a problem to anyone.

                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                    I hope you don't mind my asking, but what ethnicity are you talking about, and in what country do you live?

                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                      Maybe more than an ethnicity it is a class thing. The Italian, Polish, Irish, German, Russian families where we lived and of my parents generation were working class, had children and parties included everyone. They weren't the sort to throw adult only soirees.

                                                                      My Latin American husband and his frendis and family are also working class and I really can't recall one adult-only party to date.

                                                                      I worked in Mexico City a year and while the bosses often had adults only parties, the few parties I attended with some of the staff, had kids.

                                                                      I do remember some events that were adults only, one wedding in particular, that my parents turned down.

                                                                      I was wondering why people are so hot and bothered by this and maybe I wasn't clear.

                                                                      My parents didn't turn down these events with an explanation. It was just a regret that they would be unable to attend.

                                                                      I doublt if anyone ever knew the reason. It is not like they said "sorry we only attend events where we can bring our daughter". So maybe that is what some people were thinking and got their panties in a knot. I'm sorry but "what purple people cannot separate their children from adults" isn't respectful. Nor is singling anyone out because they don't think like you or act like you act.

                                                                      Growing up in a time when there was a lot less tolerance of differences, being singled out just reminds me of the less enlightened times in our country. I remember growing up ashamed of my ethnicity and wanting to be "American" ... I envied the kids with the carrot sticks and wonder bread sandwiches with their crusts cut off and I was stuck with homemade bread and sandwiches with crust.

                                                                      Seriously, if someone has kids and doesn't want to go to your adult bash., let them be. Don't make them feel bad about it.

                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                        "what purple people cannot separate their children from adults" isn't respectful."

                                                                        When jfood wrote that he was trying to place a generic adjective in from of people, he was not calling them a name. He chose that because his HS principal used to say "I don;t care if you are white, black, purple or green, you're suspended." It was a color-blind use of the term.

                                                                        There was no offense intended, but reading it again, it could have come across that way and for that jfood apologizes, never intended that. Mea culpa.

                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                  this reminds me of an uninvited guest that was brought to thanksgiving dinner last year. i made arrangements to make dinner for a roommate and her friend (both nurses that had to work until 7pm on Tday). i would provide all the food/wine, etc., and they would pitch in a predetermined amount of money to help me cover the costs (i had already bought most of the ingredients, so i pretty much knew how much dinner was going to cost).

                                                  the 2 nurses arrived for dinner, and they brought another nurse without telling me. ok, fine. there's plenty of food and another seat at the table. well, this new guest takes it upon himself to start carving the turkey. uh... a little akward for me, but fine, maybe because he's the only guy at dinner... at the end of the meal, the 3 guests start divvying up all the leftovers. let me just say that i would never attend a dinner and start packing up leftovers for me to take home, unless it was specifically offered by the host. what really got me was that the 3rd unexpected guest claims he's taking the dark meat home. ugh! everything was packed up so fast that i didn't have time to say anything or protest. before i knew it the turkey carcass was in the trash! *sigh*

                                                  i ended up with mostly white meat (still good, but i dream of dark meat), the 3rd guest got a totally free meal, and the 2 original nurses never paid me until i mentioned something a few months later when i owed them money - i kept waiting, hoping they would "remember" to pay me. i never mentioned how i felt about the dividing of leftovers or the extra guest to my friends (well, we are not friends anymore, but that is another story).

                                                  1. re: lschow

                                                    You need to get in touch with your dark side; these freeloaders should have been cut off at the knees. You were had.

                                                3. Proper Etiquette? Probably not, BUT sometimes so necessary.

                                                  Thanksgving was at my sister-in-law's house. She assigns food to be made and brought by other family members. She makes desserts and decorations. She then had the nerve to stop anyone from taking food so that she could take pictures of the food table. That night it was posted on Face Book as if she cooked it all.........

                                                  Towards the end of dinner, my other sister-in-law complained that her sons and future daughter-in-law were staying the weekend and expecting to be fed dinner Friday night. Her oldest (26) then started announcing which dishes he expected his mother to remove from the buffet table and take home to feed him. How obnoxious!

                                                  I got up at the end of the main course and picked up the remains of the food I'd brought in my serving pieces and took them to my car. I said to my hosting sister-in-law "this way you don't have to wash" I'll be dammed if my greedy nephew-in-law is going to announce what food he will take without it being offered. i'd rather my dogs eat it.

                                                  I had spent more than $50 on ingredients and hours of prep and cookig time. The offending sister-in-law and brood always shows up with a gallon zip loc bag of instant mashed potatoes and announces how hard she slaved in the kitchen and how much food she brings (and takes it home afterwards).

                                                  Next year we'll go to our vacation home in time for Thanksgiving instead of waiting for Friday.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                    Thank you for all your replys!!! She did make the pies, and they were very delicious, which is why I was a little bummed she took them home. The only reason I could think of is that she took them home so she would not lose the pie plates, although she does not live far away and I would have definitely returned them.

                                                    THANKKKKKKKKK you!

                                                    1. re: burtuka

                                                      Taking them home was Very Bad Form. Folks who are afraid of losing an inexpensive pie plate after having been graciously hosted in your home should probably buy disposable pie tins to bring them in.

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        Ever try transferring a whole pie from a glass dish (which you need to use in order to bake it properly) into an aluminum one? NOT possible. Also, the expense of the dish might not be the issue. It could have sentimental value, or maybe some folks just don't like the idea of a perfectly good Pyrex pie plate going to waste.

                                                        But, if it were me, I would've offered to transfer the leftovers into another dish so I could take my pie-plates home.

                                                        1. re: visciole

                                                          My cousin brought two pies here last year in glass dishes she'd bought with the expectation of leaving them here. I've often transferred baked and cooled pies, no problem.

                                                      2. re: burtuka

                                                        If they were that delicious, why weren't they served? I'd be a little miffed if I went to all the trouble of making homemade baked goods for an event and they didn't make an appearance or were totally ignored at the table... and yes, in that case I'd probably take them both home with me so that I could give them proper appreciation!

                                                      3. re: bagelman01

                                                        Wow. Your poor sister-in-law. You know, I have a new family by marriage now and all of my blood relatives are dead or scattered. My mother died a slow awful death from Alzheimers. But if there was anything I learned about the whole situation is the things don't matter. It was being with my mom, holding her hand and the friends who were near me.

                                                        When I think back on my childhood family gatherings, I think of the relatives who ruined the getogethers for THEMSELVES. My mother's sister-in-law who begrudged everything my mother did. The great aunt who cut off her own son over a minor spat.

                                                        Please go back and read your post.

                                                        I got to think spending effort to bring family together would be the better use of energy than $50 for pie ingredients that brought such resentment of the SIL projecting that she was taking credit for the spread. If so ... so what? Or maybe she was just happy about the family gathering and wanted to share her joy.

                                                        The dog is more important than a nephew. So what if he enjoyed a meal. You couldn't take it as a compliment that he liked the dish so much he selected it as a favorite?

                                                        Maybe spending the holiday at the vacation home is a good idea otherwise

                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                          I chose my wife, not her extended family (even she doesn't like them). Her nephew is just plain greedy and a taker, as is his mother.
                                                          When they ate here for the last holiday, he announced that he was filling his plate with lots of brisket to make sure he got more than his share, others could eat chicken.

                                                          As to the picture happy sister in law. Face book is for college kids, not true grown ups, No one needs to see the pictures of your holiday table, you are not Martha Stewart. I don't mind offering to bring a dish, but resent being told what to make and supply to feed others.

                                                          Why should I have to do the work and spend much more money to feed people I don't like and relatives of relatives that I would not have in my home?

                                                          I would be thankful for a Thanksgiving with immediate family and those guests I truly enjoy.

                                                          The greedy nephew's mother is 56 years old and has never had any member of the family to her house for a meal, but always asks to pack up and take food home. It's not a lack of money thing, just greed and laziness.

                                                          You are right that things don't matter, and that's why i resent having to spend holidays with people I don't like.

                                                      4. Having read through this entire thread (and responding to the other mini-thread within), I would say no, it's not proper etiquette to take what was brought unless it is offered by you, the host/ess. To summarily take something that was brought (I'm assuming as a gift to you/contribution to the party?) without asking is just wrong. If she was concerned about the pie plates, she could have asked that they be returned after the desserts were done being eaten (or divided amongst the guests). So yes, I think she was wrong in doing what she did.

                                                        1. For me, the question is circumstantial…

                                                          - if asked to bring a specific something – “Bring mashed potatoes or those delicious canapes everyone loves.” - I’d leave it behind.

                                                          - if it’s a “bring what you want” pot luck, I’m likely to take it with me. (Who wants to be stuck with all those leftovers?)

                                                          - and, I would never show up with an unsolicited addition to the menu (a bottle of wine perhaps to be enjoyed now or saved for later).

                                                          1. I think it's bad form. A good friend/neighbor and her husband do this all the time. Most of the time, I ignore them, but if they brought something I REALLY like, I've simply said, "You *cannot* take this home--it's so delicious that I'm going to enjoy it for days to come." Of course, this is said with a smile and in the most pleasant, I-am-so-wowed-by-your-cooking-prowess voice. Works all the time.

                                                            1. On both the topic and the sub-topic, a lot of presumption could have been avoided by a little conversation. In the case of the pies - whether something is designated as potluck or not, if I'm asked to bring something and there is any left over, it's a just a simple and courteous conversation in the form of "Gee, there's a lot of pie left here, would you like some it to go with your other leftovers, or would you like me to just take it home?" Whether the host loved it or loathed it, s/he will almost always be gracious and say "There's plenty here, you take it home". I make real desserts (no low fat, low carb, sugar free, margarine concoctions would come out of my kitchen) so I'm often ASKED to take the leftovers away because they'll be too tempting to someone in the household who could do without eating 3/4 of a pie for breakfast the next day :) But I do want my pie plate or whatever vessel back, and more often than not the host isn't close to me, so I would find some way to orchestrate that. But really, the money and time is already spent on the preparation of the dish, I don't expect to get any of that back whether the dinner party eats it or the host eats it later.

                                                              As for the teenager at the dinner party...no, they shouldn't have brought her, but I have married into a family very culturally different than mine in that it is always assumed that kids are invited. It is for some people/families a cultural thing - right, wrong or indifferent, it's just their world and they would have no idea that what they did was inappropriate. So for people you don't know well, sometimes you have to outright say no children, or teenagers as the case was.

                                                              1. After reading the numerous replies, sub replies, and rebuttals, it seems to me that the most important is to agree on the ground rules beforehand. For example:

                                                                1) I appreciate everyone's willingness to bring something. As a good host I will try to be sure everyones serving dishes and utensils are returned at the end of the meal, but please don't bring great aunt Lunetta's Waterford cake plate. I would hate to have it broken during the madness.

                                                                2) If there is something you want to take home with you at the end of the meal, please let me know beforehand so I don't accidently give it to someone who won't appreciate it.

                                                                3) Leftovers can be taken at the end of the evening, Ill have some plates and foil available, but if you want some of uncle Joe's corn chowder, please bring your own tuppeprware. OR I am not overcooking this year, so please do not expect to bring leftover's home with you. Bring enough to share, but leave some of your favorite dish at home so you can enjoy it later. Oh, yes, the supermarket has whole turkey's on sale for $4 this year. Such a steal, you won't even have to bring home leftovers, it can be at home waiting for you as well.

                                                                5) We love to see everyone at Thanksgiving, and friends are welcome to stop by after we eat, but we want to keep the meal to family this year. Let me know who will be able to make it so I can plan accordingly. Of course if you don't think you can make the meal, you are welcome to come by after as well, sometime after X-o-clock should be fine.

                                                                6) Please remember that cousin Jay is deathly allergic to peanuts. I would hate to need to call 911 again this year. I love thai peanut sauce as much as anyone, but save that for another occasion.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                  Sensible, gracious and considerate of all guests, family members, hosts...and cooks ;-). Well done, Kaimuki.

                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                      Well, actually, in real life, it's neither, but of the two choices, "norma" would be more appropriate. :-D

                                                                2. In answer to the OP's question, NO. It is never proper etiquette to take back what you brought as a contribution to dinner. Or rather, it is VERY RARELY proper.

                                                                  The only valid exception that comes to mind is if you bring an item to a pot luck which is hosted at a neutral place -- like a picnic, or at a community center, for example. By taking your uneaten item home, your are just helping to clean up.

                                                                  If a host insists that you take your leftovers home, then that's fine with me. I've got alot of foodie friends who love to overprep. In some cases the host has provided plastic bags or containers and insisted that everyone take "something" home. This happens after everyone has had their fill.

                                                                  That said, I admit that I have violated my own rule -- and in my mother's house no less! A few Thanksgivings ago, I stopped at a friend's house the night before T-day while on my way to Mom's. The friend gave me a loaf of poor man's cake, a jar of her famous home made cranberry chutney and a 2-pound block of the most amazingly sharp cheddar cheese. She does this every year -- just one of the many reasons I adore her.

                                                                  Fast-forward to Mom's Thanksgiving Eve celebration, which includes number of hors d'oeuvres and snacks while kids and friends file in for the weekend. I contributed my gift of cake, chutney and cheese (along with other items I'd made) and we all attacked everything in the voracious manner to which our family has become accustomed.

                                                                  The cake and chutney were gone in short order, as I expected. But there was a two inch morsel of cheese left, which got wrapped up and thrown in the cheese bin. While packing up my water bottles and ice packs for the trip home later that weekend, I noticed the neglected cheese and added it to my cooler.

                                                                  I was about halfway home (a four-hour drive) when my cell phone rang. It was Mom, asking if I knew where the cheese was. I copped to the repo. She teased me that she didn't raise me to do such a thing. I reminded her that she didn't raise me to re-gift, either. I still haven't heard the end of it.

                                                                  Happy ending: My friend has since become thick as thieves with my mom -- and added her to the holiday "cake, chutney and cheese" list.

                                                                  1. I am guessing it had more to do with wanting to make sure they got the pie plates back more than anything else. But I would have offered to put the leftover pie in tupperwares before taking my plates back if I were in your guest's situation.

                                                                    1. A couple I know doesn't want leftovers of any kind. They have a case of foam to-go containers so guests can take everything that isn't eaten. They won't even take left overs from a restaurant. The husband says they don't eat leftovers.

                                                                      1. I'm sure I'm a clod for saying so, but if I brought two pies to a potluck and they were untouched a) I would be crushed and b) I absolutely would take them home.

                                                                        In fact, I'd probably lift a fork from the hosts' kitchen, storm out the front door balancing one pie in each hand, and wolf the pies down in the car on the way home (my husband would be driving, of course), because I would be so traumatized. (Okay, not true, this entire paragraph, but that's how I'd be feeling inside).

                                                                        Also, I'd wonder where the manners of all of the other guests were that no one at least pity-tasted my pies. Unless I'm observing a strict diet or something looks truly unsanitary, I pity taste all of the lonely looking dishes at a potluck. it's the culinary equivalent of engaging the shy wallflowers in conversation. You try a little of everything out of politeness.

                                                                        The point of a potluck in my opinion is not for the guests to feed the hosts for days after the party has ended, but to contribute to a shared meal. If no one was interested in "sharing" in my pies during the party, then I would feel confident that my contribution to the shared meal was not needed and any other obligation I had to feed anyone had been, therefore, terminated.. I assume that I will have brought a hostess gift, in addition to the pies, and that I would, therefore, not seem like a completely ungracious guest, even if I didn't leave behind my, apparently, unappealing pies.

                                                                        If the pies had been partly-eaten, or this was a more formal meal than a potluck, I would probably wait for a cue from the hosts as to what would be most helpful to them. My name will have been taped to the underside of (non-family-heirloom) pie plates; I wouldn't be worried about getting them back.


                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          >>>>Also, I'd wonder where the manners of all of the other guests were that no one at least pity-tasted my pies.<<<

                                                                          that, dear dq, is quite funny!

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            Well, since the meal at issue was Thanksgiving, I would actually make an exception to pity-tasting rule because I would assume there was so much food that people just didn't pace themselves and leave room for dessert. I wouldn't want people to overstuff themselves, even for the sake of pity. :).

                                                                            But, I do think it is polite and a kindness to try a small amount of all the homemade dishes (I'm not talking a pie that was obviously purchased from Marie Callendars or Baker's Square, etc.) brought to a potluck.


                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              Unfortunately, burtuka hasn't stated in her two posts whether it was a potluck. A "Thanksgiving party" could mean several things.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                Linda, you are absolutely correct--I scoured her posts looking for that info because I thought it was relevant.

                                                                                Nevertheless, in my (very long-winded, sorry about that) answer allowed for both the possibility that it was a potluck and (near the end of my post) that it was a more formal meal. If two untouched, homemade pies were left at the end of a potluck, I probably would take them home. If it were a more formal meal or if the pies had been partly eaten, I would wait for a cue from the hosts as to what would be best for them. Either way, I would have marked my pie tins with masking tape underneath (and wouldn't be worried about getting my tins back) and would have brought a hostess gift as my thank you.


                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  don't be hurt TDQ. At the Thanksgiving potluck I went to everyone knows the host likes pumpkin pies. There were 9 guests. There were 12 pumpkin pies. 8 of them were home made. The 4 store bought went immediately to the fridge and went home with those who either brought them or others who wanted them. The host ended up with two for himself (both of which were polished off before monday morning. Three of them were eaten during the meal. The other three went in parts or in whole home with those who brought them or those who wanted pumpkin pie for a midnight snack or breakfast. No one ate my pie, it was one the host happened to keep. Those dividing up the leftovers had no idea at that point who had made or brought what, and no one got offended, upset, or was terribly worried about etiquette at that point.

                                                                                  I still maintain that as it was a hosted potluck, it was the host's decision what would happen with the leftovers. As a kind and considerate host, he first offered everyone to bring home what they wanted. As kind and considerate guests, everyone offered everyone else a chance to take some of that to the others to take home. Being good guests, they were also kind to the host and did take anything back home that was not otherwise distributed. OK, except one guest who does have a small selfish streak and announced.... well since no one liked my pie, I'm taking the whole thing home with me. No one was surprised.

                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                    Actually, the situation you described sounds like the host handled everything beautifully, (except, perhaps, the pre-planning part where he ensured that there wouldn't be 12 pumpkin pies for only 9 guests, but, since he loves them so much, it sounds like people just couldn't resist. That's kind of sweet, actually.!)

                                                                                    Since the host in your situation displayed some leadership at the end of the meal in letting people know what his preferences were, it sounds like it went very smoothly and there was no second guessing what was appropriate under the circumstances. Really, that seems like the ideal solution. Just let people know what you'd like them to do and people are happy to comply. These are, after all, our dear friends and family, right?

                                                                                    And how flattering that he chose to keep your pie!

                                                                                    Is a special recipe and, if so, would you mind sharing with us (perhaps on Home Cooking?)


                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      Is there really such a thing as too much home made pumpkin pie? Not in my book. Everyone gets to go home with a few slices. Perfect.

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        Actually, if the host really likes pumpkin pies it sounds like he planned it pretty well.

                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          thanks sam, as you know... if there is one thing hawaii people know how to do, its potluck. i think it's our "state food"!