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Dissapointing Dinner at Friends House

Ever go to a friend's house and are just completely let down by the food?

I understand that spending time with friends is not all about the food. But i would even appreciate friends making efforts to reciprocate. Seems that i am always having my friends over and they never seem to return the favor by serving food that represents an effort.

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  1. Maybe "disappointing" is the result of effort? There's a broad spectrum of ability/interest in cooking out there.

    1. Are they trying their best or just throwing some crap on the table so they can say they reciprocated? If it is the former, then let it be and suck it up in the name of friendship. If it is the latter, either grin and bear it if you can, do not go when invited or best yet...don't invite these friend over any more to begin with.

      1. I've had a few friends (or good acquaintances) in my life who simply didn't share my gusto for food and therefore don't think it essential to a good time. In that case, I don't think it's necessarily a lack of effort to set up an enjoyable get together, rather a difference in opinion as to what makes it enjoyable. But, while I appreciate that difference in opinion, it doesn't change my thinking that a good time goes hand in hand with good food, so I tend to socialize less with such folks.

        And then I know people who are into food, put a good deal of effort into it, but also whose idea of delicious is so divergent from my own, that I don't end up enjoying their food as much as they do. But I appreciate their hospitality nonetheless.

        I grew up in an Asian household where properly entertaining people meant a HUGE spread of a wide variety and neverending supply of food at sometimes deep cost to the host's pocket and sanity. But I personally prefer it simpler these days and if I were to reciprocate for one of my friends who entertained in such a fashion, I would still keep the meal to a scale that suits me.

        What are the disparities between the meals you host and those of your friends that leave you feeling slighted?

        1. My friends complain about being too intimidated to invite me over for food. I think they worry needlessly. Once in a while, it's a pleasure for someone else to do the work, even if it's just doctoring up Boston Chicken and side dishes. GG, I don't mean to criticize, but perhaps your expectations are too high? I have a male friend who loves to eat at my house, but doesn't cook at all. He reciprocates by taking me to $$ restos I wouldn't be able to afford on my own. Sometimes all people know how to make well is comfort food they grew up with - mac & cheese, meat loaf, etc. Give some examples of "food that represents an effort". Do you expect your friends to make you puff pastry from scratch or are you talking about Kraft mac & cheese?

          30 Replies
          1. re: Diane in Bexley

            A great example...my wife and I have friends over all the time for sometimes elaborate plated dinners..and sometimes for a buffet-style simple dinners. But either way i make the effort to invite people over to eat.....everyone in this thread understands the work involved with procuring, prepping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up when entertaining. Now of my friends, lets say 10 people, only one other couple invites us over to eat. Now this couple is not as intensely into the idea of finding good ingredients and doing something great with them as I am....but nonetheless they make an effort to cook for us...I am so thankful for friends that reciprocate in such a manner. Last time we went there....it was steak sandwhiches with bacon and cheddar....simple, not fancy, but the effort was there and we greatly appreciated it.

            I dont expect to have sous vide prepared foods, or even to be impressed..i just need to see that my friends make the effort...and frankly it comes down to choices....its just not important for them to entertain with food thus it never happens.

            1. re: giorgionadi

              I see what you mean - just the basic act of reciprocating a meal with a meal.

              Someone mentioned this downstream, but I do think a lot of people are really self conscious about inviting others into their home because they don't want to be scrutinized or judged on the state of their abode and/or their cooking skills. Someone else mentioned that they invite people whose company they enjoy, with or without the prospect of reciprocation, and I think that's a good approach.

              Maybe you have some friends who are always all too happy to have dinner on you, show up empty handed, make pigs of themselves, rinse and repeat. Round here, we call them mooches, and they eventually get culled from the guest list because they tend not to make very good friends away from the dinner table either.

              1. re: giorgionadi

                From what I have seen of the "adult" world, especially when talking to my parents (because alot of my 20 something friends are barely there with the adult thing yet) this is becoming typical. People don't reciprocate very much anymore and don't have people over as much in general. My parents are dying to get invited over and generally they do about 50% of the entertaining with their friends and the others each do it about once a year. They aren't as good cooks as my parents but my parents would rather be invited sometimes instead of it being assumed that they will continue to invite everyone.

                1. re: melpy

                  We're in the same camp as your parents, except we do about 95%+ of the entertaining. I'm happy on the rare occasion I am a guest or even rarer occasion when I am not the one organzing a group of family or friends for dinner out. I can't remember the last dinner where I didn't make the reservation.

                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                    "I can't remember the last dinner where I didn't make the reservation."

                    That drives me nuts, and, sometimes, I am a complete hypocrite.

                    With my one friend, especially, he is always doing the organizing. And, he knows he will usually be stuck with it. So, I always look to: pay for gas, bring the food/beer/wine, pay for extra rounds, buy all of the napkins/plates, etc.

                    1. re: DougRisk

                      I love my friends and family but they truly are like herding cats and I just grow weary of everyone looking at me to find a 8:00 reservation on Friday night to a popular place and I can't get a firm head count or know if everyone can do 8:00.

                      One night 10 of us went to a popular place on a Friday night. I called ahead and they were kind enough to say they couldn't give us an exact time but they would work us in. I told everyone this and no one vetoed or seemed to have a problem. We get there and it's busy, but we are waiting at the bar and everyone is in good spirits. One gal came to me ("Hooch" for those of you who remember my infamous friends "Mooch and Hooch" from previous threads) and said "I thought you got us a reservation. My husband had to drag me away before I made a real scene.

                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                        I am coming to a realization.

                        Many of you are simply way to "understanding" of how some people act towards you. Either that, or I am a complete d!ck.

                        Janet, you are definitely nicer than me.

                        1. re: DougRisk

                          LOL. I am too then...

                          A d*ck, that is.

                          1. re: DougRisk

                            I'd say the former, but, the again, I'm a complete d*ck myself.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Also, and this could really derail this thread, I think it may have to do with some *general* differences between the sexes.

                              Many of the problems that are being brought up here simply would not happen between my (male) friends and I. If something like (insert any of the already stated problems) happens, we would just say something.

                              And, if the guy got all huffy, well, you know what guys say in those situations (I wont repeat it here). And, I do have male acquaintances who do get like that, but they never really make it past being an acquaintance.

                              1. re: DougRisk

                                I think everyone's digressing on this thread, but it's a good point you make.

                                Everyone should keep lots of garlic on hand to keep bitchy/passive aggressive emotional vampires (regardless of gender) at bay.

                                1. re: DougRisk

                                  Im a male...and yes me and all of my guy friends would just call out the other person if he messed something up in the kitchen, or didnt foot his bill for a meal, or for any lack of efforts would be called out. But then why do we keep associating ourselves with people that dont demonstratively participate in friendships?

                                  Acquaintances are a waste of my time.

                                  In case sh*t hits the fan? What kind of sh*t?

                                  1. re: FoodExpression

                                    "Associations" and "Acquaintances" are different than friends.

                                    Think of you friends sister, or brothers wife, or whatever. You are not likely to ditch them. That is simply too hard-core, for most.

                                    "Acquaintances are a waste of my time. " Nice.

                                    "In case sh*t hits the fan? What kind of sh*t?" Like, you broke your leg and you need to get to the hospital. You just got very sick and have run out of TP, Clean Towels, NyQuil, etc. Your car broke down. The list goes on and on.

                                    When there is not family around, you rely on friends and neighbors.

                                    And, if someone replies with, "Well, WELL, I would just call my girl-FRIEND"...well, that is a friend.

                                    A friend in need is a friend indeed.

                                    Or, to put it one more way: Society exists for a reason.

                            2. re: Janet from Richmond

                              Seriously, Janet - how you didn't haul off and belt her one before your husband pulled you away is beyond me. Come on - I know you're fast on your feet - you could have used your purse to belt her upside the head - it extends your reach by at least a foot or so. ;-)

                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                Similiar story. Got a friend a "priorty seating " at a disney restaurant. Thats what Disney calls em because they aren't firm reservations in the first place. I'm a regular customer and when I approached the manager about fitting them in (a party of 5), he said they were full be would do it as a favor to me, but they might not get in right away. I explained the situation to my friend. When they went up for res, my friends brother caused a huge scene when it took 45 minutes to get seated. It embarrassed me.

                              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                We're usually doing the entertaining, but that's because we have more room than most of our friends...so we're usually Gathering Central. (not planned, and our plentiful space doesn't mean we're any better off than any of them...it just worked out that way)

                                Once in a while it wears on me, but I overwhelmingly enjoy it.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  My husband loves to cook and entertain but really doesn't like going to other peoples' houses very much. So we do the bulk of the entertaining and that suits us fine.

                                  1. re: escondido123

                                    We usually have people over, because DH and I both have terrible allergies and many of our friends have pets that we can't tolerate. To avoid bad feelings all around, we sometimes provide everything, sometimes have a pot luck. works out great for us. :)

                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                        I have a similar deal with a friend. We both love hosting, but she's very allergic to my cat. She provides the space for most gatherings, but we rotate planning and cooking duties.

                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                          wonderful, mpjmph! i've had several "friends" who just could (or would) not understand about the allergies. I've been told several times to "take a pill and get over it." Oh, if only it were that easy! needless to say, those who cannot or will not understand do not stay in the friend category for very long.

                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                            Oh my gosh, we have struggled with this for years as well as both my husband and I are highly allergic to cats and many other pets, sadly My favorites are the people who think that sending the cat(s) outside just before we arrive and vaccuming well will take care of the problem. I have gotten over trying to educate people about dander a long time ago and now we just work out accommodations--we visit friends with cats more during the summer months when we can be outside and we host at our house or go out together. No amount of good company, conversation, or food makes it worth a trip to the ER.

                              3. re: giorgionadi

                                I always say to people who are intimidated by my skills in the kitchen...."as long as it is your peanut butter and jelly, it will be OK"...that way they know we would love to come to their home and it is the company not the food that is served!
                                We also have friends who always bring all the wine, do the dishes and take us out to a nice restaurant every couple of months! Neither of them cook!

                                1. re: vacationmomma

                                  I was at a party with Marcella Hazan and some whacko said to Marcella "Oh I could never invite you to one of our dinner parties I wouldn't know what to cook!" Marcella's reply, in her heavily accented english was "Oha, justa give me a crust of bread!" How precisely elegant!!!

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Prb is I dont think that would have sufficed......but its nice of her to say that.

                                      1. re: FoodExpression

                                        That's being a lady, in my estimation.

                                        1. re: FoodExpression

                                          FoodEx, Knowing Marcella, I do think she was serious; who else can get excited about ground beans and weeds( Fave e Cicoria) calling eating it " a revered event"!

                                2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                  I can relate to your first statement. I assure them that it's just a hobby and everyone has one. It is never my intention to intimidate or one up anyone. I think I've said this 1,000 times.

                                3. maybe they rn't that good at cooking or maybe they think u r so good friends that they dont have to try to "impress" u. Like i can order pizza or something when my friends come over but I would make a 3 course dinner if I had my bf parents over

                                  btw whats the worst thing u guys been served?

                                  79 Replies
                                  1. re: L987

                                    The most recent memory is a St. Patrick's Day mac and cheese made with a very bitter stout and super sharp Irish cheddar, this being an example of a dish by friends who put considerable thought and effort into food that is not remotely yummy to my palate.

                                    I would rather have eaten Kraft M&C.

                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                      Not that I don't like stouts and Irish Cheddar on their own, though... :)

                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                        lmao! u kidding? that sounds disgusting! did u eat it?

                                        1. re: L987

                                          It's no joke, and eating it was no joke either. :|

                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                              LeoLioness, I agree that it sounds more delicious on paper than in practice. Part of it may have been an execution issue, as I detected little to no salt in the dish other than that which came from the cheese, but the other part was that between the cooked down bitterness of the stout and the super sharp quality of the cheddar, there was just no balance to the dish, and just no Mac & Cheesy type enjoyment to be had.

                                              I do think you could make a delicious M&C incorporating these ingredients, but perhaps in different proportions and with a different technique.

                                              But trust me on this - there was a buttload of this stuff left at the end of the night.

                                      2. re: L987

                                        The worst thing served? My sister-in-law buys all of her in bulk a few times a year at BJS. She buys ground beef, forms the patties, COOKS the patties, and then indivdually freezes each one. When you are invited over for a cookout, the food was already pre-cooked months ago. She microwaves the patties and dinner is served. She does the same with chicken. I would gladly host anyday versus going to her house for dinner. My stomach turns just thinking about it :(

                                        1. re: Sydneyeats

                                          That is one of the most bizare things that I have heard in a while. How on earth does your SIL's family cope?

                                          1. re: rabaja

                                            Their kids literally eat Burger King chicken nuggets or pizza every night. They buy those items in bulk too. Every Monday their favorite pizza place has a "Buy 2-Get 2" pizzas deal. They stock up on the pizzas and chicken nuggets and the kids are set for the week. The adults eat the burgers or chicken. Hotdog/hamburger rolls are bought on the same shopping trip, frozen, and then thawed.

                                              1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                Except for the precooking thing, a lot of people do that. I always have breads, chicken, and ground beef in the freezer. And growing up mom used to make patties out of ground beef and freeze them. It's how my brother and I began learning how to cook. And in Honolulu it's not possible to buy chicken that hasn't been frozen, even if it sold thawed at the grocery, fresh chicken is not raised commercially anywhere in the state, it all gets shipped here frozen.

                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                  I don't have an issue with the freezing. I will buy a larger pack and repack in different servings. It's the precooking I find a bit much. Although I guess I don't do other types of frozen meals so maybe that's my aversion.

                                            1. re: Sydneyeats

                                              This made me chuckle. I forget how much of a chore cooking is for some people...

                                              I'm not laughing at your misery, mind you.

                                              Ok. Maybe I am... :P

                                              1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                Wow. I eat some sketchy foods at friends' homes, but I don't think I could eat at your SIL's. Has anyone ever explained the concept of "cookout" to her?

                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                  Apparently not. She hosted my 40th birthday dinner earlier this year. Complete with the shrimp ring that one would see at Walmart in the freezer case. I drank my dinner that night--boxed Franzia Chardonnay. My dh still gets the side eye for that one.

                                                  1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                    LMAO. How did she wrangle her way into hosting YOUR 40th? :P

                                                    1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                      Ha ha aha!! You can laugh about it now! Still, a cautionary tale. I'm making dinner reservations for my 40th (next year) NOW.

                                                      1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                        i know this is an old thread but i had to reply. i love to cook and pretty much know what im doing in the kitchen. my husbands daugher from his first marriage invited us over for "taco dinner".....it was literally cut up hot dogs and american cheese in a flour tortilla. with some mild pace picante sauce. yikes. i mean, thats not even tacos, not by any stretch of the imagination. it was hot dog quesadillas! since i make my own carnitas along with homemade tortillas i was like.....yeah. apparently his first wife couldnt cook either so hes pretty happy with my cooking. we just had grilled quail with cheesy polenta and caesar salad with good quality reggiano. no more "taco night" at lauras.

                                                        1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                          I suppose Laura has some good qualities that might not include cooking.

                                                          1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                            Perhaps we can arrange a little switch. My stepmother served "leftovers" the last time I was there - a little turkey, some packaged stuffing, gravy and canned green beans all mixed together. Aside from being really salty it didn't taste horrible but looked disgusting. For dessert there was a layer cake from a mix with some marshmallow stuff from a jar in between and on top but she licked her fingers between every swipe of the knife.

                                                            I didn't have boxed Mac and cheese until she showed up. My dad is actually quite a decent cook as was my dear late mother. For a recent birthday I brought a 7 course Italian meal - some of which we finished cooking there. He loved my arancini di riso.

                                                            If we traded I'd make the tortillas to go with your carnitas, a couple kinds of homemade salsas, maybe a tamarindo pomegranate agua fresca and a cucumber lime one too. No hot dog tacos, promise.

                                                            1. re: fruti

                                                              that sounds good to me. i also do an all veggie salsa that has zucchini, carrots, tomatoes (of course) any other veggies u want to throw in.....its cooked down so more of a "sauce" than a fresh salsa like a pico de gallo or whatev. i usually jar some up and everyone raves about it. really healthy with all those veggies.

                                                              havent had arancine in a long ass time, that sounds good. ive been craving carbonara, which ive never made, but im gonna give it a shot. i hear its all about good quality pancetta and not letting that egg scramble. u live in denver area?

                                                              1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                Sf bay area - oh well. Maybe you can ship your step daughter out this way any way. So hard to negotiate these relationships. I'm in my fifties, my dad and step mother in mid-80's and my dad and I are fairly close but I have no hope for me and SM. we are just too different and just basically do not like each other, food tastes aside.

                                                                Good luck with everything - and at least you can prepare delicious food. Bet she feels threatened by you. Oh, well - at least you and you husband eat well thanks to you.

                                                                1. re: fruti

                                                                  aahh i grew up in sacramento, and lived in oakland for a while! i love the bay area. i miss the ocean and the great seafood. although ive found some great asian markets out here where i can get live lobster, dungeness, oysters, even live conch! i heard someone once on TOP CHEF say they had never used live conch cuz u can only get canned in the states. well i can get live conch in denver! about a mile and a half from my house! asian stores....the gourmets secret. i miss SF.

                                                                  1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                    "asian stores....the gourmets secret"

                                                                    all too true. anywhere.

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      quail eggs for 1.25, sashimi quality tuna, and oyster shrooms for about half the price of whole foods? heck yea! plus the one by my house has live tilapia that they will kill, clean and even scale for u in case u want to do crispy skin. try getting the high school kid behind the counter at whole foods to scale ur freshly cleaned tilapia.

                                                                      1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                        ahh yup! live Maryland blue crab in the midwest (pls use the tongs) and head-on shrimp and unusual animal parts etc etc etc? nowhere else to go.

                                                                        my fave in STL not only has live conch but periwinkles as well and the lobster is 1/2 the price of the chain market. love it.

                                                            2. re: cookmyassoff

                                                              Hot dog tacos? That sounds awful! I want to make carnitas myself sometime soon....

                                                              I'm a stepmom myself & am starting a cooking trade thing with my SD - I'll cook (since I like to) & she gets some of the food I make so I don't get stuck with a ton of leftovers. She's getting Creole chicken & sloppy joes (her request) this weekend....

                                                              1. re: jenscats5

                                                                not EVEN tacos....hot dog quesadillas. flour tortilla, kraft singles and cut up hot dogs in the microwave. carnitas are actually pretty easy.....lots of good tips online. just be sure and find a mexican store so u get the lard. frying it in veg oil is just not the same.

                                                              2. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                I hate to say it, but those weird hot dog things sound good to me.

                                                                (I know... I know it's crap, but they do sound good to me!)

                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                  no, they werent even good quality dogs, like hebrew national or nathans or something. they were like, store brand hot dogs, and then again, not even kraft singles, generic american cheese, mission tortillas (crap) so it was a hot dog quesadilla made from the lowest quality ingredients possible. but the thing to me that sucked the worst was this was advertised as "taco dinner".....not.

                                                                  1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                    LOL!!!

                                                                    I understand your shock/horror, I really do!

                                                                    That is certainly nothing I would ever even dream of serving to a dinner guest...Good God, NO!!!
                                                                    .............but it IS something I would sneak myself at midnight! Bad qaulity stuff and all!!!
                                                                    I admit, I have a thing for weird stuff, and this is definitely weird!

                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                      yea well some people just cant cook and dont really care to learn. she is one of those people. her mother cant cook either so who is she supposed to learn from? i just feel sorry for her husband and children, having to eat that. and when they go "out to dinner" its like applebees, tgifridays, etc. yikes. i sound like a snob huh? but they live in sacramento, which has a boatload of great restaurants. and they go to applebees. whatev.

                                                                      1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                        oh yeah - no - I agree - Applebees etc... **shudder**

                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                          Just a general reminder here - not necessarily directed at NellyNel- to keep discussion focused on food , not relationships with family members, thanks

                                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                            even though this board says "not about food" .......ok.

                                                                            1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                              The sticky at the top of this board at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/360953 gives more information on the scope of this board.

                                                          2. re: Sydneyeats

                                                            My relative dumped a frozen bag of wings onto a cold gas grill and said to me " hey i know you love to cook, why dont you cook the chicken wings."

                                                            Now I love this relative but now we have to eat before everytime we go to her house.

                                                            1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                              Yuck I would just stoop going over there, that is disgusting. So much for a "rare" burger!!!sod

                                                              1. re: Barbarella

                                                                +1. Nothing worse than a box wine hangover.

                                                              2. re: Sydneyeats

                                                                When I cook burgers for DH I always do extra patties and put them in the fridge or freezer so he can have a burger in two minutes later that week. I'm not really into burgers and he loves them. But I'd never do that for guests! For one thing, in the length of time it would take to individually reheat a dozen patties I could have cooked them from scratch fresh.

                                                                1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                                  My mother in law does this! yuk!!!
                                                                  She premakes everything and put them in the freezer. Then when she invites us, she puts the whole thing in the oven...sometimes, they are overly cooked so the whole thing tastes like baby food and sometimes, they are hot outside and cold inside with ices.
                                                                  The funniest thing is she never eats her own food as she is always on a diet.

                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                    This sounds like my mother! are you my wife with a secret Chowhound account!

                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                      My mother in law pre-cooks everything for a holiday meal, then reheats it in the oven for at least the same amount of time it originally cooked - or so it seems. I am usually certain that dinner is almost ready when I start to see a haze of smoke. Now that she's slowing down a bit, we get to host more holidays at our home - HOORAY for juicy turkey, and non-mushy veggies. and hooray for being able to save her from what she found a very stressful experience. :)

                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                        I have an aunt whose turkey gravy is just the strained juices. She should get together with your mother in law.

                                                                        1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                          I have to admit to going au jus with most meats....But turkey is one thing I like to make gravy with.

                                                                          1. re: katy1

                                                                            I agree, but with Thanksgiving, the gravy isn't about the turkey it's about the mashed potatoes (and to a lesser extent the stuffing/dressing....let's not start that debate again).

                                                                      2. re: Monica

                                                                        May be she does this because she's on diet won't eat herself? Well, I freeze food a lot but that's because I live alone. I always end up with too much pasta or beignet dough for one person. So, if I have guests, I'll thaw the pasta and make some fresh sauce and then serve it with proper sides and everything. But I will never reheat my frozen tuna casserole for guests. That's just no. Why invite people if you can't even bother to serve fresh food?

                                                                        1. re: raisa

                                                                          yea we go to costco and places like that and buy in bulk sometimes to save money. and i have one of those freezer bag vacuum sealer things, which i love, so i can package the proper portions for when its just me and my husband. nothing wrong with that. but i never, NEVER, cook the stuff first and then freeze it. sorry, thats just gross.

                                                                          1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                            Are you telling us that you have never made a pot of soup or chili or spaghetti sauce and frozen any of it?

                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                              oh yea i have definitely frozen spaghetti sauce....im talking about the poster that was talking about pre-cooking steaks and burgers. spaghetti sauce actually freezes quite well. my bad for saying "never"....i totally meant pre-cooking meats, turkey dinner, etc. ick.

                                                                              1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                I'm with you on the steaks and burgers. We never cook more if those than we are going to eat right away because they reheat so poorly.

                                                                                1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                  I'll freeze things like lasagna -- but yeah -- cooked, frozen, and reheated meat is pretty nasty.

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    yea, sauces/salsas, soups, etc can freeze well, but meat/fish? def need to cook that stuff fresh. your medium rare steak will be well done after u reheat it in the microwave.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Nah, not all meat is bad cooked and frozen. I agree that steak and hamburgers are bad reheated and any meat that is not intended to be braised or cooked well-done doesn't reheat well, but beef stew, BBQ pork and beef, coq au vin, and a host of other meat does freeze well. Ham is one of th worst kinds of meat to freeze, at least a big ham on the bone. It thaws out kind of mushy.

                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                        Carnitas freeze quite well!

                                                                                        If you find yourself with leftover grilled (med-rare) steak, it is delightful sliced thinly and eaten cold with coarse salt!

                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                          it is, but not re-heated (I actually had to explain once that some leftovers are better eaten cold, uhh for instance why fried chicken ought not be microwaved)

                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                              yea, fried foods DO NOT reheat well in the microwave.

                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                              didnt know that about the carnitas. i am making some soon so i will save some out, use the vacuum sealer and freeze some. im curious about that one. never froze carnitas before. only the pork shoulder before its been cooked.

                                                                                            3. re: John E.

                                                                                              that's what I mean -- if it's IN something else, it works great. If it's by itself, no thanks.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  Even pulled pork, as suggested by someone else?

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                    Meat in and of itself -- chicken breast, ribs, steaks, chops, burgers, etc., etc.,e tc. -- sections of muscle tissue in large pieces and with minimal processing -- is nasty if it has been cooked prior to freezing (e.g., any microwaved convenience meal).

                                                                                                    Meat as an ingredient - with sauce of any of a variety of different types, or as part of a more complex dish -- usually freezes fine. Even if meat is the primary ingredient -- if there's a significant amount of OTHER STUFF -- sauce, liquid, other foods -- it's fine. This would include barbecue, carnitas, all-meat chili, bolognese sauce, lasagna, stroganoff, stew....as long as it's not JUST meat.

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      That seems like a pretty good summary. If cooked meat is all alone, it succumbs to dryness and freezer burn. If it is submerged or even just coated in fat/liquid/other stuff, it seems to do all right. Carnitas or pulled pork are generally coated in juice and fat.

                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                        plus these are meats/dishes where u the meat is no longer "rare". carnitas, spag sauce, chili....these are dishes that are cooked a long time so i suppose the meat isnt expected to stay rare anyway.

                                                                                                        1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                          I s'pose the acidity of the sauce/marinade has a factor in its freezer stability.

                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                            No sauce/marinade on carnitas - ?

                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                              Or did I just jump in on the wrong thing here?

                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                oh I wasn't specific, I was referring to the tomato sauce based things and other stuff.

                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                  well i guess u could freeze the carnitas in the cooking liquid.

                                                                                      2. re: Sydneyeats

                                                                                        At some point you have to draw the line. I would bring my own food or just stop going to her house.

                                                                                      3. re: L987

                                                                                        I had a friend once who served us ketchup soup and packaged crackers he'd jacked from a fast food place. Since I too had been poor enough that I couldn't afford even a box of crackers, I smiled and ate it and thanked him for the hospitality.

                                                                                        1. re: dianne0712

                                                                                          one offers hospitality as best as one can, and one reacts as you did.

                                                                                          (it's the only way to get the sun to rise tomorrow after all)

                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                            ya a lot of us have certainly been there.....i call them the "top ramen days"....

                                                                                        2. re: L987

                                                                                          A bit late to the party; may I play a round of worst thing ever served? I think I have a winner...

                                                                                          Cold "lettuce soup" -- a recipe designed for people on extreme low calorie diets. Placed in front of me by the hostess, who declared "it's not that bad once you get used to it!"

                                                                                          The recipe involved blending lettuce in a blender with a pinch of salt, and then popping a dab of fat free sour cream on top of the resultant sludge. Between the brownish-green hue (with a bit of pastel at the edge of the sour cream), swamplike texture, and overtly "green" flavor, I was barely able to get a single bite down. Probably made worse by the fact that it had been prepared a couple of days prior to my visit and allowed to age in the fridge... *shudder*

                                                                                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                            "it's not that bad once you get used to it!"

                                                                                            I should print t-shirts!

                                                                                            classic and so multi-purposeful. I will swipe this.

                                                                                        3. This is my philosophy when deciding whether I should accept an invitation to a dinner party.

                                                                                          "Go for the company, stay for the food."

                                                                                          1. one of my step sisters is the world's worst cook.She has no interest in food and is stick thin. She never makes enough and her go to is cold roast chicken quarters which are tasteless and just cooked enough but always a bit tough, a couple bags of salad and a store bought slaw, and store bought fruit salad and pie. We all beg her not to 'cook' and try to make it a potluck which she always refuses to allow saying she can manage. The family has learnt to eat first at home!

                                                                                            1. I was very good friends with a egomaniacal lawyer and her banker husband, both of whom were morbidly obese. After hearing for years about how amazing the husband's (Italian) cooking was. we were invited to their home for dinner. The Caesar salad wasn't washed and my salad bowl was filled with grit. The pasta was completely overcooked and the clams in the pasta also hadn't been cleaned, so there was yet another bowl filled with grit. We brought dessert. I went into their kitchen to help clear the dishes and their trashcan was filled to overflowing with half-gallon containers of Skinny Cow ice cream. No sign of the night's cooking was anywhere to be seen.

                                                                                              When she came to my home for a big barbecue and I made (among other things) Michael Lomonaco's "21" burgers with herb butter and the local Italian deli's homemade sausage, she said "I'm not gonna eat that ****." At that moment, I felt like handing her a shovel and saying, "Here, scoop up some dirt for your dinner. That'll make you feel more at home."

                                                                                              I don't return her calls anymore.

                                                                                              18 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                Next time invite me to your BBQ, that sounds amazing!

                                                                                                1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                  She *said* that?? What nerve! I'd have told her to get the hell out immediately so she could go home and eat her usual ****!

                                                                                                  1. re: EllesKitchen

                                                                                                    She didn't know I was standing behind her when she said it. Right afterwards, I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "You can have a hot dog." I nuked it for her.

                                                                                                    She's the kind of gal who invited 20 kids to her children's birthday party at the Botanical Gardens, but refused to pay for anyone else's admission but her own kids. She's the gal that grabbed her children's birthday cakes right after the candles were blown out and cut off all the pieces with icing flowers on them so she could eat them herself. 3 cakes worth. I have even more despicable stories that are too long to post here. After investing 25 years and quite a bit of money into that relationship (she always expected me to pay for shared meals to which I was an invited guest, gas, tolls, etc.), I have officially washed my hands of her.

                                                                                                    1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                      Good for you!
                                                                                                      It can be very hard to shake people like that, you must be very relieved.

                                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                          The only thing I worry about is that if anyone who knows her even a little bit reads this board, they'll know who I'm talking about and she will know it's me. Hopefully, they would commiserate.

                                                                                                          1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                            LOL. If she's as special as you describe her to be, I'm sure your mutual friends will understand.

                                                                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                              Thank you, inaplasticcup. It's people like you who made me realize that I didn't have to settle for friends who made me miserable.

                                                                                                        2. re: rabaja

                                                                                                          Yes, definitely. She does get other mutual friends to call on her behalf. No, thanks.

                                                                                                          1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                            I was young and stupid. If I ever write a book, there will be a chapter devoted to her. Of course, it will have to be anonymous or she will doubtlessly sue me for anything she can get (since there may be another Elvis furniture auction or she'll need to pay her kids' college tuition).

                                                                                                          2. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                            Asking the obvious: what did you get out of this relationship besides a masochistic joy?

                                                                                                            1. re: middleagedfoodie

                                                                                                              I asked myself the same question. I stopped taking her calls years ago when my list of "Crappy Things She's Done to Me" had close to 20 items on it.

                                                                                                        3. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                          How offensive! I think I would have said "oh, this isn't for you" and left it at that, with Nothing really being for them.

                                                                                                          Even when friends forget that I can't have salt (we haven't been over in a while etc.), I do my best to work around the situation. I can't imagine saying something like that to someone who not only made a meal for me but who obviously isn't trying to feed me sh*t!!

                                                                                                          WOW

                                                                                                          1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                                            Thank you, MinkeyMonkey, and all of you, for your support.

                                                                                                            She became an extremely toxic person. I am curious to see how her kids turned out living with such radioactive narcissism (it mutated her husband from a mensch to a d***), but not curious enough to answer the phone when her number pops up.

                                                                                                            1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                              but not curious enough to answer the phone when her number pops up.
                                                                                                              --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                              And therein lies the secret to a happy life ;)

                                                                                                        4. I went to visit a friend in another city for a couple of day,s a few years ago, and was served canned soup with rice in it for every meal (No breakfast) I took said friend out for a nice pub style dinner. I don't expect the moon from someone who does not cook, but at least pick up some fresh fruit.

                                                                                                          1. People on these boards lose perspective. There are a great number of people who consider a night at Old Country Buffet or Cici's Pizza to be a decent meal (and I'm not knocking them, just recognizing that there's a broad spectrum of reference points in dining). I just responded to a post on one of the other boards for someone who wanted some ideas on how to make Mexican food because it wasn't previously on their radar. Now it boggles my mind that someone can be unfamiliar with even the most basic (American) Mexican dish, but again, it's about reference points.

                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                                              "People on these boards lose perspective. There are a great number of people who consider a night at Old Country Buffet or Cici's Pizza to be a decent meal..."

                                                                                                              This is a point that should be made over and over again on some of these boards.

                                                                                                              re: Mexican Food
                                                                                                              This may seem like a non-sequitur, but I honestly did not know who the Beatles were until I was in High School. My parents listened, exclusively, to Classical Music.

                                                                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                LOL! My kids swear they had never heard anything but classical music until they got to middle school.

                                                                                                                And I take your point about losing perspective. I have been a serious eater all my life, since childhood, but even I, when my kids were small, appreciated a night at Cici's Pizza every once in a while.

                                                                                                                1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                  While I agree that we can sometimes "overdo it" with our passions, aren't you basically condoning ignorance?

                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                    IMO, there are two types of ignorance: Circumstantial ignorance resulting from a lack of exposure and prejudicial ignorance based on negative preconceptions. You can't fault someone for never having Mexican food if they've grown up in (for argument's sake) Siberia, but you could find it obnoxious that a resident of Southern California refuses to try Mexican food because they have a negative racial bias.

                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                      No, what I mean is this:

                                                                                                                      I grew up a huge fan of music, and while I often kept my opinions to myself, the judgements were still blaring in my head. So, when at a get-together, the host is playing Myley Cyrus or Overly Important Suburban quasi-Teenaged Angst Music, it would drive me nuts. But few others would care, because it was not played too loudly.

                                                                                                                      My mother, who grew up in the old country, constantly comments, in private, about all of the plastic utensils, paper plates, and lack of seating when we are at the "in-laws".

                                                                                                                      (And, one more example, where I was at fault)
                                                                                                                      My brother and I were at a Super Bowl party a few years ago and later found out that many were not happy with us. What did we do wrong? We actually watched, and payed attention to the game.

                                                                                                                      Now, my brother and I have been to a ton of Super Bowl parties over the years and this was the first time we ever got this response. What changed? We were, basically, the only 2 guys there. Everyone else were girls. And, unsurprisingly, their interest in the game itself was simply not the same for my brother and I and they were unhappy with our lack of socializing.

                                                                                                                      So, my point is this: for many, food is simply not that important. It gets them through the day.

                                                                                                                      Think of the people you know who spend HOURS each day in their car, whether they would like to or not, and really don't care all that much about what kind of car they drive.

                                                                                                                      They want comfortable seats, AC, enough gitty-up to merge in traffic, etc. Now think about the guy down the road, who has a short commute, and spends hours each weekend working on his '68 Challenger, that he bought for less than $4000. And, soon, he will have a "matching numbers" 428 Hemi that is absolutely dead sexy. And he shakes his head whenever he sees you in your brand new, and quite comfortable, (boring) Honda Accord (i.e. Bland Mac and Cheese).

                                                                                                                      We have to suffer through bad meals no differently than he has to suffer in Minivans.

                                                                                                                      p.s. Some of the examples in this thread were truly horrifying. So, please make sure to read what I said in the proper context.

                                                                                                                      1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                        Wonderful examples. It does make me sad when someone just eats to live but I have learned to get over it...as long as I'm not getting flack for "knowing too much about food". I think I described something being made by putting your mirepoix in the pot and got an earful the other day (I guess I had assumed she would know what it meant).

                                                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                          Yea, using the word mirepoix is like metaphorically smacking a person that doesnt live to eat right in the face. Just need to give those type of people less attention when discussing food. I get that all the time from some in-laws that i am 'too into food'. I have just learned to not discuss food with them...also I dont cook for them anymore...my gain!

                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                            In melpy's case, the friend might have been asking about a recipe or for some help, so, I don't think you should pay that person less attention. Just simply speak to them in terms that they would understand.

                                                                                                                          2. re: melpy

                                                                                                                            Up until a few years ago I would have had absolutely no idea what the hell a "mere pwa" was. And I certainly would have questioned why you asked for so little 'pwa' and then put in so much.

                                                                                                                      2. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                        I like good food (by chowhound standards), but I also really enjoy perfectly average Chinese buffets. It's a childhood memory thing -- I know those joints in and out and always find deliciously saucy sweet fried meat morsels.

                                                                                                                        re: Classical Music

                                                                                                                        Me too! I learned about the Beatles (and jazz) in music appreciation class in junior high. Very useful course.

                                                                                                                      3. re: ferret

                                                                                                                        I was just on that board, and it was on the Kosher board. A lot of people who keep strictly kosher do not have the places to try authentic mexican or ethnic foods because of the strict dietary laws. They do not necessarily transfer over into kosher. Now, I keep a kosher home, but do not keep strictly kosher outside, so I am lucky to be able to eat out and translate it into kosher. I have tried some kosher restaurants that think they are authentic ethnci, but they are not. So don't fault these people, they have not been exposed to these foods, and some of them may not have been that interested til now.

                                                                                                                      4. We have family members who eat to live (barely), rather than live to eat. Honest to goodness, we were invited over for dinner one night and served - wait for it - a baked potato. That's it. No butter, salt, nothing. Just. A. Potato. We love them dearly as both friends and family but we will not eat at their home if there's any way to avoid it. If we must, we either eat at home first or make plans to pick up fast food on the way home. The hardest part of dealing with their eating habits was when my child was old enough to realize what was going on food-wise but not old enough to understand discretion. I explained to her about pushing food around her plate, finding something, anything even slightly edible and held out the promise of a trip to her favorite restaurant on the way home.

                                                                                                                        Really, it's all about the people, not the food. You find ways to cope with bad food but good friends don't come along all that often.

                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                          That might be the most incredible story that someone invited you over for dinner and only served a baked potato. Again, its not all about the food, I agree. Yes people have different perspectives on food...for many (and prb most) food is not THAT important. And thats fine. But what I dont understand is that GOOD FRIENDS need to put effort into a friendship somehow. Whether it be inviting over for store-bought rotisserie chicken...or serving a 5 course meal....i just need so see some sort of effort...Turns out most of my friends are from childhood so our friendships werent founded on two people participating in a joint friendship. Was more about we just used to roll around in the mud together....Also..since ive gotten married I feel like ive grown up a bit and my friends are still doing the same old thing (and most of them are married too).

                                                                                                                          1. re: giorgionadi

                                                                                                                            I feel the EXACT same way about some of my friends. I was recently invited to a friends house (who has eaten at least 40 times at my house in the last year) for dinner and game night. I was thrilled about finally going over there until I politely asked if I could bring something (a skill I was taught, unlike most of my 20-something friends). His response: "could you just whip up a quick dinner and bring that over?"

                                                                                                                            No longer good friends...

                                                                                                                            1. re: acbell

                                                                                                                              Never ask those kind of people what they can bring. Just sweetly say, "I'll bring a bottle of wine." That way you'll at least know YOU will have something to drink.

                                                                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                That's my standard line...good thinking.

                                                                                                                                1. re: MRS

                                                                                                                                  I meant to type "Never ask those kind of people what YOU can bring..."

                                                                                                                              2. re: acbell

                                                                                                                                I cant believe they asked you to bring over food...a bit much.....and Im sure that it wasnt only about food where you were the one that giving more into that relationship.

                                                                                                                                I guess its time for us to just find friends that are doing the same things that we are. I mean you can still be friends with those people, but like you said, no longer GOOD friends.

                                                                                                                                1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                  "you can still be friends with those people"

                                                                                                                                  Why? Grow, mature, excel - life ain't Facebook.

                                                                                                                            2. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                              I hope it was at least a properly baked potato, not one just thrown in the microwave and nuked for 7 minutes. Yeah, those are edible, but far more in need of butter, sour cream and chives than a true baked potato.

                                                                                                                            3. Sure. Dinner at a restaurant? It's about the food. Dinner at someone's home? Can go either way. If I like the person's company and they aren't great cooks/interested in food, I just learn to eat a sandwich before (or after) and make sure I bring plenty of booze.

                                                                                                                              I'm sure I've served some less-than-stellar meals to friends, and I hope they wouldn't hold it against me.

                                                                                                                              1. My husband and I are friends with two different neighbors who we invite over frequently. He has a BBQ about once a year for us but always brings wine and likes our food etc...an easy going guy. She comes less frequently but invites us a little more often. When she does, she always tackles a full menu from the Gourmet mag spread...but always is missing ingredients and doesn't start until we arrive. Last time we ended up walking back home for lemon, vanilla, rosemary, chef's knife and an immersion blender or dinner never would have gotten on the table. We also usually end up doing half the cooking for the same reason. We keep telling her to go simpler but she won't listen.

                                                                                                                                1. Interesting reading all these posts. We have DDIL's parents living near us, so when DS,DDIL and Grands come to visit, which is usually twice a year we have to go to their house for dinner. Everything is no fat, not low fat but no fat, and everything is horrible. We dread going, but unfortunately no choice. I had to laugh, when they first moved here she couldn't understand that all the new friends only wanted to go out to eat!

                                                                                                                                  33 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                                                    Leads to another great question.....Why do some people think that everyone has the same strict diets that they do?

                                                                                                                                    I have a family member that is very healthy and into high-protein foods...only food served at their house is grilled chicken....EVERY SINGLE TIME!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: giorgionadi

                                                                                                                                      This might be a stretch, but some of the more severe examples like "just a potato" kinda make me wonder if, barring the possibility of severe budget limitations, some of these people just lack empathy.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                        Lack of empathy seems to be an all too common disease going around these days. I thought it was just my wife and I that acknowledged this...but glad to see we are not the only ones.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                          If someone invited me to dinner and served me a plain baked potato, I'd assume that person was mentally ill. I mean, there's bland food or bad food or unsophisticated food , and then there's that.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for my first coffee snort of the day. :P

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                              Im sorry..but anyone serving only a baked potato must be called out. With friends like that...who needs enemies?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                I'm pretty much with you there -- how much effort does it take to put out a stick of margarine and a jar of chives? Or reheat a can of Hormel chili (I know, but we're talking lowest common denominator here)

                                                                                                                                                I went to a big party years ago for which the hostess put out a potato bar -- not only were the taters delicious, but the trimmings were good, too (and it was easy for her)

                                                                                                                                                A lot of my friends apologize when we go to dinner at their house - oh, I'm just not as good a cook as you are, I hope this is up to your standards -- but the reality is that I'd be happy with McDo or a peanut butter sandwich because I'm spending time with my friends

                                                                                                                                                A naked baked potato starts to push the limit, though...

                                                                                                                                                (gah, look at that -- two words spelled nearly the same that are pronounced differently. Gotta love the English language)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  You reminded me of a Halloween party I went to long ago given by a bunch of very young people, much younger than I was. They had invited a ton of people and didn't have much money. They served potatoes--small ones that they had boiled and set out in big containers, which may have been just regular old cardboard boxes from the supermarket. But there was STUFF TO PUT ON THE POTATOES! I thought it was wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mona Williams

                                                                                                                                                    There's nothing wrong with the humble potato... interactive food is always good for groups. But you have to have something to put on it for it to count as dinner! lol The mind boggles that anyone would think it was enough to serve one entirely naked and alone on the plate.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mona Williams

                                                                                                                                                      I had a baked potato bar at my home for my bd one year. Several kinds of cheese, good bacon, scallions, butter, sour cream, salsa, cooked broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, and lots of other stuff. Was a big hit. Also had a huge salad and something sweet - I forget what.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                      Chili on a potato is one of my favourite things ever! I would be thrilled to have that at a friend's house.

                                                                                                                                                      Now I'm tempted to write a sonnet with nake-d rhyming with bake-d. That sort of thing happens all the time in Shakespearean sonnets! :)

                                                                                                                                                      Chiming in to say...I find myself in the same position as the Original Poster -- ever since we moved into a house instead of an apartment, we now have a defacto superior cooking/grilling/eating area, and we just plain like to do it/ and are better at it than most of the other people we know, because we practice a lot. And while our friends are great at going out to eat at interesting restaurants (thank God), I've only eaten snacks at their places.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                    That made me laugh out loud.

                                                                                                                                                    We have friends whose cooking isn't awful, just everything comes out of a package - frozen chicken breasts from Sam's Club, canned veggies, etc. She simply doesn't know how to cook and admits she doesn't care to learn. We know the companionship is more important but we still giggle on the way home.

                                                                                                                                                    They are the best guests in the world and always try to treat when we go out so I don't ever feel they don't put forth an effort, they just do in a different way.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                      agreed...if they offer to pay it is showing that they are paying attention to the effort that you put forth when you entertain. Most people wont even do that much.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                        We love to giggle on the way home...or critique/rip apart the meal. Guess we'll have to be careful if we ever have kids. ;)

                                                                                                                                                        We are wonderful guests though.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                      "...some of these people just lack empathy." Or, a brain.

                                                                                                                                                      My brothers' in-laws have an interesting situation.

                                                                                                                                                      The family, in general, will serve food that is perfectly edible during family get-togethers. However, it is very common for the Father to make his "meatballs". Everyone hates them. HE KNOWS THIS. His own blood, all of them have told him, many times. He still makes them.

                                                                                                                                                      I know him fairly well and can give you a simple explanation:

                                                                                                                                                      HE IS AN IDIOT.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                          No. He is the only one.

                                                                                                                                                          And, yes, I know what you are thinking, "Why doesnt he simply make enough for himself?"

                                                                                                                                                          They have offered him that option. Nope. He still makes a large amount. And it is because he is an idiot.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                            There is a quiet rebellion only he understands going on in that old person brain... No one knows how he delights in their frustration. He probably makes them taste like crap on purpose.

                                                                                                                                                            Joke's on them. NOW who's an idiot??? :P

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                              Haha. That is really funny. Actually, that is funnier than you might think. That may very well be a part of it.

                                                                                                                                                              I am prob. being to harsh in my criticism. He is actually a nice person.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                Maybe that's the only thing he can contribute to a get-together, or feels like he can. Sometimes pride keeps some folk from listening to others when it comes to "giving" (like the aunt who keeps making handknit articles to give to relatives despite the fact that no one wants them).
                                                                                                                                                                Anyway that you can distract him, then sneak into the kitchen and doctor up the meatballs before they're cooked?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                        There is no excuse, monetary or otherwise, for a lawyer and banker to not wash their salad greens and expunge the grit from clams except for one: Not giving a hoot because all they cared about was dessert. (Rest assured, their 2-bedroom condo in an affluent NYC suburb had running water.)

                                                                                                                                                        Of course, they were deeply in debt from student loans and credit cards, but that didn't stop them from showing off the plastic slipcovered couch they bought from one of Elvis' Graceland auctions. It was in the middle of the living room, but no one was allowed to sit on it.

                                                                                                                                                        No, I have no sympathy or empathy for them.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                                                                          Good lord...these people need their own reality show.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                            They are truly pieces of work. For a while, I looked up to them. What was I thinking?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: giorgionadi

                                                                                                                                                        That is an excellent question. My MIL, who has never been a good cook by anyone's definition but her own, goes on various eating programs designed to make her healthier, younger-looking, thin (wealthy, appealing to men 20 years her junior, etc, lol)....you get the idea.

                                                                                                                                                        She is someone who will put a ton of time, effort and money to serve the most unpalatable foods. She doesn't understand that you can use healthy fats in moderation and seasonings other than salt to make things flavorful. Eating what she prepares is a chore. Her worst eating regime was doing raw foods only--of course no meats--just grains and produce, all uncooked. Not even steamed.

                                                                                                                                                        Years ago we all gave up even pretending to be polite about it and we make sure we are never in a position for her to feel the need to serve us a meal. If I honestly thought she was doing it out of genuine kindness, I would be more sympathetic but she really wants control over her subjects, in this case her family members.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                          It is really interesting how many of these stories involve in-laws or friends of family. There does not seem to be any references to actual brothers or sisters (or fathers or mothers).

                                                                                                                                                          What I am getting at is this, if my brother put out something like, well, anything mentioned so far, I would bring it up immediately, face-to-face.

                                                                                                                                                          Dunno, interesting.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                            Good point Doug.....my brother and I will call each other out if a dish fails. Of course we are both hounds (my profile pic is a childhood photo of us). Also my Mom was not a good cook and we were very vocal about what she was allowed to make. Oddly enough she made GREAT fried chicken :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                              Absolutely true, DougRisk -- I was secure enough in my relationship with my mum to say - let's add less oil than the recipe says, it's a non-stick pan, or -- don't you think this other veggie would go better in this dish? We cooked *together* and could share ideas about food without there being some weird subtext.
                                                                                                                                                              I could never say anything like this to my inlaws, because it would be taken badly.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: giorgionadi

                                                                                                                                                            Trust me, if it was grilled chicken it would be so well done that it would taste like shoe leather! Unfortunately, family is family! She most likely wonders why I serve what I serve! LOL!

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                                                                            I have to say though, when I go to a vegetarian's house I don't expect them to serve meat and it would be rude of me to do so. However, there are plenty of foods on restrictive diets that are still delicious. There are rarely any diets that exclude flavour.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dianne0712

                                                                                                                                                              as long as they dont whip the tofurkey out on u!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                                                                                                                                I've eaten Tofurkey and it's surprisingly good...but I wouldn't necessarily choose it!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                  u know, i guess its the fact that its trying to be something else. im ok with tofu just being tofu, but when u try to make tofu into cheese, turkey, hamburger, ice cream, etc...thats when im saying "no thanks". there are probably different brands of tofurkey and the one i had was ick.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: dianne0712

                                                                                                                                                                I have several friends who are kosher. They are strict in their houses, but fairly flexible out. But I dont eat meat around them, because they don't. And I make sure I always have lactose free alternatives for my niece, who can't even tolerate butter. It's not all that hard. And yes, I happen to like meat a lot.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Definitely de-friend them.

                                                                                                                                                              1. you know...I don't mind if people can't cook or if they don't invite me at all...but I have been downright offended when someone spends a lot of time talking about her social standing, her extensive travels, her general level of sophistication...and then serves me prepared food purchased at the local low-end supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                  I once drove hundreds of miles to visit a friend for a couple of days and was served--nothing. No breakfast, and the other meals out, because that was what she did. Having already spent a lot on gas and a nice present for her, I was expected, in addition, to pay for my own restaurant meals. This woman was much better off financially than I was, and I do think this was a case of lack of empathy.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mona Williams

                                                                                                                                                                    hate to say it but leads questions to what makes a friend a friend?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                      I am afraid it took me much too long to figure that out. We don't see each other anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Mona Williams

                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe your friend is just clueless. My roommate never cleans when he is expecting house guests, doesn't offer them any refreshments when they arrive, and doesn't provide any type of meal. And the restaurants that he takes them to (where he expects them to pay) aren't that great. But then again he only cleans when I ask him to, he only drinks beer and water, doesn't eat breakfast, and has low standards when it comes to restaurants. Come to think of it, he hasn't had too many guests recently...

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm happy as long as I am offered food and water. I'm lucky that I haven't been subjected to the horrors that others on this thread have been. But just in case I am in the future, I will continue to carry a bottle of pepto in my bag.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                        Really--just food and water!! I am thinking about starting to carry a bag of pumpkin seeds in my purse, just in case.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I agree with the comments that the main issue is the relationship, not the food. Not everyone is going to have the same idea of what a great meal means. Honestly, I know that there are a lot of times that I put a ton of effort/time perfecting something to share with friends or family that I realize they may never be able to really appreciate, other than simply liking it. I do it for the love of preparing and sharing food and don't expect reciprocity in effort, cost, time, creativity etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    With that said, I do think I would be a bit taken aback if someone put out the effort to extend an invitation for a meal and then couldn't do more than put a potato on the table. Why bother at all? We used to include a couple in our family meals often who very much enjoy good food in vast quantities. They were around enough to know that nice meals don't get thrown together in five minutes and that it takes time and effort to prepare a nice holiday dinner, especially in the quantities they consumed. I got peeved when they kept hinting for invitations and would conveniently "drop by" around dinner time so I started assigning them food items to bring to dinners. When I asked them to bring an appertizer to share, they would bring a shrink-wrapped veggie tray. When I asked them to bring dinner rolls, they brought those tear-off par-baked ones in a bag. In neither case did I expect them to go all out, but something more than a quick stop at a convenience store on the way to our house would have been appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                      Jlhnwa, that is my point exactly (i am formerly giorgionadi). your "friends" that were showing up with a shrink wrapped veggie tray were not making any efforts. They werent acknowledging that they were thankful for you putting all this work into meals. I dont prepare meals with hopes or expectations that friends/family will do the same...but I can at least expect that my friends bring something that shows that they care. Ask them to bring roll? They neednt bake rolls from scratch but maybe stop by a baker and get some good rolls? Its all about choices and most choose to only think about themselves. Thats my point.

                                                                                                                                                                      There is something to be said about people who like to cook...as inaplasticup was getting at before......we empathize with people through the mutual satisfaction of enjoying a good meal. Some people lack the empathy thus never being able to understand why its important to make the efforts in participating in a friendship. Now food is just an example of this...its not the deciding factor as to whether a friend is a good friend or not. I

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                        giorgionadi/FE - Your comment, "Some people lack the empathy thus never being able to understand why its important to make the efforts in participating in a friendship" totally struck a chord with me, especially when thinking of the couple I mentioned. They seemed always looking for a way to use others without ever giving in return, whether it was food, time, favors (like watching kids or helping on a project), etc. They had a total entitlement attitude and seemed to feel they were owed by others. When asked to reciprocate or to pitch in on even a neutral charitable type cause, they seemed very put out. Why and how they developed these attitudes still puzzles me.

                                                                                                                                                                        Over time, it seemed to me to be more of an issue with the wife than the husband so I just cut back my contact with her dramatically and let the guys and kids hang out. Eventually, the couple split up and the husband proved to be very teachable once he was single. Happily, he is now engaged to a lovely woman who has been showing him how adults in friendships behave.

                                                                                                                                                                        I guess my conclusion would be that the food issue was merely a symptom of a much larger issue, but one that I found particularly irksome.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                          " the husband proved to be very teachable once he was single. Happily, he is now engaged to a lovely woman who has been showing him how adults in friendships behave."

                                                                                                                                                                          What a nice ending to the story! We can learn. I think lack of empathy is a big factor in the stories we have been telling, and unfortunately, not everyone starts out equal in this regard. I know I had a lot to learn about empathy, and am still learning. I am grateful for the example of others who are farther along.

                                                                                                                                                                          In the early seventies, I lived in Iran with my Iranian husband, and so was quite immersed in the culture. These were the most hospitable people I have ever known. I still think about the kindness and thoughtfulness of my Iranian friends and in-laws whenever I have guests. They are my gold standard.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                            I also think in order to understand these ideas/concepts of empathy one must posses a certain level of maturity. Many of my friends (i am 30) of the same age are still doing the same thing - going to bars all the time, hanging out for poker night....i really need something else out friendships nowadays than just to sit under the same roof for a few hours and bang on my chest. I dont need them to cook 5 course meals...i just need them to make efforts in order to continually grow our friendships. I know that I make them and not only through entertaining and food. Even something as simple as a phone call to see how things are going.

                                                                                                                                                                            If it werent for my wife I would never understand any of this and would be just like all of my friends....so i cant completely fault them. My wife is very mature, smart, and thoughtful and we have spent endless hours discussing what it means to have friends....

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                              I think it's wise to refine your idea of friendship as you move forward in this new phase in your life, and I think it's a good sign that you seem to genuinely enjoy your conversations with your wife. I'm 38 and much happier with the give and take of my friendships now than in my late 20s/early 30s because I'm better able to recognize what constitutes a balanced friendship TO ME and focus my energies on relationships with people who share the same ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                              I personally don't mind if my friends don't reciprocate in kind. I know that some people simply don't like cooking or entertaining for many different reasons, sometimes complex ones. I LOVE to cook, but I have friends who don't and will invite me for dinner at a restaurant instead. I have friends who always go Dutch and that's perfectly fine, too. I personally don't care for gift giving holidays because they feel forced to me. But if I happen to see something on a random day that I think would be perfect for a particular friend, and I can afford it, I'll get it for them and give it then, even if it's not Christmas or their birthday. The people I consider to be my friends today understand this about me and aren't offended if I don't send them birthday cards or gifts. (Likewise, I prefer that they don't buy me gifts either. And I'm aware that lots of people will think me odd for it.)

                                                                                                                                                                              I try not to waste my emotional resources trying to build friendships with people who will feel slighted by things that don't offend me. In the end, I think that might be one of the more important gauges of compatibility with another person because it speaks to their core values.

                                                                                                                                                                              If you reexamine your guest list, you'll probably find a small percentage who reciprocate in kind and magnitude, a slightly larger percentage who reciprocate in other kind (which takes a little more thoughtfulness and empathy to recognize), and then probably at least half who just show up because they've never met a free, delicious meal they didn't like. Hopefully, after you've given the benefit of the doubt to the genuinely kind and considerate friends in your life who just don't show it the same way you do, it'll be easier to let go of the rest so you and your wife won't feel slighted after hosting a lovely meal. :)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                                                "I try not to waste my emotional resources trying to build friendships with people who will feel slighted by things that don't offend me. In the end, I think that might be one of the more important gauges of compatibility with another person because it speaks to their core values. "

                                                                                                                                                                                +1

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Yeah, the lone, dry baked potato is just...how could you take it as anything except an insult? Who seriously thinks that's a real meal to offer someone?

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                          You really have to know the couple in question. The family more or less expects this kind of behavior from them because they're a little bit, well, different. They most certainly march to their own drummer. The potato really was the most egregious example, though.

                                                                                                                                                                          Ironically, I have heard some family members excuse this couple's behavior because they have a very ill child. The irony is that they behaved exactly the same in the many years before they had a child and, if anything, their dining habits have improved somewhat since their child was diagnosed, as she has very specific dietary needs that must be met.

                                                                                                                                                                          The potato event ocurred in the pre-child years and the couple is, to say the least, eccentric. They are family, though, we love them, and we deal with them.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                                                                            It warms the heart to see a family enabling the inappropriate conduct of one or more of its members.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. What's worse is when the dining room is immaculate with tablecloth, cloth napkins, beautiful plates bowls and stemware but the food is turkey chili served over clumpy rice, and that's it. And we can't open the bottle of wine I brought because someone has found Christ again?!

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                            Next time bring a bottle of water and see if that *someone* can turn it into wine!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                              We can't invite the DBF's parents over because we keep alcohol in the house. We also can't go to restaurants that serve alcohol. Luckily we live in Central PA and there are few restaurants that do. Usually we eat at their house, a diner, or one of the chains that don't serve alcohol (Hoss's etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. There are a handful of people whose invitations I always used to decline. I'm not a snob and recognize that some people are not into food, but in these particular cases I feared food poisoning. In one case, I was served a dried out roasted turkey that the hostess informed me she had found frozen in the freezer of her apartment when she moved in. She had no idea how long it had been there but "didn't want it to go to waste." She also had a habit of leaving food out for hours, then serving it again the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                              Another friend used cream of whatever soup constantly in just about everything she made and never understood what "lactose intolerant" meant. She also had a really dirty kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                              I have found that as I've gotten older, my friends have more money and more sophisticated taste (we're all in our mid to late 40s) than we did years ago, so no one serves food like that anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                I loathe food made with cream of anything.......i am nauseas now. Thank you

                                                                                                                                                                              2. We're the ones always having friends over, trying out new recipes, old favorites, catering our offerings to our guests' tastes and always having way too much food just in case. While some of our friends recirpocate in kind, we have two bachelor friends who have both recently hosted little gatherings where the food was... well, it wasn't, really. One was a St Patrick's day party, over the dinner hour. He had a few sausages, cut so that everyone could have one toothpick serving and a single bag of sweet potato fries heated in the oven. That was the offering for 12 people... The other friend had an afternoon bar-b-que, scheduled to start at 12pm. Everyone arrived, expecting a lunch type thing, but he didn't fire up the grill until 4pm and then it was plain hamburgers and hotdogs, bag of doritos.

                                                                                                                                                                                Both of these men love food and have gone out with us to eat and been over to our house. Somehow, they just can't seem to translate that into hosting. I ended up running out at the first party on the excuse of getting more ice and buying a bunch of veggies, some cookies from a bakery and some pre-made dip just so that everyone would have a little more to munch on. The food I brought back was gone in 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                We love them both and will continue to accept their social offers, but we know to either eat in advance or bring more food when we go.

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  HyacinthGirl, I am curious, did you ever say anything to either of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I am asking, because, in my experience, I usually just bring these things up to a guy if there is a problem like that. That is, if the guy is actually a friend and not an acquaintance or in-law.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                    I haven't said anything yet. Neither of them host too many get togethers, but if I attend another one where there's no food, I might start in with some good natured ribbing.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Isn't really just a question of manners? Yes, it's about the company, but if someone has enjoyed the fruits of your labor and seen the effort you have put in to making an enjoyable experience, they should at least attempt to reciprocate. If they are not capable of it because they are not good cooks or are afraid that their cooking isn't up to your standards, the solution is to invite you out to dinner at a nice restuarant and (at least occasionally) pick up the check.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I have a friend whose partner is one hell of a good baker. He makes these incredible trays of cookies during the holidays (like 6 dozen of 8 different kinds of cookies), sends my coworker to work with delicious cakes and breads to share in the office, and does a good amount of the cooking at home. Their condo purchase was all about the kitchen. It is evident that all of the delicious (and labor-intensive, usually) stuff that gets brought to the office is homemade. So when we were invited to their house for a little holiday/housewarming "open house," and were served several trays of Costco party platters and roll-ups, we left scratching our heads. I haven't had the guts to ask about it. At least they're good company.

                                                                                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CapreseStacy

                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe the timing was bad - something came up at work and he didn't have the time? Or maybe baking is his passion and party platters is out of his range of experience? Or maybe his partner said "no, I want you to relax and enjoy the day without slaving in the kitchen"? So many possible reasons!

                                                                                                                                                                                      I want to at least partly cater our wedding. My partner says "no way, you can't work on your wedding day". But I really would like to!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                                                                                                                        Go with your partner on this one -- with all the other things going on on your wedding day, you just won't have time to worry about whether or not the dip needs a refill.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If you want to do something like that, have a party or an open house after you get back from your honeymoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with sunshine--I wanted to do the food for my (last) wedding, and did, but I had to make some compromises (brownies instead of wedding cake!!) and after it was all over I found a tray of mini-quiches in the fridge that I had worked so hard on and forgotten, in all the excitement, to put out.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mona Williams

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks sunshine and Mona, sensible advice, come to think of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Am now amusing myself at the thought of me in full wedding dress in the kitchen - I'd probably set the veil on fire!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                                                                                                                              If you want to make something ahead fine. Otherwise, you are willing to turn the day into a disaster for I'm not sure what.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I said it was sensible advice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                I was only amusing myself at the thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ursy_ten

                                                                                                                                                                                                you'll be floored how your day will be just completely consumed. By the time you get home or to your hotel room that night, your face will hurt from smiling all day, you'll be fairly convinced your feet will NEVER forgive you, and you'll find you never even got a chance to *talk* to most of your guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Self-cater a gathering later -- and enjoy your big day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You are right - it will be a blur. Thanks for the advice :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: CapreseStacy

                                                                                                                                                                                            In a way, these are the most disappointing events. You know the host knows and can prepare good food and you attend expecting something tasty. Instead, you are offered frozen assortments and trays that have been made and sitting around for hours. "Oh, a shrimp ring, how lovely."

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, talk about being ungracious guests! Perhaps in the cookie story they hadn't gotten all of their baking tools unpacked. It was a housewarming party after all! Be thankful for food and friends instead of being disappointed at a shrimp ring.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lixer

                                                                                                                                                                                                You think it is ungracious or unfair for someone to anticipate good food and simply be disappointed when there is none?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have had a couple of cocktail parties, where I spent DAYS preparing loads of snacks. The food was a big hit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Last party, though, we decided to have a small local Mexican place do the cooking for us, because I really didnt have the time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  IMO, he prepared some of the most delicious Mexican dishes I have ever had...and yet, most people commented that they were really disappointed I hadnt done the cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wasnt annoye that they'd said so, I took it as a huge compliment!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What you should have said is...."last time I was at your house I too was disappointed that you didnt do the cooking." But then you think to yourself...wait, this person never cooked for me nonetheless invited me over for catered food either. Said phrase may evoke such emotions as, anger, dislike towards selfish friends, or even animosity between the two of your. Sad but most only care about themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, it was a huge compliment to your cooking, but never in my wildest dreams would I ever think to say that to anyone. I'm just happy to be invited! The older I get the less I'm interested in cooking for a large crowd, so if the only way I can feed them is to have it catered they should be delighted to partake!! It's the return invitations I am still looking for. So many of my friends are delighted to come to my house, but somehow feel they don't have to reciprocate.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: CapreseStacy

                                                                                                                                                                                                CapreseStacy -

                                                                                                                                                                                                Were you at my mother's house? She can bake like nobody's business but can't put together a meal to save her life. If her husband doesn't cook, they go out.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. This thread really hit me wrong - maybe I'm reading it at a bad time . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                Since when is having friends about keeping score? i served you this so you have to at least serve me xyz? Life isn't a competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                No one asks me to serve what I do, I do it because I want to . . . not because I then expect something in return . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                mmmm I'll have to reread this later in the week and see if I have better feelings about it . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thimes,
                                                                                                                                                                                                  its not about keeping score or having to out-do a friends last offer. I invite people over for food and drinks because I want to. Not because I am expecting something in return. But i also feel its common respect, courtesy, and maturity to participate reciprocally in a friendship. Not just come hang out, make jokes and never show that you are thankful for someone going through the efforts. I understand that many people arent into food as much so they dont cook. Thats fine..many of my friends are like this...but they make efforts by calling, inviting us over for drinks and maybe even ordering a pizza would be fine. But it is the effort that they put into the friendship that is lacking by most of our friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Definitely not about a score but to be the one who hosts EVERY time can be tedious. We definitely take turns with hosting for the most part. It seems that unfortunately so many of my friends are super busy we rarely get to see them anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    So agree. Food is important, but people are more important.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fullyfunctional

                                                                                                                                                                                                      People who reciprocate are important to me. People who don't make an effort in cultivating a two-way friendship don't deserve the friendship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dty

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very much in agreement! If they don't want to cook invite us out to dinner. Somehow it just isn't happening. I've about given up on entertaining anymore, we just go out to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dty

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reciprocating / two-way friendship doesn't have to equal cooking or going out to eat does it? I look at the reverse. Someone comes and helps me with my car, or plows my driveway. Doesn't mean I, in turn, have to go be all mechanical and fix their car of mow their lawn or something. In fact, when my neighbor did something like this over the winter, my reciprocating was in the form of baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                              im_ - that works in my book - it's all about consideration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  my sentiments exactly...but what of those that dont need to do any of the above...just come for the food and expect some magical "bond" from childhood to hold us together...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know it's hard to let go of certain ties. God knows I've struggled with it myself, and sometimes too long, losing hours/days/years of life I won't ever get back trying to strengthen bonds with people who don't share my ideas of friendship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe you just gotta cut your losses. In freeing yourself from the emotional exhaustion of trying to cultivate deep relationships with people who don't see eye to eye with you on what is needed to sustain a relationship - and reasonable people can differ - perhaps you will find that you have that much more energy to forge new ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When you say losing time trying to strengthen bonds with people....how did you lose time? By calling them and not getting a reply? I agree that I need to try to focus my energy in different directions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well...i believe thats why i recently started this Chowhounding because its sort of an outlet for my interests and I am evidently not fulfilling that need now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, if I've read some of your posts correctly, you seem troubled or bothered by people who come to your dinner parties and essentially mooch from you because they seem not to understand the concept of reciprocity. I assume that you aren't enjoying that time spent with them due in some part to the resentment you feel over this lack of reciprocity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or perhaps if not in the moment that they're in your home, then certainly afterward in the retrospective contemplation that these people never return the favor (which is evidenced in your discontentment expressed here). That's what I mean by lost time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brilliantly stated, im_nomad! As hil food points out, it's the consideration that is important.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe, you really haven't experienced obvious non- appreciation before...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have many friends who have never had us over, or taken us out for a meal in return for the meals we have provided, BUT, they help with the clean-up, complement the effort.... maybe bring a hunk of cheese over...whatever it is - you can tell they appreciate your effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And then we have the couple that comes over (ok - they do bring wine ) but their attitude is all about "I'm here - serve me." They never offer to help, and they never compliment the food.(which of course drives me nuts!) They have tit for tat taken us out for a meal,(in other words, we treat them - they treat us) but have never invited us over for a meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Two years ago, their children came over from the UK for the holidays, and we invited their entire family over for Christmas dinner. (six adults and one child)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                They bought round 2 bottles of wine. Out of six adults in the group, not one, NOT ONE, lifted a finger to help. As soon as dessert and coffee were done, they all got up from the table, and made their exit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep, that was the last time I have asked them over...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's not about, tit for tat, or what they "Bring" or even proper manners...but it is all in the attitude....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                All I ask, is a show of simple gratitude...some kind of show of appreciation for the effort and money that has gone into preparing a meal. Anything of the kind will suffice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's not too much to ask, really, is it??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not at all, and as for the family of six there is an old saying "The leaves don't fall far from the tree", that would apply to them. Goodby to bad rubbish!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, so much for you kind words, mother!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, you are right!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didnt even mention the daughters wedding in the Hamptons, which cost us a fortune to attend, and then we never got a thank you card! (They have since separated!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    life's too short for friends like that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dh and I had a "friend" who came over to eat all the time, but never had us over, never helped and never brought anything to the table. She happily accepted our generosity when we paid for meals, but if we didn't volunteer to pay, only paid her portion of the bill. She had a higher-paying job that either of us, so couldn't claim poverty. she was just that self absorbed that it never occured to her to reciprocate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Right!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Self absorbed is a good way to describe it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed. Its about the attitude and whats important to THEM. Self absorbed people dont are really difficult to deal with but what if they are high school friends? I know what needs to be done but I just saying that it is more difficult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There's no requirement that you hang on to self-absorbed people who are unpleasant just because you've known them a long time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            my mother still pesters me for cutting out a friend I knew for more than 20 years - since I was 7... I keep telling her the woman was poison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't get that...my folks were completely hands-off as far as my friends were concerned from the time I was about 17 or 18 -- they'd offer opinions (I dread the day my mother doesn't have an opinion, because it means something will be VERY wrong!) -- but they never once gave me flak over who I added or deleted from my real-life friend list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry you have to deal with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I'm sure even the most ardent Hounds amongst us have had days where everything that could possibly go wrong has...and it was too late to cancel the dinner invitation you'd issued a few weeks ago...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ...in that case, sometimes pizza or a rotisserie chicken or some Costco rollups is just all you can muster that day, so apologize, explain that all hell broke loose, and promise to do better the next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (and cut others some slack once in a while, too -- sometimes THEIR day has gone to hell in a handbag, and Pizza Hut is just gonna have to do this time.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've had my share of sh*t days, but I'd turn people away at my door before I'd serve food I (or my wife) wouldn't eat. It's not that I'm a grand entertainer, but there is something inherently disrespectful about offering to break bread when you don't like the bread you're offering. "No, you guys enjoy, I'm gonna make myself something decent after you've left."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And, honestly, I'd rather have a host cancel at the last minute than put myself into the midst of their sh*t day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nobody said anything about serving something you wouldn't eat. I didn't say to dump a little of the dog's Alpo on a plate --

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The point was that sometimes shit happens and your well-laid plans go out the window. Deal -- and enjoy the time spent with your friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I dont' really understand this. I like to cook and when we have people over I make something nice. Most of my friends are not into cooking. I'd never expect them to do what I do nor feel that they weren't reciprocating. It's like expecting people that don't dance to dance just because you do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I suppose we arent expecting them to cook for us...but just expecting people to make a conscientious (ty rochfood) effort to demonstratively contribute to a friendship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We may be getting slightly off topic.....but really getting into some good stuff!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. The word "empathy" has been used multiple times on this thread. That is an OK description.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For for me..the word that keeps cropping up..and it has cropped up in my head when I read or experience such "events' is :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Being "conscientious".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Conscientiousness is the trait of being painstaking and careful, or the quality of acting according to the dictates of one's conscience. It includes such elements as self-discipline, carefulness, thoroughness, organization, deliberation (the tendency to think carefully before acting), and need for achievement. It is an aspect of what has traditionally been called character. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A lot of people are just not very conscientious. To me that is having a type of awareness of your surroundings and situation beyond your self.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rochfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. In your analysis, conscientiousness comes across as a stronger, more admirable virtue than empathy, in that its expression requires more effort. We can be empathetic with no more than a kind word, or even just a feeling, but a conscientious person does something about her feelings of empathy. It's been a long time since I read it, but William James (I think it was) urged that anyone experiencing an elevated feeling as a result of an encounter with art should find a way to express it concretely in his life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. While I always put a lot of effort into entertaining, I know I've presented a couple of meals that have been not as great as they could have been. So maybe my friends were disappointed in my meal? It's possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I love to cook for people. I don't expect reciprocation, and have had many fun evening over pizza and salad at my friends' houses. I wouldn't trade those evenings for a fancy dinner, under any circumstances.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Could not agree with you more. But I guess the point was to just see that friends do make efforts to be friends in some way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agreed. Friendship is a 2-way street. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As has been said by others, perhaps they're not really friends. And I dont' say that in a catty way at all. I've expreienced it myself with people that I have enjoyed only to relaize they're just not that into me. It can be hard. I am going through a phase of my life where a group of friends that used to hang together have splintered due to breakups and moving away and I find myself without a group of what I would call close friends. So I can relate to the desire, just not the resentment that seemed to be present in the OP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I love having friends over for dinner, but have to agree I've had some disappointing meals at friend's houses. Two different times (by two different people) I was served one of those cream of mushroom soup casserole concoctions that were just vile. Another bad one was a friend, who is NOT a vegetarian, served all of us meat-eaters a faux ground beef product that tasted like old tires - ugh! I would rather you just order pizza, or get a bucket of fried chicken than inflict these sorts of things on your friends - or lets just go out instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. When I have guests I plate their food. Every course. Is that an issue for anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Okay, once I made individual T-bones for 4 of us (me, hubby, 2 male guests). I was pretending we were at Ruth's Chris and deglazed each individual pan with butter and poured it over each individually-plated steak. I served each one separately according to each person's temperature preference. One of the guys took the steak into the kitchen and patted it completely dry with paper towels. He was "starting to work out" and didn't want the extra fat. He was fine with the broccoli/garlic/olive oil and mashed potatoes (loaded with butter) and ate one dozen of the 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies I had baked for dessert. He washed it all down with a half a case of Coors light. After that, we ordered take-out when they came over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodiemom10583

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh. Sharp intake of breath. So sorry for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't have an issue with that at all. Sometimes it makes more sense for me to serve buffet or family style, but I've done plated dinners as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Quite the contrary - it shows even greater thought and effort, the kind of love and respect for the food, and the guests, that makes a special evening out of "breaking bread."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ms C

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not only is it not an issue with guests, but we plate every dinner, every night, even if it is just the 2 of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For most of my parties, I usually plate because of a couple guests who pick through each dish and serve themselves the best parts. All the best parts. ALL the oysters out of the stew. ALL the beef out of the bourguignon. ALL of the fried chicken breasts. The piece of cake with the most frosting. One even scooped out all the soft part of a piece of brie and left the bloomy rind for the rest of us. Unfortunately, they are family I can't disinvite or children I can beat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: POAndrea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL. Growing up, we'd have had our heads handed to us on a platter for doing that. The way we were raised also didn't allow for us to say anything to a grown person who was doing it, either. :P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep, that's the dilemma of the gently-reared, isn't it? My MIL has the nastiest manners (picking teeth, then reaching with bare fingers into the salad bowl, yes, to pick out a nut or something, NOT KIDDING!), but I can't really say anything. I find myself going through some pretty ridiculous motions to set boundaries, such as making sure the platter with the food she doesn't like is sitting near her, following her if she takes a plate into the kitchen, and unfortunately, throwing out food she has contaminated. And she always picks out the choice bits claiming that because of her food sensitivities, she can't eat the other stuff, so why shouldn't she have the lamb cubes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I seriously limit eating with her because it's nauseating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              maybe serve her only meals that are single-serving ie: individual quiches, egg rolls, or anything that would not come out of a communal platter?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: POAndrea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, but you could most certainly SAY something to them! And yes, you could disinvite them. Or invite them so they show up late so others can have the good pieces of food. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: POAndrea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When my family gathers, my mother , now 87, still counts out the number or shrimp and/or oysters in each of our servings of gumbo, to make sure we all get the same, just because of that type of greed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I've decided never to invite for dinner anyone who has vague dietary issues. If they need something specific to be free of illness I can't help them. If that's not what is going on, why do I bother?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it gets interesting at my house -- we have friends who keep kosher, follow halal, vegetarian (of every possible type) and vegan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Keeps me on my toes...if it's only one or two out of that group it's pretty easy, but if we have a big party it drives me a little bit loopy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wouldn't cooking vegan basically cover most issues for all of those different dietary needs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think I would cook an entire vegan meal for a group of guests who are mostly not vegan... Call me insensitive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I refuse to have guests in my house and then leave them with nothing to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also refuse to have guests in my house and then make them live by someone else's dietary rules/restrictions/sensitivities. (just for the record, though, I wouldn't ever put out ham/sausage if there was anyone attending who keeps kosher or follows halal)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So some things straddle a couple of categories, but if it's a mixed group, it's usually a mixed menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Really? I cook all-vegan meals for mixed groups all the time. My channa masala with rice and chapatis is extremely popular with meat-eaters and I've also made hearty lentil soups, black bean curries and soups, etc. It's a simple solution to not wanting to make 3 different meals for a group. The trick, I've found, is to NEVER use meat substitutes (ew), but rather find recipes that are supposed to be vegan, especially Indian or other Asian cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Basiorana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. I don't think it's forcing people to adhere to one thing. I know that if I have vegetarian friend coming over I may only allow 1 item with meat so I don't end up with people just eating the salad for example. This is a great example of how you can use certain types of food to appease all dietary needs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. dang reading some of these I realize I'm frickin' blessed by friends (and not such a bad guest after all)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. After reading this I am almost ashamed that people, even those that love food, have such a myopic view. When I go to friends' houses for dinner, if the meal is never served at all since we were having so much fun, then that is a good thing. If the meal is burnt, then we laugh and order pizza. If the meal is badly prepared we eat it and have the same conversation and laughter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's just food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It cannot drive you to the hospital when you break an arm, cannot comfort you when you lose a family member, give you a hug and kiss when you receive great news or high five you when you get that job after a long search. It's vegetables and dead animals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Prioritize people or the only attendees at your funeral will be the caterer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NoBad,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That sounds like a good attitude to have for a young person and reasonable enough. However, many of the examples given above show a lack of interest or care that is appalling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And, re: "If the meal is burnt, then we laugh ..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Almost all of the examples above seem to involve people that would not appreciate you laughing at them for putting out bad food. There are a number of things at play here, like
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Self Awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Solipsism (foodiemom's friend seems to take the cake, literally)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Basic Conscientiousness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And some of these examples helped illustrate to the poster whether the people in question were worthy of being friends in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree. It's the exhibition of psychological maladies in many of the anecdotes that makes it reasonable not to accept all of these "friends." At bottom, they are using food as one mechanism to display disrespect. Someone who serves you a plain baked potato when you are a dinner guest might not even call for an ambulance, much less drive you to the hospital.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Other than my perfection I have my faults. I very much disagree that this is a psychological malady or disrespect. I view it as their priorities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also do not agree that there is any correlation between the baked potato and the 911 call. Onc again I think that priorities are different and it does not make them better or worse, it just makes them, them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that is way off. I am sure that you can find poor cooks who would leave you in a ditch, but I doubt the correlation is all that great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "At bottom, they are using food as one mechanism to display disrespect."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, in many cases, they are not using food for anything other than basic fuel. And this is a point that some of us are trying to make...for many, food, other than as fuel, is simply not a priority and their taste-buds/stomachs make due with whatever blandish filler it gets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This particular point carries a lot of weight -- we, as Hounds, have to step back from time to time and remind ourselves that some of the folks around us eat primarily because if you don't, you die.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We aren't always going to find friends who care whether the mushrooms are crimini, button, or shiitake...and that doesn't in any way reflect upon the calibre or depth of the friendship we share with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You see no disrespect in serving someone a plain baked potato? That's not even sufficient fuel. You clearly appreciate the priorities of others, surely you can see there are examples of "friend's" conduct here that seem to fail to respect the priorities of their guests. A failure to even feign reciprocity is an exhibition of disrespect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I get the "eat to live" thing, but the vast majority of people find pleasure in food. It's a basic function of our sense of taste. I find it hard to believe that someone derives pleasure from eating dirt in their food. That's simply exhibiting a lack or care - consciously or sub.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had just written:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "There are a number of things at play here, like
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Self Awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Solipsism (foodiemom's friend seems to take the cake, literally)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Basic Conscientiousness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And some of these examples helped illustrate to the poster whether the people in question were worthy of being friends in the first place."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And then you said, "You see no disrespect in serving someone a plain baked potato? "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is a huge difference between someone who puts in the least amount of though into what kind of food they serve and a psychological malady.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "...but the vast majority of people find pleasure in food"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, and a sizable minority, whether they realize it or not, rely on what they knew as a child and use it as fuel. I don't live my life that way, but it is not inherently evil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "I find it hard to believe that someone derives pleasure from eating dirt in their food. That's simply exhibiting a lack or care - consciously or sub."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Come on, you did read what I rote just one post previous, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Again, "There are a number of things at play here, like
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Self Awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Solipsism (foodiemom's friend seems to take the cake, literally)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Basic Conscientiousness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And some of these examples helped illustrate to the poster whether the people in question were worthy of being friends in the first place."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I did. Thus my immediate agreement. I think there is a simple semantic divide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Solipsism, as you use it, is a psychological malady (as opposed to a philosophy). In fact "rel[ing] on what they knew as a child," is likely part of what produces the pleasure for much of the cited minority and clearly has a psychological component. Further, and most importantly, psychological maladies, as the phrase is generally used, are not evil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My point it this:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Many of the examples given so far have been extreme, which is normal for a thread like this. The more "interesting" the story, the more likely we are to share it; the more mundane, the less likely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And, many of these stories have been told about people who were sorta nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, (and this is important) the solution offered, BY SOME, has been too hard core. Basically, dropping people as friends because they offer up cold take-out at their "dinner party" (or whatever). And saying that this is a sign of mental illness or, at least, complete disrespect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whereas, I am betting, in many cases, the host was just hoping you would have one more night of pouring over issues of Cosmo and making fun of how bad the dating advice is, or playing one more epic game of all-night poker...or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If the tables had been turned, they would not have cared less if they had subsisted on dry pretzels and Chex Mix all night if they got to:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1.) Spend time with you, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2.) Engage in one of their favorite activities (Gossip, Poker, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And, again, priorities matter. Once again, an example from my life looks like this:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No matter how good, or bad, the food might be, if it involves Paper Plates, or Plastic Forks, or standing while eating, or anything like that, my Mother would sorta hate it. She is from the old country, and you would absolutely never do that no matter what the situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It could be the finest Whole Hog BBQ you had ever seen, and she would still not like it. Priorities. Hers are different than mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So, when FoodieMom tells the stories about her one-time friend, that person might very well have been completely nuts. And boy can I sympathize.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But for some of the solutions that have been offered, they are unwilling to view food as being a very low priority for some people, at least in certain situations ("hey gal, come on over and we will have lots of laughs, just like old times. oh, your hungry, here is a stale Pop Tart...let me nuke that for you")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If they ate steak but served me a potato THEN I'd take offence. Some people are just oblivious. You have to decide whether they're trying to be offensive or just don't know any better or aren't capable of any better or can't afford any better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            nobadfoodplz........no one has stated it better than you. "It is only dinner" was a quote I heard James Beard used once concerning something he had made and did not turn out as expected.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There is also an "ick factor" with those who think it is their unalienable right to be pampered with what they consider acceptable fare and not be served "disapointing food", prepared by friends. In other words, contrary to the way many self aggrandized folks think life is not risk free.....lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              NOBAD,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I suppose when i was young and single i would have had a similar view as you. But after being in a serious relationship you begin to see that most friends are completely superficial. I used to be able to go out with the guys and sit at the bar for hours...drink...shoot the breeze (extremely superficial convo..ie, hey look at that girl, hows your job, sports talk) nothing wrong with that. And it used to be fine for me because thats what I thought was fine..we were low maintenance guys that just wanted to get together. But after making an (buzzword) conscientious effort to dig beneath the surface, Ive found that there is much more to friendship. Mutual efforts to participate in the entity that is the friendship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Think about...why do you NEED these friends? so if you every break and arm or do something good you can get a high five? Or if you die you can have people at a funeral?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I need substance over number. Quality friends will participate and make efforts into the friendship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And you are right...its not about food because it is ONLY food. But it represents and expresses so much more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "...it represents and expresses so much more."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Absolutely. Three times a day (at least), every day, from birth to death (Gods willing your good health). What we do with food is often a subconscious expression of deeply held beliefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think you came to a solid conclusion upstream, FE - finding people who do like you do and focusing on those relationships. If you can accept your and others' differing sensibilities without making a qualitative judgment on them, you can then move on in good conscience to socialize with people whose way of being doesn't cause such unnecessary discomfort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They say God gave us friends to make up for family. I.e., you can CHOOSE your friends. So while you may feel duty bound to suffer some fundamental ideological difference with blood, cut yourself a little slack and release yourself of the obligation to put up with friends whose company and interaction are consistently displeasing to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have been in the feces hitting the rotary on several occassions and I can state with complete certainty that the correlation between food service and stepping up in a crisis is non-existent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am glad that I have a diverse group of friends, having only those who are just like me would be totally boring. But everyone is different in the desires.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nobadfood, I also happen to like variety in my friendships and agree with your observations about the correlation between taste in food and ability to assist in a crisis. I don't make qualitative judgments about people based on what they like to eat or serve (though I do sometimes assess compatibility on that basis).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But it seems that the OP is looking for certain qualities in his friends, manifested in certain ways, and I am just suggesting that it might give him peace to stop making qualitative judgments about the people who don't participate in the relationship as he would like, and just hang with people who do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What fulfills people in a friendship can change over time. A person may have friends who are really good about the balance of hospitality between them but then shun him later on in life when something difficult happens. But if your priority in this moment is this quid pro quo, better to accept it, live accordingly, see where it leads, and make changes as needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who knows? One day, you (generically) might end up unemployed, divorced, or worse and temporarily bitter, and the only person who will sit and cry in your beer with you is the friend who seemed too flakey to pull off what you think is a decent meal because the rest of them are too busy throwing great dinner parties and generally being fabulous to hang with a loser like you. And then that guy becomes your idea of a really good friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But these are things we experience in our own way, at our own pace...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "..so if you every break and arm or do something good you can get a high five?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, so that they can take you to the hospital. Or, to put it another way, "When the sh!t hits the fan, you will know who your real friends are".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess I am lucky in that my friends are not superficial, they are incredibly intelligent, have incredible thoughts and beliefs and have been there for me to discuss some incredibly deep, emotional and tough decisions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: nobadfoodplz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My experience has been that people who are flakey about one thing tend to be flakey about other things. So the person who can't feed me dinner when they invited me is also the one likely to forget to pick me up at the airport, busy when I need a ride anywhere and just generally undependable. That doesn't mean you can't have a fun evening, just don't expect much more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is good way to go about it Escondido. Agreed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also agree.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What you consider serving someone can..not "always", but CAN...show how much you think of and know that person. If I have a foodie friend, I will go out of my way to make something that she would like, and if I have a non-foodie friend who would be happy with order-in pizza (although it can be fun initiating the cuisine-ignorant into our ways), I do that. Likewise, I check out for food restrictions beforehand so I don't end up having a meal where all I can offer a veggie friend is salad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I feel the point is that the OP thinks enough about his guests to go through the trouble of offering something that would be good and that he could make/supply to the best of his ability. This shows CARING. Now, are said guests reciprocating (read:caring) enough TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY to do the same? If they are incapable of cooking well, but make an Effort, knowing that the OP is a Foodie, then maybe that's just going to be one of those things one deals with when in a relationship.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ditto the who's-paying-for-dinner situation: if a well-to-do "friend" invited me out for a meal WITHOUT mentioning that it was to be dutch, then fully expected me to pay, I'd be a bit pissed; in my book, being asked out means you are a Guest and therefore you are being treated, even if you insist on and end up going dutch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But you have to consider all factors. Maybe your friends' idea of entertaining involves take-out: is this because they are INCAPABLE, in any way, of putting together a real meal? And if so, do they reciprocate in other ways, such as helping you with your garage sale, or babysitting periodically?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I got onto another thread and confessed to being the Perpetual Guest. We are this because our house is extremely small and you can't fit more than 3 people in any room at any time including the dining room (and we have 3 people in our family!) But in return, we bring the wine (and we bring GOOD wine) and at least one dish PLUS dessert, and we help to bus and wash up afterward, so it works out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But you gotta weigh all the factors in a relationship. While not sharing the obsession for food that we Hounds all have, as long as there're other things you share, AND you can tell if the other person does really care about you (and you them), then that should be enough to maintain a friendship.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, gotta go...we're going to my MIL's for dinner. She's 93 and she likes to serve Chef Boy Ar Dee, frozen mixed veggies, and a "cherry cheese ring" ala mega mart for dinner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Does she care about us? Infinitely...but that meal is all she can do, so we gotta get there early to talk her into going out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You are absolutely right. I believe my issue is we dont have enough friends that are willing to make an effort to reciprocate. I get the perpetual guest thing but at least you make an effort in showing that you appreciate the hosts efforts. I think this is where most people fall short of being GOOD friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          With that said we need more reciprocators!! Who wants to start?? Whos coming over for dinner!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. After reading all of the comments, I am starting to think that this post should be retitled:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Disappointing Friends at Dinner"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Replies seem to be split between 'Oh woe - our friends never reciprocate' and 'Oh woe - our friends cook bad food'.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You can't have it both ways!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it was more a case of some friends not all. And to a great extent it seemed to be about not making an effort versus bad food...though there were some doozies in that category too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We are friends with one couple who literally never cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Last year they had us over and she picked up a large lasagna from a local Italian restaurant, a Greek salad and bread. It was great and much appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd be happy with that (or less) I had some friends (different states and countries now) who had a fantastic condo, but one could tell they never cooked. period. they were making a LOT more than we were and would spring for dinners out. we couldn't keep up at that price point so could only do well considered dinner parties (hey top ingredients without the mark-up and service and tax were within occasional reach), Still I always felt like we were the slackers. But I don't think they were just being polite with the effusive praise. it was what we could do, (and not half bad IMHO) ya does what ya can, but ya does it. if you can roast a chicken or duck and the guests eat poultry, I eventually concluded that sometimes after a week of deciding between the monkfish medallions or the tempura crabcake, maybe a simple (but flavorful) dinner might be a welcome novelty after all as we never stopped socializing until moves and careers pulled all of us in different directions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            so from each according to their abilities and we're cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. We have quite a few friends whom we've had over in the past few years who have never reciprocated. I don't take it personally - all are busy working professionals, some have small children, some are single and may feel awkward about entertaining a couple, etc. I don't view failure to reciprocate as a reason not to have someone over if I want to see them - but I do make sure to only give invitations when I want to. I would not be okay with friends inviting themselves over all the time and never returning the invitation - and fortunately, that's not the situation for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do find that entertaining is a lot of work. I try to keep things simple but it still ends up usually consuming my whole weekend, and I'm a very experienced cook. For someone who is not, I can't even imagine how daunting it would be. I'd rather have someone get take-out for me rather than kill themselves trying to put together a meal that they thought would meet my expectations. As others have pointed out, it's really not the food that matters but the thoughtfulness. I've been served grilled cheese and soup at a friend's house with incredible grace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. You people make me not want to have anyone over for dinner EVER. Nor eat at anyone else's house EVER.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No sugar coating for me....I like savory foods better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel the same way, Except that I know that the opinions here are not shared by my friends, who do not view eating together as an opportunity to review one's cooking/outlooks/flatware, etc. This isn't to say that we don't love food and trying out recipes and taking care of each other; it's just that we don't view these occasions as subject to such chowhound/yelp reports as "disappointing" or as opportunities to disparage the life choices/preferences of each other. (At least, not behind our backs.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I believe we have gotten off topic so far that we are no longer discussing the original post....We all can still enjoy the company of our friends..but it should stay at that...and leave the intimate relationships for our dearest friends.... this has become too much of a topic of friends, efforts, and philosophy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Instead,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I suggest we discuss details of nasty dishes that people tried to serve and lets make judgements on them and unapologetically laugh at how terrible they are at cooking!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nothing but a baked potato is terribly sad...but Ive been served boiled pasta with Prego sauce!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I suggest we discuss details of nasty dishes that people tried to serve and lets make judgements on them and unapologetically laugh at how terrible they are at cooking! "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sounds like a line from the movie Mean Girls...or Heathers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A friend of mine makes such weak, watery, tasteless spaghetti sauce I wish she'd just serve Prego.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It took me years to try to get over a fear of inviting people over because I thought they would judge my apartment or my dinner service or the cost of my food....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a very dear friend who told me that people who were mature would just come over and have a good time, that no one expected perfection - and so it proved to be. I had great parties and still do, and nothing is ever perfect, but we always have fun. If I had known there were such judgemental people out there I would never have gotten over my fear and I would have missed alll those good times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dianne0712

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind." -- my Mom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Great question. My knee-jerk response was, "So what, you food snob? You should just feel lucky to have friends who invite you over." And then....I think about my friends who reciprocate one of my dinner parties by having a BYOB with a bunch of friends and not much more than a bowl of chips and pretzels. I, a food snob, try to tell myself to feel grateful just to have friends who invite me over (see above). But it's true, it can be disappointing. Worse is friends who "reciprocate" by inviting me to join them at a restaurant, dutch treat. I do enjoy cooking and entertaining, so I won't stop having dinner parties, but I've been cultivating foodie friends--and some of them have thrown fantastic dinner parties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I really like to cook and I really like to have people over, but sometimes depending on what we've had going on on a given day or during the week- we'll order in from a good place and let everyone get what they want. We always, always assume that we will play the bill b/c it was our choice to order in instead of cook. I always clear it w/ my friends in advance just to make sure they are cool with that solution ( this usually is because of a sick child, or having something go haywire in the house or kitchen).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Sorry, but I think you've completely missed the point of "spending time with friends" and cooking for them. Make your ability to cook and cook well a gift to them, a chance to spend quality time with them, and entirely drop all expectations of even a return dinner invitation, let alone one which proves to you they have put enough "effort" into it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. After reading this thread, I think I have a better understanding of why the scripture says that when we make a dinner to invite the ones who can't reciprocate...lol Having said that, my husband and I have experienced a few disappointing dinners at the houses of kinfolk. A couple of years ago, my brother and his wife invited everyone to share Thanksgiving dinner with them. My dear SIL fancies herself a gourmet cook, but the fact is that she truly isn't. The turkey had been overcooked in a home rotisserie and the dressing/ stuffing was from a box. And to make THAT even worse, instead of following the box directions for preparing the stuffing, she sauted it in a frying pan with white wine. Yep, we were served piles of crunchy little bread pieces along-side the dried out turkey. Thankfully, SIL was quick to refill our wine glasses whenever she saw them half empty, so hubby and I weren't very hungry (but we WERE quite tipsy) when dinner was finally served. lol SIL, as much as I love her, tends to drink a LOT of wine during dinner preps. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My older sister, whom I love dearly, is also a lousy cook, and insists on reciprocating after we have her and her husband over for dinner. She serves instant mashed potatoes, boxed mac & cheese, bagged salad (ONLY iceberg lettuce, as she doesn't care for romaine, endive, etc.) and breaded frozen meats heated in the oven or microwave. Her fave dessert to serve is Jello cheesecake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            On the other hand, I always cook and bake from scratch, not only for family and friends, but for myself and my husband. We invite the family for dinner every St. Pat's Day and I do the entire gamut of 'Irish' food...Guinness-cooked corned beef w/baby red potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage, homemade Irish soda bread, and horseradish sauce. At Thanksgiving, everything is from scratch, down to the mashed potatoes made from REAL potatoes to the stuffing, gravy , homemade yeast rolls, and pumpkin pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the past few weeks I've gotten back into homemade bread -making, which I haven't done for 20 years. I 'gift' family and friends with freshly-baked yeast breads and rolls to show them I love and think about them. Today I have tackled a new bread recipe that calls for sun-dried tomatoes, garlic ,fresh basil, and Italian blend cheese (see attached photo).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't care about reciprocation when I invite someone to share a meal with me and my husband. I just want them to know I care about them and enjoy their company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BoodersGranny

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                that's gorgeous, and it sounds like it tastes as good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Whatever you do, don't even whisper it; otherwise, you'll offend them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Different people have different capacities. If they're just throwing crap together, they simply don't want to do it. Be diplomatic and beg out next time. Not everyone has the same interest in hosting or cooking. Read the writing on the wall and let it be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. We used get together with two other couples, the other two guys used to work together and have known each other for many years. DH and I and couple #1 love to cook, often have the others (and other friends) over and don't really pay much attention to who owes whom a dinner. Couple #2 - she doesn't cook at all, he talks a lot about how he loves to cook. After a couple of years of never having anyone over, they invited us all for a barbecue. The invitation said "We'll provide the place, paper plates and flatware, a couple of side dishes and a salad. Everyone bring whatever meat you want to cook and something to drink."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Since the rest of us, when hosting, provide the entire dinner, including drinks and meat, I found that pretty insulting. They both have good jobs, are as well off financially as anybody else in the group. We went, but haven't had them over since then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: judybird

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Everyone bring whatever meat you want to cook and something to drink."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The above is not uncommon where I live (a bring your own meat party) but it usually a very large event (by home standards) and an all day/all night type of affair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would think it was strange for a small gathering to ask people to bring their own drinks and meat. I was actually invited to something similar shortly after I started a new job. I made a comment about the hostess being cheap, not realizing that she was within earshot. I didn't make a great first impression in that office and I didn't accept the invitation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We are invited to one next month where the host is providing everything but the meat. His version of everything is a party with a full bar (complete with bartender), live entertainment, a full outdoor commercial set up with grills, etc, so I don't mind. (we will actually have our meat meal prior to the party and just enjoy the other stuff.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This actually makes sense in terms of dietary restrictions and preferences. You've got your vegetarians, your vegans, the veg*n who don't like vegetables, the veg*ns who don't like fake meat products, your soy and wheat intolerant crowd, your vegetable haters, your no red-meat but chicken is okay people, and your only free range/organic/locally sourced people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Providing barbecue that satisfies all of them, doesn't waste food, and doesn't blow your budget can be pretty difficult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. If you don't have a copy of laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" get one. The essay, "Dinner parties" discusses this subject in a fun way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Being a good friend is important to me. Feeding my loved ones is part of it. If I get reciprocated , fine. But that's not my expectation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I think that stinks! But, at least they have you over. I hate inviting people over for dinner and then they never ask us over afterwards. I am not sure if they are just socially inept or just plain rude. Maybe if you have them over again, just cook those fabulous meals for yourself, not them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: danionavenue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't be quick to judge if they don't invite you over. I am a wonderful cook and would love to invite friends over, but I am married to a man who now makes his living buying/selling "antiques". There is no way I could invite anyone into my home, which verges on looking like a permanent garage sale. Sometimes there are reasons that people can't reciprocate in kind. I look for other ways to reciprocate, however (meeting friends out, bringing food to their party), but am painfully conscious of not being able to reciprocate in the way I would like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Here's the report on a dinner invitation from someone who that very evening turned into a former acquaintance. I was invited for a cookout at 6:00 p.m. When I arrived at 6:15, the hostess and her boyfriend (both people in their late 30's) were fiddling around in the kitchen in a haphazard fashion. They offered me a glass of warm white wine, telling me that other guests were bringing the rest of the drinks. There wasn't anywhere to sit in the kitchen so I wandered into the living room and sipped my glass of wine for about an hour, alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          By 8:00 all the other guests had showed up and we adjourned to the backyard. By 8:30 we had been served one burned bratwurst (no bun, no condiments, no sides) each and some potato chips. Shortly after that I told my new ex-friend that I had an early morning run scheduled and left. I picked up some Thai food on the way home because by then I was starving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mandycat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Run is right. Were you running to the Thai place? :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mandycat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mandy, I am curious, did you get any feedback from the other guests? Did any of the other guests hear about your plight during the early party?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I knew the other guests only slightly, through my "hostess." Given the fact that those other guests rolled in anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes after the stated time, I guessed that their ideas on dinner party etiquette were as different from mine as those of our "hostess" and scratched the whole gang off my list.