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Should there always be food available when having people over?

Once a week, people will be at my house for choir rehearsal in the evening. Everyone knows they're to have dinner before coming over but should I still put out some snacks? My only concern is that I don't have a lot of money to feed people. I don't mind putting out something to drink, like tea and water. Maybe if people wanted to chip in a dollar or two, I can offer to shop for snacks?

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  1. I would want to have something, but that is just me. If there are over 6 or 7 people coming every week, I can't imagine they would expect you to feed them on your own. I don't know how it is in your circle of friends, but in my experience people would probably enjoy taking turns bringing the snacks. You can start a list. I'd ask several people before I started the list though. Perhaps there is a tradition of not eating at choir practice?

    1. I could not imagine having people into my home and not offering them something. ...but I am Southern...lol
      I don't think it has to be anything elaborate...cookies and lemonade, cheese straws and ice tea,etc

      1. I think sueatmo has a great idea. You provide tea and water, and someone else brings the snack each week--as long as people don't make this into a big deal where it then becomes a competition to bring the best. Bu then you're choir folks so not competitive ;)

        1. I'm Jewish and Italian, so bear that in mind.

          Yes. A coffee cake, or a bag of chips and some salsa, or a batch of cookies or something. Anyone who enters my house gets fed. It's genetic, I can't help it. ;)

          2 Replies
          1. re: tzurriz

            Bahahahaha! My first thought to the above was, "I'm a Jewish mother; it's not possible that there wouldn't be food available." At any time. Day. Night. Three a.m. A nibble? Sure. Full meal? Pretty much name it. It's almost a sickness.

            To answer your question though, I think taking a quick survey of people's expectations is the way to start; it nobody wants it, don't trip, if they do, take up a collection weekly for the snack kitty, maybe $2/person, or start a roster and have people take turns. Set a dollar limit, though, so that people won't get into the wonderful world of one-upsmanship, which wrecks the whole point of providing a nice simple snack for a group of friends w/ similar interests. Would like to point out that you're already extending yourself as a hostess for a non-food event, so your contribution is done, etiquette-wise.

            1. re: mamachef

              I'm with mamachef, you've already extended yourself and I'm sure the other folks would be happy to take care of a dessertish snack.

          2. Offer a Fresh Vegetable Crudite Platter with some Bottled dressing. ......very inexpensive and you would be surprised how far you can stretch it with only 5-6 vegetables.....but then, I have a number of Asian Grocery store available to me where a number of vegetables are never over 99 cents per pound.

            Grape Tomatoes
            String Beans

            Splurge with a can of olives.....you can find them in dollar stores.

            1. Since your practice is after dinnertime, perhaps the members can take turns bringing dessert. You might provide the beverages (coffee, tea, lemonade) and let the others bring cookies, cake, etc.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Terrie H.

                Great solution. I actually cannot have people over without food--it's a genetic condition.

              2. it is always nice to provide a snack when you have people over for a visit, but they are not there for a visit, and it is every week. You are under no obligation to provide anything, but tea and water are wonderful gestures of hospitality. Are you really sure you want to turn this rehearsal into a food event? If it were being held at another location instead of your home, would people be bringing food? After all, this is not primarily a social event, you are already doing quite a lot by opening your home.

                1. You are graciously offering your home as a rehearsal venue. This is not a social event. Water should be provided, but beyond that I don't think there is any obligation on your part.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pikawicca

                    This is exactly what I thought. There should always be food available when having people over for a social gathering, and if you can't afford it don't invite them over. But what you're describing is not a social gathering. So no.

                  2. why not rotate. each week someone can bring the snack.

                    1. As someone who rehearses on a weekday evening each week for a choir, I would say no solid food snacks. Just beverages (and be sure to just offer plain water). Singers should not be eating during rehearsal (other than to suck on throat lozenges).

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Karl S

                        Like other posters, I feel like a good host offers their guests food and drink, but you're right, these aren't typical guests: singers should not be eating during rehearsal. Just imagine trying to do detached runs and with Triscuits catching in your throat. Dedicated singers will also avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and will stick to room temperature or warm beverages.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          I am one of those naughty singers who finds cold beverages help my voice better than warm ones, but I am of course aware of the "rule".

                        2. re: Karl S

                          I'm in a choir too and I tend to agree.

                          However, why not discuss with the group and, if they want refreshments, set up a schedule for sharing refreshment duty?

                          You've offered your place and shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of providing all of the refreshment.

                        3. First, how nice that you can accommodate choir practice weekly at your house. You are already putting yourself out for the group. Second, how thoughtful of you to worry about entertaining them. I think it would be lovely to strengthen the group's solidarity to share the snack burden: ask folks if they'd like to have a nibble after practice and, if so, have a rotating list so that everyone gets to contribute. You provide the beverage. Such an approach is appropriate given that you are already hosting and the clean-up will fall to you, so you've clearly made your contribution.

                          1. Yes......but in this situation it should be a shared responsibility/cost. ~~ Guard against "them" expecting you to always provide the goodies...You don't want to ever feel taken advantage of ~~ Treats should be shared After rehearsal only.....and it is a social, fun time for the group!


                            1. Wow - definitely a lot of ideas and POV here, thanks everyone! I'm also from a family that always has food available at just about any gathering but some of you mentioned, I'm already sharing my home with people for rehearsal, and even though we're all friends this isn't a casual social gathering - we actually have a purpose! - so thank you for pointing that out.

                              Based on our first rehearsal, I think this group will probably be ok with beverages but I'll ask just to make sure no one is starving because I definitely don't want that. Then if people want to contribute food or money towards our snacks, we can do that.