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Rude guests

I get very frustrated at family members who offer to make a dish but insist on using my kitchen to make it. I have enough going on with having family over for dinner and why can't they dirty their own kitchen? I feel that it is rude.

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  1. Sometimes, in life, the problems we encounter are complex and difficult to solve. Other times, the problems are simple and easy to address. Luckily for you, the problem you relate falls into the latter category. So, just tell your family how you feel and avoid years of building animosity and passive aggressive confrontations. Life's too short to not do something so elementary.

    1. So...tell them? They may "insist" but this is something that is ultimately up to you. "Thanks, but just an FYI, I need you to make it at home because I have a lot going on in the kitchen." Done.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LeoLioness

        And if they're in the habit of dropping it on you at the last minute?
        There are electrical plugs all over the house. Also tables (if necessary, let 'em do it outside. Even in the middle of winter, can't take terribly long to cut some veggies).

      2. 50% (if not more) of family members outside of one's home are rude and a pain in the ass!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          Personally I'd have pegged the number much higher.

        2. For more "formal" diner parties, you simply accept proffered food/ dishes with a warm smile and thank-you. There is no social protocol that mandates that such gifts be served at that particular gathering. You can pop the yummies in the fridge for later consumption.

          In a less formal "pot luck" settings, state your lack of counter/cooking space in your invite, Whether that be in print, email, or text: "Sorry, but due to limited stove/oven/kitchen space, please bring COOKED , covered dishes"....blah blah blah.

          Useful psycho-babble from years of therapy: we teach other people how to treat us.

          1. I'd call that merely thoughtless, not outright rude. Rude is more along the lines of not caring if they cause you inconvenience, IMO. I agree with other posters who advise making it clear that your kitchen equipment will be otherwise utilized, so that they need to prepare their contribution before coming to your home.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              +1. Be clear and straight forward works best for us

            2. Personally it wouldn't bother me, some dishes don't travel well and that limits what they can make and bring.

              1. If you're specifically asking them to bring a dish to something you're hosting, then I think some use of your kitchen is fair game, although you could request that they come a bit earlier to fit it in.

                If it's a general potluck (ie, nobody's hosting), then you could make a note in the invitation that dishes should be ready to serve.

                If they're insisting on brining a dish even though you haven't asked them (or are doing the "Oh, but I must bring my X!" routine), then I think saying okay, but there won't be any time/space to use the kitchen is fine.

                1. The last time one of the in-laws walked into my kitchen to prepare the dish that was supposed to brought with her, she was met by my extended arm holding a chef's knife pointing at the door. I reminded her that she lived only 5 doors away and that anything she made would still be hot leaving her oven and being carried the 1/2 block to our home.
                  Her reply, "well your kitchen was going to get dirty anyway"
                  She has not been invited back (3 years) and is not missed.

                  BTW>>>unlike most homes, our main kitchen has locking doors, one of the best homne improvements I ever made.

                  1. wow, i never have seen this happen.

                    it's one thing to ask for oven-space to reheat a dish, but i would definitely put my foot down about them coming over to cook the whole thing.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Honestly, even the oven thing can get dicey. My oven, like my kitchen, is small. If I'm cooking, say, Christmas Dinner,there's no way anything else is going in there unless it's a pie about an hour after dinner is served. I had a dinner party last weekend that was pretty simple but if anyone had asked for an extra burner they would have been out of luck--all four of mine were spoken for.

                      It's always best to plan for something that can travel well or else, discuss kitchen possibilities in advance with the host and come up with a dish that works.

                      1. re: LeoLioness

                        i completely agree, but am such a control freak i don't let people bring stuff over anyway. if somebody tried actually cooking in my kitchen before a party or dinner i'd go mad and very stabby.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Totally agree. Rule No. 1 Stay out of my kitchen while I am working.

                          Rule No.2 If you want to help, make me a Manhattan or help at cleanup.

                          Pot lucks are another matter.

                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                            Rule #1 Stay out of my kitchen...PERIOD
                            Rule #2 If you want to help: Keep your kids under control and if you want a drink, that's what the bar fridge is for there is no reason to enter my kitchen. AND---when there are more than 8 of us I do have paid help to serve and clear, don't interrupt the flow. I would rather drive an older car (than you) and spend money for party help than have your 8 year old drop and break the Waterford or Rosenthal.
                            Rule #3 Don't bring food unless it's asked for (and don't hold your breath waiting for the request). Don't upset my menu plans and the serving pieces that have been picked out and the spacing on the table and side servers.

                            Me host-You guest. Guests can bring a host/ess gift, but don't bring food or drink you expect to be served as part of the meal I planned or flowers that need to be cut/arranged or placed in one of my vases. That's just plain inconsiderate.

                            When you host, I'll stay out of your kitchen and let you be in charge.

                            Do I sound rigid and inflexible? Probably, but this is what works for us in our home. I still host formal dinners and holiday and Sabbath meals with regularity and there is a method to the madness. That said, if you're invited to spend Sunday afternoon at our pool, then bringing some snacks or a dip or cut fruit and veg on a disposable platter is just fine. There's ample room in the outside or garage fridges and everything can go in the trash at the end of the day.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              even after 11 years, my b/f still doesn't understand why i go krazee (inside) when people bring me flowers when i am hosting.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                Ha! I did that once, several years ago, when a (very good) friend was knee-deep in party prep. I will never forget the tone of her voice when she asked "DO I LOOK LIKE I KNOW WHERE A VASE IS RIGHT NOW?"

                                Hehe. Point taken.

                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                  A college friend's mother had a great strategy for this. When she hosted a party, prep included getting 4 or 5 vases out, water in. Plopped flowers in easily as they came in. Worried about cutting and arranging later.

                              2. re: bagelman01

                                i guess i prefer not to be invited to a home where bringing flowers is "inconsiderate".

                                1. re: linus

                                  Bringing flowers is not inconsiderate. Bringing flowers and then having to interrupt the host's cooking to ask for a vase and a knife or scissor to trim the flowers, or even worse hogging the kitchen sink during meal prep is INCONSIDERATE.
                                  Bring the flowers already in a vase or have the florist deliver them at least two hours before your invited arrival time or the next day as a thank you...that is considerate.

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    Yes, this was the case. I was in the wrong here. Again, it was a very good friend so I wasn't offended at all-it was a lesson learned.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      i guess i prefer not to be invited to a home where pre-conditions are placed on gifts.
                                      life is awful short.
                                      my response to flowers is "thank you."

                                      1. re: linus

                                        You can come give me gifts... anything given to me by a guest or a friend will be very gratefully received, even if it's hideous/store-bought/NOT store-bought/completely opposite to my own usual habits simply because gifts are very thin on the ground around here... a friend gave me some used clothes (which I was glad to get) and a pair of home-sewn fabric cats that she said her MIL had made for her and she thought I'd like them because I love cats - I kept them on the couch for four months because she might come back and see them, and sure enough she did (and she appreciated seeing them there.) After that, they'd been there long enough that I was able to give them away and get my couch back. It didn't cost me anything to be polite and it made her feel good.

                                        1. re: linus

                                          I think you're missing the point, but that's okay. Life's too short to stay away from the home of one of my best friends because she was busy hosting and couldn't find me a vase.

                          2. I've encountered this with fridge space. Small fridge and when there's a big party going on, it's like advanced Tetris making everything fit. Someone comes along innocently bringing some huge container that needs refrigeration and I (internally) flip my lid.

                            1. Why are you inviting these people? It obviously leads to problems. The only thing I find difficult to understand here is why anyone in their right mind would want to cook in someone else's kitchen! To me, that's just weird.

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: Caroline1

                                Why is OP inviting these people? OP States they are family members. Sometimes you have to invite family members.

                                Why would somebody want to cook in someone else's kitchen? Lots of reasons...
                                My earlier post refers to the relative who didn't want to dirty her kitchen.
                                I have had a number of friends who have asked to cook in my kitchen. It's far larger and better equipped than their own kitchens. My kitchen is a Clive Christian that is more than 450 square feet with multiple prep areas, sinks, ovens, specialty burners and both granite and marble countertops for baking prep. It cost more than some of their homes. My wife and I love it but don't let others use it. It's our personal playpen.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  Who or what is 'a Clive Christian'?

                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                    a very high end kitchen by an English designer (who recently closed down his US Operations). They typically run in the 6 figures not including cost of appliances and installations.

                                    Attached is a sample photo (not our kitchen, as wife wants her privacy respected).

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          I think "playpen" is an interesting choice of words...

                                          My kitchen is not a Clive bow to Me or anything grand but I do find it disrepectful when people come in and move what I am doing out of the way and begin their own agenda. Last night my parents were having a meeting at the house and there was going to be people coming that they had never met and people they knew well ...Everyone was told that tappas would be provided...and no one needed to bring anything...So I was in the kitchen I had some Kofta on hold warm in the oven ( i make due with one oven) some shrimp waiting in the fridge and some saffron blooming.... everything in its place... ready to go... When this woman comes nudges me to the side "scuse me hon.." shuffles my shrimp to the back of the fridge to make room for her six pack " leans over hits 375 on my oven without even checking if there was something in it! Orrrrrr asking "Ya gota' a cookie sheet fer these wings?"

                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                            I guess, in such situations, you should simply take a deep breath. Smile. And, just take solace in the notion that you have just begun to embark upon the most exciting chapters of your life while your boorish neighbor is desperately hoping the Afterward isn't too short.

                                        2. re: The Oracle

                                          when our kitchen was delivered last August, it was stored in our garage, as we had to add on to the house to accomodate it. My wife had this thing for the 6" thick granite counters, she actually went out to the garage with a blanket and pillows and slept on the 12" island.

                                          Now you know why sopme of our friends want to cook in this, and why the kitchen doors have locks. Our daughters are welcome to cook in our upstairs or outdoor kitchens, but this is mommy and daddy's playspace.

                                          1. re: The Oracle

                                            attached is one photo taken during layout in our garage, it shows only one wall's worth of cabinets and none of the custom trim. as stated earlier wife won't let me show finished kitchen, it's being featured in a home magazine next fall showing her design work and she signed a contract that doesn't allow her to show prepublication.

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              Can you post a link to the home magazine article when it gets published?

                                          2. re: bagelman01

                                            I understand your need tell everyone all about your kitchen.

                                            Thanks for sharing.

                                        3. re: bagelman01

                                          With a kitchen THAT large, not to mention that you have other kitchens in your home, it's no surprise that guests would assume that they wouldn't be in your way when using your facilities.

                                          My tiny kitchen has no room for more than one person to work. As for un-asked for flowers or tidbits, if I knew I'd have my hands full when guests arrive, I'd get out a vase, shears, serving platter, etc., well ahead of time and put them someplace easily accessible. After thanking the guest, I'd explain that I was juggling several things and cheerfully ask him/her to help out by putting the flowers in the vase, etc.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            Or maybe assume the kitchen is meant to be shown off, er, enjoyed by guests. What with the magazine spread and all. Sometimes I'm glad I don't have a gazillion dollars. Seems stressful.

                                            1. re: julesrules

                                              we don't have a gazillion dollars. We haven't taken a vacation in years.
                                              Everything and every dollar gets poured into the house. Not only is it our home, but it is where we produce our income. My law office is in its own little wing with a separate entrance. Wife's office is at another end of the house. Though with her doing building/designing/real estate, some clients are mutual.
                                              The main kitchen was planned to be enjoyed by us, set up for our cooking/eating/storage needs and desires. It wasn't meant to be a place for guests. Guests are entertained in the Dining Room for formal meals, the sun room for casual dining, living room for cocktails or den for informal small groups. and this time of year on the patio or out around the pool
                                              The magazine spread is to increase wife's design business, not show off what we can afford. Wife has taken a 210 year old house and over the last 20 years made magical transformations. As this area is loaded with similar vintage homes, many owners are anxious to see what can be done to transform a circa 1800 home for modern use without losing the integrity of the original build.
                                              As I've mentioned before, having locks on the main kitchen doors works wonders. The 'offender' in my first post in this thread is a sibling/in law who lives within a 3 minute walk who would rather dirty our kitchen than hers. It's not a case of kitchen envy. My wife transformed a 4 room 1940 ranch into a 9 room palace for them with a spectacular kitchen. It was featured in a local quarterly home design magazine about 4 years ago, I can't link because it reveals names and pictures of the relatives occupying the home, and not all my comments here have benn kind.

                                          2. re: bagelman01

                                            I'm happy you have such a lovely kitchen. My kitchen is also not too shabby. My point is simply that it is ALWAYS much easier to cook in your own kitchen because you KNOW where everything is! When you have to stop and ask for help in finding a spoon to stir something with, or instructions on how to use the particular model of Cuisinart, it is a real pain, and at least for me, it greatly inhibits my cooking process. I don't like cooking in anyone else's kitchen, and I certainly don't welcome anyone cooking in mine. I have never had anyone, including housekeepers, who don't abuse my kitchen equipment, mistreat knives, hide things when they put them away. No thank you, but thanks for sharing your kitchen. But I would never want to cook in your kitchen. I'm far too happy cooking in my own! '-)

                                        4. It seems like everyone in your family likes to stir the pot.

                                          1. No one has ever asked to cook in my kitchen (except for my daughter and her friends.) I guess I give off that control freak vibe.

                                            However, when my daughter was 6 months old, we hosted Christmas at our tiny house in Salem, MA. One day, my MIL offered to bring in takeout from Whole Foods for dinner and I happily accepted. So she and her daughters came into my kitchen, dirtied every pan there was reheating and assembling stuff, then left us with the mess.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Isolda

                                              Do not feel as you are the only one in the world.

                                            2. We are always glad to open our kitchen, to prepare a dish. No issues there.

                                              Our friends seem to feel the same way.

                                              Whatever you need.


                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                I'm with you on that Bill. It's just a kitchen. The real fun is sharing and being with people.

                                                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                                  I'm with you guys. I can't imagine not allowing people to use anything they needed in my house.

                                                  If I had a billion-dollar kitchen, I'd let the whole world come use it and enjoy it.

                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                    You might if you saw the limited prep space I have in my kitchen There's really no room for two people at the same time. My oven? Also not very large.

                                                    It's a matter of practicality, not generosity.

                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                      I have a small kitchen with very limited space as well. It is absurd how much cooking and entertaining I do in my tiny, old kitchen. Still it would never occur to me to tell someone they couldn't work in there with me. I guess we'd just try to find a way to make it happen. I'm flexible that way.

                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                        That's my problem. Quite a small kitchen. Very, very small. Otherwise, I just love having folks working in a kitchen together!

                                                      2. re: Njchicaa

                                                        I agree, I actually like cooking with others. My kitchen is small but I can put a person and a cutting board on the dining side of the peninsula if need be.

                                                        But as to the OP's concern, since the problem person is family, I'd TALK to them in advance about the limited kitchen space you have during meal prep making it very clear that you need dishes brought ready to go.

                                                        1. re: Njchicaa

                                                          While far sort of a "billion-dollars," (though the final prices are not in yet) our new kitchen will be designed for all guests with 4 separate ovens, for almost every conceivable dish, and cooking choice. We will explain the Convection + Steam, the Convection + microwave, and then, the two convection ovens, to be used, as needed. Maybe we are just missing something?


                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                            I'm amused because my original point seems to be completely missed! For an accomplished cook, it is always easier to cook in their own kitchen. But I am admittedly a curmudgeon about allowing others to use my kitchen based on experience! When I give friends free range in my kitchen, whether house guests or day guests, they insist on cleaning up after themselves and in my range of friends and acquaintances, NONE of them know how to load the dishwasher reasonably, they chip my china, PLUS they put my carbon steel knives and cast iron skillets in the dishwasher and I don't find out about it until they're rusted! Leaves me wondering if they eat off of paper plates at home...? And you don't want to know what one guest did to my Jura Capresso super automatic espresso machine trying to make a cup of coffee! Then said my life would be so much easier if I just got a Keurig! NOT MY STYLE!!! Before my gas grill was stolen, I had no problem with letting guests "barbecue," if that's what they wanted to do. But experience (expensive experience) has taught me not to lend out my kitchen. If that makes me a cranky old selfish witch, well.... So be it! '-)

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              Is this a joke? Because I am lmao. And if not, this is the most laughable humble brag.

                                                      3. There is a limit. We have a group that does potluck once a month, and there is one person who always needs to borrow a knife and a sheet pan and the oven and then a plate and a spreader and do you have any sour cream?. It would be easier to just make it myself. The time she brought dessert and expected to borrow my mixer and a bowl to make whipped cream comes to mind. But she's my bff and I love her anyway. I've decided to find it charming.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                          I do things a certain way in my kitchen at the cottage (and at home, though I do less entertaining at home). I don't expect others to intuitively know my habits and rules. My guests ask what they can bring and I request items I know won't tax them too much to source. When they arrive they ask where I want them to store those items, gently offer their help then willingly stand down when I reject their offer. I work alone, and that includes cleanup. If you must clear the table, you can scrape items into the trash, but please don't rinse, stack or place your dishes and cutlery in the dishwasher. I don't mean to be a kitchen nazi. I simply want my guests to relax and enjoy themselves, while I make myself happy knowing that my handwashed items are truly clean and my dishwasher is loaded in a logical and efficient way. Honestly, when I let people clear the table and do dishes, I get items sticking together in the dishwasher that come out with the residue baked on. Tall glass wind up in places that prevent the dishwasher from closing properly. Handwashed items get their "cleaning" in a sink full of filthy water with food bits floating on top. Sorry, but no freaking way I'm going to allow that to happen. Lastly, my enameled cast iron and nonstick (but not teflon) cookware mustn't be scoured. If using it to cook, you can't scratch it or I'll be murderous. For everyone's sake, please have a great time, enjoy the pampering and the great eats and keep your butts in your chairs, or else please step outside and enjoy the great outdoors ... but stay the F out the kitchen!!! Thank you kindly! ;-)

                                                          I should add that I am this way even with my husband. If he loads items in the dishwasher, I invariably rearrange them. I often ask him to just leave dishes on the counter, rinsed or not. He does lots of things I don't care to do. I have no problem cooking and cleaning up afterward.

                                                          1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                            As for "clearing the table," we only want the dishes and flatware to be on the counter - nothing more. Same for wine glasses - only rinsed. We then do the rest, as per our habits.

                                                            When we are guests, I do the same - scrape the plates into the compactor, and rinse the wine glasses. Then, I stand back, and let the experts do their thing.

                                                            Nearly every Riedel stem, that I have had broken, was when a guest tried to go beyond a simple rinse. I always handwash mine, but some others place them in their dishwasher. That is their call, and I want to stop short of infringing on their habits.


                                                          2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                            I know her! She sings in my choral group. Sometimes I want to strangle her but there is not a mean bone in her body - she is just lacking a critical preparedness gene or something.

                                                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                              Do they leave the flatware, and is their dish good? If so, then I do not see the issue.

                                                              We do a lot of similar entertaining, and always coordinate with the host/hostess, or ask that the guest do it with us. There has never been an issue, at least none that I can recall.


                                                            2. Maybe not about the actual cooking, but my MIL goes crazy when we say leave the dirties on the counter 'cause the dishwasher is clean. She feels she "must!" empty the dishwasher for us even though she has no idea where things go, and then re-arranges our cabinets to suit her when she does so.

                                                              Mr Autumn was given a very firm talking to about this when he stood by while I was nursing 10 day old daughter. MIL has been told to touch nothing in the kitchen ever again; Still can't find some stuff that was in that clean dishwasher load 2 years later.

                                                              My kitchen is my castle. It might be ugly but it's Mine!

                                                              1. I agree. Often times its easier for me to make everything. If someone offers to bring something I just say whatever you'd like. I also don't enjoy people 'helping' me cook or clean. It's my kitchen and I may be anal but I know what works for me. Please don't put 4 pork chops in my pan. It only has room for 3. Please don't shove things in my dishwasher any which way, they won't be properly cleaned. Please don't re-use a bowl that has had meat in it. All of these things have happened. My MIL likes to 'test' me by offering to help then asking how I'd like everything done. It's not helping if I have to hold your hand. I think she really just wants to observe. I wish she'd just do that instead of saying 'show me how you make scrambled eggs' then messing me up by saying 'I do it this way'. I promise I think she ruined a plate of eggs just to do it differently than I do.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: deputygeorgie

                                                                  Ha! My mom does the exact same thing! I swear it's like she's just setting me up!

                                                                  Mom: "How do you make scrambled eggs?"

                                                                  Me: " Oh, I add some milk and I put butter in the pan on low heat and..."

                                                                  Mom: "Oh, that's completely wrong. Here's the right way."

                                                                  Me: "..."

                                                                  1. re: Violatp

                                                                    Exactly. Very frustrating. The last time she was over there was no opportunity for her to 'help'. She did make the salad and insisted EVERYONE have some. You would've thought it was the Thanksgiving turkey.