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Thanksgiving Etiquette

This year my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving for both sides of the family for the 2nd year in row. Everyone in the family was incredibly supportive, pitching in sides, desserts etc. One of our siblings came with offered side and without letting us know brought.....his wife's stuffing?! She claimed that he just couldn't go without her homemade stuffing on Thanksgiving. My stuffing was homemade which I politely let her know. This is the 1st time they have ever come to my home for Thanksgiving. Do I have a right to be offended? It makes me feel like they didn't trust that I was going to make stuffing that would be good enough to their standards. Also I did a ton of work to prepare a sit down dinner for 23 people. I woke up early to make the turkey and stuffing. If they wanted to have their own...couldn't they have eaten it at home or hosted and done all the work themselves! To top it off it came in a large casserole dish which they proudly placed on the table. I politely asked to them to remove it. I did not want my stuffing to go to waste or for there be any confusion. Was I wrong?

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  1. No, you're the host so you can make the rules. I'm confused about why the stuffing was a problem if others were bringing sides and desserts. What would the "confusion" possibly be?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Hobbert

      I had absolutely no problem with everyone contributing but everyone knew I was making the turkey and stuffing. Why would they need to bring the same thing? Their stuffing was large enough for the entire table and she placed it in the middle of the table. I did not want to make it a competition between stuffing and like I said I didn't want my hard work to go to waste.

      1. re: Thanksgiving14

        Eh. I would've let it go. I imagine she felt pretty humiliated when her contribution was removed and everyone else's was left on the table. I'd call her to discuss this if I were you. Sure, you can be offended but is this really the hill you want to die on?

        1. re: Hobbert

          Her green bean casserole was not removed. I did not do it in front of everyone but asked her personally. I have no plans to take this further then this thread. I just needed to get it off my chest. I am offended but I am also moving on.

          1. re: Thanksgiving14

            It sounds like you seriously dislike the woman and there was no way she was going to get out of there unscathed. It's only a competition if you participate. She might've looked ridiculous in front of everyone with her stuffing centerpiece but you seemed rather petty to remove it. I don't think you can have different rules for different family members- Cousin A can bring a side but if SIL does it, it's horrendously offensive. On the other hand, if you truly believe you would've reacted the same way if your closest, dearest relative brought the stuffing, I guess you don't have anything to worry about. Good luck next year!

             
            1. re: Hobbert

              I guess it would come off that way but I do not hate her. I care for her as I do for all members of both sides of our family. It would do no good to hate her and I would feel terrible doing so. However, when someone treats you a certain way for many years, I think it is natural to be on the defense. I don't have other friends or family members who seem to repetitively try to one up me. She didn't just bring a side, she knowingly brought what I was making, no one else did that. I have established that I should have made better judgement with not asking her remove it. I don't believe I am the one doing the scathing here so while I appreciate your feedback I a respectively disagree. I do love your little picture and quote. It is a good reminder to me that although I feel a certain way about how she treats me at times, I have to be careful that I be fare. Also that I keep trying to make things better. I have honestly never given her the cold shoulder or been mean to her. Even after dinner we sat and talked with no tension. I just feel a certain way at times and need to get over it and ignore her comments.

              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                I know you're long gone from this thread but I'd give you one bit of advice…

                Don't react. Next time let her place the dish in the middle of the table (she'll pull something again, no question) and just sit there with no reaction.
                Some people just do things/say things to get one.
                Sounds like she's one.

            2. re: Thanksgiving14

              You were right, and SIL (and goofball husband, who knew exactly what was going on) were wrong. That said: Thanksgiving is for lots of complicated reasons probably the most widely observed, intense, emotionally fraught, memory laden holiday we celebrate in the United States. We have a friend who will tell you that it's not "really" Thanksgiving unless she has everything on a list of about two dozen things, including three kinds of cranberries, and three different pies. And the squash pie has to be square.

              My husband's list isn't that long, but he has his list, too. So those are the things I offer to bring. And if the host/ess turns me down, so be it. What your folks should have done was keep their mouths shut, and have their own itty bitty turkey feast on Friday, with the things they particularly love.

              But they didn't, and now they're gone, and you can forget about them for a whole year.

          2. re: Thanksgiving14

            A stuffing competition!? Where can I buy tickets??

            1. re: Thanksgiving14

              Ya know, at our thanksgiving table, I offered to make 2 kinds of cranberry sauce, and my SIL somehow misunderstood and made a big batch herself. So I ended up throwing out a good bit of what I'd made since there was so much left over. $*&$ happens.

          3. <She claimed that he just couldn't go without her homemade stuffing on Thanksgiving.>

            Too bad. Most likely she's the one who doesn't like him going without her homemade stuffing.
            I make the stuffing in my home because I'm the one who roasts the turkey. Maybe other people do it differently but my stuffing (dressing) goes in the turkey when it's roasting.
            She could always go home afterward, or before and make him his stuffing if he's so hell bent on having it.

            40 Replies
            1. re: latindancer

              I agree. My stuffing was inside the 25 lb turkey that I made for the family dinner. They was plenty for my guests.

              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                So could it be that she's one of the now many people who find it worrisome to cook the stuffing inside the bird and rather than say something to you, she brought her own? Still not the best choice, IMHO. The best choice, if that was her reason, is to simply not eat your stuffing and if she was jonesing for stuffing, eat hers at home later.

                1. re: Just Visiting

                  Now that's an interesting point. Maybe she learned last year that the OP did this and, very clumsily, tried to have some stuffing she and others would actually eat this time. Personally, I'm not wild about stuffing in general but I'm completely weirded out by eating something that's been cooking inside a carcass. Even my super traditional mom stopped doing it years ago.

                  1. re: Hobbert

                    <stopped doing it years ago>

                    Thankfully my French grandmother, with her incredible culinary skills, taught me how to cook.
                    She was adventurous and one of the finest cooks and bakers I've ever met.
                    I'd never make dressing any other way.
                    Of course there will always be naysayers when it comes to preparing food but I pay them no attention, usually their skills aren't all that.

                  2. re: Just Visiting

                    No the stuffing was from a turkey breast,

                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                      Above you said it was inside the turkey. Can you clarify this?

                      1. re: Thanksgiving14

                        So was your stuffing inside the turkey or not? I'm confused.

                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                          Both her stuffing and my stuffing were made inside of a turkey.

                                1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                  That's really odd. It would be great if you could point her to this thread and ask her to post her view.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Not looking to start World War III. I just wanted to know if people thought I was in the wrong and how I could have handled it better.

                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                      I think what she did was odd from the way you described it. You could have taken the high road, served it and complimented her on her dressing. Nothing takes the wind of the sail of a blowhard than that. But, that's also seeing it from your view which is why I wondered what her take on it was. It could have been as innocent as she said ("Dear CH, I was invited to my SIL's house for dinner where everyone brought sides. My husband loves my stuffing and he hasn't had it in years so I decided to bring that. When I placed it on the serving table w/ the other dishes, my SIL removed it and put it in the back so people could only have hers. She's always felt competitive with me so I wonder if she was afraid people might like mine better. I worked really hard on that dressing, even cooked a turkey because my husband requested it. Am I wrong to be offended?"). Family baggage colors our views.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        You could be right. I am sure she would feel differently then me. However, no one was asked to bring sides. She asked what I needed, which I appreciated, I did not say stuffing as she knew I was making it. She let me know she brought it 5 minutes before serving dinner. I personally would not bring one of the main components of a dinner if not asked or if my offer had not been accepted. Everyone is acting like stuffing is just another side. Lets face it, it is part of the main course & in my case it came right out of the bird, so I am not getting the argument that is just another side. How is this different from Mr. Rib?

                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                          Mr. Rib didn't refuse to serve a guests' dish.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            Didn't mr. rib have to ask his guest to not bring the dish repetitively? So because he was given the chance before the actual event that makes it better. I handled it the best I could 5 minutes before serving a dinner to a large crowd.

                                            The guest dish was not meant to be served. She said it was for her husband. He served himself her stuffing...I didn't refuse anything but the placement on the table.

                                              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                I think you handled it well, actually. If the other guests were not made uncomfortable at all, then I certainly wouldn't be concerned about SIL feelings. She clearly was not concerned about your feelings. She knew what she was doing by placing the stuffing "center stage" on your table. You called her out, her husband now has plenty of stuffing to enjoy...so they can both go get stuffed! Win-win. Lol.

                                                1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                  "The guest dish was not meant to be served. She said it was for her husband."

                                                  Then that's not the impression I'd had from this. I thought it was a competitiveness and she was trying to one up you on making a better stuffing and you were offended because you thought they were saying you couldn't make stuffing that was good enough.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    Right said it was for her husband but came in a large enough dish for entire table. She placed on the table after I suggested I dish it out in the kitchen. My meal was planned down to the trivets on the table. If it was just for her husband why did she go a place it on the table for everyone?

                                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                      Well just to be devil's advocate, one might also say that it is rude to bring a dish with only enough for yourself, and not enough to share.

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        She didn't say it was everyone, just her husband. She knew I was making stuffing so there would not be a concern there would not be enough to go around.

                                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                          as I said elsewhere, stuffing isn't "interchangeable" (for many people) the way perhaps mashed potatoes, or even turkey, is. So to me it would seem *odder* to bring only enough for one, rather than to bring enough to share. That would seem selfish and weird. Clearly people have different views on whether stuffing is the "main course" (like turkey) or a "side" (like a veggie). Personally I see it as a side, with lots of variations and personal preferences. I get it that there's a history and a dynamic with you and her, but outside of that some people just may not see that stuffing is *that much* the prerogative of the host, the way the bird is.

                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                            Maybe it would be weird to bring a small amount. I find it weird & rude for someone to bring something they know the host is making. Stuffing is not the only competent of the meal that could be varied. I would argue there are many variations of many of the sides. Example 50 Variations
                                                            http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-a...

                                                            Let's all have it our way. Let's see, I want instant mashed potatoes, stove top stuffing, I don't like green bean casserole so I will just make plain green beans..I will bring any of the above to another home just because I want it regardless of what the host prepared. I won't let her know I am bringing it either & will let her know 5 minutes before the sit down dinner begins.

                                                            It's not about someone else wanting to do another variation. It was about her bringing the same item that I was making because her husband thinks hers is the best. It was not needed or appreciated. If she would like to host Thanksgiving she is welcome to have the menu be her prerogative. I would not bring an item she is already making. I would give her that respect.

                                                            1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                              Sorry - this reply is very immature.

                                                              Obviously - you wanted the entire focus on you and quite frankly you were not in the frame of mind to see this as a sharing, family time.

                                                              1. re: Jeanne

                                                                I think you were missing the sarcasm embedded in the comment.

                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                  Not missing the sarcasm - just floored by the immaturity.

                                                                  1. re: Jeanne

                                                                    I dunno hosting a big-ass family gathering is a huge effort even if it is is semi-potluck, sorry I don't see how expecting a little respect in your home that you scrubbed, at the table you set, sharing an understood choice of dishes and being a bit miffed by a last-minute water balloon is immature.

                                                                    it's like your guests all of a sudden decided dinner would be out on the picnic table because that's how Grandma (RIP all these years) used to do it.

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      And involving planned contributions from other guests...

                                  2. re: Thanksgiving14

                                    I hope you will not let this thread stop you from participating on other Chowhound threads. This one seems to have sparked a bit of opinions all the way around. I believe what you say about this woman basically treating you is a passive/aggressive manner.

                                    There are lot of good people posting about many different topics related to cooking. Holiday threads seem to bring out strong opinions. I'm just glad this isn't another "is it stuffing or is it dressing" thread.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      1st time on here & I am finding it addicting. I am a little surprised at some of the responses but I asked so I have to take in all viewpoints. I was really baffled by this situation. I just have never had someone go out their way like this with me so many times. I know I am not crazy. Other relatives mentioned it to me later that night and next day & I didn't bring it up to them. If everyone on this thread saw her going on about it in my kitchen..they may feel differently. Hey I can't blame them. It always hurts the most when it is happening to you. I just have to stick to who I am and not get caught up in it like I did this time.

                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                          You've been a good sport The one thing I like about CH is that people don't hold back. You want an honest answer, you'll get it. And, you'll find a good variety of responses which is helpful. If we only hear what we want to hear, we never grow.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            I agree. I also think many more of the group would have had a stronger reaction if it were them. People always feel most wronged when are being the ones mistreated. It is easy to claim you would have handled it better. Whether in your home, job, or out on public there are times that you just can't let someone else run the show for you. I met my boiling point with this incident. Right or wrong!

                                            1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                              I've BTDT w/ my inlaws (there are close to 30 of them when we host). I've learned over the years which battles to pick. If someone wanted to cater to her husband, as odd as it seems, I wouldn't let it bother me. As I said below, we hosted and I said I'd do dessert and my SIL brought a bunch of frozen stuff. My niece brought two stuffings, one small for her sister who won't eat apples, one for everyone else. Everything found a way to the table. We just let people know that the small stuffing didn't have apples and was for the sister. In the beginning, things like this bothered me but then I decided they were good people and these were small things. I don't have, however, a history with them like you seem to w/ this SIL so it definitely gives you a different perspective that the rest of here don't know.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Thats great that works for your family. I do agree you are better off being laid back about these things.

                            1. re: latindancer

                              Ldancer - I'd edit that to: "Most likely SHE's the one who doesn't like ... going without her homemade stuffing"

                            2. The "ideal" stuffing is a personal thing. We vastly prefer my mom's stove top to his mom's homemade cornbread sausage stuffing mush.

                              That being said, I feel her bringing the stuffing wasn't rude, it was how she presented the stuffing. IF she had said "this is my late grandmother's recipe (or other similar phrase) and I wanted to share a family favorite" and brought a smaller portion that would have been acceptable.

                              Just out of curiosity, was it any good?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: autumm

                                I appreciate your feedback. I guess it is possible if she presented it in a different way I would have felt less offended. However, since we both married into the family and I often feel like I getting dragged into a competition that I have no intention of entering, I didn't see it that way. I am sure it was good stuffing but since they weren't giving mine a chance, I wasn't looking to try hers. Remember they have never been to my house for thanksgiving. Its possible they might had enjoyed it if they gave it a try. If someone invited you over for spaghetti and meatballs would you bring your own meatballs? If my husband suggested such a thing, I would tell him to suck it up and be a gracious guest. He can eat my cooking any day.

                                1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                  Some people are just looking for a fight, food or otherwise. My MIL won't let me host family gatherings because she seems to be worried my food would be better than hers. Correctly worried;) So she talks one of my SIL's into "hosting" where she shows up and cooks there. We are always assigned to bring beverages.

                                  I feel for you in your situation. Some times a smile and nod, and let them look like the fools they are works the best. Plus awesome food never hurts.

                                  1. re: autumm

                                    That's crazy! Well it should make you feel good that you are that big of threat but its sad at the same time. Things like this just make me appreciate the people in my life that are gracious, humble, and supportive of myself and others. You can't change people and your right a smile and nod is usually the best route. Thanks again for your feedback!

                              2. Was the stuffing brought by the sibling similar to yours? By that, I mean were they both bread stuffing, or both cornbread stuffing? Since it was their first time at your Thanksgiving, and unless sides were assigned by you to the guests, I think you may be overly sensitive. I am not referring to how the stuffing was presented, just about the fact that there were 'competing' stuffings. I would have presented them both and let it go.

                                How karge is your table? We have so much food that passing dishes family style at the table just won't work. The food is set up buffet style.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: John E.

                                  I did not assign or ask anyone for anything but like many members of the family they offered to bring something and asked me to let them know what exactly they could do to help. Many family offered specific items so I asked them to bring or green bean or brocelli casserole since that was one thing not yer covered. They knew i was making the turkey and stuffing. Bringing her stuffing was something they showed up with. She announced multiple times that her husband couldn't have thanksgiving without her stuffing. Funny they have never hosted and never brought her stuffing to my mother in laws house when she hosted the pass 7 years. I am not competive at all. In fact i often take the back seat but I felt like she was trying to get attention since I was hosting. I felt like i needed to stand up 4 myself 4 once.

                                  1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                    wow I don't even want to parse that matrimonial dynamic.

                                    since her dish wasn't specifically assigned, ehh. I'd sort of let it slide (put it on the buffet and when packing up leftovers start with hers).

                                    HOWEVER. when they reach their dotage I can also imagine her claiming (pls. forgive me) "only I know how to employ his suppositories the way he tolerates them" etc.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      Now THAT would be a claim I'd be happy to back off on! The suppositories are all yours, dear.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        I know, I went too far, but we've all met the type. "only I ('I' in bold italic) know how to make the iced water he likes"

                                        some might say nurturing, some might say protective with an aggression.

                                2. I don't think you were being overly sensitive..Did they know you were making the turkey & stuffing? If so, they should have contacted you to ask what they could bring, if they wanted to contribute a dish. Trying to overshadow your meal plan is just plain disrespectful.

                                  I would have done exactly what you did, remove it from the table. I would have wrapped it up and handed it back to them on the way out.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                    They did know I was making the turkey and stuffing. They also did offer a dish which i of course appreciated. I asked if they could do a veggie casserole. She announced in front of multiple people in the kitchen to me that she brought stuffing because of her husband. He had to have her stuffing on thanksgiving. I have been in the family 7 years she never hosted or brought her stuffing to my mother in laws when she did. They ate their stuffing but i just asked them to move it from the table after the dished it out.

                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                      The stress of the holidays always seems to magnify small things, at least in my experience.

                                      1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                        I find it rude; if her husband absolutely had to have her stuffing, he could have had it at home. I'm a little perplexed about the negative responses to the OP when clearly it was she who was disrespected. I understand overlooking certain things when it's family, but seriously, why should she allow someone to show up & disregard her menu then get a pass just because she was a guest. It was a planned meal...if you don't stick to the plan, next time call it a potluck. Hell, why don't she hang a sign on her back that says "I'm a doormat".

                                        For the OP, I was reading up on personality disorders: on this link, http://counsellingresource.com/featur...

                                        The paragraph on Manipulation Via Overt or Covert Intimidation kinda fits this lady IMO. Regardless, you handled the situation in a gracious manner. I would think about having a talk with her in the event you decide to host future dinners. Good luck.

                                        1. re: Cherylptw

                                          The negatives were about the handling of the situation during the meal, not an endorsement of the SIL's behavior.

                                          One can refuse to be a doormat in a private conversation at a better time.

                                          It's not about giving the other person a pass, it's about making a holiday as enjoyable as possible for all your guests while they're present, and the OP seems to get that point.

                                          1. re: Cherylptw

                                            Thank you. I have felt a wrath of negativity but hey I asked for it. I do believe because this a Thanksgiving meal many posters are bringing in their own past holiday hang ups. Had this been a regular dinner I would have felt the same way. Maybe I would have gotten a little more support on the thread. Who knows?!

                                            While I do find my SIL intimidating at times, I do not think that her treatment is always intentional. I think some people are very focused on themselves and love to make their selves the center of attention. That doesn't always mean she is trying to upstage me. I shouldn't always take it personal.

                                            That said although I agree I would be better off not doing what I did. I do think in this situation she was pushing the envelope with how far she could take things. Everyone is horrified I asked her to move her stuffing. I had only so many trivets. I had planned the meal. There was only so much room on the table & I did not make a scene or try to embarrass her. At that moment she got the point that maybe it was not polite to bring what the host had made. I had asked her in the kitchen to not set it out. That I would prefer to dish it out for her husband in the kitchen. She still took it to the table & put it right in the middle. Yes I would have been a doormat if I let her ignore my wishes in my home.

                                            I still believe that all my guests had a wonderful time despite my private conversation with SIL.

                                            1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                              Yes, SIL decided to ignore what you asked her not to do in YOUR house and to show you she couldn't care less what you asked, she sat the dish right in the center of the table anyway. She was making a statement with that action.

                                              All I have to say is you are a better woman than I am and I wish you the best with this.

                                            2. re: Cherylptw

                                              But one could argue the OP was a rude hostess by removing her guest's offering, don't you agree? Two rudes don't make a right, especially at a holiday meal. Sometimes it is better to take the high road and take satisfaction in the fact that the SIL doesn't get her goat and she is above such pettiness and immaturity.

                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                You are correct that 2 rudes don't make a right.

                                        2. I've always done T-day in my family. Start to finish. I don't know how I'd actually feel if, one day, that were to happen in my house. But I hope I'd make a place at the table for it and feel that each stuffing would work on it's own merits and make someone happy.

                                          I'm not good at having someone else working in my kitchen but I think I'd be fine with finished food that they brought.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: rainey

                                            You're probably right i should have been a more gracious host. I tried to do it in the most polite discrete way but ultimately you could say i made guests at my home uncomfortable but like i said i had to stand up. I do not feel they respect the work i put in and there was not good intention in bringing stuffing. Again they have never brought her stuffing to mother in laws or when a cousin hosted and they have never hosted. Why me?

                                            1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                              ". I tried to do it in the most polite discrete way but ultimately you could say i made guests at my home uncomfortable but like i said i had to stand up."

                                              Maybe I'm missing something here. WHY did you have to stand up and what for? You humiliated a guest in your home at an important family holiday.

                                              You sacrificed the comfort and enjoyment of those at the table for what??

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                I did not humiliate her. I asked her on the side. Your right I should have no asked to her to remove it. I get that now. The for what is she has a history of making digs and trying to one up me. I always let her get away with it.

                                                1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                  You may feel that you've let her get away with it, but you may also be letting her live rent free in your head to the point that you behave in a way that you seem decent enough to feel bad about afterward.

                                                  I'd be direct, assertive, and non judgmental in setting your boundaries with her. Just make sure she knows what they are and when she crosses them and how you feel about it. Then take a cleansing breath til next time. :-)

                                                  Keeps her out of your head til then.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    You are right. I definitely get in my head to much. I do really care and did feel bad after.

                                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                      but I betcha she doesn't pull that one again!

                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                        Exactly. I always keep my mouth shut. This time I am not sure what came over me. Just didn't want to be bossed around in my own home.

                                          2. They probably should have asked.... How did dinner go after you asked her/him to remove what they brought from the table?

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ShadDixon

                                              Dinner went fine. I do so in a discrete way. I acted to polite to them the rest of the night. I was not trying to make a big scene

                                              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                Glad dinner went fine. Sorry for the odd question, was just curious if things got awkward after that.

                                                -Shad Dixon

                                                1. re: ShadDixon

                                                  Didn't find it odd. I made every attempt to keep my calm. We chatted at dinner and after.

                                            2. I would never bring unsolicited food to a formal dinner but nor would I reject something that someone brought. The more the merrier in my book. Stuffing is soooo not worth fighting over.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                You are probably right. I should have just let her have her stuffing on the table. I let years of feeling like she is trying to compete with me overshadow my better judgment. It is more then stuffing and that is what I am realizing on here. Obviously everyone in this thread is getting a small scope of the situation. This isn't the first time something like this has happened.

                                                1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                  After reading more of your posts, I better understand the situation. I used to have an aunt who behaved in a passive aggressive manner with her SILs. One time at a holiday dinner she announced to my mother and the other aunt how her husband got a job promotion and said, "...at least there is one successful man in the E. family." My mother simply replied "at least your family won't starve."

                                                  I guess what I am saying is that you have to expect bad behavior from this woman and just let it go and kill her with kindness. It will make you feel better, and she won't know how to respond. If she sees she is not 'getting' to you, it will drive her nuts.

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    Good advice! I have tried that...just lost it this time. I will continue to try to be a good person.

                                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                      advice my mother gave me-
                                                      never judge a restraunt or a family member on their holiday performance

                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                        but then again in some circumstances I've a heard a judge is needed to issue a restraining order for a family member based on their holiday performance...

                                              2. While I understand your viewpoint, I also sympathize with your SIL's viewpoint, having been in similar shoes. Once my SIL decided unilaterally to be the official Thanksgiving hostess, we were stuck with her menu, including her mother-in-law's (awful) mashed potato stuffing and another relative's required (and awful) mashed rutabaga. I yearned for the traditional side dishes from my own family, but there was no room for them at the table, so to speak. It never occurred to me to bring a side dish without having been asked, thought it didn't feel like Thanksgiving to me without my own traditional dishes. Their insistence on sticking with their own traditional menu, and not allowing for the in-laws to introduce their own family traditions (not just me, BTW), was distinctly unwelcoming. Every year at this time I look back at those Thanksgiving dinners and am relieved they are over for us, we live too far away now and prefer not to travel on holidays.

                                                That said, I agree the SIL was wrong to bring stuffing unannounced, and certainly wrong to put it on the table.- setting the table is the job of the host/hostess. Were you wrong to ask her to remove it? Depends on whether the request was made in front the entire family, at table, or whether it was done privately. Sometimes one just has to accept the rude behavior of others, at the moment, and take preventative measures only after the fact.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: janniecooks

                                                  Back in 1970 when my sister got married, my mother estblished the following rule:
                                                  Even numbered years are B family Thanksgiving celebrations, odd number years you have with your in-laws or friends. This has extended to each of us who has married and to our married children and their families as well.
                                                  Since 1988 when mom and dad gave up their big house and moved to Florida, we rotate who hosts on the even years. My sister or I host every 4th year. Brother and his wife do not host (no confidence, children or grandchildren). We know that at least every other year Thanksgving will have our family's traditional dishes.

                                                  My eldest daughter works on a cruise ship and couldn't be home for Thanksgiving. Her shipped docked Saturday evening in NYC. I picked her up and drove her back to our home in Connecticut where my wife had a full, fresh traditional B family Thanksgiving meal waiting just for the nuclear family and MIL (who lives next door). The government may say Thanksgiving is the 4th Thirsday in Novemebr, but we may celebrate it and give thanks at will.

                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                    That seems like a good system. We do not have anything in place and next year someone else is hosting. I am not the authority on what is served but I do think making what the host is making last minute just doesn't feel right. Thank you for the feedback

                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                      You and your family have it nailed! Thanks for sharing your stories.

                                                      1. re: janniecooks

                                                        Mom always showed her wisdom and planning. Now for 43 years the system has worked just fine. Thanksgiving is the one holiday that all of us in the B family can plan to be together every two years.
                                                        Because both sister's husband and daughter are Rabbis with congragational duties is it not possible to have Jewish holidays together with the entire family, so we siblings tend to host our own offspring and in-laws (Brother and SIL live nearby and attend our gatherings).

                                                        When I was a child Thanksgiving used to rotate between our home, my momther's mother in NYC and mom's sister in Long Island. One year it took 5 1nd 1/2 hours to get to Long Island in Traffic (normally 90 minutes). Both dad and uncle were in the reatil bsuiness and had to open early on Friday. From then on until 1970 we did Thanksgiving on the Sunday after (no traffic and before retail was open on Sundays).

                                                        The other smart move mom made was to have Thanksging Dinner at 1PM. This allows the married children to have dinner with us and still put in an appearance at the in-laws for coffee and late in the day. My sister and BIl, their son and his wife and kids drive in from Boston spend 1-4:30 with us and then stop at BIL's sister's home about 30 minutes drive towards Boston on the way back for dessert and visiting with the A family. At 5PM, my brother and I made our excuses to the guests who were by then scattered about the house relaxing and went to see mom in the nursing home. She doesn't speak anymore and doesn't always know who we are, but she did eat and enjoy the family recipe dishes we brought.....................

                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                          Sounds complicated, but then family life is complicated. The love shared in your family comes through in your posts, how refreshing. My family was small, and is now geographically dispersed. My husband's family is small too, and still all in or near his hometown, but we are not there anymore. We're the black sheep, but not terribly unhappy about it. Love reading about big, happy, extended families such as yours and feel envy and nostalgia on reading your post.

                                                          1. re: janniecooks

                                                            Thanks! I do love my family and don't want problems. I will let it go just like I have in the past. You can't change people you can only control your actions. Next time I will handle it better.

                                                    2. re: janniecooks

                                                      What the hell is 'mashed potato stuffing'?

                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                        The stuffing was based on mashed potatoes - don't know what else she put in it, but it was foul.

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          In PA, diners serve potato filling but I don't know how it is made.

                                                          1. re: melpy

                                                            I don't know what 'potato filling' is.

                                                      2. To be honest, I don't understand why you were so upset. It sounds like everyone was pitching in so there was an expectation that people would bring things.

                                                        Your SIL opted to bring something you wish she hadn't and that you wish you had approved (from what I gather), but I don't see how a different side of stuffing expresses distrust of your own. There are so many types of stuffing out there. As for the brother, perhaps he indeed had a favourite ritualised food, and hoped to have it there as well. The casserole dish isn't offensive to me either, but at least a way of minimising the expectation that you should plate.

                                                        But even if reading her actions in the most sinister way possible would yield the truth behind it, why do this to yourself? And why make a thing of it? It seems a lot of energy to take and give offence when everyone can enjoy the plenty and the company.

                                                        (I won't comment on the issues around cooking stuffing in a turkey...)

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          Yeah I agree. Stuffing is a very particular thing. I really (really) miss our traditional stuffing when I'm elsewhere, as my family's recipe is rather different than most. One year I brought mine to the inlaw's dinner (though I could couch it in being vegetarian, i.e., not inside a bird, for my veggie daughter). I think if she had made a small amount, and not made a big deal about it, rather had pleaded "I hope you don't mind, I'm just so attached to my odd family recipe" perhaps it could have gone over better. I think removing hers from the table is rather rude.

                                                          1. re: Lizard

                                                            Thank for you for your feedback. Of course getting on here is making a thing of it but I had to get it off my chest. I am obviously not doing to make a big stink of it and get other family members involved. My husband agrees that I shouldn't be so upset. He also agrees that there is a long history of her trying to one up me and not because I make comments to bring on competition. He doesn't understand why she felt the need to bring the stuffing. She was already bringing the green bean casserole. Its not about everyone pitching in for me or controlling the meal. Again never has her husband so desired her stuffing on thanksgiving that it was brought to any other relative's house. Never have they taken the time or done the work involved to host thanksgiving. Obviously this is more then about stuffing for me. I see that. I also know that I need to let it go.

                                                            1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                              Even if she were trying to upstage you, stuffing isn't the hill you want to die on. Even if she does make a far better stuffing, does it matter? It's priggish and her character shows through that. Stuffing ability is irrelevant in life. I'd probably just tell her her stuffing is great and take the wind out of her sail.

                                                          2. After this Thanksgiving I told my pseudo MIL ( w/ her two children in agreement) that I miss her stuffing. I asked that she wrangle stuffing duty away from her SIL or at least make some of her own next year. Tired if suffering through years of mushy sausage stuffing. Unfortunately her husband nixed the idea because he prefers his SIL's stuffing.

                                                            So if your SIL is telling the truth and not exaggerating, I sympathize with her husband and I would see it as a win that he got the stuffing he wanted.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                              No one has stopped them from hosting. They have never yet & are welcome to as I don't control the holiday location or menu. She has never brought his favored stuffing to his mother's or a cousin's who did it a few year back. It just doesn't feel right that her husband wanted her stuffing so badly this year, the first year they ever came to our house.

                                                              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                I understand how you are seeing things. But sometimes we look too hard for slights that aren't there. And even if they are there (as may well be the case here), we are psychologically better off letting them roll off our backs.

                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                  <psychologically better off letting them roll off our backs>

                                                                  You mean like 'stuffing' things when, in this case the OP, she/he's angry about what went down?

                                                                  Nah…that's not a healthy way to live life.
                                                                  The OP would be benefitted by talking this out with the family member involved so everyone's needs and wants are met.
                                                                  It's the only way things will be okay.

                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                    we can agree to disagree. I see family members who seem to *want* to look for diss's whether or not they are there. To me, that's the unhealthy thing. Not saying that's what's going on here. But drama for the sake of drama.....

                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                      Letting anger fester isn't healthy.

                                                                      A good talk is.

                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        I'm just saying that sometimes it is so obvious that someone is trying to push buttons. You can choose whether or not to let those buttons be pushed. Sometimes, not always, but in my experience with "family" I can usually just laugh, rather than get irritated. If I'm angry, sure, then I can deal with it. But sometimes you don't *need* to be angry to begin with. Just see the person for the imperfect human they (and we all) are.

                                                            2. Sounds like she could have presented it a different way and you might have been OK with it, but by placing the stuffing in the middle of your set dinner table, she threw down the glove, so to speak. I hope you didn't make your other guests uncomfortable in your handling of the uncomfortable situation. Next year, just be prepared for the stuffing to make a reappearance and device how to handle it in advance.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Kat

                                                                Thanks Kat. No I did not make a big scene. Not my style at all.

                                                              2. Plain and simple, your SIL, or more correctly your BIL's wife (you are luckily not related) is a mean b*tch. She was trying to upstage you.
                                                                When unsolicited food gifts arrive at a holiday meal we are hosting, I have one of my kids take it out to garage fridge.
                                                                My menu and space is set. There is no way that this woman would have gotten to my properly set holiday table to set down her "ugly">>>my words,<<<< casserole. Cooking vessels do not grace my holiday table. We do not serve holidays family style, but plate in the kitchen. Then there are 6 chafing dishes set on the built in buffet in the dining room that hold and keep warm refills.
                                                                Your husband had better have a talk with his brother about the wife's inexcusable behavior and slights to you. Your huisband can remiond his brother that he remembers all the brother's 20+ single years when he lived just fine without the wife's stuffing on Thanksgiving.

                                                                My wife and I plan our holiday menu. We do not want guests bringing any food or drink items and feel no obligation to serve them if brought. If any invitee asks if there is anything they can bring, we always answer 'a hearty appetite.' If they persist, our standard answer is 'please pick up a bag up ice' there is always a need for more.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                  I appreciate you seeing the other side. For me I still do not have a problem with people pitching or wanting something included that is a holiday favorite. I do believe bringing what the host is making is not proper etiquette. She asked what I needed which I appreciated & I asked for a something green casserole not another batch of stuffing. I probably should not asked her to take it off the table but I stood up for myself and despite what anyone says on here, I am glad I did.

                                                                2. I wonder if,over the years, you've felt this competitiveness w/ her and that's coloring your view of this incident. It almost seems like you didn't want to serve hers because you were afraid it would upstage yours. We host Thanksgiving for my inlaws, about 30 of them. In the beginning, I'd tell them not to bring anything but family being what they are, they did. At first, it threw me--how many starches can we really eat? But now I go w/ the flow. I said I was making dessert, SIL who doesn't cook brought frozen stuff. I served it alongside mine. I don't care if others prefer her frozen desserts more than my homemade. She left feeling good, although no one would take home the frozen desserts and they're sitting in my refrigerator now. I could have been offended and put them elsewhere but what would that have served? Thanksgiving is a competition only if you let it be. It sounds like your sibling was trying to help as others did by bringing sides. BTW, my niece brought stove top stuffing because that's what they like. I'm fine with it.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    While I agree with you my past feelings may have influenced this situation, I do not think bringing the stuffing was trying to help. She brought a casserole which was delicious and I appreciated. I think the stuffing was because I was hosting and she enjoyed bragging that her husband could not live without her stuffing on thanksgiving. Again strange because he has never made that request in past years or at another family members home. To each their own but in our family it is not a free for all. The host usually gets offered things and determines the menu so there aren't duplicates. If there is, it's not the end of the world, but she knew I was making stuffing. No I am not afraid hers was better. I am sure it was very good. But I made a made a good amount and didn't want a ton of leftovers.

                                                                  2. Thanks everyone for the feedback. I am going to remove myself from the thread because it is time to move on. Overwhelmingly I know I should have probably left her stuffing on the table. However, I stand by my conviction that her stuffing was not brought just to help out or because her husband couldn't live without it. Again never has he had this need at any other relative's house on Thanksgiving. There is more to the story then just stuffing. You can't change people that try to one up you all the time or go on about themselves. I have many friends and family members that don't feel the need to compete and nor do I feel the need to compete with them. It just makes me appreciate all those people more. For my husband's sake and for my own I will not take this any further. There will be another time since this isn't the 1st that a dig will be made and I have to learn to just not care! It just makes me sad because I get along great with everyone else. I don't want to have a problem with anyone. I guess I just need to not let her get the best of me & try to be kind at all times.

                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                      See I am horriable... I would have said something like "I am so flattered you feel comfortable enough bringing your specail stuffing to my home when you were not comfortable enough bringing it to Moms for the past seven years what a delightful addition it will be to my first table. Everyyyyyyyone Look she brought Stans most favourite stuffing I am sooooooo sorry he has been missing it all these years. Please be a sweety and plop that on the table. I love it when everyone has their favourites... My husbands favourite happens to be mine.... aiant it great how we can please our men?

                                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                        Thank you! No one else seems to notice that this was the 1st time...when I hosted...that they just had to have their stuffing!!!

                                                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                          I noticed; you said it twenty times or more! It just doesn't change anything about the time or place to address it being later, not during the holiday meal, IMO.

                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                            I am new on here & from the responses not everyone seems to read the entire thread. I responded to people individually so I may have been repetitive. My bad?!

                                                                            1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                              Usually, when a thread is new and very active, folks do read. I'm just sayinzall. :-)

                                                                                1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                  "from the responses not everyone seems to read the entire thread"

                                                                                  actually a lot of people DO skim and double-cross post. either repeating things or saying things that have already been addressed. it's even more amusing when they forget they've already posted on a thread (can be years later) and contradict themselves. I have.

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    Good to know. Someone said I had a son & I do not have children so I assumed that at least some people skim. I am sure I will skim on other threads. I have been a little more focused on this one:)

                                                                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                      well yeah - you're the OP, it's your baby. stay active, but don't let our chatter gallery get under your skin.

                                                                                      since you're new, I will say this: there's nothing more annoying than someone who posits a question (or opinion) as a new thread and disappears like a desert wind. that stuff happens more in the type of "Hi I know nothing about your town and need help!" and no report on what tips were taken or not and what was experienced </>pet peeve rant

                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                        Gosh I came on here because I googled dinner etiquette and came across the Mr. Rib story. While I certainly appreciate everyone's feedback & will take everyone's advice I don't know that I have much to add to the other threads. Thanksgiving comes but once a year so there isn't much more to add. We are not hosting next year so there is no continuation to this story at this time. If I feel I have something to contribute I certainly would. Please don't take offense if I "disappear." I know nothing about legal advice so I would go to a lawyer. I came to you guys because you all gave advice to the couple with the unwanted ribs. If I don't add much more to Chowhound it is not because the advice was not appreciated or that I am trying to keep you in the dark. Honestly I need to move on like I said I would yesterday. It just was very addicting & I was trying to be responsive to all the people that took the time to respond to me.

                                                                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                          As for continuation, I'm really hoping you will update this a year from now and let us know what SIL brings.

                                                                                  2. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                    As a newbie, you should be proud of a thread such as this one that generates so many responses. In just under four years, I've started approximately 6 threads with a total of about 25 responses.

                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                      Well, John E.....Sounds like you need more passive aggressive relatives ;)

                                                                                      1. re: sedimental

                                                                                        heh or if you don't HAVE a P-A relative, then BE the P-A relative...

                                                                                        what a wonderful world it could be.

                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                        Well thank you I guess. I would love to start a new thread. "When you invite someone to your home, is it rude for them to bring what you let them know you were serving because they prefer theirs? ......

                                                                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                          oh there are already ones that cover that, it would take some digging or for ghg (a long-time poster/searcher) to show up again to find them for you, but they do exist. some can make your hair curl.

                                                                        2. Deja vu! Fascinating the difference in hound consensus. Maybe because Thanksgiving is so loaded with cultural significance....

                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4112...

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                            I think many people have been wronged when it comes to holidays. Had to give something up, spent less time at their side, had to eat stuffing year after year that they did not enjoy. If I had made spaghetti meatballs and they brought their own meatballs I would feel the same way...unless they had some sort of allergy, made a meatless version etc. then I would understand. This was not a controlling the Thanksgiving menu issue for me. They are welcome to host and I will offer to bring whatever they need. I will also not bring a personal preference for myself and my husband. Could you imagine how out of control that would get if everyone had their own stuffing, own sweet potato casserole etc. Bottom line they were not gracious guests. I in turn was not a gracious host. You live you learn.

                                                                            1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                              I think SanJoseHound would have agreed with your reaction!

                                                                            2. re: charmedgirl

                                                                              I had forgotten all about that thread!

                                                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                I thought of that thread but think this is a different situation. The ribs were the main course, not one of the many sides. If someone had brought a turkey, that would be closer but SJ Hound (who also disappeared after that thread) was specially making ribs.

                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  Not the exact same, no, but similar enough, to my mind. The guest knew the host was providing a specific dish, and the guest insisted on bringing that same dish. [shrug] If you disagree no biggie. I just thought the differing reactions were interesting!

                                                                                  1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                    It would have been nice to know what happened in the end! Now, if SJHound had come back and said the person showed up w/ ribs and they left them off the serving table so no one could eat them, the response might have been different. I haven't gone back to read that thread but it seemed the husband was the one to offer that his wife would make ribs? I felt bad for the wife!

                                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                        So sad that I read that the first time around and forgot about it. But, then again, it's been six years! Yikes. So, it was wife mortified about husband's behavior. Maybe it's the husband's fault here, too!

                                                                              2. You have the "right to be offended." But shouldn't.

                                                                                1. At least she didn't bring a cake that the sibling "just couldn't go without" to your wedding.

                                                                                  And at least they came with the side they were supposed to bring.

                                                                                  1. Ah Grasshopper, who was disgraced here? Do not match their rudeness with your own. Serve both, no big deal.

                                                                                    1. Perhaps she was afraid you would do something out of the ordinary with the stuffing/dressing. My sister makes something different every year and I find it blech (chestnuts...oysters...apples) because I want traditional sage dressing. Granted, I would just skip eating it at the dinner and make my own at home for the next day; I wouldn't bring my own if it wasn't requested.

                                                                                      Sounds like this is a long simmering issue and perhaps should be addressed at another time.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                        Arrgh my sister started doing that too! Don't mess with basic! We gave her 2 years and took that assignment away from her!

                                                                                      2. Maybe your son thinks your dressing sucks. What did he say??? Maybe a lot of people do. Just a thought.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                          Never said I had a son. my bil & sil that brought their own stuffing & had never been to my house b4 for thanksgiving to try or know the quality of my stuffing. Not looking to prove my stuffing to you. If one your family members knew you were specifically making something in your home and they brought their own you might be offended too!

                                                                                          1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                            Sorry, my mistake on the "son/sibling" thing. ~~ You did say both sides of the family ~ News travels very fast in most families. ~ Maybe they 'heard it through the grape vine'. ~~ You're right, you don't have to prove anything to me, and nah, I wouldn't be offended if it was family. I'm way to busy to make mountains out of mole hills. ~~ Have fun!

                                                                                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                              Yes my inlaws...my parents...my husband and my siblings...both sides

                                                                                              Well good for you for not getting offended!

                                                                                        2. No two stuffings are EVER identical, even if they were made out of the same box... we used to have three different dishes of stuffing at our family Christmas because everyone who contributed some kind of poultry had their own favoured variety of stuffing with it, and you couldn't say that any of them was surpurflous. We didn't sit there and hold contests to see who's food was 'the best', we just ate it. It's really not worth making a big deal over it. From reading the rest of the thread it seems you really don't get on with this person and the two of you have a passive-aggressive thing going on. Somebody else can only make you feel bad if you let them.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                            No two foods are ever the same when made by 2 different people. Maybe everyone should bring their own stuffing or maybe respecting what the host has made would be appropriate. Exactly, I didn't want a contest. I would have felt bad if no one ate my stuffing because hers was in the center of the table and mine on the end. The guests wouldn't know, but I would. She would feel like she could come in and take over the dinner I worked very hard on to put together. Why did she have a need to make the same thing as me? This was the 1st time I ever stood up to her and at the time it felt right. I recognize that I ultimately made a mistake but maybe next time she will think twice about stepping on my toes.

                                                                                            1. I am on your side. If it was common knowledge that you were making the bird and stuffing then your SIL bringing a large casserole of stuffing (and especially claiming that your brother " just couldn't go without her homemade stuffing on Thanksgiving") is pretty damn passive-aggressive if you ask me.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                Thank you. ANd again never before I hosted did this happen.

                                                                                              2. Next year when she brings her stuffing, get out a big ol' bowl and MIX it with yours.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. I tried to read every post to this thread, but I may have missed it: Did BIL cop to 'needing to have his wife's stuffing'?

                                                                                                  (That sounds dirtier than intended…)

                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                    BIL did not say a word. When I was dishing out my stuffing in the kitchen he was nearby. This was a few minutes before dinner and around the time she let me know they had brought stuffing & he had to have her stuffing on Thanksgiving. So I looked at him and joked that it was a good thing he brought his own stuffing because I wasn't sure I had enough.(The bowl was huge-I make a lot of stuffing!)He looked sheepish and didn't say anything.

                                                                                                    1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                      Then her justification sounds like a crock o' shit to me. I don't think you were all that out of line in your reaction. I would have covered it in foil, put it in the oven "to keep it warm", and told her, "thank goodness you brought extra stuffing in case we start to run out!"

                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                        You would think I stood on the table and threw her stuffing on the floor from everyone's reaction. I asked her in the kitchen to not put it out, not that her husband couldn't eat it!

                                                                                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                          When one stirs up a hornets nest, one can expect to get stung!

                                                                                                          1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                                            I agree Uncle. If you post a question/comment on a public discussion board, you should be aware that you will get many different types of responses. If you are looking for 100% agreement with your post, this ain't the place.

                                                                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                              Never said I was looking for 100% agreement.

                                                                                                              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                                I didn't say you were. I was just agreeing and expanding on Uncle's post. Funny when I posted, I considered putting in a disclaimer that I was not referring to you or anyone in particular but I neglected to do it. Anyway, I was just speaking in general terms.

                                                                                                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                  jg111 - well let's not get all impersonal and jump down nobody's throat... (smirk)

                                                                                                          2. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                            No, you'd think you squatted over her stuffing on the table and urinated into it. Which would have been simultaneously horrifying and hilarious, BTW.

                                                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                              Yes I have committed the most deadly sin! Rejected another's stuffing in my own home! Seems that many on here have probably had their stuffing rejected & I am getting the lashing for it!

                                                                                                              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                                If you didn't think it was a problem, you wouldn't have had any reason to post.

                                                                                                                You just have to accept that many found your reaction ill timed, and lacking in social grace.

                                                                                                    2. I can see being a bothered by someone bringing another stuffing. I think of stuffing as being a "main" ingredient of the Thanksgiving meal, almost equal to the turkey itself and I can't think of any instant where someone might bring another turkey.

                                                                                                      Having said that, I've often made two different types of stuffing, usually one vegetarian for the 1 or 2 vegetarians showing up but also one time an oyster stuffing that I was sure several people wouldn't eat so... I probably wouldn't have an issue if someone were to arrange in advance and coordinate another stuffing for the meal. We often coordinate sides that are being brought so as to not duplicate and avoid the comparison of competing dishes. No one want 3 competing pumpkin pies.

                                                                                                      Finally, as far as you having "politely asked them to remove it" from the table is concerned, IMO, no matter how you phrased it, there is no polite way to have had one of many dishes singled out to be removed from the table. No matter how "rude" you may have thought the guests bringing a competing stuffing was (and maybe it was rude), it pales in comparison to your having them remove their casserole dish from the table. As a gracious host, I would have sucked it up, let the stuffing stay and then talked about the offending individual behind her back. That would be the polite thing to do.

                                                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                        I politely asked that we keep her husband's stuffing in the kitchen since she claimed it was just for him. She ignored me and put it on the table for everyone. I get everyone's point on here but ultimately given that she let me know 5 minutes for dinner and my meal was planned down to the trivets on the table it is hard to believe that everyone else on here would not feel somewhat insulted. Is this like the customer is never wrong? A guest can come and place whatever the want on the table? The host has no control of the meal? Maybe not. Seems to be the consensus that I was wrong no matter how she disrespected me in my home.

                                                                                                        1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                          While I still agree it may have been, at the least, discourteous for her to bring stuffing (and placing it in the center of the table without consulting you) which IMO is part of the main course for thanksgiving, I still believe you could have cut her some slack. You state that " Everyone in the family was incredibly supportive, pitching in sides, desserts etc" so I wonder if she would have rightly felt singled out and offended when those sides and desserts were passed around with the obligatory "Jill made this and Sue made that and isn't Wanda's green bean casserole wonderful!?"
                                                                                                          Your brother might have told her to make her wonderful stuffing. You state it was her first time at your house - she apparently didn't know the rules and maybe comes from a family where thanksgiving is a much more casual affair and there are many stuffings to chose from. Who knows? I still feel there was a breach of etiquette on her part but also on yours. "Everyone in the family..." except sil was able to help out and be supportive while her dish was banished to the kitchen. In hindsight, I think the appropriate thing to have done was transfer some of her stuffing to an appropriate serving dish and then rave about it with the same vigor as aunt Ida's sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. Just my two cents.

                                                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                            She made a very large and delicious green bean casserole which I included with everyone's contributions on the table. I was not trying to slight her. I think she is great cook & baker.

                                                                                                            It was my brother in law who requested the stuffing and we have been to several thanksgivings together at our mother in laws, a cousins etc. Never brought her stuffing before.

                                                                                                          2. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                            No, you are not wrong. It's the hosts duty to make guests feel comfortable, but that doesn't give guests free rein to take over. The social contract obliges guests to be just as gracious as their hosts. It does not empower them to run roughshod over their hosts to appease their own egos. Stick to your guns. Urinate in her stuffing.

                                                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                              Ha wouldn't do that but do believe I had a right to be offended no matter what anyone says on here.

                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                OH, please.

                                                                                                                She put a dish on the table.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  If you think all she did was put a dish on the table, you've never been called out in a pissing contest.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                    It's hard to make heads or tails of what happened. She made it only for her husband who requested it. And she only made a small amount for him. But she brought it in a large casserole dish and set it in the middle of the table. And there's the whole one upsmanship thing in their history which carries over on who makes better stuffing or that one stuffing isn't good enough. Sounds like a pissing contest where everyone is collateral damage.

                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                      What I don't completely understand is the 'sit down dinner for 23 people'. Does that mean the dishes were passed family style or was it a buffet. The idea that the casserole was placed in the middle of the table seems to mean the dishes were passed, but that seems unlikely for a group of 23.

                                                                                                                      The Thanksgiving dinner I attended was a group of about 40, and it certainly was a buffet.

                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                        I'm not sure BIL requested it. All we know is that SIL *claimed* he requested it, and it wasn't a small amount, either. It was "...large enough for the entire table…."

                                                                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                          ricepad - and served in an exquisite 17th c. lacquered chamber pot, right?

                                                                                                                          1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                            See but then she said above that it was a small amount and meant only for the husband. That's why it's confusing.

                                                                                                                        2. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                          If you make it more, then it is. If you participate in every skirmish that someone or other may want to drag you in to, you'll have time for little else in your life.

                                                                                                                          Perception is reality.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                            Because there's only so much piss to go around.

                                                                                                                      2. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                        Can't pass up an opportunity to go off on a tangent.
                                                                                                                        " The social contract obliges guests to be just as gracious as their hosts"
                                                                                                                        I've always held myself, as a host, to a much higher standard of graciousness than any of my guests. It is my job as host to do as much as possible (within reason off course) to make my guests feel comfortable and welcome even when there may be reason to feel slighted.
                                                                                                                        I don't think I've read anything here that points to the sil trying to run roughshod over the host. Maybe a naive fopaux at most. Actually, my suspicion is that the events led to some hurt feelings and some family grief hence the question to begin with. Believe me, I've seen decades-long family feuds start with something less delicious than thanksgiving stuffing. Hey, another tangent we can go off on...

                                                                                                                  2. 1. This is why we always have our own, small Thanksgiving celebration at home with the sides we prefer, usually on Friday or Saturday.

                                                                                                                    2. I would never, ever remove someone's dish that they brought and placed on my table, no matter how P/A their gesture, no matter if they were trying to upstage me, no matter their explanation or reasoning. One etiquette misstep is not met with an equal misstep, that's just two wrongs and we all know that doesn't make a right. I don't care how discreetly it was done, you just kept the competition going by doing this. If she refused to remove it, would you have asked her out to the parking lot to settle it with a fight? Seriously. It may have been wrong of her to bring it but it was just as wrong for you to actually make it be removed from the table. JMO.

                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                                        I've had this happen to me, only once thankfully.

                                                                                                                        I invited a large party to my home for a sit-down, very well thought out, elegant dinner.
                                                                                                                        One of the men invited decided, without telling me first, to bring one of his mother's favorite dishes….one that he loved.
                                                                                                                        He brought it in the door and proceeded to heat up my oven and begin the final prep in my kitchen. We were bumping elbows for an hour while he finalized the dish.
                                                                                                                        I held my tongue and let him put the dish on the table. Visually, without going into detail, it made everyone a little uncomfortable. Nobody would touch it.
                                                                                                                        He, basically, humiliated himself and it left me wondering if he ever pulled that again with anyone else's dinner.

                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                          I feel bad for that man. He obviously had strong feelings about his dish and if I were his hostess I would have made a point of serving myself the first big helping of it. I guess I just feel life is tough/competetive enough, why not bring a little joy into someone's life? What does it cost me? Maybe I'm old fashioned now.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                            That's exactly what I did when a relative brought a T day dish last year that no one else touched. It was awful, but I told him otherwise and thanked him for it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                              Well, that's one way of looking at it.

                                                                                                                              He's abusive, both physically and mentally, and it was his way of spiting the victim. He's highly attached to his mother and doesn't care for other women.
                                                                                                                              I left that little fact out.

                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                Eek! Spiting a victim? Abusive? Sounds like bigger problems than just a competitive SIL. TMI, thanks.

                                                                                                                            2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                              This is just weird. Who does that? Was he sort of strange to begin with?

                                                                                                                        2. It sounds pretty rude and off the wall to me and I'm not sure what I would have done in the heat of the moment. I *hope* I would have transferred some of her stuffing to a smaller dish and put it out with the rest of the food, then cover up the large pan with foil with the expectation that she'll take it when she goes. Saying something along the lines of: "Oh, you shouldn't have as I made plenty of stuffing. But let's put a bit out for your husband."

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. The risk of this kind of thing goes with a blurring of a hosted meal (where the host prepares everything, and the guests bring an appetite, a smile, and gratitude) and a potluck that is effectively group-hosted (even if there is a single household that is physically hosting, the group is providing the food, so it's a group hosting activity), .

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                              Not a potluck. Offers were made. Had stuffing been offered I would have declined unless it was something different then mine...meatless, etc. I took care of the majority of the meal. There has to be some organization to the menu. It can't just be a free for all.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                                                I said it was blurred. Because you were accepting offerings from others, it made it more awkward to refuse hers, even if you had prior agreement on the others. Hence the blur.

                                                                                                                            2. At our larger communal meals, there are often several stuffings, each differently made. In the greater scheme of things, I would consider this a non-event......although perhaps the "placement" could have been handled better

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                Been in the family several years. We have never had multiple stuffing dishes. The host has always taken care of it. I could see if this was our family's norm, but it is not.

                                                                                                                              2. I would have put a small bowl of it between the two of them and the rest of it in the kitchen. After dinner I would have taken her aside and privately told her not to pull that bullshit again.

                                                                                                                                I had to do that with my MIL recently.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                  LOL, I would have liked to see that!

                                                                                                                                2. If you enjoyed the wide variety of responses to your very first thread, try starting a thread about tipping next!

                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                    I have enjoyed them and will take the advice and run with it!!! You have made many great points and when I disagreed I enjoyed the healthy banter. This back and forth is a little time consuming so I need to officially step out of the ring. Its been a great time, but it's time to disappear!!!:)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Thanksgiving14

                                                                                                                                        "Its been a great time, but it's time to disappear!!!:)"

                                                                                                                                        If I had a dollar for every time I said that, but then was drawn back to the discussion. It's worst than Sirens!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                        These Not About Food threads sometimes do become a bit contentious, don't they?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                          Pedantically so. At least some of them are fun for a while.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            They do but at the same time I think ones that truly get heated (vs disagreement where I'd put this thread) are few when you consider how many posts there are a day here.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                              I always get into such trouble on this board. I deleted it from my favs but I still get sucked in.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                I just hope Thanksgiving14 does not judge this site by this thread. Chowhound is so much more than the etiquette threads.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                  etiquette threads? I wasn't cc'd on that memo.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                "If you enjoyed the wide variety of responses to your very first thread, try starting a thread about tipping next!"

                                                                                                                                                awwww no... someone will just pop in and with a link, or several and a snarky little "this has been discussed before I am sure you will find your answers here"

                                                                                                                                              2. This is the first thread I happened upon since returning to Chowhound after a long absence (long story...) and I must say it's a gem!

                                                                                                                                                I look forward to reading about Thanksgiving Dinner #10.

                                                                                                                                                Hang on...it's gonna be a bumpy ride!!!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                    HAHAHAHHA what is a "regulation" size cassarole dish?
                                                                                                                                                    wonder if this letter was real?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                      I'm pretty sure it's real. There was a link on that site for an interview (such as it was) with the letter-writer. Didn't strike me as being faked, but I suppose it's possible.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                        apparently the letter - and interview are both real. I'm still wondering how you stack casseroles with lids. I must have the wrong kind (non-regulation) casserole dish. It's round, its pyrex, and the knob/handle on top would make stacking a very interesting procedure. maybe if the lid were turned upside down - with the knob pushed into the food...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                          K-Man, apparently you learned nothing from Chinese jugglers/acrobats. by this I can only hope all your dinners are not plated, but rather served buffet.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                            a buffet dinner staffed by chinese jugglers - now thats an idea! I bet even "Marnie"would never see that coming. "Oh, auntie, I brought along some people to help serve. Don't worry, it's all paid for. This year everyone will get some turnips." Benihana, stand back and watch.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Was I wrong? Yes. Why? Because you should take the high road.