I like to entertain in our home. I used to have a whole lot more dinner parties than I do now, and I still have several events at our home each year. When I have guests, I set a nice table, plan a nice meal and make a good dessert. I always try to plan for plenty of food, I have a big island in the kitchen so often times, if there are lots of us there, I put several options out and we’ll have a buffet style party. If it’s a dinner, we serve at the table. Then there are times when we have potlucks as well. Those are much more casual events.
So, the part that bugs me is the “to-go” plates. I’ve had several people to my home who will pile up the food that is leftover to take home. I once had a family take a whole tray of brownies, a bag of unopened chips and two cans of coke each. Sometimes people actually asked me for a grocery bag to load up. They did not however ask me if they could take food home, they just did. Or they ask as they are serving the plate with a casual, “You don’t mind if I take this home, my husband would kill me if he found out we had brisket and I didn’t bring him any.” At this point, I can either be polite and smile at you or I can say, “Yes, I mind.” Only, what would you do with your plate full of food? Then there are some who say, “I know you hate this but….”
Here is the deal. I want to feed you. I want you to eat to your heart’s content while you are at my home, but I don’t want to feel like my kitchen is your free for all, or that by inviting you I’m offering to feed your household. Most of the time, I make plenty of food and there are leftovers. I may have plans for them.
I also am very sorry your spouse was too busy, too tired, too involved in the World Cup to attend our party but that also means he/she figures out their food on their own. I don’t get it! Am I alone in this? Where has etiquette gone?
This all came to a head at my godfather’s reception. The family had planned to feed 100 or so people. We were a few plates short because some came through the reception line and took two plates. Why? Because their spouse couldn’t attend. HELLO? Manners dictate that only the people attending eat the food served and all leftovers go to the family of the deceased so that they don’t have to cook.
Then on to the church picnic where people were taking trays of meat home, trays, not plates and others making to go plates for people who didn’t want to attend because it was too hot BEFORE everyone had arrived and was served and AFTER. I think we’ve lost the art of etiquette. I’m going to teach on it some on the blog. We need to come to a place where we have manners again.
So here is rule #1 of being a good dinner guest in any situation.