bruce on games

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.

If you are invited to take a plate home, you take one, if you aren’t invited to take a plate home, it is impolite to ask.

13 thoughts on “Etiquette

  1. Pingback: Your Garden
  2. Love this post! I feel exactly the same way!

    I think part of the problem is that we live in an “entitled” society anymore & people just expect things. Whether they ask or not, whether it’s offered or not.. because haven’t you heard? It’s all about “ME”…

    Sad, isn’t it??

  3. This is very true. I believe this has become the normal to do this and no one gives it a second thought on how improper or bad mannerism this can be. It’s like receiving a dozen roses and having someone ask…”do you mind if I take a rose out of your bouquet for me?” I’m glad you have the boldness to speak it out….we should take a lesson on this!

  4. Thanks for reading. I think what happened is that manners weren’t taught so we just have to go back and teach. It’s not a lost cause as long as we are willing to teach on it.

  5. When I saw the title and saw Miss Piggy’s Low Cut Dress, I thought this would be on dress

    In addition to what you say, I went to 3 Christian weddings last year, and not a single Thank you card from any of them for their gift! I was floored.

    This year I went to 3 weddings, the 2 non-Christian’s sent thank you cards right away, the other was a Christian wedding, and still no thank you card!

  6. ps- I asked one of the girls last year (a couple months after her wedding) when she was going to do her Thank you cards, and she said “Never” !

  7. “So you do not!” is a word-for-word translation of a scolding that all Swedish children (at least those of my generation) hear as they grow up. Either preceded or followed by “Shame on you!” it is meant to steer a child by rules if possible, by embarrassment if necessary. As with so many other countries with royalty, it was impressed upon us that those who lived in the public eye would never do such things and because everyone was equal we could (and should) act every bit as well as they. Even when we began to see that royalty were perceived as figure heads only (so what was the point?), eventually the pendulum swung back and we understood that civilized life might not require so many dos and don’ts but it did insist upon treating others with dignity and respect.

    In other cases, people who’ve experience many years of just trying to survive–whether through armed conflict on global or national scale, or through the desperation of prolonged poverty–often throw etiquette and niceties by the wayside, thinking they’re irrelevant and, as you pointed out, generations that follow are not taught. Yet, it doesn’t take long before people realize that, without manners, without treating others as we’d like to be treated, without putting ourselves in their shoes to understand what we should do, society would be reduced to the animal behavior in a jungle.

    Thus, a groundswell builds, and people ask, “What am I supposed to do?” or (like you) they say, “Here; let me help you with that. Life will be much easier for you when you understand what’s accepted as good behavior.”

    Be encouraged, Pastor Susan: you are not alone. Not only does our Lord require us to walk in love, it is evident etiquette is not dead. Fifty-one million sites popped up when I googled the word, with 15, 200,000 listed on Bing.

    All of Heaven’s best to you as you continue this worthy and necessary endeavor.

  8. Thanks Margaret and TQO for responding. I believe everything happens for a reason. The church picnic was the straw that broke the camels back.

    I’ll give you the details in my next blog.

  9. Man I wish I would of got a meat tray!! I am just kidding!! Well when I married my husband I learned that there family not only takes one to-go plate but they take a few…We had an event for him when he graduated college and some of his family were packing up plates, my husband spoke up to some of his family and said ” no to go plates you eat here but we didn’t ask you to take food home” I could have died from embarassment, but he verbally said what I was thinking. My mom used to take a plate to my dad, and my mother in law takes plate to my father in law and now my brother takes a plate to his wife who for some reason can’t seem to make it to any of our family get togethers. I only take home what I brought and then when I hear some one say “do you want to take this home if not I am going to throw it away” then I am okay to take stuff home.

  10. today two people were having a conversation complaining about a church potluck event yesterday…

    that they had decided to have people volunteer as servers, with the dishes sorted into different areas by type… so that you had to tell a server in one area what you wanted, then they handed your plate to one in the next area, then eventually to you at the end.

    the people discussing it were upset because they felt treated like kids in a school cafeteria, like they couldnt be trusted to scoop their own food when they were the ones who brought the food.

    this post came to mind.
    made me wonder if their previous ones didnt have unresolved etiquette issues needing some addressing for them to suddenly change to something so inefficient.
    (though, i suppose could also be a food safety thing)

    1. Maybe for efficiency or a waste issue depending on how many people there were. Sometimes, people tend to serve themselves a lot of food and then tasting and leaving big portions to waste. Who knows?

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