Dinner Guest Issues

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Dinner Guest Issues

Postby kerry75 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:06 pm

My wife and I enjoy having social acquaintances (non-business) over for full dinners in a formal setting, i.e., not burgers on the BBQ, but rather drinks beforehand, one or two selections of meat, vegetables, etc. as well as specialty homemade breads and dessert. The menu varies greatly, sometimes it will be Italian or other type and we avoid things that would have limited appeal or are overly spicy.

On several occasions over the past year or two we've run into some situations where we've been put off by comments before or during the meal. These have been typical:
1) On offering several (three or four) types of wine, one guest said, "I don't drink any of those. Do you have something else?"
2) On offering an invitation to a couple the wife said, "Will you have beer there? If not, John will bring his own."
3) One guest during a meal asked if we had mint jelly for the lamb. We didn't, so he commented, "You always need mint jelly with lamb". A year or so later we had this guest back and this time we had mint jelly. We mentioned that to him and he replied, "I never use mint jelly". This, I realize, is an attempt to control.

I could cite a few more but I think I've illustrated the point. When we are invited somewhere we're glad to be invited, eat and drink what's offered and if we don't like something, consume it even if it's really onerous (never happened), grateful to our hosts for having taken the trouble to host us.

These people are ordinarily gracious and have hosted us at various times but there seems to be an expectation among some of them and others whom I know that everything must match their desires and if not, they'll mention it and remedy the perceived failing in their own way (comments, bring their own beer, etc.) I don't remember this type of thing years ago. One guest always looked for various hot sauces, something we don't use but he knows not to ask for them anymore.

Has anyone else encountered this type of behavior?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby tainted-meat » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:12 pm

Not everyone is snooty. I would not invite people back who are no fun. I'm surprised you invited the guy back who wanted his mint jelly. :oops:
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Levett » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:19 pm

Yes, once. And my wife took care of it quickly.

It was about tea. And this prig (prigess/princess?) was not satisfied with the selection of teas my wife had available.

And my wife simply said: "That's the choice."

And, of course, we never invited the couple to our home again.

In many, many years of entertaining since then, I have never--repeat, never--encountered the sort of rudeness you have. I don't doubt what you say for a moment. We've had difficult guests, and we simply carry on, and never invite them again.

But perhaps you should consider a different circle of friends.

We do, as a rule, ask new dinner guests if there are any dietary issues we should be aware of. I choose the wine pairings, and that's it.

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:24 pm

Its simple really.
We have similar parties like yourself and everyone enjoys them immensely. However! On one occasion a couple were 3 hours late. A fellow acquaintance of theirs said that its quite normal for them. That was the last time they entered our home. On another occasion a married couple decided to completely dominate the dinner conversation. They wont be doing that again in our house.
If someone complains about the food or anything else that you went to the time and trouble to prepare (pay for, clean up etc) then take them off your guest list. They are undeserving of your hospitality.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Sam I Am » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:27 pm

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby prudent » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:41 pm

I guess I've been guilty of one of those. I do not like wine, and if offered it I decline. I am perfectly satisfied with tap water if that's the alternative. I mean no disrespect to the hosts and do not make a production of it, but I am not going to drink wine. As I truly do not want to offend the hosts or be a bad guest, how should I handle this?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Mrs.Feeley » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:48 pm

kerry75 wrote: Has anyone else encountered this type of behavior?


Oh yes. The guests who ask if you have ranch dressing for their salad instead of what's offered. And when you say no they ask for thousand island and peppercorn and the whole list of Appleby's dressings. The guest who shows up an hour late and complains that the food is cold, not recalling that the last time they were invited they complained that dinner wasn't served promptly after they arrived. The guest who talks at length about their latest diet and explains, also at length, why the food on the table would not comply with it and how everyone is lucky they are not going to get fat. The guest who asks in advance whether a certain type of diet soda will be served and if not whether they can bring their own. The list goes on. I too often wonder whether it's a sign of our entitled times, or whether everyone grew up without learning manners, or whether people have always behaved this way and it's only now that I'm getting annoyed because I'm older. Sadly it's been a year since we invited anyone over for a formal dinner or party as I've grown tired of knocking myself out for people who don't seem grateful or reciprocate the invitation. I'll just meet them at Perkins instead.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby dm200 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:00 pm

Those sound like the "demands" my late mother-in-law sent ahead when she and my late father-in-law would come to visit.

For dinner guests, most of these seem less than gracious. I would certainly never make such "demands". If the hosts, for example, do not drink alcohol (or have it in their homes, list one side of my family), I would never even dream of taking beer with me. If someone has specific medical/dietary needs, perhaps modest requests for accommodation might be OK, or even welcome. Who "needs" a choice of more than 3 or 4 wines? if you don't like the wine offered, don't drink any.

If this is a regular circle of yours, what are these folks like in other folk's homes for dinner? Do they make the same "demands" everywhere?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby kerry75 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:04 pm

Thank you all for your thoughtful, considered replies. I should have mentioned that when we invite guests we ask if there are any dietary considerations.

People who decline wine, etc. and simply request water are more than welcome. What bothers me is when they request something above and beyond the selection of (as an example one respondent cited) different salad dressings that we offer.

We've been entertaining for decades but this type of thing is showing up much more frequently.

The mint jelly guy has never been invited back.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Kathleen Ryan » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:37 pm

Hi kerry75,

What a great conversation you've started here.

I believe that, "common courtesy," and "common sense," go hand in hand, and unfortunately both have become less common.

I'm like you, in that when someone is kind enough to invite me over for supper, (or breakfast, brunch, or lunch,) I try to engage in meaningful conversation, and of course comment on how delicious the meal provided was. If they ask me if I'd like some wine, and I see they are drinking wine, I reply, "Yes please," and this follows with everything offered. And then I thank them.

In my estimation, it has no bearing if I don't like something. I just gladly accept what is offered. Mercifully, I'm invited back, and invite back the same circle of friends I've had for a long while. We all get along, and are happy for each other's company, as this is really what it is all about.

As others have stated before me, if I should ever encounter, "Mr. & Mrs. Rude-Mouth-I-want-mint-jelly-and-beer-and-a-certain-tea-" then I would simply not invited them back. 8-) Besides, everyone knows that lamb is properly served with garlic, fresh ground pepper, and rosemary! ;^)
Best wishes, | Kathleen
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:48 pm

Kathleen Ryan wrote: If they ask me if I'd like some wine, and I see they are drinking wine, I reply, "Yes please," and this follows with everything offered.

I don't drink wine, nor do lots of people I know. I would politely say no thank you. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with eating the vegetables and moving the meat around a little with your fork if you are a vegetarian (assuming the plate was presented with the meat already on it). If the host is offended by my refusal to drink wine or eat meat, then that host is just as rude as all those guests that attempt to get special service.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Mudpuppy » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:20 pm

As one with food digestion issues that will leave me doubled-over in pain for half a day if I eat the wrong thing, I suppose I'll present a supporting word for the people in scenario #2. If a person has a strong personal preference and/or a food intolerance, I think it's perfectly polite to inquire of the menu beforehand and offer to bring alternatives if the menu does not have a satisfactory option on it. It is better than sitting there staring at plates full of food that one cannot eat while nibbling on a dinner roll or salad, which I have had the occasion to do. And it is far better than the hosts lying about the nature of the menu and landing me in the urgent care center, which I have also had the occasion to do, unfortunately.

If your guests inquire as to the menu, inform them and do not take offense if they have issue with some of the items and wish to bring their own alternatives (or eat ahead of time and just enjoy your company at the dinner). You want your guests to be comfortable at your social occasion, not wondering if holding to old notions of "eat what is offered or you're rude" will land them in need of medical attention.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:41 pm

I agree with all the comments so far. Very thoughtful comments. You can do your best to be a gracious host, but I think with anything that is "relationship oriented" (like a friendship), give and take is required. I usually inquire about another's dietary requirements, but it is up to them to be as specific as they can. Once a friend said she couldn't have anything with corn in it. I assumed this included products which contained corn syrup as well since that is made from corn, because I know people with digestive issues that this seems to be a problem. Anyway, I made a dish substituting something else and then later the person said she can have anything with corn syrup in it, just not corn. So maybe I could have inquired further (instead of assuming), or maybe she could have offered more info, though she probably thought she was specific enough (which it turned out she was).

Food can sometimes be tough and people can be very particular (in diet, preparation, etc). Some people can be very rigid like have to eat at a certain time--(I'm not talking about diabetes which may require food to be eaten to coincide with blood sugar levels and insulin delivery), or are picky, particular or can only eat food that's piping hot. I know someone who won't eat with others who talk while eating (can sorta understand that) or who eat slowly and get upset with others who eat fast or they feel they're being rushed because others are done first.

I think there should be a give and take. If you're a guest, you should try to fit in with what the host is offering (except if you truly don't like or can't have something, but there should be many other opportunities to accept what's offered) and the host can try to find out what the guest might like. If it gets too crazy it's not fun for one, the other or both and that will probably end that for the future.

Incidentally, it's not entirely related, but if you'd like a good laugh I recommend a movie called "The Dinner Game" (french with english subtitles). It's a hoot.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119038/
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby HueyLD » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:42 pm

Here are my ideas:

1) On offering several (three or four) types of wine, one guest said, "I don't drink any of those. Do you have something else?"

I would politely say no and ask him to bring his own favorite wine next time.

2) On offering an invitation to a couple the wife said, "Will you have beer there? If not, John will bring his own."

See (1) above. If they want to bring their own beer, by all means YES.

3) One guest during a meal said asked if we had mint jelly for the lamb. We didn't, so he commented, "You always need mint jelly with lamb". A year or so later we had this guest back and this time we had mint jelly. We mentioned that to him and he replied, "I never use mint jelly". This, I realize, is an attempt to control.

Apologize for not knowing that mint jelly must be served with lamb and ask them to please bring their favorite mint jelly next time.

If those invited guests are your friends for a long time, you should know their dietary preferences/issues. I know people who are allergic to alcohol, dairy products, eggs, nuts, wheat, shell fish, etc. So, you can do your best to accommodate various people taste buds and allergy problems. But don't get too excited about your guests asking for something you don't have.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby btenny » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:52 pm

On some occasions we have formal small dinner parties for 6-8 friends. At these we provide everything and call and invite all the people coming. In that case some of the guys/gals bring special beer or wine they like to drink and they know I do not have that type. I am happy they bring their own. We discuss this in advance mostly. My wife would not be happy if some of these guests were as difficlut as some you describe. But I do know some people have too much to drink sometimes and do/say things they regret later. So in most cases I treat any these poor comments as just drink talking and ignore it. I know that I have made hairbrained comments that should have been ignored. And I sure do not want to loose any friends over something as silly as bad manners at a party. Thiink about the things you might have done but did not notice or if you had to run around all the time and apoligize for all the small slips you made. It would be a real soap opera. So mostly I just try to forget about it.....

So unless you want to lose these people as friends I would just "forget about it".....

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby bottlecap » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:10 pm

Although civilization is not very civilized anymore, I think you're being a little picky. I would've reminded the mint jelly guy of his prior comments and laughed it off. My guests are always free to bring whatever they like. Some people don't like wine, some people don't like beer. Why wouldn't you like your guests to be comfortable and enjoy what they're having? The person who is picky about the wines would've been free to have anything nonalcoholic, or could have sampled anything in my liquor cabinet.

All in all, if this is as boorish as your guests get, you're pretty lucky. The best you can do is give a number of choices, and leave it at that. If your guests specifically indicate that they like something beforehand, why not be accommodating?

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Atilla » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:13 pm

Yes - my wife an I have encountered this type of behavior from dinner guests. They tend to be passive-aggressive/controlling types. We don't invite those people ever again unless it's a larger and more casual affair where they can be ignored if they have a b!tch about something stupid. :sharebeer

Common sense and decency dictates that if you are invited anywhere for dinner you take what you are given with thanks (whether you like it or not) and enjoy the company (or do your best to appear so). Anything less makes you a major a-hole.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby wingnutty » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:31 pm

I guess I personally don't see anything wrong with someone bringing their own beer or drinks, if they don't drink wine? Some of the other comments that your guests made were rude/ignorant, no doubt, but getting upset at someone bringing beer since they don't drink wine is silly, imo.

I personally don't really drink wine, I would normally not bring my own drink unless I was GOOD friends with the host and I knew that they only served wine and that it wouldn't irk them if I brought a six pack of good beer. Normally if offered wine, I would either accept, or happily drink tap water.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Calm Man » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:43 pm

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Calm Man » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:45 pm

This post could just as easily be applied to any social interaction. I am 60 years old and concluded years ago that I am not perfect, make mistakes and so do others. I have a very thick skin for these types of things and if I do notice I later forget as in the scheme of things these are trivial. Maybe these individuals have other qualities that outweigh their faux pas. I am a vegetarian and do not drink alcohol. Not all hosts know that and it can make for an unpleasant situation if one is of the nature to let something like that bother them, as I pass on the main course. They must have something you consider useful or you wouldn't have invited them. But that's me and others take things more seriously to which they have every right.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby btenny » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:49 pm

But my wife and I also have open house sort of parties with all our close friends and dozens of other people. Our current favorite theme is Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. For these big parties we invite all kinds of people. We do not care if the people who come to these parties are not out best friends or do dumb things or get drunk or say stupid things thus we usually invite most everyone. We also invite neighbors and expect our friends to bring their house guests if they have any. We also make sure the people who have not been recently or regularly invited to our home for set down dinner parties are invited to these parties so they know we still like them.

For these parties we have what we call sky deck rules that prevade all these types of parties within our group. These rules let us have fun parties without spending a lot of money on stuff. When we are the host we only provide a portion of the party ingredients and the house and decorations. We expect everyone to bring something to eat and something to drink for themsleves and something to share if they come to these parties. We usually provide some of the food like maybe burgers or a big ham and some beer and a few bottles of wine. Then we all get together and have a fun evening. It works great and is a lot less formal than a true set down dinner party with select friends and does not cost a bundle...


Just some thoughts on how we party. Have fun.....
Bill
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby ks289 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:07 pm

My dinner (or lunch) parties involve mostly little kids who are more than willing to criticize or refuse to eat what is offered, except dessert.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby protagonist » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:15 pm

TAINTED-MEAT wrote:Not everyone is snooty. I would not invite people back who are no fun. I'm surprised you invited the guy back who wanted his mint jelly. :oops:


Agreed. You are the host and you do these because they are fun for you. If a guest makes things less fun for you, why invite him'her? Besides, I would think if somebody wanted a specific wine, beer, whatever, the gracious thing would be for the guest to bring it as a house gift, not to bitch at the host.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby DualIncomeNoDebt » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:40 pm

A number of the responses are ridiculous. I don't understand being offended at some of these requests.

If someone wants to take their own wine or beer to a dinner, why would you possibly care -- and even more absurdly, be offended by the question? I bet bottom dollar they'd bring extra so you could partake, if you were so inclined. If someone wants a particular dressing, what is the harm in asking?

And the reason they are asking -- it's what they want to ingest. Period. End of discussion. These dinner guests have an absolute right to put whatever it is they want into their bodies, to consume the things they wish to consume, in any manner they see fit. Understanding this is your duty as a host. I'm not saying you have to provide every single thing requested, but to be offended merely because someone asked? And to then never invite what sound like perfectly fine people into your home because they like something and requested it? Beyond absurd. If I asked for something and you didn't have it, and this offended you, please, don't invite me back, because the last thing I need is to be judged by others concerning what it is I want.

If I were hosting, I'd simply respond I don't have what it is they are asking for. Simple, and I can't fathom being annoyed or offended because another individual asked me a question. Ridiculous to be offended by these requests. People are different and independent and they want what the want. If this simple fact is too much for you, you've no business inviting people over for anything. Meet them at a restaurant instead and stop complaining about people seeking to consume that which they want to consume.

Finally, maybe I've reached an age (40), and/or have developed such an independent streak, to the point where I'll be damned if anyone questions my choices or desires concerning food, lodging, travel, activities, dates, relationships, money, or most anything else, frankly. If I want something, want to do something, eat something, visit something or someone, whatever it may be, I'm going to do it, get it, order it, bring it -- and I don't care if you like it or not. And I really enjoy giving others the same wide berth -- if their "thing" isn't adversely impacting me, do whatever the heck it is that pleases you. It keeps things so very interesting. And makes life so much easier, and frankly makes it easy to be around people like me, who live and let live.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:44 pm

wingnutty wrote:I guess I personally don't see anything wrong with someone bringing their own beer or drinks, if they don't drink wine? Some of the other comments that your guests made were rude/ignorant, no doubt, but getting upset at someone bringing beer since they don't drink wine is silly, imo.

If I am meeting friends at Spago, I don't stop at McDonald's to buy a Big Mac to go and then take it with me to Spago just because I like Big Macs better than what Wolfgang Puck serves. I also don't take Big Macs to my friends' house when they invite me for dinner. If that is the way you and your friends roll, so be it. There is no difference between taking your own food and taking your own drinks in my mind; both are equally uncouth.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby DualIncomeNoDebt » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:48 pm

sscritic wrote:
wingnutty wrote:I guess I personally don't see anything wrong with someone bringing their own beer or drinks, if they don't drink wine? Some of the other comments that your guests made were rude/ignorant, no doubt, but getting upset at someone bringing beer since they don't drink wine is silly, imo.

If I am meeting friends at Spago, I don't stop at McDonald's to buy a Big Mac to go and then take it with me to Spago just because I like Big Macs better than what Wolfgang Puck serves. I also don't take Big Macs to my friends' house when they invite me for dinner. If that is the way you and your friends roll, so be it. There is no difference between taking your own food and taking your own drinks in my mind; both are equally uncouth.


Pretty standard for fine dining establishments to allow patrons to bring wine and spirits from their own cellars. Heck, some places actually allow customers to store them there. Corkage is an industry standard. So I think the Spago analogy fails, because I personally have been there when my colleagues brought their own reds from their cellars -- and we always share with the staff, if they are permitted.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:56 pm

Ever been invited as a guest and asked to bring something? I once brought dessert, the host took it, placed it in the freezer (ice cream cake - purchased) on a hot July day, never to be seen again. :oops: Is it just me, or was that rude on the part of the host? Another time, same host - we brought a purchased NY style cheese cake - another guest at the same party commented "that's the worse cheesecake I've ever had and I know my cheesecake". :shock: :annoyed Or, you bring a great bottle of wine to the party, the host tucks it away and brings out a cheaper not-so-great wine (another host) - now why is that? Seriously, some people really need to attend etiquette (thanks to the livesoft school of spelling!) school.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby livesoft » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:57 pm

Yep, I like to teach at edict school, but I would never be good at teaching etiquette because I probably can't even spell it correctly.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:04 am

Atilla wrote:Yes - my wife an I have encountered this type of behavior from dinner guests. They tend to be passive-aggressive/controlling types. We don't invite those people ever again unless it's a larger and more casual affair where they can be ignored if they have a b!tch about something stupid. :sharebeer

Common sense and decency dictates that if you are invited anywhere for dinner you take what you are given with thanks (whether you like it or not) and enjoy the company (or do your best to appear so). Anything less makes you a major a-hole.


+1 - Unfortunately, I am not a beer connoisseur so when I offer major well-known brews, I tend to get the "what! you don't have any craft beers" comments from the peanut gallery. Then begrudgingly (they show it) will finally make a choice - it's hit or miss when I stock up.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:04 am

DualIncomeNoDebt wrote:
sscritic wrote:If I am meeting friends at Spago, I don't stop at McDonald's to buy a Big Mac to go and then take it with me to Spago just because I like Big Macs better than what Wolfgang Puck serves. I also don't take Big Macs to my friends' house when they invite me for dinner. If that is the way you and your friends roll, so be it. There is no difference between taking your own food and taking your own drinks in my mind; both are equally uncouth.

Pretty standard for fine dining establishments to allow patrons to bring wine and spirits from their own cellars. Heck, some places actually allow customers to store them there. Corkage is an industry standard. So I think the Spago analogy fails, because I personally have been there when my colleagues brought their own reds from their cellars -- and we always share with the staff, if they are permitted.

I wrote Big Mac; where did you read corkage? Do they make Big Macs out of cork? Maybe you take Big Macs to Spago; I don't. That's my standard.
** Our Corkage Fee is $35 per 750ml bottle for wines not represented on our full wine list, with a 3-bottle maximum for Main Dining Room reservations and at the ratio of one bottle per four guests for Private Dining reservations

If you charge your dinner guests $35 for each bottle they bring to your house, I can see how you might think it is acceptable. :)
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:05 am

livesoft wrote:Yep, I like to teach at edict school, but I would never be good at teaching etiquette because I probably can't even spell it correctly.


nice catch. :wink:
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby HongKonger » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:05 am

Maybe I am passive agressive but when invited to dinner I always take a bottle of wine. Not because its polite - but because I just can't trust other peoples taste in wine and I need to know there is at least something I can drink if both the food and wine aren't to my taste. And yes, I generally open it immediately and don't allow the host to tuck it away in favour of cheaper stuff.

Yes - I am one of those 'snooty' people. Thats why I call ahead, discuss, and bring my own everything as required. There is nothing offensive about it.

And I concur that the lamb with no mint sauce is a faux pas. The beer thing - that sounds more like a dig at the host than a reflection of the guests beverage preference.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby zebrafish » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:10 am

#1/3 are rude-- I wouldn't invite them back next time

#2 seems reasonable depending on how the issue was raised

But, honestly, my grade-school children behave worse than all the above and I keep feeding them!
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby livesoft » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:17 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:nice catch. :wink:

I thought you really meant edict as in "You will eat the ice cream cake I brought." and "You will enjoy that cheesecake even if it makes you barf."
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby norookie » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:19 am

1st worlds "problem"s do not seem like problems when one considers the other worlds problems. :| (shrug) http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/t ... ntries.htm JMO.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby arcticpineapplecorp. » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:25 am

HongKonger wrote:Maybe I am passive agressive but when invited to dinner I always take a bottle of wine. Not because its polite - but because I just can't trust other peoples taste in wine and I need to know there is at least something I can drink if both the food and wine aren't to my taste. And yes, I generally open it immediately and don't allow the host to tuck it away in favour of cheaper stuff.


That's a good strategy, but then you're bringing the wine for yourself, not necessarily for others (of course if you're planning on sharing, they can partake, and everyone can enjoy). However, when I bring a bottle of wine to someone else's home I feel that I am bringing them a gift for going to the trouble of hosting me. Now I am assuming that wine will be opened and enjoyed as I've intended to bring it as a complement to the meal, but if the host tucks it away and pulls out a different bottle of wine, so be it. It was a gift and if they tucked it away, they probably will enjoy it at a later date (selfishly), but that's how gifts work (you have no control over it once you give it away).

You also have received information through this interaction. Namely, your options are: 1. don't bring as good a bottle of wine (since it won't be drunken anyway), 2. you take note of the wine the host served instead and bring that at a future date, 3. ask the host to open the bottle you brought since you want it to be enjoyed that evening by all, or 4. bring the wine you'd enjoy and know they will enjoy it themselves at a later date. Incidentally this has never happened to me (a bottle of wine I brought not been opened that same evening).

On a somewhat related note, I was at a party, sort of a blind date where a guy was invited and the woman was seeing if she was interested in him in a safe environment around friends. He brought a VERY nice bottle of wine (he's a lawyer). It was opened and served, but not finished (emptied) and he wound up taking the remaining wine home instead of leaving it with his hosts. The woman took this as a red flag (saw it as either cheap or poor social behavior) and didn't request his company in the future!

Behavior is a form of communication. Be mindful what you're communicating to others. :happy
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby HomerJ » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:33 am

kerry75 wrote:My wife and I enjoy having social acquaintances (non-business) over for full dinners in a formal setting, i.e., not burgers on the BBQ, but rather drinks beforehand, one or two selections of meat, vegetables, etc. as well as specialty homemade breads and dessert. The menu varies greatly, sometimes it will be Italian or other type and we avoid things that would have limited appeal or are overly spicy.

On several occasions over the past year or two we've run into some situations where we've been put off by comments before or during the meal. These have been typical:
1) On offering several (three or four) types of wine, one guest said, "I don't drink any of those. Do you have something else?"
2) On offering an invitation to a couple the wife said, "Will you have beer there? If not, John will bring his own."
3) One guest during a meal said asked if we had mint jelly for the lamb. We didn't, so he commented, "You always need mint jelly with lamb". A year or so later we had this guest back and this time we had mint jelly. We mentioned that to him and he replied, "I never use mint jelly". This, I realize, is an attempt to control.



Are these acquantinces or friends? I like Bud Light, a friend of mine likes dark German beers... I bring my beer when I go to his house, he brings his beer when he comes to my house... I don't see anything wrong with that. If I was going to a new neighbor's for a formal dinner the first time I met him, I wouldn't ask to bring my own beer, but usually the first time I meet my new neighbors is at a neighborhood BBQ... Hopefully by the time he invited me to a semi-formal dinner, we'd know each other well enough to bring up the beer/wine issue without any problems.

I'm guessing these are just acquantinces and not friends... I'd suggest a more casual environment when dining with people for the first time. And save the semi-formal affairs for people with whom you already have a good connection.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby imgritz » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:35 am

Your friends should be thankful for what you give them. AND You should be thankful for what you receive.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:37 am

imgritz wrote: AND You should be thankful for what you receive.

Especially if they don't expect you to share.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby wingnutty » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:41 am

sscritic wrote:
wingnutty wrote:I guess I personally don't see anything wrong with someone bringing their own beer or drinks, if they don't drink wine? Some of the other comments that your guests made were rude/ignorant, no doubt, but getting upset at someone bringing beer since they don't drink wine is silly, imo.

If I am meeting friends at Spago, I don't stop at McDonald's to buy a Big Mac to go and then take it with me to Spago just because I like Big Macs better than what Wolfgang Puck serves. I also don't take Big Macs to my friends' house when they invite me for dinner. If that is the way you and your friends roll, so be it. There is no difference between taking your own food and taking your own drinks in my mind; both are equally uncouth.


Not sure that anyone said anything about bringing a Big Mac to a host's event? I think that analogy is quite exaggerated.

I think it all depends on how well you know the people and what your relationship with them is.

Would I bring beer to a casual acquaintance's residence? Like I already said, no.
Would i bring beer if I knew the people well and knew that they would not be offended? Yes.
Would I be offended if someone brought beer to my function? Absolutely not.
Do I have thin skin? Obviously not as thin as some people's :D

Am I uncouth? :beer :sharebeer
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby HongKonger » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:03 am

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:
HongKonger wrote:Maybe I am passive agressive but when invited to dinner I always take a bottle of wine. Not because its polite - but because I just can't trust other peoples taste in wine and I need to know there is at least something I can drink if both the food and wine aren't to my taste. And yes, I generally open it immediately and don't allow the host to tuck it away in favour of cheaper stuff.


That's a good strategy, but then you're bringing the wine for yourself, not necessarily for others (of course if you're planning on sharing, they can partake, and everyone can enjoy). However, when I bring a bottle of wine to someone else's home I feel that I am bringing them a gift for going to the trouble of hosting me. Now I am assuming that wine will be opened and enjoyed as I've intended to bring it as a complement to the meal, but if the host tucks it away and pulls out a different bottle of wine, so be it. It was a gift and if they tucked it away, they probably will enjoy it at a later date (selfishly), but that's how gifts work (you have no control over it once you give it away).

You also have received information through this interaction. Namely, your options are: 1. don't bring as good a bottle of wine (since it won't be drunken anyway), 2. you take note of the wine the host served instead and bring that at a future date, 3. ask the host to open the bottle you brought since you want it to be enjoyed that evening by all, or 4. bring the wine you'd enjoy and know they will enjoy it themselves at a later date. Incidentally this has never happened to me (a bottle of wine I brought not been opened that same evening).

On a somewhat related note, I was at a party, sort of a blind date where a guy was invited and the woman was seeing if she was interested in him in a safe environment around friends. He brought a VERY nice bottle of wine (he's a lawyer). It was opened and served, but not finished (emptied) and he wound up taking the remaining wine home instead of leaving it with his hosts. The woman took this as a red flag (saw it as either cheap or poor social behavior) and didn't request his company in the future!

Behavior is a form of communication. Be mindful what you're communicating to others. :happy


I never said I was taking the wine as a gift. I take it for insurance that there will be something I can/want to drink. ...the concept of an unfinished bottle is alien to me so I can't comment on that last part other than what cheapass would take an opened bottle home with them. When I host, I go overboard buying things that I know other people like even if I loathe them so I am usually the one piling people up with speciality beers, cheeses, meats etc to take home as I know I won't touch them.

FYI - I have a degree in Applied Human Communication. I get it 8-)
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Default User BR » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:13 am

A host is well within their rights to accept a gift of wine but serve the one that had been previously selected for the meal. There is no obligation to serve the gift. You also don't have the right to bring your own beverages in preference to the host's. If you have prearranged something, that's one thing, but you don't have the right to push the host around. Accept what is offered. People who opened their "own" wine to make sure I didn't steal it would be advised that they would probably be more comfortable drinking it at their own home.


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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby HomerJ » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:58 am

Someday I hope to be couth.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby HongKonger » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:58 am

Default User BR wrote:A host is well within their rights to accept a gift of wine but serve the one that had been previously selected for the meal. There is no obligation to serve the gift. You also don't have the right to bring your own beverages in preference to the host's. If you have prearranged something, that's one thing, but you don't have the right to push the host around. Accept what is offered. People who opened their "own" wine to make sure I didn't steal it would be advised that they would probably be more comfortable drinking it at their own home.


Brian


Are we talking about being a host or about being a dictator! Whilst appreciating the courtesy involved in being a guest, a host is equally supposed to be accomodating. I would certainly put my guests enjoyment way above any perceived slight on my choice offering. I don't have kids though so maybe I can't relate to the 'get what you're given' scenario.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby snyder66 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:29 am

Wow! I would not dream of exercising this type of behavior in another couples house. If someone need mint jelly, they do not like lamb. Thant stuff is horrid, tradition or not. I would have a hard time keep my mouth shut if those utterances occurred in my house.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby englishgirl » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:40 am

As a vegetarian with food intolerances, this is why I dread invitations to dinner. What's right and what's wrong as far as what I can bring up in advance, and what will be regarded as picky or demanding? I'm not going to eat anything non-vegetarian, so I always tell a host in advance about that. And if that means eating a plate of vegetables that everyone else has as sides to their meat, so be it. But I'm not going to make a big deal about food intolerances, although if the entire meal is full of the stuff that causes me problems I'll be miserably plodding through it calculating how much discomfort there's going to be later.

Anyway, I thought it was polite to always bring something if you're going to a dinner party? I will usually take wine, though occasionally I've taken an orchid just to mix it up a bit.

I much prefer casual eating with friends where we know each others likes, dislikes and current diets (maybe I have weird friends but someone is always trying something out - paleo, gluten free, food combining, vegan, weight watchers...). With some ingenuity we can usually throw something together between us that will satisfy everyone.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:53 am

englishgirl wrote:Anyway, I thought it was polite to always bring something if you're going to a dinner party? I will usually take wine, though occasionally I've taken an orchid just to mix it up a bit.

Do you eat the whole orchid by yourself or do you share? How do you feel if the host takes the orchid off to another room and doesn't share it, saving it for later after you are gone?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby bottlecap » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:08 am

Everyone keeps talking about bringing beer. The guy's wife asked about beer because she knows her husband doesn't like wine. She's probably a little embarassed to say "John really doesn't like wine. Is it okay if I bring some beer for him?" So she simply asks if beer will be served or should she bring some. There are ways to handle these things on both sides. Usually, those ways involve graciousness and humor.

My wife has few dislikes, but absolutely cannot stand beer. If I suspected the host would only have beer, I would either explain the situation and offer to bring a bottle or simply bring a bottle and hope the host didn't simply tuck it away for later. If we didn't think to do either, she would be happy with water. I hope the host wouldn't be offended by not partaking, but you can force people to drink alcohol they don't like. This isn't Animal House.

Offering to bring alcohol is not the same as bringing a separate meal when you know your host has prepared one for you.

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:27 am

bottlecap wrote:Offering to bring alcohol is not the same as bringing a separate meal when you know your host has prepared one for you.

I am assuming you mean bring alcohol for yourself. If so, you are not offering to bring alcohol, you are rejecting the choices that will be presented to you by your host when you arrive. I don't see the difference. You mentioned that water would be available. If you are thirsty, drink it. If not, don't. Do bogleheads need alcohol every 30 minutes? Can a boglehead not talk about low cost mutual funds without being juiced first? Does a boglehead need to take a drink before posting? I know I can post without a drink. I still haven't had my coffee this morning, but I can talk, write, and post without it.

I don't understand the focus of this thread on alcohol. I don't need to eat an apple at every meal (in spite of the old aphorism), and I don't need to drink alcohol at every meal.

P.S. I know some people ask who else has been invited before accepting an invitation. How is that different than asking what beverages will be served? I don't do either.

P.P.S. What fraction of posts on bogleheads do you think are made by posters who are drunk?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby peppers » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:32 am

When we entertain, our family and friends know in advance that we do not keep alcoholic beverages in the house. My wife and I don't drink liquor. However, if they choose to bring a bottle of wine or an imported beer for their consumption that is fine with us. My wife likes to cook and will make several different vegetable dishes in addition to the main course. Again, everyone knows in advance what they are in for. The only guests that get preferential treatment are the grandchildren.
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