Dinner Guest Issues

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Calm Man » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:35 am

DualIncomeNoDebt wrote: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 dm200 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:43 am

Upon further reflection of the nature of this type of behavior of these guests at a dinner, I now lean towards basically ignoring this behavior, to the extent possible and practical. Other than these types of things, if these folks are otherwise fine -- just keep inviting them -- and if they don't like your wine offerings, mint jelly or no mint jelly, beer or no beer -- then they won;t come. It becomes their problem, not yours. They are not poisoning your dog, damaging your property, molesting your children, committing a crime -- or anything approaching that.

"Don't sweat the small stuff". In the case of couples, perhaps one has a loose screw or two, and getting out is good for the more "stable" one.

In the long run, many years from now -- you will probably look back and be glad you were "tolerant" and "understanding".
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby jj » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:09 pm

HongKonger wrote:
And I concur that the lamb with no mint sauce is a faux pas.


Redcurrant jelly is de rigueur with lamb in my household.... :twisted:
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby MrMiyagi » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:35 pm

Gee I'd be appreciative for the free meal! Sounds like you need to stop inviting some of these people to dinner. Personally I avoid people like Mr. Mint Jelly like the plague.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Default User BR » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:39 pm

HongKonger wrote: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.

Do you want to be a guest or a customer? You're invited to an event. If you want to control the wine or food, host your own event. Otherwise go or don't go. What next, bring your own main course if you don't like what's being served?


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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:49 pm

Default User BR wrote:Do you want to be a guest or a customer? You're invited to an event. If you want to control the wine or food, host your own event. Otherwise go or don't go. What next, bring your own main course if you don't like what's being served?

I am with Brian. Last week a friend asked me at the last minute if I would like to see the Clippers play (the seats are in a luxury box near mid court). I could say yes or no, but what I couldn't say (in terms of my own standards of behavior) is "do you have Laker tickets? I would rather see the Lakers."

P.S. I said no. It is perfectly acceptable to turn down an invitation. You are not forced to go.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby 555 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:05 pm

This thread reminds me of Tycho Brahe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe#Death
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Fallible » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:06 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: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.


Just hope those hosts who take and then tuck away your offerings never host a potluck.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:07 pm

555 wrote:This thread reminds me of Tycho Brahe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe#Death

I wear a pad.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby 555 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:14 pm

sscritic wrote:
555 wrote:This thread reminds me of Tycho Brahe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe#Death

I wear a pad.

Do you bring your own or use the one your host provides for you?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Mudpuppy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:17 pm

englishgirl wrote: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.

I used to be like this, until the food got me so sick I thought for sure it had to be something more serious. This is not a fun thing for you to have to worry about at a social event and I doubt your host wants to land you in the doctor's office simply because your body can't digest something. If it's a strong intolerance, I don't see how it is rude to tell the host before hand.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:17 pm

555 wrote:
sscritic wrote:
555 wrote:This thread reminds me of Tycho Brahe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tycho_Brahe#Death

I wear a pad.

Do you bring your own or use the one your host provides for you?

That's the wrong question. The correct questions are
1) do I share?
2) does my host open it for me?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby KyleAAA » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:21 pm

I don't see what's wrong with #2. Some people prefer beer over wine. If he's offering to bring his own, what's the problem?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:30 pm

I am trying to figure out if our differences are largely age based (old fogey vs young buck or doe) or location based (coastal vs interior). My guess is age. I am an old fogey, and my opinion reflects my mid 20th century upbringing.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby fareastwarriors » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:32 pm

Please feel free to invite me over. I will be more than gratful. I eat anything and drink anything!
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby bertilak » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:54 pm

sscritic wrote:P.P.S. What fraction of posts on bogleheads do you think are made by posters who are drunk?

hard to shay :beer
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby bottlecap » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:01 pm

sscritic wrote:
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?


Assuming you are not drunk and your post is serious, you might note that your prior posts focused on bringing alcohol. Alcohol is a luxury, often reserved for guests as a gracious accomodation. Any fool can scoop water out of the toilet for their guests at the approximate cost of .6 cents per gallon. When someone comes over, most people offer beer or wine, not water.

I don't get your interpretation of rejection. If choosing something other than the limited alcohol your hosts choose is rejecting the choices persented by your host, why would choosing water not be considered a rejection? "Sorry, but your choices stink so badly, I"ll choose water and watch you drink. Bottoms up!"

It would be different if you were offering to bring a different brand of wine than your host was offering. That would be a rejection of their choices and not-so-subtle way of suggesting you don't trust their tastes. Playing coy and simply asking for water might very well create embarassment for the host. If my guests were to choose water and, when asked, reveal that they did not like wine, I would be embarassed for the oversight if I didn't have an alcoholic alternative.

I guess sometimes a guest can't do right.

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:23 pm

bottlecap wrote: Alcohol is a luxury, often reserved for guests as a gracious accomodation. ... most people offer beer or wine.

You must buy really expensive beer if you consider it a luxury (or maybe your savings aren't up to typical boglehead standards). :)
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby texasdiver » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:29 pm

My wife and I our 40-somethings. We do host the occasional dinner party and occasionally attend others.

The etiquette in our circle is pretty much the following. If we are invited we ask if we can bring anything. Sometimes with friends the answer is yes....feel free to bring a desert. Sometimes the answer is no, just bring yourselves. In which case we pretty much always arrive with a bottle of wine for the house which we generally DO NOT expect to be opened at dinner. We are not doing BYOB, we are bringing a gift to be enjoyed later. In our case it is always some unusual Chilean wine that we picked up along the way as we have family in Chile in the wine business and usually have bottles of something good that is not found at the local grocery or Costco.

When we have guests over we've never experienced the ridiculous behavior you mention. But then, perhaps the reason is that we only entertain our friends and don't try to do business dinners or some such. Life is to short for me to be cooking and serving dinner for people I don't know. We do always get the question "what can we bring?" Sometimes I say feel free to bring a desert. Usually I just say bring yourself. If it is a summer outdoor BBQ then by all means BYOB and cooler. Everything is situational.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby daytona084 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:31 pm

kerry75 wrote: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".


Not only is this guest rude, they are sadly out of touch. We have eaten a lot of lamb, both in restaurants and in homes. We have not seen mint jelly served with lamb since maybe the 1970's. I remember back then, they would sometimes put a little packet of mint jelly with the packaged lamb chops at the meat counter. I have never seen mint jelly served with lamb in a nice restaurant. Lamb is sometimes served with mint jelly, but not "always" by any stretch.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:42 pm

bottlecap wrote:Alcohol is a luxury, often reserved for guests as a gracious accomodation....most people offer beer or wine.

I have never had a beer in a fine french restaurant, but I have had beers in bars in France. I can't remember a time when someone invited me over for a sit down dinner with china, linen tablecloths and napkins, and silver flatware and the host served beer. Do you pour your beer into your crystal beer glasses or just leave it in the can?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/fashi ... istry.html
http://www.mossonline.com/product-exec/product_id/45949
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby TomatoTomahto » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:47 pm

sscritic wrote: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.


Ditto. If you can't stand the alcohol on offer, and drinking water (or iced tea or whatever) is entirely unacceptable as a substitute, you have a problem with alcohol.

If your preference is for roasted baby potatoes but the hosts serve mashed potatoes, would you consider making a fuss?

sscritic also wrote: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. :)

It's been a rough weekend, but that made me literally laugh out loud.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby cherijoh » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:57 pm

I usually entertain informally, but I do inquire about guests food allergies and preferences. Several of my friends call themselves vegetarians when they in fact are not - they may eat only fish or chicken, but not red meat. I usually make sure there are separate dishes rather than a one-pot meal to ensure that if someone doesn't like something they have choices. So I might serve a chicken dish with a separate starch, a cooked veggie or vegetable casserole, and a salad with 2 or 3 dressing choices.

I think the question about beer definitely could have been worded more politely, but I wouldn't be offended if someone told me the didn't drink wine and asked if they could bring an alternative. At which point I would offer what alternatives I would have in the house (soft drinks, sparkling water, etc.). If they wanted to bring beer that would be fine. But unless someone had a food allergy, asking for a different salad dressing than offered is rude in my opinion. And the mint jelly question is over the top - especially when it turned out he didn't even like it!

I have an unusual food allergy to zucchini, so I avoid it and other items in the squash family. However, I probably wouldn't think to mention it in advance unless asked by the host/hostess about allergies. If offered an unidentifiable vegetable casserole, I mention my allergy and inquire as to what type casserole I am being offered. If it is squash, I pass on it. This only caused problems once when dining at a vegetarian friend's house where the main dish was squash! I would have been happy with just eating salad, but she insisted on fixing me an alternative, so I had a grilled cheese sandwich.

On the other hand, I really do not care for the taste of green peppers, but if offered something containing them at a dinner party, I would certainly eat it although I'd probably eat only a small portion. I don't think it is reasonable to ask someone to eat something that would make them sick or offend their dietary regimen (vegetarian/vegan), but to make a big deal over things you don't especially like or expect to be served stuff not on the menu is rude IMO.

If I bring a bottle of wine, I consider it a hostess gift and leave it to the discretion of the host or hostess to open or reserve for a future date. They may already have sufficient wine open and don't want to be stuck with a bunch of opened bottles. The exception would be if the invitation was BYOB. If I was asked to bring a specific item to a meal, I would expect it to be served that night. Although, I would hope that the request to bring a dessert came after I had already asked if there was anything I could bring. Unless it was a potluck, being assigned by the host/hostess to bring something to a dinner seems strange.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby livesoft » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:04 pm

This thread really amuses me. For some reason, I keep thinking there is a movie with a dinner scene where someone wanted mint jelly. Is there such a movie? It also seems that some of these things would have been portrayed in dozens of movies, but I just don't seem to recall them. Am I getting forgetful?
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby btenny » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:00 pm

sscritic. Yes I have attended several formal diners at friends houses where beer was a key part of the menu. In fact the table settings were exquisite with 100 year old silver and crocheted linnen antiques. Now these dinners were at some German and Austrian friends homes with lots of snitzel and saurkraut and other foods normally served with beer. Plus in those cases the beer served was good Paulaner and similar brews. But as others have pointed out some of the ladies wanted wine or cocktails and the host was glad to serve those as well during dinner. But then we are good friends and he knew my wife does not like beer and made those arrangements in advance.

I also think it is funny about the alcohol thing. Have manners completely dissapeared from young people and modern activities? Good hosts know some people just do not drink, period, and do not make any big deal of it. I have many friends and relatives who are LDS (Mormans) and do not drink period. Others do not drink for other reasons. These people come to lots of parties where alcohol is part of the event and just drink water. They would never insult a host by making comments that alchohol was not OK around them. They just decline drinking. But these people also host parties at their home and alcohol is not served or welcome. Taking wine or beer in those cases is bad. So it depends on circumstances. Likewise I have other LDS friends who are very strick and would turn down any invitation to a party if they thought alcohol was on the menu. We just don't invite them to those types of events. But they are still our friends.

Likewise I have some friends who are allergic to shell fish. One lady is so allergic if her husband eats shell fish she cannot be around him or kiss him for 2-3 days. We have to discuss where and what we are eating if we go out to dinner with her. She has real issues going to dinner parties from her comments. The other lady has similar allergies but can be around the stuff as long as she does not eat it. She just ask what is in various dishes on the menu. When we have these people to our home we are careful with the menu and allert them. Same for vegetarian people. Good hosts make arrangements and have thick skins about comments.

So have fun at your parties and stop worrying too much.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby KyleAAA » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:48 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
sscritic wrote: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.


Ditto. If you can't stand the alcohol on offer, and drinking water (or iced tea or whatever) is entirely unacceptable as a substitute, you have a problem with alcohol.

If your preference is for roasted baby potatoes but the hosts serve mashed potatoes, would you consider making a fuss?


But this isn't a valid comparison at all. It is completely socially acceptable to bring your own wine/beer to a dinner party. Always has been. It is not socially acceptable to bring a different variety of potatoes. It's arbitrary and it doesn't make sense, I'll grant you, but that's the way it is. It is not and has never been socially unacceptable anywhere in the United States to offer to bring beer to a dinner party at any point in the last 100 years. Social norms are what they are. They don't have to make sense and to try to use logical arguments to justify to de-justify them is silly.

Also, note that the diner in question was not making a fuss. She was merely offering to have her husband bring in his favorite beer. There is not and has never been anything rude about that offer within the last 100 years in the United States. It is 100% acceptable according to social norms which, as we've just discussed, don't have to make sense. Besides, 100% of the time the person in question brings extra for others to try.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:49 pm

btenny wrote:Likewise I have some friends who are allergic to shell fish. One lady is so allergic if her husband eats shell fish she cannot be around him or kiss him for 2-3 days. We have to discuss where and what we are eating if we go out to dinner with her. She has real issues going to dinner parties from her comments.

Allergies can be very serious. My son doesn't go out to eat without his EpiPen with him. My DIL only eats peanuts if she (or he) is away from home for several days. We usually kiss hello and goodbye, but if I have eaten peanuts, I don't kiss him. He always asks about whether peanut products are in a food, but he has had reactions to chocolate chip cookies that were baked in a bakery that didn't clean sufficiently between batches of dough.

Chinese restaurants seem to be scary places for him, but not so much Japanese. Before he carried his EpiPen with him, we had a hard time finding a drug store open on New Year's Day when he had a reaction while we were eating dim sum. Something in one of the desserts contained a related product, a paste from a legume other than peanuts, so I took him to find Benadryl while the others continued to eat.

Life threatening allergies are not in the same category as my favorite wine isn't being served.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:59 pm

KyleAAA wrote:But this isn't a valid comparison at all. It is completely socially acceptable to bring your own wine/beer to a dinner party. ... Social norms are what they are.

You don't live in the same United States that I do; my social norms don't match yours. One of my grandfathers was in the beer business and beer was always available in his house (I stopped drinking it the first time at age seven when I decided I didn't like the taste anymore). My other grandparents didn't drink alcohol. My beer business grandfather never took beer with him when he went to the teetotaling grandparents' house. He got plenty of beer at work and at home; he didn't have to take it with him to every social gathering.

I would never take alcohol to a gathering hosted by a Seventh-Day Adventist or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You may; that's your choice, but I have a different vision of socially acceptable than you do.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby KyleAAA » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:00 pm

sscritic wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:But this isn't a valid comparison at all. It is completely socially acceptable to bring your own wine/beer to a dinner party. ... Social norms are what they are.

You don't live in the same United States that I do; my social norms don't match yours. One of my grandfathers was in the beer business and beer was always available in his house (I stopped drinking it the first time at age seven when I decided I didn't like the taste anymore). My other grandparents didn't drink alcohol. My beer business grandfather never took beer with him when he went to the teetotaling grandparents' house. He got plenty of beer at work and at home; he didn't have to take it with him to every social gathering.

I would never take alcohol to a gathering hosted by a Seventh-Day Adventist or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You may; that's your choice, but I have a different vision of socially acceptable than you do.


That's not at all what we were discussing. We were discussing taking alcohol to an event where it had been established there would already be alcohol present.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby fickle » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:16 pm

I had enough boors to convince me the old-fashioned informal potluck makes more people more happy than my carefully planned feasts. Perhaps if I ran in more elite circles! Then I'd probably be too run down at the heels for them.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:25 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
sscritic wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:But this isn't a valid comparison at all. It is completely socially acceptable to bring your own wine/beer to a dinner party. ... Social norms are what they are.

[statement of disagreement]

That's not at all what we were discussing. We were discussing taking alcohol to an event where it had been established there would already be alcohol present.

You discuss what you want to discuss, and I will do the same. You made a blanket statement with which I disagreed. I don't see where there was a definition that said a dinner party had to include alcohol. The OP started with mentioning someone bringing beer to his party when wine, not beer, was being served. He didn't find it socially acceptable. There are clearly others posting in this thread who agree with him. Some "socially acceptable" things are less socially acceptable than others; it appears as if "completely" does not apply here.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby avmax8 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:31 pm

HongKonger wrote:And I concur that the lamb with no mint sauce is a faux pas...


This is not true and traces its roots to the days when mutton (a sheep older than 1 year) was served rather than lamb (a sheep 1 year or younger). Mutton was a much tougher meat with a very strong taste and mint jelly/sauce was served as a condiment to help mask the taste of the meat. Well prepared lamb should have no need for mint jelly and it is very much at the discretion of the host whether or not to serve it.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby KyleAAA » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:38 pm

sscritic wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:
sscritic wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:But this isn't a valid comparison at all. It is completely socially acceptable to bring your own wine/beer to a dinner party. ... Social norms are what they are.

[statement of disagreement]

That's not at all what we were discussing. We were discussing taking alcohol to an event where it had been established there would already be alcohol present.

You discuss what you want to discuss, and I will do the same. You made a blanket statement with which I disagreed. I don't see where there was a definition that said a dinner party had to include alcohol. The OP started with mentioning someone bringing beer to his party when wine, not beer, was being served. He didn't find it socially acceptable. There are clearly others posting in this thread who agree with him. Some "socially acceptable" things are less socially acceptable than others; it appears as if "completely" does not apply here.


I did not make a blanket statement. My statement was a direct response to the very specific situation I just mentioned. A thing doesn't have to be universally accepted by every single person in order to be completely socially acceptable. Acceptability is dictated by society collectively. The fact that a few people disagree doesn't detract from that in any way. "Completely" does apply here.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby clearwater » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:05 pm

Wow. So much complexity.

If you are inviting people over for more than burgers on the grill and some beer, you are going to deal with problems. Somehow in the last few decades people started being special snowflakes. Enough already. This isn't so hard.

If you're the guest: Ask what you can bring. Bring it. Eat what you are served. Thank the host profusely. Stay around to help clean up and wash the dishes. Leave quietly.

If you're the host: Tell people what you are serving ahead of time. Make sure you have enough for everyone, including seconds. When guests offer to help clean up, graciously decline.

Guests needs to realize this is like the Army. You're getting a free meal and labor. You eat what you are served. You don't get to make special requests. You have a problem, deal with it. You're not special. You want to gripe? Stay the hell home.

Hosts need to realize people who can't cope need to be shown the door, as quickly as possible. You are the sergeant and get to make the rules when people are in your camp.

The end.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby snyder66 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:29 pm

Thanks, clearwater. Well put! The only thing I would add are dietary and/or vegetarian/vegan restrictions. I never have anyone over that I don't know already. I have my own self-imposed bad food restrictions, but I rarely go to dinner parties.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby SurfCityBill » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:39 pm

Really a fun read with many interesting comments. I think I'll go mix a Glenlivet and soda as we polished off all the beer last week. :D
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Beezthree » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:22 pm

wow.

glad i don't have "friends" like some described in this thread. do some of you just invite over anyone/everyone you can think of to your houses? are these dinners you speak of engineered to curry favor at places of work? if so, i can understand some of the responses. my wife and i have never invited anyone over to our house that we aren't good friends with. our house is sacred ground and i'll be danged if near-strangers enter it.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Beezthree » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:39 pm

livesoft wrote:This thread really amuses me. For some reason, I keep thinking there is a movie with a dinner scene where someone wanted mint jelly. Is there such a movie? It also seems that some of these things would have been portrayed in dozens of movies, but I just don't seem to recall them. Am I getting forgetful?



dinner for schmucks.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby magician » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:50 pm

Many years ago my wife and I used to trade dinners with our next-door neighbors once a month. One time when we were the guests, we arrived to find that our neighbor had obviously spent all day preparing dinner, the first course of which was French onion soup.

For whatever reason, soggy bread nauseates me, a fact of which my wife was (and is) keenly aware. However, I knew that our hosts would be quite insulted if I refused to eat the soup, so I bravely soldiered on, slowly and deliberately, to the astonishment of my wife. I survived it.

I don't relate this to tout myself, but to give a stark contrast to how much social grace we have lost as a society. It's sad.
Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby ciscovp » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:08 pm

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.

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?


Those comments should not bother you. Maybe you are too sensitive.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby RobInCT » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:51 pm

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

While I would never be so bold as to scold a guest who opened the wine he brought with him, I agree that I was taught that a gift of wine to the host when invited for dinner may but not must be opened and served alongside the dinner, as the host might have carefully pre-selected his own wine pairings which, in deference to his superior knowledge of the menu, might be seen by him as preferable to the wine brought by his guests. Personally, I'm more likely than not to open the guest's wine, but there are limits. I'm not serving Malbec with oysters, for example. Failure to open the wine brought by the guest should never been seen as an insult, and doesn't mean the host is greedily stuffing away your selection to consume it all himself, as at least one person on this thread has implied.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Harold » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:51 pm

As I read through these responses, I see two important omissions:

1) Little acknowledgment of why manners dictate that one does not request additions or changes to what the host is providing. It is quite simply that the host is making a gift to you of whatever he is serving, the setting he has established, etc. If you make changes to that, you are rejecting part of his gift. You may feel that is unnecessary, disagree with it being a rejection, or whatever. But that is the reason why manners (arrived at through eons of human hospitality) give that guideline -- as with all manners, it is consideration of the other person in the relationship (you may feel he is not being a good host by anticipating your need for mint jelly or whatever, but it's not your job to concern yourself with his behavior). Of course, you and your dining companions can establish your own standards and protocol -- but you don't really get to say an established standard of human behavior doesn't exist.

2) I don't think I've seen any poster admitting any fault in how they are operating. Quite clearly, everyone feels their habits are totally appropriate. And just as clearly, since their habits differ -- they may be shocked by how boorish some of their future dining companions (who themselves feel they are perfectly fine) act.

As an aside, I just love that the mint jelly guy may have been demonstrating his low class mutton-eating status by such a request. A less polite host could have sneered maybe you eat mutton in your home, whose stench needs to be overcome with minty goodness -- but we serve high quality lamb in this house!
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby WHL » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:39 am

prudent wrote: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?


This is true for me, too. I cannot stand wine, and will not drink it if offered. I would rather have iced tea or water. I hope it isn't rude or disrespectful, but if my hosts cannot accept my decision to abstain from wine, I don't need to be around them anyways!
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby bottlecap » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:50 am

sscritic wrote:
bottlecap wrote: Alcohol is a luxury, often reserved for guests as a gracious accomodation. ... most people offer beer or wine.

You must buy really expensive beer if you consider it a luxury (or maybe your savings aren't up to typical boglehead standards). :)


Nope. I just know something about alcohol. I've tried nearly every type and enjoy about 97% of it. I love wine but also like beer. Both make me very happy. Some folks are apparently not as blessed as I. :wink:

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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Mrs.Feeley » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:04 am

Harold wrote:As I read through these responses, I see two important omissions:

1) Little acknowledgment of why manners dictate that one does not request additions or changes to what the host is providing. It is quite simply that the host is making a gift to you of whatever he is serving, the setting he has established, etc. If you make changes to that, you are rejecting part of his gift.


This is the crux of it. I don't mind tailoring the dinner to dietary or cultural needs, I do it all the time. I don't mind if someone does little besides push veggies around the plate and drinks tap water, because it is the fellowship and comradery that matters most of all. And I wouldn't mind if someone wanted to nurse their own bottle of booze and forgo the entrees, as some here seem to prefer to do at dinner affairs. But I do mind it when after I've spent three days cooking, and considerable expense, one or more of the guests sits at the table grousing that I do not have ranch dressing or diet Mountain Dew, or compares the marinara sauce to that at Olive Garden, and not favorably. I'm not personally hurt by that. I couldn't care less. But it's the lack of gratitude that shows through. Often those little rudenesses are symptoms of a more general ingratitude for the invitation. It's something that says to me "Maybe you shouldn't bother feeding these people anymore. Maybe you shouldn't go to all that trouble again. It sounds as if they have better places to eat."
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Default User BR » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:49 am

KyleAAA wrote:But this isn't a valid comparison at all. It is completely socially acceptable to bring your own wine/beer to a dinner party. Always has been.

Sorry, but this is absolutely wrong. Bringing your own alcohol is no different than your own food. It is perfectly acceptable to bring the hosts a gift, including alcohol. The host may elect to serve it to everyone (not you personally).


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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby HomerJ » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:52 am

Harold wrote:manners (arrived at through eons of human hospitality) give that guideline


Bah, manners change quickly generation to generation, not over eons... Imagine what the Victorians would think of even the most snooty of us today.

Besides, most commonly held "manners" are nonsensical.

Tables are built at elbow height... Who in the world ever came up with "No elbows on the table!"
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby interplanetjanet » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:27 am

Beezthree wrote:glad i don't have "friends" like some described in this thread. do some of you just invite over anyone/everyone you can think of to your houses? are these dinners you speak of engineered to curry favor at places of work? if so, i can understand some of the responses. my wife and i have never invited anyone over to our house that we aren't good friends with. our house is sacred ground and i'll be danged if near-strangers enter it.

I was about to write something similar. Maybe my own social norms are different than those of many here; I have (basically) a family of introverts, we have close friends whom we invite over (and the offer is often reciprocated) but we don't have casual "dinner parties" with most others. We get together to share deep friendship and a good time and if one friend brings over a good beer (we're not much for drinking) I'll gladly open it and maybe take a taste with him. The closest we get to boorish behavior is when someone leaves the toilet seat up, which we take in stride.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby scubacat » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:04 am

Mrs.Feeley wrote:
Harold wrote:As I read through these responses, I see two important omissions:

1) Little acknowledgment of why manners dictate that one does not request additions or changes to what the host is providing. It is quite simply that the host is making a gift to you of whatever he is serving, the setting he has established, etc. If you make changes to that, you are rejecting part of his gift.


This is the crux of it. I don't mind tailoring the dinner to dietary or cultural needs, I do it all the time. I don't mind if someone does little besides push veggies around the plate and drinks tap water, because it is the fellowship and comradery that matters most of all. And I wouldn't mind if someone wanted to nurse their own bottle of booze and forgo the entrees, as some here seem to prefer to do at dinner affairs. But I do mind it when after I've spent three days cooking, and considerable expense, one or more of the guests sits at the table grousing that I do not have ranch dressing or diet Mountain Dew, or compares the marinara sauce to that at Olive Garden, and not favorably. I'm not personally hurt by that. I couldn't care less. But it's the lack of gratitude that shows through. Often those little rudenesses are symptoms of a more general ingratitude for the invitation. It's something that says to me "Maybe you shouldn't bother feeding these people anymore. Maybe you shouldn't go to all that trouble again. It sounds as if they have better places to eat."


+1.
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Re: Dinner Guest Issues

Postby Harold » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:41 am

HomerJ wrote:
Harold wrote:manners (arrived at through eons of human hospitality) give that guideline


Bah, manners change quickly generation to generation, not over eons... Imagine what the Victorians would think of even the most snooty of us today.

Besides, most commonly held "manners" are nonsensical.

Tables are built at elbow height... Who in the world ever came up with "No elbows on the table!"

You're mixing up etiquette and manners. Etiquette changes often (because it's a set of relatively arbitrary rules) -- manners don't (because it's based on a genuine consideration of other human beings).
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