Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The hostess with the mostess

On a related note to the previous post:

When hosting guests at my home, if I am dishing up single servings of something (dessert, mixed drinks, etc.) that I intend to hand-deliver to each of my guests individually, I try to ask if they would like whatever it is I am serving.

"Hey Joe, would you like some pie?"

"Susy, I'm making some smoothie. Can I bring you a glass?"

I do this to minimize potential awkward moments for my visitors. If they don't want dessert, they can politely decline right then. No harm no foul. Everyone is polite, everyone is happy.

The alternative is for me to thrust a plate of whatever at them and then what? "Uhhhh, no thanks. I'm on a diet." "WHAT?" "I'm on a diet. Thanks for announcing it to the group."

Or even worse is for them to politely accept and then have to gag it down. "Uh, oh, thanks! Uh, can I have a huge glass of water with this? Just bring a pitcher."

And we've all seen the polite-accepter who then spends the evening dismantling the food and pushing it around to make it look like it's been eaten.

I'm not talking about sitting down to dinner where you can dish up what you want. I'm not talking about bringing a bowl of popcorn to the living room for a group watching a movie. I'm talking about, "Here you go. Here's your food that I am assuming you want and giving you no choice about."

I've had some bad experiences with this, so my opinion is admittedly biased. I've regretted being rude and declining food that was sprung on me in this fashion. I've politely eaten food that made my stomach churn. What do you think? Is it common courtesy for a host or hostess to check with their guests before serving? Or does the entire responsibility fall on the guest to be polite and eat what is served?



Shauna said...

I've never really thought about this, I suppose. If it were something I was making special (like your smoothie example) I suppose I would ask if they wanted some before bringing it to them. I don't know if I've ever really just served up dinner on a plate though for guests. Usually, the food's out for whoever wants it. And yeah, if it's dessert or something, I guess I say "Who wants pie?" or something to that effect. If it were cookies, I'd just put the plate on the table.

If it were chocolate cheesecake on the other hand, I'd just serve it up. I'd like to think I don't associate with the kind of people that would turn that down.

Dirtius Wifius said...

I've agreed with every word of this post and the last. Andrea - I agree with you more than with Brett.

I can't choke down cantaloupe or anything it has touched because it smells and tastes rotten to me.

But I'm like Shauna in that I will just fill up on other things. That girl should have kept her yap shut unless it was an allergy.