cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
Lucy ([personal profile] cereta) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-04-28 07:16 am
Entry tags:

Dear Abby: I never thought it would happen to me...(Actually, Guest Ate the Food)

(Sorry, couldn't resist on the title.)

DEAR ABBY: I've been reading your column for years, but never thought I'd have to write to you. This year my aunt hosted a family dinner and did a wonderful job -- everything was delicious. There was only one problem. She was upset (everyone at the table could see it and feel the tension) because I ate "too much" meat and she didn't have enough for leftovers.

I did eat more than everyone else that night (doesn't happen often), but I say if the food is on the table, it's fair game. If you don't want people to eat it, don't serve it. I'm asking for an official ruling, please. -- OVERATE IN BUFFALO

DEAR OVERATE: A gracious host or hostess should not become upset if a guest eats the food that's presented. If the host or hostess doesn't want guests to polish off everything that has been prepared, the food should be plated in advance.
neotoma: Neotoma albigula, the white-throated woodrat! [default icon] (Default)

[personal profile] neotoma 2017-04-28 12:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, that's a bit of a weird one. You might be expecting leftovers based on past experience with how much your guests will eat, but demanding that there *be* leftovers is a bit odd.

the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-04-28 12:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I think it's also odd to blame one specific person for the lack of leftovers. I wonder what their relationship is like otherwise.
misbegotten: A blue whatchmacallit shoe that looks like the TARDIS (Default)

[personal profile] misbegotten 2017-04-28 12:36 pm (UTC)(link)

I feel terrible for LW that they need an "official ruling" on this. What does one do with it? Send a copy to all the relatives? :\
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)

[personal profile] tielan 2017-04-28 12:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I always have a moment when I hope for leftovers, b/c at feastdays and such the food is so nice, you just want to take some home to have for later!

That said, if there are none, you go, "welp, it was good, no wonder there's nothing left" and deal. And yeah, if you want some for later, then it should be put away, out of reach of the guests.

(There's a part of me that's downright horrified at the idea of portion-controlling your guests; nobody should leave a guest meal hungry.)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-04-28 02:37 pm (UTC)(link)
No one should leave a guest meal hungry, but it's legitimate to put aside some of the turkey and roast yams for your dinner the next day, and let people fill up on stuffing or salad or bread or dessert.

Handing everyone a plate of food can be useful to make sure everyone gets some of every kind of food if they want it, rather than three people each taking lots of something and the person at the far end of the table getting none.

When my brother-in-law started dating my sister, it took him a while to absorb that he was now eating with people who would make sure he got some of everything at a family-style Chinese meal. Before that he had spent years with someone whose attitude was that it was too bad, if he ate more slowly he could fill up on rice while they ate seconds of the roast duck. His pleased surprise surprised me in turn, because I think of "make sure everyone has had some before taking seconds" as one of the things a person should learn in early adulthood if not before. (It's a thing people can plausibly miss before that, if you go from parents plating your meal to achieve that, to eating in a college dining hall where, again, someone else is serving out the food, to cooking for yourself or getting deli sandwiches or such just for yourself.) So, yes, I can see not realizing it at first—what I can't see is telling someone you live with and allegedly love "too bad" as you help yourself to seconds when they haven't had firsts.
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)

[personal profile] tielan 2017-04-28 09:43 pm (UTC)(link)
By portion control, or 'holding some back for later', I guess I'm thinking of the experience of a friend at her brother and SIL's. They were served the food in portions, but weren't offered seconds - I guess the SIL wanted leftovers like the aunt did in the LW's scenario. But they weren't served to satisfaction that day - they left the house still hungry and ended up getting takeout.

There's surely a balance between "I want leftovers" and "my guests are leaving the house hungry". And in my opinion it tilts further towards "don't let the guests leave hungry". While I understand the aunt's frustrating at the lack of leftovers, I also feel the LW is right in that what's on the table is fair game, and that holding some back is only valid so long as everyone is going to be satisfactorily fed.