Going to dinner as a guest tonight

ilovepinkSeptember 26, 2006

My husband asked our host and his latest girlfriend that insisted on this dinner what we could bring. I figured they would say wine.


We were asked to bring a dessert. this is my pet peeve. I have dinner parties constantly. I never ask anyone to bring something. Then when I go to dinner at their house I feel like that earns me the honor of being a guest for the night. Picking up a bottle of wine is one thing. Dealing with dessert is another.

So I didn't have time to cook today. This bugs me b/c I don't like to buy desserts. I ended up going to the best baker in town and picking up a cake. $40 later I hope it's going to be good.

My question is do I still take wine?

I know I sound like a terrible guest. I am trying to be gracious.

Does anyone see where I am coming from? Am I the only one that tries to be a hostess that lets her guests be guests at a dinner party?

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Absolutely! You were asked to be a guest at dinner and it turns into a pot luck.
Forget the wine...you have no host. And no need to reciprocate.
I think I might have brought a bag of Oreos and tell her you didn't have time to make anything as you thought you were going out to dinner.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 8:10PM
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How was the dinner? This is after-the-fact, but...

Next time tell your husband NOT to ask, "What can we bring?" unless he's prepared to make a dish to take! Showing up with a bottle of wine is enough and a very nice thing to do.

If you bring a dish, you don't have to bring wine, too, unless you want to make sure you have enough to drink to deal with their company all evening. :-)

Cheers, from

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 12:18PM
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I agree that if you are bringing a dish, no need to bring a gift, wine or anything else, too.

But I really don't feel too mad at these hosts. The OP's husband OFFERED to bring something. Maybe those hosts didn't even want to have others cooking, but felt it would seem ungrateful not to accept an offer to pitch in? I suppose it depends upon how he said it. But I can't see being angry with someone who simply accepted an offer to contribute; it's not like they invited you and then said, "And your job is to bring dessert."

I don't mind being asked to bring part of the meal, because it is usually our very close friends, and we all eat family meals together so often that it is really no big deal; it could even be leftovers. The one thing that bothers me is if they ask me to bring a dessert, and I do, and then I get there and see that they asked someone else to bring dessert, too, and then no one eats ANY dessert! Not exactly a big problem, though.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 5:33PM
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I too find it odd at how many people actually respond to the "Can I bring something" question with an actually food answer.

I do enjoy cooking, so often I don't mind, but sometimes I just can't easily fit in a hot or homemade dish. My favorites were when I was expected to bring something to a 1st Communion party a week after I had a baby. And, then there was the time everyone who was invited to this Halloween party was asked to bring an appetizer...many of the dishes/dips were brought in triplicate and about 20 of them weren't touched at all. There was just too much food.

My hardest problem is trying to explain to people (who have you bring a dish to their house) that I don't need/want them to bring a dish to my house. I also have a really hard time telling people to please not do my dishes. I would rather "party" than clean and will do them myself tomorrow, but still some just do them (while I stand there dumbfounded).

If I know people are going to want me to bring something, I usually try to control the issue by stating what I can bring or asking them what kind of wine I should pick up. At least it helps a little.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 11:41PM
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UPDATE!!!!!!! UPDATE!!!!!!!

First I want to say I thank you all for not slaying me with "you are a terrible guest!" :) I felt bad for complaining but at the same time I wanted to be a guest!

I stopped off and bought a dessert. It was really good and turned out to be the lightest thing we ate all night.

Okay now i know some people don't entertain or know how to sometimes.

The hostess kept saying she went to culinary school. yet when I pressed her on a few things she didn't have a response.

She went on to tell me she can caterer rehearsal dinners and things with less than 50 people.

Our menu for dinner: Ribs. A pasta salad with tomatoes and basil. A pasta, ceasar and chicken salad. An orzo with feta and olives.

Now I'm not the best cook in the world. But, who serves three pasta dishes as a side? All had cheese in them too.

She remembered to give us napkins at dinner. We didn't have any during cocktails. I didn't have a glass of water ever offered to me either. Usually I would ask but it just didn't feel right to ask.

We got there at 6 and dinner didn't get served until 10. The hostess proceeded to drink mai tais until she was slurring words. Mind you we met her for the first time as she is the fiancee to our good friend.

I could go on and on.

I know this sounds snobby but I left feeling like I am a kick a$$ hostess.

Oh and my husband and myself were up at 3 a.m. taking tums b/c of the heartburn. I didn't eat all day yesterday because the food just didn't sit well with me. Finally last night I had some sushi.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 11:38AM
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Wow, what an interesting thread. I'm coming in after the fact but I agree that if you don't want to be told what to bring, don't ask. Then you can bring a bottle of wine or whatever.

I normally ask what to bring only when I specifically expect to cook something. Otherwise, I'd keep my mouth shut and bring what I want to bring. OTOH, I see nothing wrong with bringing a store bought dessert if that's all you are able to do.

I do agree that three pasta/cheese sides is rather unusual, I probably would have only tried one of them. It does sound like your hostess is inexperienced at having guests, to say the least. I guess it depends on your relationship with the host as to whether you'll want to continue to socialize with him and his GF in the future. You might want to invite her over to your house just to show her how it's done!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 11:58AM
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She sounds like she's a day late and a dollar short....to use an old expression.
Doesn't it make you mad to waste time eating bad food served too late by a slightly inebriated hostess...AND to bring the dessert...when you could have had a lovely evening home eating scrambled eggs!

And you likely wouldn't have been up at 3 AM popping the Tums!
Next time, do what I do....say "oh! Why don't you come here....you know I love to cook."...and ration the Mai tais!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 9:28PM
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nice story

Mccalls cooking school california culinary arts culinary school la. School for culinary arts Culinary Schools in Maryland culinary school city.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 6:35PM
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I think thats a little odd, I would just bring wine, I always greatly appreciate someone making dinner, and I would bring a dessert to for close friends, but it's still a little weird, normally this is the cooks job :D

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 4:13AM
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I guess different areas of the country view things differently. I always offer to take something to a friend's house for dinner. I am happy to take some of the load from her as I want her to enjoy all her guests and be relaxed. I am very appreciative of a guest who feels comfortable enough to offer.
We live in a large retirement community, so there is a party or dinner at least once a week. One time there may be a dozen guests, the next time two dozen. We just enjoy being together and don't want entertaining to be a financial burden to anyone.
Your situation is very different. But maybe the young woman was apprenhensive about cooking and fudged the truth a bit regarding her culinary skills. You can view her as being untruthful, which she was, or you can decide to remember when you were a novice and wanted things to be just perfect for your future husband's friends.When I think back on some of the not so gourmet things I served,I probably would loved to have had a few drinks to settle my nerves.
I hope you enjoyed yourself. You probably were a help to this lady and her future as a hostess.
BTW, my old souther grandmother always kept a pepperidge coconut cake and a chicken pot pie in the freezer for those emergencies.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:33PM
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Nicely put southern magnolia! I agree with others, that because the husband actually asked what they could bring, it shouldn't be too much of a shock to get an answer....lol! But I am with those who, if asked what somebody could bring, will always say that there is no need to bring anything. If they come with a bottle of wine, an appetizer or dessert, thank them for their generous contribution to dinner.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 9:19PM
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southern magnolia & blizady I agree.
Here in South Carolina we (my friends & I)have very few formal dinners & always ask what we can bring to an informal dinner.
I would never ask someone to bring food to a formal dinner.
I was invited to my new sister in law home for a family Christmas party.
We just bought wine, I ask my brother if they liked wine, (what is she had drinking problem or was in AA?).
He said wine was fine, no need to bring it. I did anyways, because this was the first party she had invited us too.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Some mighty uptighty folk out there....

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Some mighty uptighty folk out there....

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:41PM
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When a guest asks what they can bring, I always say to bring your smile and please be my guest. If they bring something, terrific. If not, that is perfectly okay. I invited them to treat them and give them a break. I'm always perplexed when I'm invited to a holiday gathering and then asked what I'd like to bring, "so-n-so's bringing a salad, this one is bringing a pasta dish..." I think it's really weird. Cheesy, really. Then there's the whole clean-up thing at the end. "Whose plate is this? Do you want your platter back tonight?" If you do, you'd better be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do dishes. Ugh. If you're going to host a holiday, frigging HOST it!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:29AM
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Well I'd have no issue if asked, "We're having a pot-luck holiday meal, would you like to come?" I quite like pot-lucks, it gives me a chance to sample other people
s cooking and show off my own without everyone having to go to a huge effort/cost. Not everyone can afford to host a large gathering, but at the same time large gatherings can be quite convivial.
So what about the dishes? Many hands make light work and a group clean up can also be fun, lots of chatter and stories.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:23PM
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I am a hostess that does not want guests to bring anything other than a bottle of wine (as long as they do not need me to open it right then as I have my drinks planned). I really do not like flowers as I have my table and such set and then need to cut and vase the flowers and too often they are from Trader Joes and are half dead. I hate any guest to do the dishes.
I am a really really nice person and am grateful if anyone serves me anything at all at their home as they wish--paper plates/unseasoned food/whatever. Does not bother me at all and most often I take many dishes because they want me to and I do not mind at all. But! when I am the hostess I just want to run the show and really do not want to put other's food into the mix.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:23AM
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I'm with noodles!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 2:38PM
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This is an old thread but inspires me to recall an unpleasant party I was invited to. Many of the guests bring food to contribute to the buffet. I was sitting beside the most unpleasant -- really kind of musty smelling lady whose hair was sticking out and shedding. I was eating a delicious potato salad. I asked who made it -- it was HER! I got rid of it discretely. The friend who hosted this party KNOWS that this woman is a hoarder and lives in an unpleasant house and awful kitchen. WHY did she accept her contribution? Why didn't she accidentally spill it or forget to put it out????

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 11:48PM
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This reminded me of a written invitation I got many years ago to my nephew's Christening. Hand-written on the bottom was "Please bring baked beans". I wouldn't have minded, but my own triplets were four months old at the time. You would think she would have cut me a break.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 8:16PM
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Ha Ha -- Heinz pork and beans would have done the trick in a nice casserole!!!!!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 11:06PM
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I would like to invite you as my guest and no need to bring any dessert..

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 3:01PM
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