Dinner Party disaster

mrs_tlcAugust 11, 2008

I've been excited to have people over use/show them the new kitchen.

okay, so DH says I worry to much but last night we had some friends over, casusal cookout - Just two other couples. And here's what happened: One is Vegan and One is just very picky so I tried to have a menu that would cover "normal" cookout food to appeal to the picky one and the opposite for the Vegan.

For appetizers we had raw veggies with hummus dip and a ranch dip and a cheese ball that DH makes with crackers. For dinner we had burgers, bratts, grilled veggies, baked beans, cucumber dill salad (Williams Sonoma recipe) and sun dried tomato potato salad (Williams Sonoma recipe too), Lemon Cello Torte from Cheesecake Factory. The picky one ate two burgers and that's it- not even desert, the Vegan brought her own burger and tabouli salad and I have pretty much everything left over.

Then, the grill ran out of gas in the middle of cooking. Fortunately we keep a backup tank. During dinner one of our cats jumped into a cement planter on the far side of the pool, in clear view of the dinner table and started peeing in it. Then jumped out and pooped on the patio next to the planter! Then DH is sitting there and the seat base of the dining room chair broke through!

DH says everyone had a great time. Conversation was great, we laughed like crazy most of the night and everyone stayed til 10:00 but I just felt inside like it was a big flop.

what do you guys think??

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I think the vegan should have told you she was bringing her own food; rather inconsiderate. And the other couple should have at least tried the other food. Sounds like these people have forgotten or never learned their manners. The rest of the "happenings" are just plain funny! I'm sorry you were so disappointed, but I'm sure everyone did have a good time. I hope you have friends/family who can help you with all the leftovers!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 1:35PM
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so you had great food, a varied menu, you have leftovers and don't have to cook tonight; and then your cats provided the entertainment, I think you did just fine !!!!! Martha Stewart should be so lucky.........

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 3:45PM
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I think there are two different view points here. That of the hosts (you) and that of the guests.

From the guests' view point, it sounds like everyone had a good time, ate what they liked, and enjoyed the evening.

From the hosts' point of view, you went to some trouble to try to accommodate your guests' particular tastes and that went greatly (if not wholey) unappreciated.

I know how you feel. I don't like preparing/cooking/serving food that doesn't get eaten, for whatever reason. So I'd say chalk it up to experience. If you invite the vegan over again, you might confirm that she's bringing her own food and you don't need to accomodate her, OR you might get with her in advance to collaborate on the menu and confirm that she doesn't need to bring her own.

As for the picky eaters, again, check with them in advance to say what you'll be serving and ask what they would like from that menu. You can offer to modify the menu as needed.

But remember! When you offer to tailor the menu, it might be opening yourself up to a lot of elaborate requests, so tread lightly.

Also remember that vegans, vegetarians and picky eaters are USED to not partaking of the entire menu at a dinner party, or as in this case, bringing their own. So for them, the food aspect was not a disaster.

One last idea. Next time add in a non-picky guest or two to round out the group, so that at least SOME of the guests will eat the dinner you made.

In any case, I would not call this a disaster, but rather a disappointment on your own expectations. And I completely sympathize!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 5:46PM
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Well, I also realized that I was PMSing too and with that and being a bit on the Menopausal/very hormonal side the biggest lesson learned is not to plan parties for that time frame! LOL..... Everything always seems bigger than it really is during that time and then a week later I have to laugh at myself.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:22PM
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One of the best times my ex and I had was a small party we threw for some of the nurses and aides at the nursing home where she used to work. I was BBQing spare ribs on the grill, and we got so engrossed in our conversation, that I wasn't watching the ribs, and they burned to a crackly crunch. One of the girls was pretty hefty, and she was sitting in one of our kitchen chairs, which had a kind of "S" shaped metal tube framing to them. Well, when our guests found out what I'd done, we all got a good laugh out of it. This poor girl started laughing and leaned back in that chair...... and didn't STOP leaning until she was on the floor! That chair folded up like an accordian, and from that point on, we never STOPPED laughing!! At first I felt sorry for her, thinking that HAD to be embarrassing, but she got right in the spirit of it all and had just as big a belly laugh as the rest of us.

Mrs tlc-- sometimes the biggest foul ups end up being the fondest memories. :-)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:30PM
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sounds like a success to me. I do not eat any meat-would not have brought my own food (but vegan is so much more limited) and been grateful for the company and laughs. Love the cat story and if everyone laughed-you did great!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 2:47AM
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This is absolutely one of those evenings that gets better with the re-telling. In fact, if it happened to ME.........I wouldn't even stop with the cat story and the chair breaking....I would even add (in front of either of my former guests!!) that "And Cindy of course, is a Vegan so she brought her own food!! Then, Jaime, whom I thought I could count on to eat my barbeque............completely ignored all the the food and only ate a burger!" I would be laughing as I said it to take the sting out of the words with others, but I would get my point across and still have a funny dinner party story to tell.

Good job. Enjoy your delicious food. And next time, invite some REAL people!


    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 1:56AM
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We have some friends coming over this weekend, different ones than last time, but they want to do a pizza and movie night so that should be great fun!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 9:23PM
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Sounds like a great time. Vegans are tough, no dairy either,- heck, some won't even wear leather!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 12:53AM
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You had some guests who didn't quite get their MsManners lessons in on time :) But you still had fun. The cat thing...they're cats. They do stuff like that.

I once invited a bunch of friends to my house during a camp out nearby. I was quite a bit younger and stressed out so much I freaking painted the house and the deck so it would be nice (inside and out...yes overkill) but when they arrived, (with me because we were camping as well) I was ready for them (I'd gotten up early and set out appetizers etc ready to go). So we all walk in, they love the site, house, blah blah. RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ENTRY...a huge pile of cat poop. The neighbors cat had come in our cat door (ours were being boarded because of an allergic guest). All that work, and everyone still remembers that day best from the pile of cat crap!

Sometimes you can't win. We had a lovely cook out, but the crap was the topic around the fireplace that night, not the fresh salmon, clams, musscles, blah blah..the crap!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 12:35AM
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Well I'm not picky OR vegan and I love cats, whether they poop on the patio or not...so invite me, we'll have a great time and I'll bring lots of wine!!! ;o)

Seriously, I think it sounds like everyone had fun, stuff happens and you laughed about it, you enjoyed the food, others (though I agree they weren't all that considerate) enjoyed what they ate, they lingered and it just generally sounded like a good time! I think everyone worries about stuff not going perfectly. It's just human nature. I bet they all had a great time and would be happy to come back again.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 9:38PM
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Hope you don't mind me sounding in so late.

Sounds like you hosted a great party. Next time discuss menus with anyone with a dietary issue. Then if someone is planning to bring their own food you would have known. I do agree that it was rude of people to come to a dinner - where you had accomodated them all over the place - and they had brought everything for themselves anyway.

Unfortunately, the accomodations you made for the Vegans probably contradicted the food issues of the Pickies. I would have LOVED your dinner choices but as for the Pickies - I will tell you what went wrong with those food choices:
1) veggies
2) hummus
3) bratts
4) grilled veggies
5) baked beans
6) cucumber
7) dill
8) sun dried tomato
9) Lemon

  1. Cello
  2. Torte

When one is picky all of the above things with "strange" names puts them over the top. Veggies are usually extremely unpopular with picky people. Hummus has "texture" issues. Torte sounds "different" than cake. "Lemon" is different than vanilla. Potato salad is "mushy" and Sun-driend Tomatoes look "weird". Cucumbers have "seeds". Dill is an "herb". Baked Beans look "weird" and have "texture". I have noticed that picky people tend to hate beans! Brattwurst has the name "worst" in it (I kid you not!)

Next time for the Pickies provide regular, common-brand Potato Chips, Hot Dogs, Brownies and a choice of sodas. They would then be in 7th Heaven.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 1:43PM
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Sounds to me like a good party - the guests were happy with the food and there was entertainment. I'm not sure why people here are criticizing your guests for lack of manners - none of them hassled you for not feeding them properly. The picky eaters ate what they felt like and the vegans brought their own food - actually sounds quite considerate to me. I've had guests grill me about what ingredients I've used and how I cooked things before they would decide to eat or not eat something - not an allergy issue by the way - just fussiness.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 6:35PM
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So here's a follow-up to the original post. Last night we had some friends over again. This time just one couple. We were doing a pizza/movie night and they were bringing salad so what could go wrong? Right??

Well, remember the dining room chair..... DH hadn't gotten a chance to fix it yet so we put it at the end where we knew no one would sit....not a problem. After the pizza arrived we went into the dining room and all sat down. The husband of the couple sat down and leaned back on the chair and THAT chair back split right up the one side and made this loud CRACK!! Jeezzzz!!! The set is 25 yrs. old ....... time to get a new one???

Kicker is that we had an EXTRA Lane Cherry dining room set at our condo in TN but we put it in a furniture consignment store because we didn't have the room for it. The guy sold the furniture, moved out of the building without notifying the landlord, spent all of the money from the people's furniture he sold and now we're out the set and the $$$...... The couple who was over to dinner last night had put furniture in his store too so the four of us started laughing over that stroke of bad luck. I then shared the "dinner party disaster" story with them and we about peed our pants laughing. It was a great night, but I'm going furniture shopping because my daughter's bridal shower is here on Sept. 20th!!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 6:21PM
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A grilling tip, if ever you run out of propane, you can "finish off" in your oven. I learned this trick from cooking school. That's how most restaurants do it. Get the grill marks then finish in the stove. Came in handy a couple of weeks ago when the same thing happened to me!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 11:18AM
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