I enjoy having friends and family over for a meal. Although it is inevitable that I will burn at least one dish or myself during preparation, the compliments I receive (okay maybe actively seek out) manage to outweigh the negatives of playing host.
Whenever I invite people to dinner, they always ask the same question, “what can I bring?”. Maybe it’s my Italian heritage or maybe it’s my stubborn pride (which I will also blame on my Italian heritage) but my answer is always the same. Nothing.
Of course, social etiquette dictates that we’ll still bring something. The wise people at Cadbury teach us this important life lesson in their latest ‘Favourites’ advertisement. Although she might have been a bit loose on morals relating to adultery and murder, Bree van der Camp would never turn up to dinner without a gift for the host. Gosh I miss Desperate Housewives. But I digress.
The thing is when I invite people to dinner at my house, they will be eating my food. That I’ve cooked. Or prepared. Or unwrapped. Well, you get the gist. The food is my responsibility which is why I invited you to my house to eat.
But people, listen carefully. The game is changing. Someone out there has been playing hard and fast with the dinner party etiquette rules. Last month I was invited to dinner. Upon accepting, I asked my inviter the usual question. As I began mentally scouring my cupboard for a box of – well, why the hell not – Cadbury Favourites (do not judge me you all re-gift too) I realised that I was asked to bring something. Dessert. A tiramisu or sticky date pudding or something. OR something, she says! I’m responsible for a whole course. And not just a store-bought packet cake for this lady. Nooo, she wants a homemade fancy pants dessert. Begrudgingly I made a tiramisu, perhaps with a little less love than usual, but I chalked it up to one isolated incident.
Nope. Two weeks later, it happened again. I was asked to bring a potato salad this time. How specific these requests are getting, have you noticed? Not just a dessert, not just a salad – tiramisu and potatoes no less!
Maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Picky. Precious even. But the way I see it, if we can’t rely on our dinner hosts to provide dinner – and I mean the entire dinner – what on earth can we rely on? Invite people over, accept your chocolates, feed them a meal and wait for your return invitation to eat their food. Don’t mess with the rules. Bree and I will thank you for it.