Catasauqua Press

Friday, July 10, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Dinner party

Friday, January 18, 2019 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

I was shocked to see a guest arrive at a dinner party with her own food. The person did so because of being a picky-eater, not because of a dietary restriction or allergy. The host was gracious and did not say anything. What are your thoughts about bringing your own food to a dinner party?

Dear Reader, Being invited to a dinner party is a wonderful gift and a host will go through a lot of trouble planning and preparing a meal. Not mentioning ahead of time that you are bringing a casserole will seem like an insult.

The right thing to do is to ask the host ahead of time if there’s anything you can bring for the meal. Your host may say, “No, just bring yourselves.” In that instance, you should bring a gift for the host such as a bottle of wine or flowers. If she says, “Sure, you can bring dessert,” then by all means bring along a treat. Bravo to the host who did not make a scene and embarrass the picky-eater.

Ultimately, dinner parties are about everyone sharing time together, which trumps pointing out a faux pas. The host obviously is aware of rule No. 1 for manners: Never point out someone else’s lack of manners.

Addressing the picky- eater who brings her own food, it’s never, ever acceptable to offend your host by arriving with your own brown-bag meal. Remember, anything you bring to a dinner party is meant for the enjoyment of everyone there, not just you.

The solution? Fill up at home first. If you can’t bring yourself to try something new, eating before a dinner party is half your battle. This way you aren’t starving when dinner is served.

As an added bonus, it provides you with an opportunity to be brave and perhaps sample smaller portions of the meal that’s served. You should eat something on your plate without complaining. It’s the polite thing to do.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst