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fairfarmhand
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I feel like an idiot asking this, but am I the only person on the planet who has never been to a potluck-style luncheon or dinner? :confused:

 

I have heard of potluck suppers at churches, but I have never attended one, and no one in our family ever brings food to anyone's house, unless maybe they'd been to a special bakery and bought some pastries or something (and even then, they would call the hostess first and make sure it was OK and wouldn't conflict with her other plans for dessert. No one would want to mess up the menu! )

 

People might bring hostess gifts or bottles of wine, but I don't think it would even occur to anyone to show up with actual food.

 

I always figured that our way of doing things was pretty common, but now I'm not so sure.

 

 

every family dinner that I have been to in my 33 years has been hosted like this. When we get invitations to others' homes, I ask (and people ask me if I am hosting) What can I bring?

 

Where are you from? I've lived in the South my whole life and this is how most families that I know do holidays.

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My grandmother's holiday meals were/are always potluck. I can't stand it. I haven't been in years though because I don't feel like driving six hours for that.

 

None of the food goes together either. One of my uncles always brings a potato salad. Imagine that with your turkey, meat pie, ambrosia salad, and pasta with meatballs. I probably sound horrid, but this has always made me crazy and I was thrilled when I was finally able to do my own thing.

 

 

wow. That is gross. Here's how it goes down most often here.

 

The hostess (the person at whose house the dinner will be held) will list the meal plan. (Turkey, Ham, dressing, rolls, etc.) and make a list of needed food. When family members are contacted, they know the drill and usually have a specialty (I love doing rolls and pies). Volunteers will also be responsible for drinks, paper goods, etc. Often the hostess prepares the main course, and I always try to wash her dishes and clean her kitchen so that since she had the hassle of cleaning for the invasion, she at least doesn't have to clean up again.

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Back when I lived in the same province and had mandatory attendance req from my mother, my eldest brother was the *worst*

 

He once sat at the table, as we were putting food out, and cleared off the platter of dark meat, handed it to me, and told me that I needed to refill it.

 

He pulled the same stunt when it came to cleaning up.

 

I flipped. Told him he wasn't royalty, to get off his butt and help out, we certainly were NOT raised this way, everyone pitched in, period. (Ftr, it was at our parents, w/just us sibs in attendance, nobody was a freaking 'guest') He threw a bit of a hissy sulk fit, but got up and moved.

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Yes. Definitely multiple cases show up at my parents' house every year.

 

Personally, I never have helped with the cooking. My main jobs are to bring the wine and clean the mess afterwards. I think everyone is fine with that. I'm not viewed as much of a cook, LOL.

 

But I have brothers who just show up to have a good time. Some bring wives who help, some don't. Some bring kids who . . . don't help. One just brings his hungry self and, as far as I've ever noticed, doesn't lift a finger to help. I am not sure what goes on in his mind.

 

But we're pretty much used to it. Nobody gets angry as far as I can tell.

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That's all served on paper plates with plastic forks too. Another thing that drives me batty.

 

I feel so mean for saying all of that, but yeah it bugs me.

 

Your gig sounds much better.

 

 

we do use paper plates at my in-laws (sixteen people there!) but real plates with my family (9 people ). The paper plates are the highest quality ones though. We all use regular silverware at both places, but good quality plastic cups so that we can sharpie people's names on them.

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Here's how it goes down most often here.

 

The hostess (the person at whose house the dinner will be held) will list the meal plan. (Turkey, Ham, dressing, rolls, etc.) and make a list of needed food. When family members are contacted, they know the drill and usually have a specialty (I love doing rolls and pies). Volunteers will also be responsible for drinks, paper goods, etc. Often the hostess prepares the main course, and I always try to wash her dishes and clean her kitchen so that since she had the hassle of cleaning for the invasion, she at least doesn't have to clean up again.

 

This is pretty much how it happens for us too, no matter which side of the family we go to. I guess we are lucky in that everybody likes everybody else and it's just assumed that everyone is invited to T-day, no matter who happens to be hosting. After dinner most people jump in and help clean up. Both sides of the family are big on disposable pans/dishes/cups/napkins for holidays though, so clean up is easy, if wasteful, LOL.

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My narcicisstic SIL does not help in any way shape or form. As a matter of fact, she arrives every year and makes a grand point of announcing loudly to everyone that she can't be put upon to lift a finger - doesn't even offer to clear her own plate - because her life is so stressful and we OWE her a holiday of no work. Hmmm...not certain about her stress level given that she as only one child that she soundly ignores, has a paid housekeeper, doesn't cook for her family any more because she needs more down time, goes out with friends three times each week, and well...you get the picture.

 

I suck it up and don't tell her what I think because my mother is the hostess and prefers to keep family peace. It's the same way with dh's brother's wife. She hasn't cooked a darn thing, washed a dish, or offered to clear a plate one.single.time in 26 years of marriage. She's even meaner than my SIL which is why family contact is limited to four hours once per year, two of which occur at a restaurant.

 

Other than those two, we are a everyone-pitch-in-and-get-er-done kind of family.

 

Faith

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That's all served on paper plates with plastic forks too. Another thing that drives me batty.

 

I feel so mean for saying all of that, but yeah it bugs me.

 

Your gig sounds much better.

 

Whenever we hosted Thanksgiving, we had upwards of 30-40 people at our house. We have nowhere near to enough plates and silverware for that many people, so we would use paper plates and plastic silverware. It was also to help in cleaning up, less dishes to wash. Were we supposed to go out and buy more plates and silverware to use for just one day?

 

I understand what everyone is saying about the guests not being expected to help, and that they should just visit, but I guess my thought is that the person doing all the cooking and cleaning should be allowed to visit as well. If I can help, even in a small way, that allows them to do so, I will. It is a holiday for them as well, and I hate to see someone stuck in a kitchen all day long b/c no one will help.

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I can't edit for some reason, so I'll put this in another post...

 

I understand what everyone is saying about the guests not being expected to help, and that they should just visit, but I guess my thought is that the person doing all the cooking and cleaning should be allowed to visit as well. If I can help, even in a small way, that allows them to do so, I will. It is a holiday for them as well, and I hate to see someone stuck in a kitchen all day long b/c no one will help.

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I feel like an idiot asking this, but am I the only person on the planet who has never been to a potluck-style luncheon or dinner? :confused:

 

 

My dad is the youngest of 9, my FIL the oldest of 7 so potluck is a must for extended family gatherings or the host will go broke cooking or catering.

 

For the informal mummies and kids gathering that I go to, there is more than 30 of us so definately potluck if someone is hosting. If the host says she is providing food, than we as guests will bring cut fruits or drinks.

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every family dinner that I have been to in my 33 years has been hosted like this. When we get invitations to others' homes, I ask (and people ask me if I am hosting) What can I bring?

 

Where are you from? I've lived in the South my whole life and this is how most families that I know do holidays.

 

 

I grew up (and still live) in the New York City metro area.

 

All this talk of food is making me hungry. :drool5:

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My dad is the youngest of 9, my FIL the oldest of 7 so potluck is a must for extended family gatherings or the host will go broke cooking or catering.

For the informal mummies and kids gathering that I go to, there is more than 30 of us so definately potluck if someone is hosting. If the host says she is providing food, than we as guests will bring cut fruits or drinks.

 

Nah. That just have to plan ahead. I start buying for the holidays in October. A case of pumpkin here, a case if marrichino cherries there, a couple turkeys then, make some dinner rolls and freeze them for later...

 

It's not that difficult, tho it does take practice. I certainly am not going broke to do it. Most of the feast is made with very inexpensive foods. Corn bread dressing, Deviled eggs, turkey.. These things are cheap as could be.

 

I have enough plates and flatware to serve up to 50. I buy paper plates and plastic ware/cups and aluminum roasting pans because I don't want to spend a ton of time cleaning dishes.

 

I don't like potlucks. At all. If I'm going to cook anyways, I'd just as well prefer to make the meal. In my family potlucks were always considered rather rude. I mean think about it, you invite guests to dinner and then tell them to bring their own food?! And in the case of my in laws, they even tell you what to bring, so you don't get to bring whatever dish you prefer. I had never encountered that until we were married. My in laws don't even do potlucks anymore. They order a deli tray in. *gasp*

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If someone asks what they can bring, I just presume they are being polite. I might ask for a simple dessert, or ice if my maker isn't making enough for the size crowd, but really it has never occurred to me to seriously tell them to bake a pie or bring a side dish. For a holiday event, I will tell them what I am making and that if there is anything they need to make it feel more like a holiday feast to them, to either bring it or I will try to make it.

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If someone asks what they can bring, I just presume they are being polite. I might ask for a simple dessert, or ice if my maker isn't making enough for the size crowd, but really it has never occurred to me to seriously tell them to bake a pie or bring a side dish. For a holiday event, I will tell them what I am making and that if there is anything they need to make it feel more like a holiday feast to them, to either bring it or I will try to make it.

 

I don't know...I look at it like this, My MIL loves to have the WHOLE family in but they are on a VERY tight budget. She has 10 grandkids though and she has cancer, so finding the energy to prepare a meal is difficult. She still wants to play the hostess, and by contributing to the meal we can help her have that in her home. I bet it took her days after the Thanksgiving meal to recover from what she did do, and I don't want one Thanksgiving dinner eating up 2 weeks of their grocery budget, either. That's why we pitch in.

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I guess you could say I am the freeloader. I keep my kids in line but generally they are off running and playing. I help in the kitchen if asked but the 3 times a year we do family meals are the only times all year I can sit and put my feet up and take a break with so many adults around. I don't have the luxury of a spouse to trade off with etc ever. So 3 times a year I go to the big family meal, I usually don't cook anything because my mom and sister are particular, I usually can not afford to bring anything to contribute. I help with the clean up if they request my help but generally I sit and I visit with the other people there. Those meals are getting to be the only times I see my brother all year, so I like to sit and talk with him and his wife. I put my dd13 in charge of the little ones and I relax. My mom and sister used to gripe about it, and I told them the alternative was us simply not coming. It's not because I am innately lazy, but I do not think it is too much to ask to have 3 times in a year when I can sit, talk with grown ups and be taken care of a little(in the form of not doing the cooking and cleaning).

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Wait! It was a potluck?

 

I thought the entire point of a potluck was not having to do that!?

 

Everyone brings their dish, shove a serving spoon or whatever in it, grab a paper plate and eat. When done, grab your hopefully empty dish and go home.

 

The only things needing help might have been emptying the trash and wiping down the counters and tables?

 

*confused*

 

We do a planned "potluck" for all family get togethers. We set a menu...basic turkey, dressing, etc....and everyone picks something. Some of us do more, I don't have to make bread and three deserts. But I love it, so I do. Others bring the minimum. For DH's family, we are all coming from other family get togethers so we do have to warm or cook most of the food to eat. It gets crowded in the kitchen, bit that's where we hang out.

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Oh don't get me wrong, I have no problem with someone asking ME to bring something or help with dishes. Heck, I'll cook it all and bring it to their house if that's what they want or need.

 

But when *I* am hosting? I feel rude if my guests feel they have to bring something to the meal I invited them to attend and clean up too.

 

It's not them. It's me. :D

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I don't mind potlucks, no matter what shows up. The only ones I've been to were clearly informal gatherings of either extended family or church family. Formal dinners are a different beast altogether. IME people want to help, want to contribute. I think it's quite nice. I have IL issues, though. I host T-day because I'd like to have one holiday where it's done how I like it. Kind-of defeats the purpose if MIL insists on bringing half the meal because her single (one who lives in her basement) children need her cooking for it to feel like the holiday.

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I am the person who can't cut a tomato. :blushing: Now you know my dirty secret!

 

 

My mother never had me help in the kitchen as a kid. I'm afraid of any knife/chopping activity. I use pre-chopped onions in recipes. I CAN cut a tomato, but it looks like a rat gnawed it. I absolutely DREAD being asked to help in someone's kitchen, because I am so conscious of how long it will take me to chop something and how mauled it will look when I am finished.

 

 

That said, I do pick up my dishes and take care of my own pots, etc. But no, I don't often offer to "help" in the kitchen because I am too embarassed. Now I will be paranoid people think I'm a free-loader!

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I wouldn't call that "freeloading." I don't expect guests that I invite for dinner to do anything other than eat the dinner (and be courteous), and I try to treat them kind of like a restaurant would treat them, except I sit down to eat with them, too. No one is expected to help cook, clean, bus plates, watch kids, or anything else other than (hopefully) enjoy the meal and the company.

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With Thanksgiving last week, I was thinking about the dynamics of extended family holidays. In certain families, there is generally at least one member who refuses to participate in cleaning, cooking or helping with the meal. While other members are keeping up with children, washing dishes or preparing food, this person will usually occupy themselves chatting, watching TV or doing whatever. There's no real good reason for the lack of participation, just laziness.

 

I was wondering if this is a universal phenomenon. Do you have a free-loader?

 

(I am not referring to elderly or disabled people, pregnant or moms to very small babies. I'm talking about adults who are capable of contributing, but just show up expecting a free meal. In our family, although the men don't usually cook or wash dishes, they almost always contribute in other ways, preparing drinks, fixing kids' plates, taking out the trash, scraping plates, watching kids, etc. So my definition does not just include cooking and cleaning)

 

 

I think everyone's got some of these folks.

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'coloradoperkins' I am the person who can't cut a tomato. :blushing: Now you know my dirty secret!

 

 

My "sister"! I cut three fingers while slicing a potato the first time I had my husband-to-be over to eat. He's cooked ever since! Win-win.

 

My mother never had me help in the kitchen as a kid. I'm afraid of any knife/chopping activity. I use pre-chopped onions in recipes. I CAN cut a tomato, but it looks like a rat gnawed it. I absolutely DREAD being asked to help in someone's kitchen, because I am so conscious of how long it will take me to chop something and how mauled it will look when I am finished.

 

 

 

Well, I can do all this because I lived alone for seven years. BUT...it might not look pretty. Who cares? It's just going down your throat anyway!

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Yep. One year my sister turned up, sick, to my Christmas dinner. I'd cooked so there'd be a variety available for people with food allergies (herself being one of them.) There was gluten free, dairy free, diabetic friendly, no egg, no vinegar, no shellfish food and not just one of each. Then she said my food was too oily (no unusual for an oil based salad dressing) and it had made her sick. The cutest thing was when I objected, I was the one who got into trouble.

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I wouldn't call that "freeloading." I don't expect guests that I invite for dinner to do anything other than eat the dinner (and be courteous), and I try to treat them kind of like a restaurant would treat them, except I sit down to eat with them, too. No one is expected to help cook, clean, bus plates, watch kids, or anything else other than (hopefully) enjoy the meal and the company.

 

Normally, Audrey that is exactly how I would expect things to go down - if I invite, I do the work joyfully. However, my beef is when there are 30 people over and only two women work at getting this thing done. I do believe there is a difference between asking a single family over for a friendly meal, and a gigantic feast put on for a huge bunch of people and then able bodied adults think they shouldn't do anything at all. It's just not reasonable to expect one or two women to wash dishes, pots, and pans for three hours after a meal. At some point, having cooked for many hours prior to that, the people sitting on the couch ought to realize that a 68 year old woman with diabetes has been on her feet cooking since 7 a.m. and at 4 p.m. she still hasn't had a chance to sit down.

 

I think there is a middle ground that should be found when one is talking about really large gatherings.

 

Outside of my SIL, who once invited the pastor and his wife to dinner, and then told them to bring FOUR dishes, and announced that she was going to sit on the couch and rest while they did the dishes (oh yes, she's a REAL PEACH that one), we don't actually have much by way of problems with this in my family. No one else would dream of my mom cooking for 30 people and getting no help simply because the holiday get-together was held at her house. But, my own mother-in-law was goaded by the other side of the family into hosting and cooking for 34 people at the not so tender age of 72, and not one of those adults lifted a finger to assist for ANYTHING. Her ankles were so swollen by the end of the day that it pained me when I got a good look at her. Dh came completely unglued on his sibs, their grown kids, his cousins, their grown kids, etc. (we didn't attend the dinner due to previous committments). Now they complain loud and long about not being invited to granny's house anymore. Well, in my book it serves them right. It's pretty gracious for a woman on a fixed income in her 70's to plan, pay for, and cook for such a huge bunch. It's pretty selfish to not recognize that a 72 year old woman needs to get off her feet and especially when there are more than 20 able bodied adults in the house that could make light work of the clean-up. I think it's this kind of thing that makes me respond to such a thread.

 

Otherwise, if I invite people over, I truly want them to enjoy the meal, visit afterward, have a pleasant night, and I do not expect any help in the kitchen. A few extra people is not an issue and normal rules of decorum should apply...a platoon of people is an entirely different matter.

 

Faith

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My family Holiday dinners are a whole-family ordeal. Everybody brings something to eat, plays with everyone else's kids, has a chance to sit and chat for a while, helps with clean-up, and the hostess is never left alone with the dirty dishes...and it's gracefully never mentioned if someone can't/doesn't participate as usual. That's for family dinners.

 

 

For *guests* guests, I would never expect a potluck or help with clean up.

 

 

My MIL's dinners are different. She's a "too many cooks in the kitchen" kind of hostess. It feels very odd to me to NOT bring food and help clean-up...like I'm not close family. Different cultures.

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Normally, Audrey that is exactly how I would expect things to go down - if I invite, I do the work joyfully. However, my beef is when there are 30 people over and only two women work at getting this thing done. I do believe there is a difference between asking a single family over for a friendly meal, and a gigantic feast put on for a huge bunch of people and then able bodied adults think they shouldn't do anything at all. It's just not reasonable to expect one or two women to wash dishes, pots, and pans for three hours after a meal. At some point, having cooked for many hours prior to that, the people sitting on the couch ought to realize that a 68 year old woman with diabetes has been on her feet cooking since 7 a.m. and at 4 p.m. she still hasn't had a chance to sit down.

 

I think there is a middle ground that should be found when one is talking about really large gatherings.

 

Outside of my SIL, who once invited the pastor and his wife to dinner, and then told them to bring FOUR dishes, and announced that she was going to sit on the couch and rest while they did the dishes (oh yes, she's a REAL PEACH that one), we don't actually have much by way of problems with this in my family. No one else would dream of my mom cooking for 30 people and getting no help simply because the holiday get-together was held at her house. But, my own mother-in-law was goaded by the other side of the family into hosting and cooking for 34 people at the not so tender age of 72, and not one of those adults lifted a finger to assist for ANYTHING. Her ankles were so swollen by the end of the day that it pained me when I got a good look at her. Dh came completely unglued on his sibs, their grown kids, his cousins, their grown kids, etc. (we didn't attend the dinner due to previous committments). Now they complain loud and long about not being invited to granny's house anymore. Well, in my book it serves them right. It's pretty gracious for a woman on a fixed income in her 70's to plan, pay for, and cook for such a huge bunch. It's pretty selfish to not recognize that a 72 year old woman needs to get off her feet and especially when there are more than 20 able bodied adults in the house that could make light work of the clean-up. I think it's this kind of thing that makes me respond to such a thread.

 

Otherwise, if I invite people over, I truly want them to enjoy the meal, visit afterward, have a pleasant night, and I do not expect any help in the kitchen. A few extra people is not an issue and normal rules of decorum should apply...a platoon of people is an entirely different matter.

 

Faith

 

I can see a huge meal for 30+ people being different. When my family does Thanksgiving dinner there is myself and my kids, my parents, my sister, bil and nephew, my brother and his wife so 12 people. I live 2 hours away and we usually don't spend the night. After dinner I sit and visit with my brother and his wife while my sister and mother clean up(everything is throw away or into the dishwasher, leaving the pots and pans, their clean up takes about 40 minutes). My dad and bil visit as well. After they are done clean up, we all have a cup of tea and I hit the road to get my kids home to bed before it gets too late. My brother and his wife sleep over at my folks so they have the rest of the evening to visit. sister/bil/nephew live 20 minutes from my folks so they stay quite late. Mom doesn't like anyone there any sooner than 30 minutes before the mealtime so really that time after dinner when they clean is the only time that I can visit. If they asked me to help with something I do so without complaint, but I don't toss away the 40 minutes 3 times a year I get to visit with my brother either...he is one of the only family members I actually like.

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It's pretty gracious for a woman on a fixed income in her 70's to plan, pay for, and cook for such a huge bunch. It's pretty selfish to not recognize that a 72 year old woman needs to get off her feet and especially when there are more than 20 able bodied adults in the house that could make light work of the clean-up. I think it's this kind of thing that makes me respond to such a thread.

 

A few extra people is not an issue and normal rules of decorum should apply...a platoon of people is an entirely different matter.

Faith

 

Not all 72 year old ladies are so fragile or budget restricted. So I wouldn't assume everyone thinks she is unless they KNOW she is. That aside, the old ladies NEVER cooked the feasts in my family. The supervise the next crop of wives while sipping spiked coffee/tea and gossiping about grand babies and husbands and dead relatives they couldn't dish on when they were alive. ;)

 

Second, I serve a platoon every day. *shrug* not that big a deal. Just takes some practice. Mostly on the timing. I was able to cook all the food for years before I got the timing right to where all the dishes were ready to serve at approx the same time. But still, I guess the trick is to invite people you want to see and who want to see you. Those kind of people don't seem to ever care what you serve, whether it's china or plastic, potluck, French cuisine, or pizza ordered in. Good company makes up for all else.

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We had just family - eight of us - six adults and two kids. I don't think of it as I'm the host and their the guest. I think of it as I'm providing the place and the food for our family TG. We don't do a potluck per se. But what happens is that I plan the meal and my sister asks what she can bring. I usually have her bring either green beans or rolls or something like that. My mom used to make the mash potatoes and a certain jello salad that our family always has, but she just isn't able to. But she also always gives me a little money to help pay for the food. My brother doesn't really do anything, but we really don't need him to do anything. Plus he comes in from out of town and stays the week with my mom. So he can't really bring a dish. I am just glad he comes. I always thought I would like a huge family gathering, but I really prefer just 8. We can all sit at the same table, all join in the conversation, etc. With 8 we can use our china and silverware. It depends on what we have and how much is left over whether we send food home with people. We strive not to make too much. No one wants Turkey Tacos on Day 4.

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With Thanksgiving last week, I was thinking about the dynamics of extended family holidays. In certain families, there is generally at least one member who refuses to participate in cleaning, cooking or helping with the meal. While other members are keeping up with children, washing dishes or preparing food, this person will usually occupy themselves chatting, watching TV or doing whatever. There's no real good reason for the lack of participation, just laziness.

 

I was wondering if this is a universal phenomenon. Do you have a free-loader?

 

(I am not referring to elderly or disabled people, pregnant or moms to very small babies. I'm talking about adults who are capable of contributing, but just show up expecting a free meal. In our family, although the men don't usually cook or wash dishes, they almost always contribute in other ways, preparing drinks, fixing kids' plates, taking out the trash, scraping plates, watching kids, etc. So my definition does not just include cooking and cleaning)

 

Umm, not this year but sure have had in the past. The main one really stepped up to the plate this year though and made it much easier. It has not been unusual for there to be 19 people in my home for a holiday and all are sitting in the living room visiting while I get the dinner on and then clean up. I have done a lot of praying over it as I would be so exhausted at the end I could hardly stay on my feet. I am glad it has started to turn around.

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At my mom's house, it's laughable. My mom, sister, and I do all the work and the dishes; brother and sil drink their cocktails and pre-dinner wine and watch like we're staff. Over the years, when we clean up, we have excluded them in all of our post-dinner dishwashing fun.

 

At my mil's house I stopped bothering a long time ago. I was never allowed to bring something to eat (apparently I can't cook) and I don't wash dishes the right way. One year I was allowed to bring a bottle of pickles. It's stressful going over there and I don't enjoy it. I have sent dh and kids many a time without me.

 

This year my mom wanted to go out the day before to celebrate her anniversary so we skipped Thanksgiving dinner. My brother kept calling, wanting to know what time to be there to eat. Should have heard him when my mom told him we weren't! :laugh:

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Oh don't get me wrong, I have no problem with someone asking ME to bring something or help with dishes. Heck, I'll cook it all and bring it to their house if that's what they want or need.

 

But when *I* am hosting? I feel rude if my guests feel they have to bring something to the meal I invited them to attend and clean up too.

 

It's not them. It's me. :D

 

 

The question was about family holidays which are completely different than inviting another family or two over. We had nearly 40 people in our house for thanksgiving. I live to cook, but I need help with that expense. We all pitch in and have fun.doing it. It is the same at my grandparent's house. We can get close to 50 people there. When I host a dinner party, things are different than when I host a family dinner.

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wow. That is gross. Here's how it goes down most often here.

 

The hostess (the person at whose house the dinner will be held) will list the meal plan. (Turkey, Ham, dressing, rolls, etc.) and make a list of needed food. When family members are contacted, they know the drill and usually have a specialty (I love doing rolls and pies). Volunteers will also be responsible for drinks, paper goods, etc. Often the hostess prepares the main course, and I always try to wash her dishes and clean her kitchen so that since she had the hassle of cleaning for the invasion, she at least doesn't have to clean up again.

 

 

We do the potluck dinners in my family with all kinds of things, and no one finds it gross. Everyone gets what they want to eat, whether that is turkey and dressing or lasagna or ham and potato salad. Of course, I grew up with it that way, so it would seem weird to me not to do that. And I have a large extended family - large enough that it probably wouldn't be possible to prepare enough food to feed everyone in my grandmother's tiny kitchen, but she would be heartbroken if we didn't all pile into her house at least once a year.

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Whenever we hosted Thanksgiving, we had upwards of 30-40 people at our house. We have nowhere near to enough plates and silverware for that many people, so we would use paper plates and plastic silverware. It was also to help in cleaning up, less dishes to wash. Were we supposed to go out and buy more plates and silverware to use for just one day?

 

I understand what everyone is saying about the guests not being expected to help, and that they should just visit, but I guess my thought is that the person doing all the cooking and cleaning should be allowed to visit as well. If I can help, even in a small way, that allows them to do so, I will. It is a holiday for them as well, and I hate to see someone stuck in a kitchen all day long b/c no one will help.

 

 

Yes! And over half of them kids, many of us eat while *gasp* sitting on the floor!! Or in a folding chair with no.table, or standing. I would feel guilty not helping at a family meal. I am not a guest at my parent's house, my grandmother's, or a sibling's house. I need to help get the food.out and.clean.

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My mom, sisters, and I sit down and make out a menu every year and then divvy up the items. The men are in charge of watching the kids, getting extra chairs, frying the ham and turkey, and carving. So we all help (my parents, siblings and spouses, and kids who are old enough). We are also not shy about enlisting anyone sitting around :). Mom keeps the pre-dinner drinks in the kitchen where we are working. You want a drink, she hands you one and then usually enlists your help with something. If we happen to have others over, they are treated as guests and are not expected to do anything or bring anything. If I am hosting a non-family event, I would not expect anyone to help or bring anything. If I were to go to someone else's event though, I would definitely offer to help and bring something.

 

 

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. I have done a lot of praying over it as I would be so exhausted at the end I could hardly stay on my feet. I am glad it has started to turn around.

 

 

Why was it so exhausting? Not being at all snarky. I regularly serve 12. A holiday dinner can be 25 - 35. It wasn't exhausting at all. I sat and had coffee with my sister, nursed baby,... I know there is a learning curve. What to cook the 2 days before, 1 day before, what to prep and so forth. But once you figure that out, it's really not that hard.

 

The question was about family holidays which are completely different than inviting another family or two over. We had nearly 40 people in our house for thanksgiving. I live to cook, but I need help with that expense. We all pitch in and have fun.doing it. It is the same at my grandparent's house. We can get close to 50 people there. When I host a dinner party, things are different than when I host a family dinner.

 

 

There isn't a difference for me. I understand there is for others. But not here. I start buying in October. I suppose if I couldn't afford it, they could come cook. But I don't see a potluck working. Half or more of the food would be cold by the time the arrived and it was served. And my kitchen isn't big enough to have 3 or more people numbing about in it. Even if it was, there is still only one stove and one cooktop. And of course, if you have fun doing it, that is very different. Many people don't. I wouldn't. I would do it cheerfully because you asked, but I would never stretch that to calling it fun.

 

I don't think it has to be my way. Whatever works for you family.

 

The OP asked a question. Some just answered that that isn't how we do it and we wouldn't expect it.:)

 

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We have several who are like that. We have anywhere from 40-50 people come to Thanksgiving, so we rent a local community center. It's supposed to be potluck, but half don't contribute, so that means that those of us who do contribute end up having to bring several dishes so that there is enough food. Then, they don't want to help clean up, and they all expect leftovers. It's ridiculous.

 

Mwahahaha! I have a devious solution to this! Next year, assign dishes, or use http://perfectpotluck.com/ to plan it. Then, when setting up the food table, have large pieces of paper- just print them from your computer- with big giant titles like "Aunt Mary's Stuffing" "Grannies Mashed Potatoes" and "Jennie's Surprise Dish".... then the entire family (or whatever your large group is) will see who's freeloading AND whose fault it is there is no cranberruy sauce. The empty space with their name on it will do the talking. heh heh heh- go ahead- I dare you! :001_tt2:

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Why was it so exhausting? Not being at all snarky. I regularly serve 12. A holiday dinner can be 25 - 35. It wasn't exhausting at all.

 

Hubby's side of the family holiday meals would be for at least 60 people. People would stand around and eat. His relatives are very polite, there is always leftovers.

My side of the family holiday meals would be for easily close to 100 people (I lost count, I have more than 35 paternal cousins some of whom are grandparents already). We used to have 4-5 aunts cooking in the kitchen until they were all in their 60s~70s and than we started catering or potluck. One of my paternal uncle has a indoor and "outdoor" kitchen so two big kitchens.

One of my uncle would even bring stackable chairs on his truck so that more people can sit. People would start coming at 8am and leave after 10pm. My relatives have good appetites, we never have leftovers despite the plentiful food :laugh:

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I wouldn't call that "freeloading." I don't expect guests that I invite for dinner to do anything other than eat the dinner (and be courteous), and I try to treat them kind of like a restaurant would treat them, except I sit down to eat with them, too. No one is expected to help cook, clean, bus plates, watch kids, or anything else other than (hopefully) enjoy the meal and the company.

 

This is how I feel about company in general, but family meals are different. We have to travel to see family. If you spend the week with someone, it would feel really odd to do nothing while they get the meal ready and clean up. My parents were here for four days over Thanksgiving with my sister's 5 kids. Mom and I got the meal ready and washed the dishes. The oldest grandkids set the table. The men put leaves in the table and moved furniture around. The men didn't do nearly as much work as the women, but I must have sent Dh to the refrigerator in the garage a dozen times. I try to get Mom to relax when she is at my house, but it makes her crazy. The best I can do is say, "Read a book to the little ones. I know where to put these dishes."

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Why was it so exhausting? Not being at all snarky. I regularly serve 12. A holiday dinner can be 25 - 35. It wasn't exhausting at all. I sat and had coffee with my sister, nursed baby,... I know there is a learning curve. What to cook the 2 days before, 1 day before, what to prep and so forth. But once you figure that out, it's really not that hard.

 

 

 

There isn't a difference for me. I understand there is for others. But not here. I start buying in October. I suppose if I couldn't afford it, they could come cook. But I don't see a potluck working. Half or more of the food would be cold by the time the arrived and it was served. And my kitchen isn't big enough to have 3 or more people numbing about in it. Even if it was, there is still only one stove and one cooktop. And of course, if you have fun doing it, that is very different. Many people don't. I wouldn't. I would do it cheerfully because you asked, but I would never stretch that to calling it fun.

 

I don't think it has to be my way. Whatever works for you family.

 

The OP asked a question. Some just answered that that isn't how we do it and we wouldn't expect it. :)

 

There isn't a difference for me either. It doesn't matter if I've opened my home to 2 or 50, I don't expect a guest to do any of the work.

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Yes! And over half of them kids, many of us eat while *gasp* sitting on the floor!! Or in a folding chair with no.table, or standing. I would feel guilty not helping at a family meal. I am not a guest at my parent's house, my grandmother's, or a sibling's house. I need to help get the food.out and.clean.

 

If you were a member of my family, you'd be considered a guest as long as you didn't actually live in the house you were visiting. If it's not your house, you count as a guest. :tongue_smilie:

 

But my family is also the type that would be mortified if everyone didn't have a nice place to sit and eat. It sounds like we're a lot more formal than you guys are.

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There isn't a difference for me either. It doesn't matter if I've opened my home to 2 or 50, I don't expect a guest to do any of the work.

 

:iagree:

 

Same here.

 

And as I mentioned in my last post, if you don't live in my house, you are a guest. And that includes parents and siblings.

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If you were a member of my family, you'd be considered a guest as long as you didn't actually live in the house you were visiting. If it's not your house, you count as a guest. :tongue_smilie:

 

But my family is also the type that would be mortified if everyone didn't have a nice place to sit and eat. It sounds like we're a lot more formal than you guys are.

 

My mom is very formal. At her house we eat in the sinning room, full place settings, good dishes, we have had to fight to do a buffet line to save some cleanup. She prefers passing the food. Very formal. We dress up. We do still all cook. My sister and I, my mom and our husbands, sometimes my dad if we are grilling steaks.

 

DH's family, no one has a house big enough for everyone to sit at a table. Do we just not get together? No, we have a blast. We generally set the eating time an hour before we really want to eat, so that we will eat within 30 minutes of that time. Someone is always late! This year it was the turkey. It is, by the way, cooked in a trash can every year. No, we are not red necks :). It is just the juciest, most flavorful turkey ever!!! We are very informal, but tuere are no parents or grandparents, just dh, his siblings, spouses and our 20 kids (current count....still growing!) We just have fun. So, we do both formal and informal...but we still all contribute to a predetermined menu.

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My mom is very formal. At her house we eat in the sinning room, full place settings, good dishes, we have had to fight to do a buffet line to save some cleanup. She prefers passing the food. Very formal. We dress up. We do still all cook. My sister and I, my mom and our husbands, sometimes my dad if we are grilling steaks.

 

 

Thought that typo was perfect in a thread about family dinners and freeloaders lol

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