DEAR MISS MANNERS: I spent two days cooking a flawless Thanksgiving dinner for immediate family (due to COVID-19 restrictions). It was just us, my partner’s daughter and her family (husband, toddler and mother-in-law). That’s it.
The guests were assigned to either bring a pie and/or wine. That was their only contribution. After the meal was over, my partner’s daughter got up from the table and opened a large backpack, which I had assumed was for the toddler’s things.
Nope. It was full of food containers. She asked if I wanted any leftovers, to which I said, “Yes, of course.”
She then proceeded to take all the best cuts of the turkey, all the trimmings and side dishes, the stuffing that was in the bird (the best part) and even 90% of the leftover desserts – a pie she brought, a pecan pie I provided and a cake her mother-in-law made. She left us one piece of pecan and two small pieces of pumpkin.
I was so flabbergasted, I couldn’t speak. I thought the Grinch Who Stole Christmas had arrived early. She just packed it all up and left.I still cannot get over it. It is not that I wouldn’t have offered her some leftovers. Of course I would. But she just marched in as if they were hers.Her father said nothing, and I know better than to broach the subject with him. Not wise.
Am I being too sensitive? I thought it was just about the rudest, most entitled and most disrespectful behavior I’d ever witnessed, and I took it entirely personally, as an affront toward me and my position in the family.
I am not her meal cooker or servant. I lost all respect for her. What would you suggest I do?
GENTLE READER: Serve plated food at Christmas, accepting no contributions from others.
Of course it was rude and crass, but so many people are doing this that you should not take it personally. Miss Manners has speculated on the possible reasons:
1. So many meals – not just holiday feasts – are now cooperative that those who bring food are sharing the duties of the host and claiming the privileges.
2. The habit of eating in restaurants, where diners may take home the leftover food for which they have paid, has unfortunately been extended to private dinners.
3. An adult child may feel that her parent’s home is still her own, which includes raiding the fridge.
4. Rampant greed is everywhere, and people are grabbing whatever they can get away with taking.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My niece is getting married, and she informed me that to save money, they would not be inviting my husband to the wedding, as well as a few other spouses of possible attendees.
I have never heard of this. Is that mannerly?
GENTLE READER: Did she say “nyah, nyah” when issuing this non-invitation? She might as well have. Miss Manners need hardly say that admitting to preferring to do away with someone’s presence, and pocket the money it might cost to entertain him, is not charming.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website missmanners.com.
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