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Old 09-14-2011, 08:17 AM   #1
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Reciprocity

On and off through the years I've come across this problem. There are two of us, and I love to cook. But more and more since I moved here ten years ago, I'm finding my friends reluctant to entertain (although most love to cook). It really, in most cases, is because of the cleaning before and after more than anything else. As I get older (I'm 56, husband, 64) more and more of our friends are single and most of us live in old homes than generate dust bunnies and cobwebs. I still have hubby around who is willing to help make things presentable. So I DO understand.

As fall approaches I'm thinking of the cassoulet he didn't make, the coq au vin, boeuf bourgoignion, suki-yaki, fondue, three courses of soup --- all the things we haven't done in a long time simply because we -- my husband in particular -- was hoping to go to someone else's house for a change.

This fall we had a pow-wow with each other and determined that we're going to go back to doing all those dishes, and invite a core group of six (what my dining room very comfortably seats). We've always been a potluck group, but we're also going to let people know that wine or appropriate spirits are expected.

Anyone else have this problem?

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Old 09-14-2011, 08:58 AM   #2
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Are you going to take turns entertaining?
That seems the fairest for everybody.
Of course, depending on who is in your core group, there's usually somebody that manages to get out of things...

And no, I don't have that problem.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
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We live in a townhouse condo complex. Our neighbors have mostly been the same for a dozen years. During the holiday season we like to have an open house and invite all the neighbors and some relatives. Just about everyone comes and brings stuff (including booze).

The problem is that no one ever volunteers to take a turn hosting. In 2009, during the open house, SO mentioned it would be nice if someone else took a turn. Two families said they would be willing. When the time came, we brought the subject up with one of the couples - they were going to be traveling in December. I emailed the other couple and never heard back from them. 2010 passed without a party.

I don't know what will happen this year. Maybe just our families...
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:57 AM   #4
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Hopefully that sent a hint to the other couples, Andy, having a year come and go without a party, but you know how that goes.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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I've learned over the years not to wait for "it" to happen. It seldom does. I host birthday parties for my friends, and I also host them for myself.

After a few years of disappointing birthdays (and a birthday that sits halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas) I figured I'd better just throw my own party and not feel bad if some folks have "other commitments" at that time of year.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:19 AM   #6
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ChefJune, that is what we concluded. The fact is, these folk are not selfish. We originally had a group of five who did monthly brunches. A few of our friends found out about it and wanted to join. Then some of the later joiners didn't say, Oh, it is March, it's our turn. Even some pretty broad hints didn't do it. The hosts dwindled down until it was just us. Some understandable, some not so. Illness, ongoing kitchen renovations .... OK. Suddenly having to take custody of grandchildren ... well, none of us hate children. But it is just too much to clean the house by myself? But, really, I like these people and I like to cook these dishes that are way too much for two (the various big stews; cassoulet, coq au vin, boeuf bourgonion) or just more fun with a group (suki yaki, fondue). One time this summer one of the friends asked if she could "host" a dinner at our house! We did it, but my husband was disgruntled, which is why we had a talk before the winter cooking season starts.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:29 AM   #7
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Someone else hosting a party at your house? How is that different from your hosting the party? Does the other person send out the invitations/make the phone calls? OR Does she come over and clean your house and do the clean up afterwards?
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Someone else hosting a party at your house? How is that different from your hosting the party? Does the other person send out the invitations/make the phone calls? OR Does she come over and clean your house and do the clean up afterwards?
ROTFL. but it wouldn't really be very funny.
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:07 PM   #9
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Claire, I say if you enjoy the cooking and hosting then go ahead and be generous. I know no one likes to be taken advantage of but if this is something you like to do, do it! If you decide to invite people over, expect that the pleasure of their company and sharing your meal, hearing them rave over your cooking skills to be your "payment" whether they return your hospitality with an invitation or not. If you want them to bring something, be specific. "I'm making cassoulet for our get-together. Some nice crusty bread would be wonderful with it. Would you be so kind and bring some with you? I'm sure everyone would enjoy it."

As for some one else hosting at your house, my sister does that all the time. She lives in a condo so when she wants a family party, she uses my other sister's house. Sis #1 goes over and cleans, plans the menu and buys all the stuff. Sis #2 helps but only on the day of the party by pulling out her baking dishes etc. Of course we all help with the clean up.
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:59 PM   #10
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Someone else hosting a party at your house? How is that different from your hosting the party? Does the other person send out the invitations/make the phone calls? OR Does she come over and clean your house and do the clean up afterwards?
It actually worked out OK, although at first I felt "huh?" She did literally all of the cooking. Our other friends brought all the libations. So for us it was literally only the cleaning (and we used disposables for most things, she brought serving pieces and took them home with her to clean). Sort of like if you're sick or grieving and people bring you food. Wound up being fun. That's why I'm working towards finding a way to make this work. One friend even brought all the glasses.
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