I have always loved to be a host. If you’ve been to my house you’ll know this to be true. I haven’t always been an amazing cook, and to some standards I might still be far from one. But I have always been a good hostess. I was reminiscing about my early days as a hostess and thinking about lessons I’ve learnt, things that I’ve changed and I remembered the biggest lesson of all. No matter how hard you try or how gracious you are you will never be able to please everyone. Settle in, this is the story of my the worst dinner guest ever. These guests, we shall call them D & A, were really good friends of my co-host and I was hopeful that we’d also become close, so remember there is a lot riding on this going well.
Disclosure, this was back about 8 years ago so my facts may not be perfect, but this is how I remember it ‘going down’.
We asked D & A to come for dinner one night, and if they wanted they could bring their two kids. Both kids were quite young, the oldest being maybe 4 and the youngest still in diapers (maybe 2). I made sure I had a few toys, nothing super fancy but something enough to keep them occupied while we chatted with their parents. Without toys my childless house would be a pretty boring place for a 3 year old.
I inquired with my dinner guests if they had allergies or strong food aversions, I hate to put in the effort and then find out it was something you actually detested. They said no; but guess what? Everything I made included something they did not like. The menu was something like this: Deviled Eggs, Chicken Pot Pie, Broccoli. (I know its a weird menu, but I was just starting out and I knew I could nail all three of these things.) Things they didn’t like: eggs, green peas, green beans, carrots, and broccoli – possibly all vegetables but those are what were in my meal.
They arrived late, I remember actually being relived that I had a few extra minutes. They didn’t contact us to let us know how late they were running behind so at every moment I was thinking they could be here. It was between 30-60 minutes late.
The youngest babe was very sick. He cried almost constantly because the poor thing had the runs for a few consecutive days already and wasn’t able to get comfortable. I felt bad for the little guy, he just wanted to be at home in his bed and instead he was in a stranger’s house.
While I was serving the main, Chicken Pot Pie (all from scratch might I add). She asked me to grab a different type of serving utensil. I went to the kitchen grabbed something like 3 additional options and held them all up, “which one do you think would work best.” (One of which was a soup ladle if my memory stands, obviously not a good utensil, but I was just starting out I didn’t have all the gadgets yet.) She went with the option that I had already brought out, a nice stainless steel cake serving utensil. I don’t even know what she would have preferred, I honestly think she was trying to elevate herself as better than me – somehow.
After dinner had been eaten and the kiddies were running so loudly in my apartment building, I’m hoping no one on the other floors has a migraine or is trying to study. She lets them. I offered her some tea, I pull out my tea basket and offer it to her. She starts to comb through it, “OH! I only drink herbal tea.” No problem, I have a decent variety there is some herbal options in there. But there is only one that is caffeine free, which is a must! I do have other caffeine free teas, but only that single one that is also herbal. I think the others were rooibos or something, which is apparently not good enough.
I ask her – “Do you take anything in your tea? Milk? Sugar?” She answers “Yes.” I pull out a little bowl for the sugar, and tell her that I don’t have a little pitcher for the milk. So, we’ll just have to pull it out of the fridge, if she wants more. But she doesn’t add it to her tea, so I sit down, I’ll get up and put it away when shes done with it. (PS. Its a hilarious 4L jug of milk – or a gallon to you Americans). Maybe 4 or 5 minutes later, still without milk in her tea she ask “do you have a little pitcher for the milk?” Obviously she wasn’t listening to me before. I tell her no, and tell her I’ll put it away when you have some in your tea, I take my tea straight up. “Oh I don’t take milk in my tea.” (facepalm)
Needless to say I bought a little matching sugar/cream set shortly after.
The conversation was also terrible. Her ranting and raving over people I didn’t know and how stupid they are for reasons I couldn’t possibly understand. She ignored her poor fussing baby. They stayed late. I don’t remember how late exactly, but I do remember thinking “shouldn’t these kids be in bed already?” Maybe 10, 11 or maybe even 12. I know what it’s like being young and just wanting to hang out with your friends, but when you become a parent – all of that changes. Your priorities change. Obviously this varies from parent to parent.
Completely unrelated to my hosting experience but interesting enough; they got pregnant with baby #3 several months later because they “couldn’t afford birth control.” Yes, those are her exact words, they will stick with me forever.
That my friends is the story of the worst dinner guest ever. I think the worst part is that we were both young. I wouldn’t have expected her to have all the kitchen gadgets, or a sugar/cream set. I wouldn’t expect anyone to have exactly 1 specific tea that I like. Maybe it’s because the general aura of the whole evening was that she was better than me. I did not have them over again. I did not invest anymore into that friendship.
Have you ever had a terrible dinner guest?