Miss Manners Moment of the Day:
If I invite you to dinner, it means I’m cooking. That means a full meal. Old-fashioned, sit down at the table, dinner.
I guarantee I have either asked, or already know, your dietary preferences and/or restrictions, and I’ve crafted the full menu to accommodate them. Those preferences are stored along with your phone number and email in my contacts. It’s entirely possible I’ve even cataloged how you take your coffee, or whether you prefer tea. It’s also highly likely that I will periodically ask you questions so I can update said information. Especially if you’re prone to following various popular diets.
You are certainly allowed to ask what you may bring, and my answer is likely to be “yourself and a smile” or maybe “bring a beverage of your choice.” I might ask you to bring a dessert. Maybe. This may be an entirely different conversation for those with extreme allergies or restrictions (Kosher diets, deadly allergies, etc).
Unless I specify otherwise, it ain’t a potluck.
If it is a potluck, or a group thing, “family and friends” dinner night, pizza night, or any other form of dining experience requiring anything other than the pleasure of your company, I will say so and make that clear when I invite you.
It’s not that I’m ungrateful. I truly appreciate the thought. And I’m more than happy to accept it sometimes. Even though I’ve had the “fun” of asking someone to bring salad, only to have them bring a McDonald’s salad for one (to a dinner for 8). But that’s another post entirely.
Honestly, it’s that for me, a meal is an experience, and my experience includes everything from the planning, through the prep, the cooking, and the eating. When I’ve invited you to dinner, it means I’ve put some effort into planning a meal that meets your specific needs and preferences, will taste good, uses ingredients that are at their freshest and most flavorful, and that all of the components will work to complement one another. It’s a safe bet I’ve even given some thought to presentation and making sure it’s an attractive meal as well.
It’s a little gift from me to you.
Great… Now I feel like some old biddy who’s grumbling about “kids these days”!