DEAR ABBY: Late last summer, we invited another couple -- good friends -- over for an informal dinner. When they walked in, they handed me a basket of fresh-picked vegetables from their garden.
Abby, I had a complete meal prepared. I love fresh vegetables and don't mind adding them to a meal. However, because the dinner was already on the table, I had to put everything on hold and find a way to keep everything warm while I prepared what they had brought.
I take pride in preparing a good meal and worried that it might not taste the same after having sat for 15 or 20 minutes. I feel they should have let me know in advance so I could have had water boiling when they arrived.
At the time, my husband told me not to say anything because it's the thought that counts, but it's still bothering me. How do you think I should handle this in the future? That wasn't the first time they have come to dinner with a "surprise" contribution, and it won't be the last. -- READY TO SERVE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR READY TO SERVE: Just because someone brings a gift of food or wine when he or she comes to dinner, the host is under no obligation to serve it. What you should have done was put their veggies in the fridge to enjoy at another meal and not stressed yourself out.