DEAR ABBY: Some friends of ours entertain often, and ask certain guests to bring dishes for as many as 15 to 18 people. This has evolved to the point that I am often left a message telling me to come up with a specific dish. Because I am a good cook, the dishes they request can be quite elaborate.
Last week, two of the eight couples invited were asked to bring a dish for dinner. As I was unwrapping mine, the hostess told me to mix it together with the other one, which had been bought at the supermarket! She seemed put out with me when I replied that I had spent many hours preparing my dish and would rather not combine them.
Abby, four years of this is enough for me. In the future when I'm invited, I'll accept and say that I'll contribute some wine. Period.
Please don't advise that we refuse invitations from this family -- they are my husband's oldest friends, and our husbands do business together. By the way, this couple is very wealthy. They could afford to cater all of these gatherings. -- NOT THE HIRED HELP
DEAR NOT THE HIRED HELP: Take wine and offer no apologies. If it was good enough for the Last Supper, it should be good enough for your friends.