DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have dinner parties and BBQs at our home several times a year. We usually cook most of the food, and we ?have several friends who offer to bring dishes.
?Recently, some guests have taken to stopping at the ?grocery store and picking up packaged food. We ?strongly prefer that only homemade food be served in ?our home. We realize this is considered old fashioned, ?but it is our personal preference.
I have not said ?anything to my guests for fear of appearing ?ungracious. What is the best way to handle the ?situation, short of banning guests from bringing food ?altogether?
GENTLE READER: Sorry, but there is no polite way to say, "Bring me a higher quality of food" or "You were supposed to put some actual work into this."
Mind you, Miss Manners is in total sympathy with your desire to control what you serve your guests in your own house. But she is also sympathetic with dinner guests who no longer feel that they can enjoy a night out without working for it first or that they can even travel to a party without a container of food sloshing around on their laps.
Both problems can easily be solved: You serve only home-cooked food in your home; and you make it clear that they don't have to cook or shop for you. (Some will do so anyway, but you must be equally firm when you thank them, in saying that you will enjoy that later.)
But if you still insist on not banning contributions to your dinner, you are stuck with serving them, eating them and pretending to like them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Which of the following would be the more correct to say after I perform a wedding ceremony?
1. "It is now my pleasure to introduce for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Dr. Doris Smith."
2. "It is now my pleasure to introduce for the first time, Mr. Robert and Dr. Doris Smith."
3. "It is now my pleasure to introduce for the first time, Dr. Doris and Mr. Robert Smith."
GENTLE READER: The first is certainly the most arresting, as it sounds as if you married a threesome. But Miss Manners is afraid that she doesn't care for the others, either. With the names separated, one can't help noticing that Mr. Smith has been Mr. Smith all along (or at least since he became old enough to graduate from being Master Smith), and there is no first time about it.
Perhaps the time has come to drop this little announcement, which always struck Miss Manners as more suitable to show business than to a religious ceremony.
She supposes you could say "the Smiths" or "Dr. Smith and her husband" or "Doris and Robert Smith," but these all sound forced. And anyway, what are you going to do about the newly married Dorothy Jones and Roland Smith?