DEAR MISS MANNERS: A family hosts a banquet dinner for a large group of people on a certain athletic team. The host family provides drinks, appetizers, a couple of main courses and desserts for all.
Some guests bring food to share, but, for a variety of reasons, those dishes are barely tasted or left untouched altogether. The hostess wants to send that food back with the givers, but the host insists on keeping it.
His point is, “How would you feel if no one ate what you brought/prepared for the party? It would be so hurtful, almost insulting! As good hosts, we have to show gratefulness, praise the food others contributed, and keep it after the party, even though we’ll dispose of it all right away.”
Without offending anyone, the hostess simply wants to avoid wasting the food, and returning the offering with the giver seems reasonable to her. What would Miss Manners do, please?
GENTLE READER: As someone used to writing about herself in the third person, Miss Manners recognizes its stabilizing effect. But she is not convinced it will help you convince your husband of the error of his ways. She applauds you both for considering the feelings of your guests first. But as you have noticed, bringing a meal to the home of someone who went to some trouble to set an inviting table is not likely to be taken as a compliment. Graciously send the unsolicited food home with the guests who brought it -- before you find yourself washing their dishes and delivering back their food containers.