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 "Dealing With Ethnic Dinner Guests  
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Post "Dealing With Ethnic Dinner Guests
Dealing With Ethnic Dinner Guests – How to Make Your Entire Dinner Party Relaxed and Enjoyable
by: Elaine Swann

Hello Elaine,

What tips can you help with regards to the kind of food and the kind of talk shall we engage ourselves in when it comes to having ethnic dinner guests over? A good friend is planning to entertain his in-laws where the husband from originally from the Caribbean Islands, and the wife is from the Tahiti. I am also invited and would like to make them feel comfortable.

Hello Friend,

It's wonderful of you all to think well enough of your guests to want to accommodate them based on their national origin.

Your friend might possibly want to prepare a traditional meal of his own and then sprinkle in something from each of the guest of honor's native country. I would suggest perhaps an appetizer and/or special dessert. This way you all are not stressed out trying to prepare a full course exotic meal. At the same time he can allow the guests to enjoy eating something other than several dishes they may have grown up on.

Remember now: you must let your guests know the special items were prepared "in their honor". And this is where conversation can become rather interesting. Asking questions about food, special dishes, how they were prepared, what was their favorite food while growing up. Food is always a great conversation piece because eating gives us so much joy. Then be sure to listen and then pick little bits and pieces of the conversation that you might want to know more about and ask more questions. Don't get overzealous and make it into an interview though. Interject and share stories about yourself too.

Watch the news, read the newspapers, keep up with current events, and maybe dish into a little celebrity gossip. You'll find you may have a bit more to talk about or share during the course of the evening if you are well prepared.


Dear Elaine,

My mom always lets guests take left over food home but as soon as they leave she complains to me that it's rude of people to ask. My mother is a great cook and she entertains a lot. She always cooks way more food than people so we always have leftovers. At the end of the day some of our guests will ask if they can take an extra plate home. She says they should wait for her to offer since she is the host. I say she's over reacting and that it's a compliment that people want to take her food home. We go back and forth over this each time, who would you say is right?

Dear Friend,

While I do agree it is surely a compliment that folks would want to take home an extra helping of food, I would have to side with your mother. As a dinner guest it's best to wait until your host offers for you to take extra food home rather than ask.

In some cases the host may plan on taking the extra food to a shelter or some other place where others may need it more. In your mother's case, it seems as though she has a big heart and really does love to share. This is why she tends to over prepare. I would suggest that you encourage her to make the offer early in the service so that she can fulfill her wish as the host. This way you two don't have to have anything to back and forth over other than your own extra helping of food!

About The Author

Nicknamed “The Etiquette Lady” Elaine Swann is an etiquette expert and Author of “Girls Have Style…at School!” an etiquette book for teen girls. For helpful etiquette tips please visit our website This content is provided by Elaine Swann, it may be used only in its entirety with all links included.

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[Note: Due to size restriction, this articles title has to be abreviated. Apologies to Elaine Swann . - Admin.]

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Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:46 pm
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