Post # 1
- Wedding: August 2012 - Historic Lougheed House
I’m hosting our first married dinner party for 4 of my colleagues and my wife (obvs).
Ive been watching shows like Dinner Party Wars and Come Dine With Me, and I see that the people always plate their food, and then bring it out for their guests. Ive never really been to a dinner party…. But at family dinners my mom always did family-style.
Is it weird to plate someone’s food? I thought I could make a better presentation that way… And also my table only sits 6, and we will have 6. I’m worried there won’t be enough room on the table for all the serving dishes if I’ve got my charger plates and all the silverware, china and crystal out.
So ladies…. Please tell me: dinner party etiquette: plated or family style?
Post # 3
I love plated dinners – I think it tosses in a little extra “fancy” almost to the dinner. It’s not weird at all to plate someone’s food! 🙂
Post # 4
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
I would plate the food. Anytime we had a fancy dinner growing up, including Thansgiving, my mom plated the food in the kitchen. We saved family style for normal family dinners. With a full table, it’s just simpler not to have the table crowded with food.
Post # 5
Your choice! You can plate the food and then offer more of something when people finish. The other alternative is to plate and put the serving dishes on the table if people want seconds. (Or put them on a side buffet table)
I tend to put the serving dishes on the table simply because many of the people I invite over for dinner are huge eaters and one plate of food is not enough. Or I will serve the first course (soupr or salad) and do family style for the second courses.
EDIT: I would also add this is meant to be fun for you and the guests. At the end of the day you need to do what works for you and your guests, what wont be too much stress and will make you all happy and leaving the evening thinking “I would love to do that again” If that means not being formal, then so be it.
Recently DH and I went to a formal dinner at a friends house where no one got seconds. The food was good, but on the way home DH stopped somewhere for more food. She simply did not serve enough or offer more.
Post # 6
You could set up your serving dishes in the kitchen and people can plate their own meal. I got to my in laws almost every sunday for dinner and she still doesn’t let us serve ourselves. There are some days that I’m still hungry because the portion she serves is too small. She makes “girl” and “boy” portion sizes which would make sense but some days I can eat as much as DH can.
Post # 7
Proper dinner party means to plate the meals for your guests. Dinner party wars actually has alot of information about how things should be done, both in the kitchen and out. No one should be offended if you plate their meals, only you know your guests, if you feel they wouldn’t like that then maybe allow them to enter the kitchen to plate for themselves, I realize that’s technically very poor manners to do that way, but you really have to guage your guests expectations.
Post # 8
I love Family-style dinners. I grew up with plated in the UK, so when I came to Greece and every mealtime was about passing dishes around etc I went crazy in a good way. Dinner parties in my house are now always like this, and am slowly converting my parents back in Wales to do the same as well… It does mean a bit more washing up though….
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2012 - Historic Lougheed House
well…. I’ve got both formal dinnerware (platinum rimmed white china, formal cut crystal), and then also casual china (the Sophie Conran for Portimerion, and regular crystal wine glasses). I could go either more formal, or less formal.
I do want to do more formal though to be honest.
Someone mentioned dinner party wars having a resource about this…. Could you link me that??
It will all be girls at this dinner party – it’s a party to celebrate before we all go to Africa, where we won’t have fancy food. So that makes me think even more I should use the formal dinnerware…. A “last supper” of sorts.
Post # 10
I’ve done both. Guests never seem to care which. Of the two, I think family style is more manageable, so maybe try that to begin with and go from there. If you decide to plate, depending on how many courses you’re doing, try to choose things you can plate ahead of time, like a salad for a starter and cheese cake for dessert and a cold side so you can just pop the entree on and don’t spend half the evening in the kitchen plating food. 🙂
Post # 11
How about you plate the meat then family style the veg? That’s my favourite way. Also, I dislike the strangest of things… the first time I met SOs Dad I had to ask for a different plate of food because he’d poured gravy over it (and I hate wet food unless it’s stew and supposed to be wet, I don’t let my veggies get wet though). It was embarrassing.
Post # 12
I actually really, REALLY hate when the food is plated at dinner parties! My in-laws are the only people I’ve ever known to do this and I can’t stand it. My in-laws are of an older, more formal generation than my parents, so I tend to associate this with old-fashioned, anachronistic etiquette. What if someone doesn’t want a particular dish? or wants seconds of something, but feels bad they can’t get it because their plate isn’t cleared? People have all sorts of different preferences–I’ll give an example: my father hates mashed potatoes with a vehement passion, for no good reason at all–he loves potatoes in other formats, loves polenta and other things that have that texture, it makes no sense. If he goes to a dinner party where mashed potatoes are served, it’s way more obvious that he isn’t eating them if he plates his own food than if he leaves them on his plate. It’s just so f’ing awkward! And yeah, some people might think it’s rude not to eat everything that’s served to you, but really, I think it’s ruder to enforce your own preferences on your guests.
When we have dinner parties and can’t fit all the dishes on the table, we use a side table, or put the dishes in our kitchen and let guests serve themselves.
ETA: I don’t normally use such strong language on my posts, but for some reason this struck a nerve about one of my in-law pet peeves, lol! Hopefully no one feels too strongly about their preferences here, since it’s really not a huge issue in the whole scheme of things, and takes offense, but if they do, I apologize
Post # 13
I would usually make something like lasagna or quiche and plate that in the kitchen, and then serve a bowl of salad, bread baskets, butter, a dish of postatoes and veg etc on the table with servers so ppl can take that themselves.
Dessert, I would usually plate that / make it individually to avoid messy serving at the table. Something like pavlova is easier plated for your guests.
I would just serve a medium portion and then offer seconds (if there is).
Post # 14
Now tell us how you really feel.
(Just funnin’ with you. It always cracks me up when someone gets really passionate about an unexpected pet peeve. 🙂
If he goes to a dinner party where mashed potatoes are served, it’s way more obvious that he isn’t eating them if he plates his own food than if he leaves them on his plate. It’s just so f’ing awkward! And yeah, some people might think it’s rude not to eat everything that’s served to you, but really, I think it’s ruder to enforce your own preferences on your guests.
Personally I would never plate food to force my preferences on my guests, and I wouldn’t judge them on what they did or didn’t eat. (And if your in-laws do that, they’re the rude ones.)
I usually plate for the presentation… I like serving beautifully laid out plates with a drizzel of reduction and a garnish, and I think that the visual appeal of the food is part of the experience. I also plate because I made one for each guest… there’s not enough to put on a plate and worry about someone not getting one. And I plate because when I plan a meal, I intend the components to go together. I don’t serve an assemble your own meal buffet, I put a lot of thought into balancing the flavors and textures and colors on the plate.
Would I be upset or offended if someone didn’t eat something they don’t like? Absolutely not. As the hostess, I’d prefer if they didn’t. I put a lot of care into choosing the wines, too, and I’m never offended if someone doesn’t drink it. 🙂
None of that is intended to argue with your feelings on the subject, btw. I just figured next time you’re confronted with a plated dinner maybe you can remember that and not stress about having to eat something gross. 🙂
(I also have some deeply held objections to the “clean your plate” school of thinking. I figure with obesity becoming the problem it is, the last thing we need is to force people to eat food they don’t like, don’t want or past the point where they’re full.)
Post # 15
@finnaroo: Are we related? My in laws to a T.
Post # 16
Well, my cooking influences are a little…continental to say the least, so I always used to plate…but then my freaking sister in law hates having her food touch so one night she loses her shit at my dining room table because her mashed potatos are touching her beef georgian AND since it’s stuffed with lobter and asparagus, double infraction…she snarkily asks for another plate and starts performing a dinner autopsy on my Limoges china! As she sits there picking at this beautiful meal that I slaved over ALL DAY, lecturing me about how rude it is to plate people’s food in front of my guests….I snapped, snatched her plates away from her, dumped in into this little sectioned off kids plate we happened to have and threw it back in front of her….I was so pissed….so the moral of this story?
PLATE AT YOUR OWN PERIL! I still plate everyone’s food EXCEPT for my sister in law, she can get her ass in there and get it herself!