This warranted its own thread, as I just read over 250 responses to the dilemma of a Chowhounder who was planning a baby back rib birthday dinner, only to have to deal with an rude guest who insisted on bringing his wife's version of the main course, in spite of being told "No."
A while ago, we hosted a luncheon that was intended to be a catered BBQ affair with some friends. We were new in town and most of the friends were my husband's. My husband, unbeknownst to me, was receiving e-mails from well-intentioned guests offering to bring dishes. He pretty much told them to bring desserts, chips and dips, etc., without my knowledge. Largely because he had never been placed in the position of social coordinator of our home, he thought he was helping, and I was horrified when I found out what he had done on the day of the party (This never happened again, BTW. The lack of communication about this could be blamed on too much business travel, so we got past it quickly). There was just too much food because I didn't expect any. Well, one woman showed up with a crock pot full of Bush's baked beans, straight out of the can. As I had extra catering trays to keep food warm, I politely put her beans in a warmer and let the guest help themselves. Some six hours later, during cleanup, I noticed that she had scooped the remaining beans out of the tray (about half of what she brought) and was carrying them back home in her newly washed crock pot. I was amazed, but didn't say a word. First, who would want old dry beans, and second - is this typical? It got me thinking -- what is the custom in this part of the country when it comes to leftover potluck food? I am a native New Yorker who has taken up residence in the South, so I'm still learning the ropes here :)