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A polite way to say "This isn't a potluck?"


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A polite way to say "This isn't a potluck?"

Erika L | | Sep 24, 2008 12:42 PM

My house (condo, actually) is 550 square feet. As you can imagine, everything is miniature; all furnishings have to do double-duty (the "coffee table" is an old steamer trunk that hides linens), closets hold more than just clothes, and all my bakeware is stored in the oven.

I do, though, enjoy having company and periodically have get-togethers for up to 20 people at which I provide the food and drink. Menus have to be planned carefully--finger food only, nothing that requires plates or cutlery. I try to be clear that these aren't potlucks--the start times aren't near "standard" meal times, and I say something like, "I'll provide the drinks and nibbles." Still, at least a couple people always bring dishes, and sometimes they bring things that are awkward--e.g., a salad that requires not only plates and folks, but also last-minute cooking of the hot dressing on the stove. Another time, someone brought appetizers that needed baking, and I had to empty the oven of cookie trays, muffin tins, lasagna pans, and cooking racks and then stash them under the bed (that already held several under-the-bed storage containers). These dishes are definitely to be served at the party--they aren't hostess gifts.

I feel badly about being dismayed that I have generous friends who won't take my "I'll supply the goodies" line seriously, but the space situation is pretty crucial. Any suggestions or advice on how to politely and effectively discourage people from bringing potluck offerings? And yes, all of these people have been to my house before and are familiar with the space constraints and not only continue to bring potluck offerings but continue to bring unwieldy things.

Or should I just give up and hope that my guests won't bring, say, a standing rib roast??

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