My husband and I (with 3 year old) were invited to lunch the day after Christmas by our friend and his girlfriend. The girlfriend was in charge of preparing lunch and she really made a big effort. But she spent the whole time holed up in the kitchen preparing stuff. We hadn't been briefed on the structure of the meal (we had never been to their place and she is Polish). First there was lots of bread, olives, cold meats, etc and we were hungry and sort of went to town on that. An hour later came huge bowls of beetroot soup with dumplings. And a big platter of mushroom croquettes. By this time we were nearly bursting. An hour later came oven-baked salmon with rice and salad. I could hardly eat it, even though it was lovely. Then there were 4 kinds of cake, and coffee! We finished lunch at around 7pm! And the hostess was in the kitchen for about 6 of the 7 hours we were there. I was busy keeping the 3 year old out of trouble, but my husband kept going to the kitchen to ask if she needed any help. The kitchen was at the far end of the apartment, away from the room where the food was being served, so it was a bit awkward to carry on with her slaving away in a separate room. When we asked if she was going to eat with us, she said, that's ok, I ate before you came! My guess is she was nervous about entertaining and wanted to make a good impression, but we were left feeling a bit bewildered.
Any suggestions on how to tackle this sort of a situation?