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To dread in-laws visit due to their table manners?

(182 Posts)
asseenontv Tue 21-Dec-10 16:47:44

When the ILs come over for a meal they always pile their plates so high with food that there is not enough left for us and I find it really rude and bad mannered.
Their plates are usually about 4 inches deep in food (no kidding) and DH and I share whatever is left between us and the kids. We have tiny portions as a result and the ILs often notice and say 'oh not on a diet again are we?' or similar joke. We leave a small amount in the serving dishes for 'seconds' as well and usually FIL has finished his mound before I have finished my first mouthful and will then share out whatever is left between him and MIL. No chance for us to have seconds at all. AIBU?? I find it so rude. And frankly, disgusting that they stuff their faces whilst their GC go without at the same table!
We've tried over-catering in an attempt to prevent this happening but they subconsciously see it as a challenge and scoff the lot as usual. Serving out their plate for them results in them having many rounds of 'seconds' and again no food for us.
How can we stop this happening when they come round on Christmas Eve ?
(they are not fat, they walk dogs and have hollow legs big appetites but come on!)

cornprawnringJasonDonovanstart Tue 21-Dec-10 16:49:04

load the plates and put everything else back in the oven (or hide it grin)- greedy pigs

JeezyPeeps Tue 21-Dec-10 16:49:27

Plate up reasonable amounts for everyone before you serve, and then anything leftover is fair game?

jendot Tue 21-Dec-10 16:50:39

Just cook loads extra and serve yourself a big portion in the first place (eg enough so you won't want seconds)....If people are going hungry around my table I would be embarrassed!!

Also the thought that the host may begrudge the guests a decent meal ffs!! If you don't want them then don't invite them!

ItsAHollyJollyTee Tue 21-Dec-10 16:50:39

Serve the plates in the kitchen and hand them round, don't do 'serving dishes'.

Checkmate Tue 21-Dec-10 16:51:25

Plate up for you and (especially) the children first, of course.

hillyhilly Tue 21-Dec-10 16:53:03

Just cook more, they obviously have big appetites and are healthy if they're not overweight as a result.

Yulephemia Tue 21-Dec-10 16:53:13

Like the other posters have said, plus make it clear that you dish out the food, not them.

Niecie Tue 21-Dec-10 16:54:18

No I agree, don't do serving dishes. Plate up it up yourself (tell them it saves on the washing up if they query it) and make sure you give yourself enough first time round. Don't bother with seconds.

Perhaps you can take it as a compliment of your cooking if they want so much of it.

Just as a matter of interest what do they eat like at home? Are they just greedy because they are out?

llbeanj Tue 21-Dec-10 16:54:42

sounds quite whiny to me. you leave food in the serving dish, then complain that they eat it? if you wanted it, you could have just taken it.
if you over-cater, you still end up with 'no food', despite having had at least one chance (and possibly more) to take what you wanted.

all sounds very easily avoidable to me.

not that, of course, they aren't being selfish and thoughtless - but it sounds like you are making it easy for them.

woahwoah Tue 21-Dec-10 16:56:21

Could you dish up at least part of the meal in the kitchen eg put meat and potatoes on everyone's plate, then put veg in dishes on the table. That way everyone gets a reasonable portion (make sure you put plenty on your plates!) but they can still help themselves to veg. You could put extra potatoes , meat etc on the table for 'seconds' (or for them to pig on!) but at least you and your children will have had decent portions.

I once stayed in a language college abroad (many years ago) where the amount of food put on the table for all to share was so tiny that it was really awkward. Some people took a 'normal' amount, leaving almost nothing for the rest of us. It was really annoying and we could find no way round it, without being really rude to them. And actually, the problem was the mean portions anyway.

Assuming you are not undercatering in this way (and it doesn't sound as though you are!), then take back control yourself and dish up everyone's food fairly!

asseenontv Tue 21-Dec-10 16:59:43

Yes ofcourse. You are right. I'll just load all plates and only make just enough.
Hiding food is out of the question as its hard to keep FIL out of the kitchen ('ooh where's yer Bisto me giwrl' etc, 'what's you doin with them fancy forrin erbs then?' etc... sweet but eagle-eyed for food locations)
Just hope they don't ask for us to prepare another meal for them when they get hungry after the rationed first....They can always get take-away on their way home.
It really bugs me and I need to get tough I think. I will ration them to 2 inches deep and some bread on the side. What a loving DIL I am- full of Christmas spirit... not.

Niecie Tue 21-Dec-10 17:02:02

You don't have to ration them. Make the plates 6" deep and see if they rise to the challenge. grin

Just make sure that you do yours and your children's first so that you have enough and then they can have whatever is left.

JaneS Tue 21-Dec-10 17:03:09

Could you tell us how much of things you make, and how many people you're feeding? That way you might get some consensus on whether or not your family have rather delicate appetites, or whether the ILs are greedy pigs!

(I'm thinking of the pram-in-hall thread where everyone argued the case both ways, then the OP posted a picture and suddenly all was clear!)

atswimtwolengths Tue 21-Dec-10 17:04:44

I can't see how this happened more than once.

You just need to put more on the table, don't you? There is a limit to what they can put on their plates.

Keep some spare in the kitchen, too, so that if say they have eaten all the stuffing, you say 'Oh it seems like you two have had all the stuffing; I'll just go and get some more for us.'

At some point you do need to point out that they have eaten more than their share, but at the same time you probably need to double the amount you put out on the table.

FabbyChic Tue 21-Dec-10 17:04:55

Dont do self serve meals, serve the food yourself on a plate.

agedknees Tue 21-Dec-10 17:06:18

Had to laugh at this. My mil will chew her food with her mouth wide open. After she has finished her meal she will push her empty plate over to the person next to her (usually me who is still eating, I eat a bit slower then her).

When I query this I get told she does not like to sit with a dirty plate in front of her. (But it is ok for her to shove her dirty plate over to me when I am still eating).

This year I am def going to get dh to sit next to her.

atswimtwolengths Tue 21-Dec-10 17:07:30

Sorry to hijack the thread, but does anyone else hate someone eating really fast? It makes me want to stop eating altogether.

JaneS Tue 21-Dec-10 17:08:46

aged, your MIL is weird. confused

groggymama Tue 21-Dec-10 17:11:06

I think you need to get your dh on the case buttering copious amounts of white bread.

agedknees Tue 21-Dec-10 17:11:13

Littlereddragon - I think what my mil really wants is for me to stop eating, pick up her plate and take it into the kitchen.

But I am such a crappy dil.

JaneS Tue 21-Dec-10 17:11:59

at - YES! Unless it's small children, it's really unpleasant.

Mind you, my mum does it as a tactic to demonstrate how hungry she is and how long she's been waiting for food, so I am biased!

I love proper, slightly lazy Christmas meals with lots of conversation, slow second helpings ... slow third helpings ...


coldtits Tue 21-Dec-10 17:12:09

If they aren't fat, then they aren't greedy. they are trying to meet their calorific needs.

If they are clearing what you are putting out, you need to put more out. I'd be so embarrassed if this happened in my house. Make lots and lots of mash, and plate the meat before you serve.

tinierclanger Tue 21-Dec-10 17:12:33

I really want to know how much it is. Please specify numbers of potatoes etc!

JaneS Tue 21-Dec-10 17:13:11

aged, you are very much not a crappy DIL! If that was me, I'd have said, 'oh, pop it in the sink in the other room then'.

And it wouldn't even have occurred to me that might be rude, I'd just assume that's what she expected me to say! blush

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