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Ruined New Year's dinner

(64 Posts)
willa45 Thu 03-Jan-19 02:43:33

Sorry for the long rant:

Friends we've known for years were always at our house for New Year's Eve with their (then small) children. Later we retired and moved away. We no longer throw NY parties and had no plans, but they were going to be alone too, so we invited the two of them to come and stay with us over New Year's Eve.

These days, I prepare an extra special dinner for H and that's how we celebrate. This year I made Coquille St Jacques followed by individually wrapped Beef Wellington....H's favorite!

Friend called me two days prior to ask what I needed. I said no worries and that dinner was taken care of. I told her it was lovely to share our special New Year's dinner with them.....I'm sure I never mentioned the menu.

She called me again later that same evening and I was taken aback when she offered to bring "the roast ham'" Once again I told her dinner was planned and explained that I had already bought all the ingredients. She offered to bring hors d'oeuvres instead. I had that covered too (raw vegetables and dip) but she insisted, so I felt pressured to say OK .

Long story short, they arrived over an hour late because they stopped at the store to buy an enormous box of pretzel bites and a jar of fancy mustard. Needless to say, we were all famished. While I hastily broiled the Coquilles and baked the Wellingtons, the pretzels kept going around.

When we finally sat down to dinner no one was hungry. I had to throw away half eaten (very expensive) center cut filet mignons that I special ordered from the butcher and had baked to rosy perfection. We had to defer dessert (homemade pumpkin pie) and coffee until around 10:30 PM because she and the two hubbies were so full.

I managed to remain calm and polite throughout, but internally I was fuming. I think she may have sensed some tension in the air and even now I'm still annoyed. I'm just worried she may have noticed.

I guess there's not much I can do now, but I may have overreacted.....Am I making too much of this or did she overstep? Is this worth ruining a thirty year friendship?Help!

tiredoldwoman Thu 03-Jan-19 05:05:12

I think things need to be very flexible at Christmas and understand your annoyance at unnecessarily wasted food .
I myself baked a Mary Berry cheesecake to take to my daughters dinner , but we never got as far as pudding as we were so full . Pudding was going to be later , there was a trifle too ... later never came . Bedtime came first !
We all try so hard to make things special , it's all a bit daft really ! Next year we'll get it right !
Your dinner sounded mighty fine but ruined by pretzels !!! Oh dear . growl then laugh .

absent Thu 03-Jan-19 05:26:30

The great thing is to have a daughter with six children on school holidays until February (this is the Southern Hemisphere). We held a New Year's Day barbecue and, as always, I cooked a selection of meats and fish, prepared a bunch of salads, made bread, bought crackers and a selection of cheeses, made desserts, etc. Typical OTT absent. However, as always, when it was time for the family to go home, out came the resealable boxes, which were then packed with leftover lamb chops with mint and sherry, chicken kebabs with citrus and cumin, [home-grown] courgette and Parmesan cheese bread, Boodles Citrus Fool and maybe some other stuff. Absentdaughter did transfer the prawns from the one remaining kebab into a small box in the fridge, knowing that I had not eaten much and prawns are a favourite. Unfortunately, I thought the box contained something else and emptied it into the rubbish bin before I realised.

crystaltipps Thu 03-Jan-19 05:32:31

Really annoying, but not worth ruining a friendship in my opinion. We had a bring a dish buffet on NYE and loads of food left over, we managed to share out the left overs and are still it eating up. Your friend wanted to make a contribution, maybe you should have been a bit more assertive and said “don’t bring food the menu is all sorted, why don’t you bring the drinks?” Then, If she still brought food, say politely “thank you”, put it to one side and say, “we can eat these later with our midnight drinks if you’re still hungry”

absent Thu 03-Jan-19 05:40:54

crystaltipps What a diplomatic suggestion!

mumofmadboys Thu 03-Jan-19 05:50:12

Just let it go. Friendships are far more important. Next time do something simpler and more reheatable

Teetime Thu 03-Jan-19 06:38:30

We were alone on NYE. No invites and dont know anyone who would come to us for that particular evening so having anyone to share the evening with would be nice.

BradfordLass72 Thu 03-Jan-19 07:01:00

I guess you were in the kitchen whilst they were drinking and nibbling, otherwise you'd have been able to smack
their hands and say, 'Stop eating pretzels, you'll ruin your dinner!!'

I understand completely how upsetting it is to get things wrong for a special dinner and if it helps, let me tell you about how I totally stuffed up Christmas.
My dil requested strawberry Mille Feuile but this year, instead of using cream, I decided on crème pâtissière which I made and cooled just before guests arrived.
My son wanted the traditional Xmas pud with white sauce (to which we adults add a slug of brandy), so that too was made in the morning.
You know what's coming don't you?
I piped the white sauce onto the crispy pastry of the MF and when it came to the puds, I found the Crème pâtissière untouched. Yes, I know one is pale yellow
and the other white but I lost my ability to differentiate colours a long time ago.

Not content with that...I was half-way through cooking the pork pies for Christmas breakfast (on 22nd) when a troubled friend arrived, so I could hardly ask her to hold on to her tears whilst I egg glazed the sides and bottom and put them back in the oven. So they stood in the pans and got soggy bottoms.
Oh, I haven't finished....then I spilled wine all over the place with a too enthusiastic toast (and I hadn't even had a sip of the alkyhole at that point) and to finish the performance, found a dish of forgotten vegetables in the microwave after everyone had gone.

Nandalot Thu 03-Jan-19 08:45:32

Willa, don’t feel bad. Your friend was only trying to be thoughtful but it went wrong. Try to forget about it and focus on the friendship.
BradfordLass, you sound an amazing cook, and I think you could have invented a rather original mille feuille.

mcem Thu 03-Jan-19 08:55:25

As 3 adults who knew they were about to eat dinner, they didn't have to eat the pretzels.
It was the eating rather than the bringing that caused the problem.

Anja Thu 03-Jan-19 09:15:22

I wouldn’t have thrown half the meal away - we would have had it ourselves next day. Your friend didn’t like to arrive empty-handed that I understand, but then again she shouldn’t have arrived late because she was disorganised. And it was silly of the adults to stuff themselves with pretzels....a weird thing to do IMO 🤨

Bit of a disaster all round. I’d let it go and move on.

Luckygirl Thu 03-Jan-19 09:41:26

Maybe it might have been good to spell out to her the menu that you had planned and to say that there was no room for anything else.

I would not fall out over this - it was well meant.

As to your amazing menu - well done! I have never in my whole life cooked anything of such complexity!

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 03-Jan-19 10:15:51

I don't blame you for feeling annoyed but at least you managed to keep a lid on it - good for you. You mentioned the arrangements you'd made to her so I'm sure she realised her mistake during the evening. She meant well but didn't listen. It's a shame but maybe celebrate NY with just the two of you in future.
Perhaps she's feeling contrite about it now and wishes she'd behaved differently and may be thinking about saying sorry. Try not to fall out about it.

Coconut Thu 03-Jan-19 10:21:57

Why bother ringing to ask what you want her to bring, then ignoring what you said, very strange. She could’ve just bought you flowers, chocs etc if she wanted to bring something. I would’ve thanked her for her contributions and immediately stored them all away for a later date !

Blinko Thu 03-Jan-19 10:22:34

I knew there was a reason why I don't like pretzels. I gave a box away that appeared over the hols as a gift. No thanks, at any price. The meal itself sounds fantastic! Coquilles Saint Jaques, blimey!

Baggs Thu 03-Jan-19 10:32:28

I'd worry an idiot like that didn't notice my annoyance! Blimmin' cheek, not to mention rude, coming an hour late. There’s a saying: "Five minutes early is on time; on time is late; late is unacceptable."

Grannyknot Thu 03-Jan-19 10:34:33

Baggs or my husband's saying:

"If you're not 5 minutes early, you're late". smile

CarlyD7 Thu 03-Jan-19 10:35:11

It sounds as though she was mortified at the idea of turning up empty handed, and had a last minute panic (hence them being late). I would leave the friendship intact and take the lesson from it. If you invite them again (and why not) ask her to bring something - maybe the dessert? Also, do a casserole so it doesn't matter too much if they're a bit late? Good friendships are far more important than a dinner that wasn't "perfect".

NotSpaghetti Thu 03-Jan-19 10:36:56

Don't be angry willa45 - I think the company was really more important than the food, even though you were focusing on the meal.
I expect everyone was chatting away and enjoying themselves and that's why so many pretzels were consumed. It's happened to me too in the past - "sorry no room for pudding" grrr!
Next time cook something easy. Invite your friend to bring the pudding, and then try to relax if things don't quite go to plan.
Probably, no one but you had as much "invested" in the dinner so being angry will only hurt and upset you.
I hope you do another New Year next time round and that you feel better afterwards.
And if too many pretzels are eaten it will probably be their pudding that's wasted!

LuckyFour Thu 03-Jan-19 10:42:34

Where do you live Willa45? Me and DH would love to come to you for New Year next year. Won't bring a thing. It sounds like a wonderful meal!!

Urmstongran Thu 03-Jan-19 10:42:44

Of course your friend will have noticed ‘the tension in the air’. Sounded like a superb dinner though & you went to a lot of trouble - for yourselves too as it was NYE and special - why not? Just a shame for all of you for different reasons. Let it go. I hope you’ve spoken on the telephone since?

moobox Thu 03-Jan-19 11:17:28

Normally we do pool NYE food, at whichever house, so perhaps it's a bit of a norm for that particular evening. This year there were going to be just 4 of us, so I was going to just do an easy meal without contributions but our guests cancelled through illness, and I downgraded our meal to an even easier one to prepare!

sarahellenwhitney Thu 03-Jan-19 11:17:55

Is a hot and cold buffet the answer.? I have found you can never have enough eats at these .Why spoil friendships over food.

Pippa22 Thu 03-Jan-19 11:21:26

Just to calm the atmosphere if there was one and it was noticed why not phone your old friend and say it was a lovely evening and would they join you again next year but only if the don’t bring pretzels- or anything else. That way it brings it into the open and you can all laugh about it.

sarahellenwhitney Thu 03-Jan-19 11:25:04

LuckyFour This is not unusual in the U.S When I spent a Xmas and New Year with relatives who live there it was not uncommon for guests to bring food.