Before my kids were born, my husband and I used to plan elaborate dinner parties with multiple courses. The desserts! And the wines! Oh, the wines...
Now the only whining happens before the guests arrive. I have never failed to issue a dinner invitation that isn't followed by "what can I bring?" from the invitee. You all know where I'm going with this. In a normal household, there would be the predictable exchange:
"Oh, you don't need to bring anything. Just yourselves is enough!"
"No, no, I insist!"
"Well, then, if you really must, how 'bout a [insert thing you least like to cook or that you think is least likely to screw up your menu]."
Of course, we don't live in the real world. My conversations always go like this:
"What can I bring?"
"Oh, please don't bring anything. I don't know if you remember this, but our son has multiple food allergies, so we really prefer to prepare all the food ourselves. Really - just your company is all we need."
But it never ends there. Does it?
"Oh, no, really, I INSIST! What can we bring?"
"No, really, there isn't much that you could bring that I would feel comfortable serving him. It's so hard to know what ingredients are a problem. Please - just bring yourselves."
"I could pick something up! Should I pick something up? How about chicken? Does he like chicken?"
"No, really, there are very few prepared foods he can have! We really would prefer to make the entire dinner. We love to cook - we wouldn't be inviting you if we weren't prepared to cook."
"How about dessert then? I can make these awesome peanut butter cookies...oh wait, he's probably allergic to those, right? Shoot...I make them all the time."
"REALLY. Just bring yourself. You don't need to bring a thing."
"I just wouldn't feel COMFORTABLE unless I brought something."
"Fine...what about a salad?"
"Great! How about Thai peanut salad?"
Even if I manage to hold strong and head this one off, there's inevitably the "surprise" dish. So now I have the choice of serving a dish with unsafe ingredients that we'll have to corral all night, watching all the serving utensils to make sure people aren't double-dipping or accidentally dropping little pieces of nuts everywhere, followed by a Decon 5 level clean-up after they go. Or, I can choose not to serve the dish and offend them.
And you wonder why I don't socialize as much anymore!