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Card or gift for host shows appreciation | Kitsap Week

Dear Erin,

I have a question about dinner parties.

When my family is invited to a casual dinner party at a friend's home and I am asked to bring a dish, do I also need to bring a bottle of wine? I know it's nice to bring a hostess gift if you are coming empty handed, but I am not sure about the right thing to do when you've been assigned part of the meal.

— Dining in Dyes Inlet

Dear Dining,

I must admit, this question stumped me.

Lately, it seems to be the norm for people to bring a dish along with a bottle of wine.

But that doesn't make it the right answer.

In theory, your friend invited you and your family over because they enjoy your company. Your role is to be a polite house guest, not to stock a wine cellar.

However, your friend also has done the lion's share of the planning, cooking and cleaning. You could acknowledge that kindness with a small gift such a jar of jam or flowers cut from your yard.

Or better yet, send a “thank you” note through the mail after the dinner party. Your friend will be pleasantly surprised to find a hand-addressed letter in a sea of bills and catalogs.

Readers, what do you think? How do you handle this situation? When you are hosting a dinner party do you expect guests to bring wine, even if not asked?

*      *      *

READER UPDATE

A reader brought to my attention that when I answered last week's question regarding a friend’s use of offensive language, I referred to the friend as a male.

However, the reader’s question was gender neutral.

The reader wrote:

“Your response assumed the offender was male and in a way participated in ‘male bashing,’ I suspect without intention.”

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. You are correct that I had no intention of singling out a specific gender.

Interestingly, after writing my response to Hurting in Hansville, I overheard two people last week using the offensive word. The gender of the offenders? Women.

— ­Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo 98370 or e-mail ejennings@northkitsapherald.com. Questions can range from advice to practical issues.

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