I remember when I was very young and we lived in Barnaby in Suffolk, that a neighbour invited us round for a BBQ, when asked if there was anything we could bring – they replied “Meat”.
My parents thought this mean, if we ever had anyone round for dinner we would feed them ourselves and she kind of expected the same back.
So I was thinking is this just an English thing, because once upon a time my parents were X-pats, I used to visit in holidays and enjoyed many a dinner at other peoples, entertaining was key. Hospitality & socialising stopped you from going mad. When they were in Quatar me and my mum would go on visits to local Arabic ladies, the hospitality was outstanding. Within minutes of us arriving there would be a table full of freshly prepared pastry’s and treats, hot sugary mint tea and sweet delights, whether you were hungry or not no matter what time of the day or night it was.
In certain cultures, lavishing your guests with good food shows your generosity, some worldly people would never even consider asking a guest to bring some ‘meat’ it would be an insult, a ridiculous notion, inconceivable and socially unacceptable. For instance in The Far East when someone invites you out to diner they are expected to pay, generally in Asia the oldest male pays no matter what – its what’s socially excepted.
I once got invited to a party, I won’t say too much in case they read this – it’s not my dad!. Anyway, everyone was asked to bring some food – all of the food!. It wasn’t much of a party I spent all morning cooking, most people couldn’t be bothered to cook fresh food, so brought packet stuff instead. We just ended up with a beige buffet from hell – I might as well sat on my kitchen floor and eat all my food because at the party everyone headed straight to my bounty and by the time I finished helping out in the kitchen it was demolished with only a value range packet of sausage rolls and a bottle of unopened salad dressing for company (with no salads). All because the hosts were food mean.
So – – what does the web say (I wanted to say Fox then) – –
Conclusion from web – – Well there’s a lot on BYO drinks, that’s fair enough – after all the people I know drink far too much! There’s a lot of American BYO BBQ meats but also a lot that think it’s not good etiquette, plus a few parties’ that are sprouting up mainly with younger people who say BYO everything – even a BBQ which required you to cook the meat you brought for yourself on the BBQ that they so generously supplied.
But in far eastern regions, Arabic country’s and some of Europe – no one would even consider asking you to bring your own food to a dinner.
I think it goes back to the war – my nana once told me you could get your own fish battered in the fish n chip shops for a penny and then buy a penny worth of chips, scraps were free.
Or is it just that the English (& Americans it seems) are lazy – liking the entertainment but not wanting to spend time cooking.
Or are they mean not wanting to spend their hard earned cash on feeding friends and family.
Whatever it is I’m not one of them, I love cooking for other people and if when on occasions people offer to bring round dessert – I simply say “no thanks, the pleasure for me is in the giving” (Not really I prefer my own cooking & not ‘Sara Lee’s’!