laplumeDear Ms. Plume,

Last week we invited our new neighbors over for dinner with their little boy. The parents insisted that he would be fine sitting in front of the television with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich they had thoughtfully brought for him. All was well until he came into the dining room to tell his parents that he had wanted his sandwich toasted and had put it into the VCR in an attempt to do so. Needless to say, that was pretty much the end of the VCR; the parents have offered to replace it, should we accept?



Dear Luanne,

This is a first! See if you can get it repaired; if not then weigh the replacement cost versus the friendship and decide which is more important. That said, you do have a charming story which may well be worth the price of a VCR.

LA. Plume


Dear L. A. Plume,

We’ve been invited to a potluck supper and have been asked to bring a dessert.

Since everyone is taking the food, is it necessary to also take a gift to the hosts?



Dear Wondering,

It is always nice to take a gift to the host. This is one of those times where it really is the thought that counts, and it need not be expensive. A bottle of wine, or sparkling lemonade, some pretty napkins, a candle, a nice jar of jam, are all appropriate gifts to show that you appreciate the invitation.

L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

My husband and his friend have a standing date to play golf together twice a month. Afterwards the habit is that we alternate going to each others’ houses for dinner. The problem is not so much that his partner’s wife doesn’t cook, so she orders pizza, but rather that the minute they leave in the morning to play golf, she starts to drink, and by the time we get there she usually has had too many cocktails to remember to order the pizza. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that he could actually pick up the phone and order it himself, so we sit there for a few hours until we finally give up and go home without eating. I don’t want to upset their golfing routine but this is very frustrating.  What can we do?



Dear Joan,

It is a bit of a tricky situation, especially if her husband doesn’t seem to acknowledge the problem. As a point of reference all I can tell you is that I had the most wonderful friend who loved to entertain but couldn’t cook worth beans. I remember an Easter dinner once where all she served was hard boiled eggs floating in tomato soup. In an effort not to hurt her feelings, I simply took something substantial every time I went there for dinner. Perhaps you can try taking a big salad and some bread, and if the pizza doesn’t get ordered, at least you will have something to eat. And maybe she’ll get the hint.

L.A. Plume


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