• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Chit Chat

Invite a Stranger to Dinner

I was flipping through my new Food Network magazine tonight and came across and article that talks about a site that brings people together for home-cooked meals.  This site has created a "matchmaking service" just for Thanksgiving.  And I put matchmaking in quotes because it says it's like online dating.

If you're the host you can post your menu and how many seats.  And then you can go through requests from prospective diners and pick the best person.

Do you think this is an awesome idea or would you think your host is BSC if you were to arrive and a complete stranger that no one knows is sitting next to you for Thanksgiving?
Anniversary

image

Re: Invite a Stranger to Dinner

  • Ummm no. I guess I could understand it more if it was like a lonely hearts club to group up people who couldn't be with their families, but it would be SUPER AWKWARD to have my whole crazy family and one random stray.

    image
    image
    paperpusher
  • sophhabobophasophhabobopha The Midwestern tundra member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I'm not into it.
    image
    paperpusher
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    When my parents lived in Japan they hosted a bunch of American students for Thanksgiving each year.  The first year they met some students in a sing-a-long piano bar in Tokyo a few weeks before thanksgiving.  By the end of the night my parents were inviting them to thanksgiving.  My parents told them they had 6 spots available for a sit down dinner on Thanksgiving.  I think there were 4-5 of them. One guy could not make it, but 2 randoms took the other 2 spots.  The following years at least one of the original group came with other friends.   

    That was as close to hosting random people my family ever got. 






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    paperpusherShellD13kmmssg[Deleted User]
  • BlergbotBlergbot An enchanted land member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    It's odd and I'm not sure how it would really work, but then again, we would usually open our home to stranded and international students (my dad is a college administrator) for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It was usually very nice (and never downright awkward), so maybe it would be like that?
    paperpusherShellD13
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think the sentiment is nice enough to help people have someone to spend the holiday with, but it would still be odd.

    When I was in college, there was a professor who would extend an invite to his students to his house for Thanksgiving.  I know of several classmates who accepted because they lived out of state and flying home for Thanksgiving wasn't feasible.  That's the closest I've ever heard of, though.
    paperpusher[Deleted User]
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think it's a cool idea for a regular non-holiday dinner. Minus the part about inviting random strangers into my home.
    paperpusher
  • SmileDamnitSmileDamnit Mile High City member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I saw a news story on something similar a few years ago. A single mother of 2 teenager girls posted a craigslist add inviting a single mom & her kids who were "holiday orphans" to a place at her table for Thanksgiving. She said it was a great experience & it's become their holiday tradition.

    That said, I don't think I could do it (…too indoctrinated with 'stranger danger' I guess), and DH would shit himself cuz he hates small talk. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    paperpusherShellD13[Deleted User]
  • misshart00misshart00 Oklahoma member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    I think it would be kind of fun. But I don't know if I could actually do it.
    paperpusherabbyj700
  • I'd do it. And by that I mean be the host, not the guest.

    I went to college about two hours from my parents' house. There were kids that couldn't afford to go home for tgives and Xmas. So we had them at our house. It was interesting and made for more than the usual family dinner conversation.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    paperpusherShellD13
  • misshart00misshart00 Oklahoma member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    I'd do it. And by that I mean be the host, not the guest. I went to college about two hours from my parents' house. There were kids that couldn't afford to go home for tgives and Xmas. So we had them at our house. It was interesting and made for more than the usual family dinner conversation.

    This is what my parents did too. But they lived about 20 minutes from school.
    paperpusher
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    The town where I grew up was coastal and, while it didn't have a Coast Guard base, CG boats would come through and would be there for a few weeks or a couple months. The city started this "Host a Coastie" program where you family could sign up to take a couple of CG members for Thanksgiving. My family did it once (there weren't always boats in town), and we had two ladies over for dinner.  It was really really fun!  They were really nice and it was really awesome to hear the stories about the various things they'd done (like chasing down pirates).

    I think that service sounds a bit weird though.  I probably wouldn't do it.

    paperpusher
  • If I were on a Gilmore Girls-esque TV show I would totally do this. In real life though, I would be too worried that they are serial killers or something. It's a great concept, though. Just one that I could not do in reality.

    However, there was a restaurant in DC in which you could eat for free and be seated with strangers. The idea was to create conversation with strangers and whatnot. Sadly, it closed down before I could visit (as you could imagine, seeing as it was donation based).


    Daisypath Anniversary tickers Daisypath Anniversary tickers



    paperpusherlurkergirl
  • I'm not sure if it is the site mentioned in the magazine, but I have heard of eat with, which i guess is the same concept except that the "strangers" actually pay you to come and eat. People advertise their menu on the site and then if it interest you, you can make a reservation at their home and pay whatever they are changing (maybe some are free I didn't look to much into it). However, I came across the concept in relation to clandestine /pop-up dinners, which are becoming all the rave where I live. It's a tad contradictory but to give a bit of face time to their clandestine dinners chefs would announce them on this site. I started playing around on it and realized that the majority of the peoe where not chefs but rather people opening up their home and kitchens to whoever, for a price of course ;)
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    paperpusher
  • raissyraisraissyrais London member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Kind of awkward...and it seems like the perfect occasion for psychopaths to pull a The Purge trick on y'all. Yep, I'm a pessimist.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    paperpusher
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    No thanks! I'm too scared of strangers being wackadoodles.

    I also get very concerned when someone doesn't have at least ONE person in their life. Like not one friend, crazy uncle, coworker where you can go for the holiday? You are probably a psycho if you can't maintain at least one relationship in the universe. This doesn't apply to the students and people living in new or foreign cities, I think it's awesome that some teachers and locals invite them over.

                                                                     

    image

    paperpusher
  • There was a couple at my church that invited everyone over for Thanksgiving and not me.  Why not me?  I've been going there longer than a lot of the people they invited.  Do you think I should just show up anyway?  They're having it in a park.


    :)  kidding, kidding

    This idea seems great, in theory.  I would be more inclined to go if it was in a public space, so that no creepers knew where I lived and could come back to kill me.  But in reality, I would probably never go through with it.  Not full-on-strangers.  
    southernbelle0915paperpusherhellohkblc07
  • I think it would be kind of fun. But I don't know if I could actually do it.
    This.

    As someone who moved multiple states away from her parents to attend college and had no car - I always enjoyed those who would extend an invitation to holiday gatherings. Because so many people were so awesome to me - I tend to do the same. For Easter this year we brought 5 extra people to FI's grandparents for dinner (with their permission of course as we helped with the food). One was a coworker who's parents live in Seattle who knows little to no one here as she moved here only months before. Two were our best friends who's families are both in Wisconsin - they had no days to travel with vacation schedules. And the other two were my boss and his step son. My boss's wife lives in Florida, and his big family were fighting about where to have Easter. So he decided to step out of the fight - and accept our invite to spend Easter with FI's family. Everyone loved it! Some felt odd about crashing a family party before hand - but felt great afterwards after realizing how accepted they were!
    paperpusher
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    loro929 said:

    I'm not sure if it is the site mentioned in the magazine, but I have heard of eat with, which i guess is the same concept except that the "strangers" actually pay you to come and eat. People advertise their menu on the site and then if it interest you, you can make a reservation at their home and pay whatever they are changing (maybe some are free I didn't look to much into it). However, I came across the concept in relation to clandestine /pop-up dinners, which are becoming all the rave where I live. It's a tad contradictory but to give a bit of face time to their clandestine dinners chefs would announce them on this site. I started playing around on it and realized that the majority of the peoe where not chefs but rather people opening up their home and kitchens to whoever, for a price of course ;)

    I was just going to bring up Eat With!

    Sounds interesting in theory but I'm so worried about getting sick from improper food handling. :/
    loro929lc07paperpusher
  • I'm not sure if it is the site mentioned in the magazine, but I have heard of eat with, which i guess is the same concept except that the "strangers" actually pay you to come and eat. People advertise their menu on the site and then if it interest you, you can make a reservation at their home and pay whatever they are changing (maybe some are free I didn't look to much into it). However, I came across the concept in relation to clandestine /pop-up dinners, which are becoming all the rave where I live. It's a tad contradictory but to give a bit of face time to their clandestine dinners chefs would announce them on this site. I started playing around on it and realized that the majority of the peoe where not chefs but rather people opening up their home and kitchens to whoever, for a price of course ;)
    I was just going to bring up Eat With! Sounds interesting in theory but I'm so worried about getting sick from improper food handling. :/
    This. Restaurants / eateries are legally obliged to adhere to a strict set of sanitary guidelines regarding food preparation / storage. At someone's home, there is no regulation so it is up to the host. It is an interesting concept, but for the time being I will stick to dinner parties hosted by friends and trips out to the restaurant.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    paperpusher
  • ShellD13ShellD13 Can't get there from here member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    On a similar note, there was a family in New England whose husband was deployed for a year and the mom said it was so sad to have the family dinners and constantly see her husband's chair empty so she made it a point to invite one random person to dinner every weekend for the rest of his deployment.  She said it was amazing how many people took her up on the invites and it was a great experience for thier kids.  She even wrote a book about it...

    Dinner with the Smileys



     
    Anniversary
    JennyColadapaperpusher
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm so introverted that even dealing with family holiday dinners is exhausting.  Definitely a no on incorporating a complete stranger into the dynamic.  


    image
    paperpusher
  • falsarafalsara Northside of Chicago member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    Before my Dad retired from the corps my mom would always make sure that the guys he was in charge of had a place to go for Thanksgiving. Especially when we were living overseas. My mom would always have Dad invite his entire squadron to holidays just so they knew they had an option other than the mess hall.

    When they retired they started inviting all of mine and my sister's friends over for holidays.

    I don't know if I would invite total strangers, but if I've meant them once, like at one of FI'S comedy functions, and I knew they needed a place to eat for the holiday I would invite them.

                                               

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image



    paperpusher
  • There was a couple at my church that invited everyone over for Thanksgiving and not me.  Why not me?  I've been going there longer than a lot of the people they invited.  Do you think I should just show up anyway?  They're having it in a park.


    :)  kidding, kidding

    This idea seems great, in theory.  I would be more inclined to go if it was in a public space, so that no creepers knew where I lived and could come back to kill me.  But in reality, I would probably never go through with it.  Not full-on-strangers.  
    hahaha omg how did I miss this?
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    paperpusher
  • My extended family, back in the day, were very much in to entertaining. Not so much of the Martha Stewart variety, but rather actually extending true hospitality. For many, many years my Grandmother and her SIL had a tradition of essentially partying their way through prepping for Thanksgiving the day before. It was equal parts pre-gaming and actual cooking. 

    One year back in the 70's they must have started earlier on Wednesday than usual and decided to drive over to the Navy yard and find some lonely, far-from-home sailors to invite for Thanksgiving dinner. I guess, as the story goes, they found some and added them to the guest list. From stories shared by those still living today it turned out amazingly well, strangers included. 

    That story always brings a smile to my face because it reminds me that hospitality isn't about fancy center pieces or executing the perfect meal but rather opening your home and your heart and sharing all of the above with loved ones as well as new comers. Or at least it should be.

    In this day in age stuff like that doesn't happen as much. But now I want to invite some randos over for Thanksgiving. 

    paperpusherShellD13
  • I've always wanted to do this.  And now that I finally have a house and space, I just might.  I want to start "adopting" "kids".  Like, first I'll take in local college students during holidays.  Then I'll host foreign exchange high school students.  Then I might actually foster some young kids and tweens.  And maybe someday I'll actually legally adopt a young couple of siblings.

    I don't think I'd use a service for any of this, but I'd totally host strangers.

    Besides, my family is so loose with holidays, I don't even think they'd find it odd.  We've rescheduled Christmas regularly.  We've had multiple Thanksgivings every year.  And we consider Easter just an excuse to get together with people to eat on spring day.
    paperpusher

  • adk19 said:
    I've always wanted to do this.  And now that I finally have a house and space, I just might.  I want to start "adopting" "kids".  Like, first I'll take in local college students during holidays.  Then I'll host foreign exchange high school students.  Then I might actually foster some young kids and tweens.  And maybe someday I'll actually legally adopt a young couple of siblings.

    I don't think I'd use a service for any of this, but I'd totally host strangers.

    Besides, my family is so loose with holidays, I don't even think they'd find it odd.  We've rescheduled Christmas regularly.  We've had multiple Thanksgivings every year.  And we consider Easter just an excuse to get together with people to eat on spring day.
    @adk19 Go for it.   We always hosted the big family holidays at our house growing up because we had the big house, and well my parents, especially Mom, liked to cook.    We moved soon after I left elementary school to a place where we knew no one.   Mom still loved hosting and simply wrote hand written invites to all of our neighbors in our division inviting everyone over for a 'Holiday Open House' on Christmas Eve.  It was put that way so anyone of any religion was welcome (many of our jewish friends loved that we hosted in then because they had a place to go on  Christmas Eve).

    Anyway - as I said we were new to the area, living there only 3 months and knew just our direct neighbors.  We had over 40 people show up from couples to whole families. It was fantastic!!! We knew about 10 of the people/kids before they walked in the door.   She kept doing it for probably 4 years before it was too much for her.  She still misses it sometimes - but thankfully my DH's family does something similar now and invites my parents to their event - mom's in heaven again enjoying the gatherings. 

    Moral of the story - do it.   Take a step outside the norm, you'll love it, and so many others would love it too.   Most of the people who came that first year didn't have other plans as they were from out of town too, or others came after their families events finished up.  It was such a success the first year that we had more and more people come the next years from word of mouth.  Such a blast and a tradition I hope to start when we have a house/family.
    paperpusher
  • I would do this if I trusted the area we live in. Sadly there is way too heavy a drug and homeless problem in my area for me to trust anyone.

    My mom regularly had "strays" as she lovingly call them for holidays. Usually it's someone at least someone in the family knows either friends or coworkers, but a few times its been the random Starbucks barista or grocery cashier who she felt bad was going to be alone for the holidays
    image
    paperpusher
  • I love hearing all these stories of inviting strangers in.  It restores my faith in humanity.
    Anniversary

    image
    LakeR2014
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards