La Corona Etiquette
October 9, 2020 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Can I bring homemade pesto to a small gathering? Details after the jump.

We are going over to the neighbors house this weekend for an outside gathering to discuss neighborhood issues. Its just 4 couples. I assume everyone will wear masks when not eating or drinking. Certainly I will be wearing one.

I thought about bringing some homemade pesto (and store bought crackers). The sun dried tomatoes in the pesto are from my neighbors garden, they gave us a bunch throughout the summer. The basil is from my garden. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't think twice about this, but now...? I'm worried the neighbors might feel some social pressure to eat some even if they would prefer not to.

Should I? Should I not?
posted by WalkerWestridge to Human Relations (14 answers total)
Nobody is going to catch COVID from food, or even from the container. Put it in a gift bag with a box of crackers like a standard hostess gift and they can serve or not serve as they prefer.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:51 AM on October 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sorry, feel I should clarify. I'm not worried about giving anyone covid, but not everyone feels comfortable eating food that isn't prepackaged right now. I'm worried about making my neighbors uncomfortable if they prefer to decline.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:56 AM on October 9, 2020

Nobody's going to catch it from the food but they may catch from the maskless people who are eating it. I would feel uncomfortable being around you eating, even if I wasn't eating.

I vote no. Don't hang out and eat maskless with people you don't live or pod with. You could put it into small jars and hand one to each couple to take home and enjoy, it sounds lovely.
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:56 AM on October 9, 2020 [11 favorites]

Yes, give it to the hosting neighbors as a gift.
posted by sarajane at 12:01 PM on October 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

I think this would be nice to bring as a gift for the garden-neighbors alone to enjoy later, but I wouldn’t bring it to eat during the gathering. You could always ask the neighbor ahead of time if they’d like some, possibly framing it as “I made too much pesto! Want some?”
posted by obfuscation at 12:01 PM on October 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

I would not be uncomfortable eating homemade food. I would absolutely be uncomfortable about the fact people were eating at all.
posted by aniola at 12:30 PM on October 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

I think the question or issue being brought to light in the responses is that you should check with the other couples there that everyone will be masked.

I’ve done many a meet up with friends over the last six months where we all sat at LEAST 6ft apart outdoors in lawn chairs. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to bring food for the group and put it on a side table. People were drinking through the evening (but everyone remain plopped down in their chairs!) so people didn’t wear masks.

For your own comfort as well as the comfort of others, check to see what the agreement is on wearing masks if you’ll all be outdoors (and how far apart you’ll actually sit! People who actually own patio furniture tend to sit closer where my friends all just have camping chairs and it’s easy to spread out across a park space. Those who have an actual deck may not be able to do so
posted by raccoon409 at 1:05 PM on October 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yes, you need to ask the host what they prefer. I'm honestly surprised at the number of people saying they wouldn't be around people eating outside, more than 6 feet apart, but it just goes to show that different people are making different decisions about risk and safety.

If you don't feel like you and the neighbor are close enough for you to ask and them to answer honestly, then I would just package the pesto up in a little jar or nice glass food container and bring it to them another time.
posted by lunasol at 1:34 PM on October 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

I actually use the covid calculator for my decisions, not whether or not I feel comfortable about a situation. If this event goes for 2 hours, it calculates the risk as high (or dangerously high if you or someone in your household is high risk) for my region.

Whether or not the food is homemade is not even a question the calculator asks. Whether or not people are wearing masks is a question it asks in some detail.
posted by aniola at 2:10 PM on October 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

That said, “high risk” by that calculator only means that it uses most of your risk budget for the week. If this is your one risk per week — you are not interacting with other humans, are not an essential in person worker, and get curbside or delivery groceries — I would feel pretty okay about it, especially given that in many parts of the country it will soon become too cold to socialize outdoors at all and will remain that way for months.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:38 PM on October 9, 2020

I was asking about taking the food, not the risk of getting together in the first place, but if it eases anyone's mind I used the calculator and the risk was "low.". Also, thank you to everyone who answered. I will save the pesto for another time.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:13 PM on October 9, 2020

[Folks, this is a food question, please answer the food question.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:00 PM on October 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I go to a weekly football gathering that is 75% outside. There is food setup on a table inside. The concern we all have is not homemade food per se, but the handling of it. We have decided to package all food so that either individual portions or individually wrapped. Things like chips are pre divided into baggies for a single serving.

Make 4 portions of the pesto. Have a central container to refill any empty portions. Or give it as a gift.
posted by AugustWest at 6:51 PM on October 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have had exactly one social gathering this year, done only because one person was clearly suffering badly from isolation. It was him, one other couple, and my spouse and me, so 3 "households". All 5 of us are heavy-duty isolators, no restaurants, no gatherings, no travel, no gym, grocery pickup, nothing. It was a porch gathering. Some masks were removed to eat, but worn otherwise.

We brought in pizza (also heated in oven in separate portions) and people had their own beverages. I made guac, because I often did for gatherings in before times, and I'd put it out in 3 separate bowls with their own sets of chips at their own "stations" before they came. No one ate the guac - I think it was just outside of comfort range. So that's one data point.
posted by Dashy at 9:03 AM on October 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

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