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My guests don't bring wine when I ask them to

I love having big, casual dinners with my friends. I'll cook everything and in return will usually ask them to bring a bottle of wine each to share for the night. One particular group of big-drinking friends always rolls in four people deep, but brings a single bottle of wine. Should I say something?

There's no way to win this one after the fact - no matter how right you are (and you are right, particularly if you've explicitly asked them to bring a bottle each), you risk looking like the ugly one if you confront them when they show up. If you're truly keen on having your lousy cheapskate pals over again, you need to be direct next time you invite them, but without belabouring it and without losing your cool. "Guys, you're drinking me out of house and home," would be a good start. If they really are your friends, you shouldn't have to say much more than that.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is a food writer and restaurant columnist.

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