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Our friends are freeloading on our dinner parties

My husband and I like to entertain. We put great time and energy into our dinner parties. Most of our friends return our hospitality, but one couple in particular never does, even though we've heard they do host their own dinner parties from time to time. Shouldn't people host us if we've hosted them?

Strictly speaking, you would be within your rights to post their photos, address and social insurance numbers inside your front door, and when they notice them, to announce, "There's only one way you're getting off the wall of shame, freeloaders, and it's not by bringing an extra bottle of Little Penguin next time." Yet there could be mitigating factors. If either of you is "sensitive" to soy, lactose, tree nuts, wheat, MSG, white carbs or shellfish (religious reasons excepted), or you're (shudder) vegan, the laws of reciprocal hospitality do not apply to you. Or maybe your cooking is so exquisite that they're too intimidated to have you by for one of their crock pot spaghetti nights (the story of my life). Barring any of that, yup, they should have hosted you by now. If it truly bothers you, leave them off your guest list for a while.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is a food writer and restaurant columnist. Have an entertaining dilemma? E-mail

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