Proper Etiquette: Can You Kick Guests Out of the Kitchen?

A couple months ago our friends at CHOW asked for your help on a question of etiquette (it was all about saying no politely). Here's another question of kitchen etiquette from CHOW; they (and we!) would love to hear your answers!

It all boils down to this: Do you feel comfortable cooking with guests in the kitchen, and, if not, how do you banish them gracefully? Read on for the full question!

Here's the question from one of CHOW's readers:

When I entertain I like to do most of the prep and cooking in advance, but this isn’t always possible, especially if it’s a big holiday meal. I usually refuse offers of help from guests because it’s more trouble to explain how I want something done than to do it myself.

But sometimes a well-meaning guest follows me into the kitchen and tries to “entertain” me while I’m trying to finish up a dish. This is annoying, as I don’t necessarily want my guests to know everything that goes into a dish—like how much butter goes in my Thanksgiving stuffing! Speaking of Thanksgiving, last year my cousin kept me so distracted about her latest bad date that I accidentally poured the gravy down the sink.

If you've indicated you don't need help, is it irritating when a guest hangs around to watch you cook? Do you enjoy having someone to chat to, or do you feel self-conscious? And what’s the most gracious way to banish a guest from the kitchen?

Readers, what do you think?

Related: Dinner Party Strategy: Dealing with Early-Arriving Guests

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