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At my office, we often have small morning soirees to celebrate impending children or retirements of our co-workers. Usually donations are asked for to chip in and buy cake and a small gift. And occasionaly people ask for baked goods to offer a little spread for the guests.

In preperation for two most recent events, for staff members I am indeed fond of, the hostess in charge (and really, at work, you can’t even call yourself a hostess, because so very many ettiquette rules are broken) did something that I was surprised by.

She asked if anyone would be interested in baking something for the parties – mentioning that she perferred homemade items only (instead of store bought). She put the ki-bosh on anything bought at a store or bakery.

Obviously, homemade food goods represent a lot of time, effort and love. Someone went to all that trouble when they could have easily picked up something at a bakery on the way in to work. And I can understand not wanting to serve Store 24 donuts for a retirement party. But to turn down Whole Foods Quiche and cut fresh fruit? What on earth?!

If you were having people over for dinner, or better yet, a holiday, and someone offered to bring dessert, you would probably say “that would be lovely – thank you”. If someone went out and spent $20.00 on a pie from a nice bakery, you would be thrilled that they went to the expense. So why would anyone care if you stopped at a bakery at 7am to buy fresh baked pastry for a party? Why does it have to be homemade?

Personally, I could really set the case against homemade items at work: who wants to eat anything that Mabel bakes when I know for a fact she doesn’t wash her hands after using the ladies room. We don’t know how clean you are at home (although for a good chocolate brownie I would forgive anything). And who has time to bake something fresh at 5am or even the night before (a work night? and a school night if you have kids? hello?).

Sometimes in life, it’s never enough no matter how hard you try. You have to let go and remember that no one really cares whether everything was bought or handmade. There are tons of affordable store bought treats that you can bring to work events – who are you trying to impress? The lady who gets to retire and travel the world? She won’t even remember your name in 2 weeks.

I never feel guilty about buying over baking. But if I were to feel guilty, I would buy it, put it on my own plate, and lie about it. Duh!