Posted by: Catherine | November 23, 2009

Chicken, Sausage and Peppers–and the Art of RSVPing




Remember the Old-Fashioned Italian Sausage Grinder I posted recently? For those of you lightweights who were thinking, “Call the Mommy Police! Call the Wife Police! How could she feed that heavy, cheesy meal to her unsuspecting husband and child?”…here’s one for you (and for them, though they’d take the gooey, gross version any day)—it’s basically a healthy version of the inside of that Grinder. You can serve it over spaghetti, or nothing at all with a side of garlic bread.

Before I get to the recipe, a few musings and some questions for you:

I am continuously confused and flabbergasted by RSVP ettiquette. At first I thought it might be that LA behavior was different from what I was accustomed to in New York, but truth be told I didn’t invite people over to my single-girl apartment as frequently as Bruce, Emma and I invite people to our home in LA. So, a few thoughts and would much appreciate your weighing in with yours.

1. Does “Please RSVP” call for a response? Okay, that’s a rhetorical question…but I have actually sent out invites and some people have chosen not to reply.

2. How long before the “event” do you think people should wait before RSVPing? This question popped up when I started inviting kids to Emma’s  birthday parties. Her first and second birthdays were small and consisted of a few of our friends who willingly/nicely/patiently put up with our joy over our little girl. Then, when she started pre-school Emma eagerly accepted the offer of a party since she’d already been to every other kid’s (her birthday is in June). I sent out invitations a month ahead of time so I’d have plenty of time to organize, get food for both the parents and kids, and buy party favors for boys and girls…but there I was a few days before the party CALLING people to see if they were coming. Maybe this was an aberration? NOT! It happened every single year.

Recently I emailed a friend I hadn’t seen in a while on a Monday and asked if she wanted to have lunch the following week when I said I was free every day (I don’t get out much). The entire week passed without a word, then the “following” week I heard back on Wednesday that she could “do” Thursday. How should I have read that one? Another time, I invited a couple over for dinner early in January…and she said they were busy until March. Now, was that a hint that they really didn’t want to come or is it really possible that they were busy every single night for nearly three months? That is another rhetorical question.

3. If you RSVP “yes,” does that mean “yes” or “no?” This is not a rhetorical question. An old boyfriend always responded “yes” even if he knew he couldn’t make the date, and would cancel right before the party. When I explained how much effort a hostess/host put into a dinner (did he not notice everything I put into our dinner parties?)–not just the cooking but inviting a happy mix of people and perhaps just the number their table could seat–he said, “More important is that they think we wanted to come.” Dump him you say. Done.

I actually think that pretty much nothing less than death is an acceptable accuse to cancel a “yes” RSVP, especially at the very last minute. Your thoughts?

Now, the recipe…

Serves 3 for three nights or 4 for two nights or 8…you get the picture

4 T olive oil, more if needed

1 large onion, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced

8 Italian sausages (we prefer “hot” but “mild” or “sweet” or whatever they call un-hot will do)

8 chicken thighs ( didn’t have enough thighs so I cut some breasts in half…but they weren’t as good as the thighs)

2 large cans whole Roma tomatoes in puree

Saute all the vegetables until just soft, and remove from pan; brown the sausages and the chicken (if you’re not as lazy as I and are willing to wash an extra pan, you could do this simultaneously). I then get rid of the grease for the sausage. Dump the vegetables back in the pan, throw in the tomatoes, cover and simmer until the chicken and sausage is just cooked. You can actually make the whole dish way in advance—like many good things, it improves with time.



  1. I agree completely on the RSVP…people seem oblivious to what goes into a party, but I think it is more lazy/self centered than only that. (or looking for something better.) I would add the stomach flu to reasons not to come, but I get your drift!

  2. ARGH! I am SO with you on the RSVP thing. Coloradans are just as bad as the LA crew!

    A few examples: every 6 weeks, our Book Club meets. For the past 2 years, I’ve hosted it at my house. I provide soup, salad, bread and wine. Other members (12 in all) are supposed to bring either appetizers, dessert or a bottle of wine.

    Guess how many RSVP? Maybe 1 or 2. It’s gotten to the point where I’m almost ready to quit. I mean, soup for 13 looks very different than soup for 4. grrrrr.

    This Halloween, I had a pre-trick or treat chili/salad/cornbread party. I invited 10 families. 4 families RSVP’d. 2 families called an hour before the party and declined. 1 family RSVP’d two hours before the party, asked WHEN the party started, and then arrived THREE hours late. No foolin.

    Maybe I need better mannered friends? But I swear, everyone around here behaves like that!

    Whew. okay, rant over 🙂

    • The next time the book group comes, make sure the four who rsvp arrive early and fill their bowls big. When the others arrive…”Oh, so sorry, didn’t think you were coming because YOU DID NOT RSPVP!” As for the Halloween crew: Invite those three bad families next year and when they arrive announce “Trick!”

  3. I’ve come to believe that some people are genetically incapable of making plans just like some people are incapable of arriving places on time. Just as I get stressed out if I don’t have a plan or am late, I believe that these people get stressed out if they make plans or try to be on time. This may be total hooey, but it is the only explanation I’ve found that helps me not take it personally! And cancelling on an RSVP at the last minute- never okay unless it really is an emergency.

    • I know people who don’t RSVP and never arrive on time!!! How does one get away with that?

  4. The vibrant color of this chicken dish is so tantalizing.

  5. This RSVP business is the same in Nebraska. It drives me CRAZY.

    • That makes me feel better! I would think Nebraskans would behave….

  6. it would be much better if you say outright that you can’t come so the host doesn’t include you in her list…food,seats and all.

    The sausage and pepper looks great.

  7. Chicken ans sausage…what a great combination…looks delicious and would love to spike my rice with the sauce 🙂

  8. great questions with no easy answers and wow what a yummy meal

  9. I showed this dish to my hubby just now and said I want to make this.

    As far as RSVP, I respond either way, and I try to asap. I think most people put RSVP by a certain date. I usually assume they are not coming if they dont respond.

    LOVE this dish!

  10. Hmmm. I am a planner so I RSVP as soon as I know we’ll be able to attend or not. To RSVP means yes and no- it simply means you’re responding to the invite. I know some people don’t RSVP because they’re going (my mother) and don’t feel the need to call and others don’t go so they don’t think it’s worth it to call.

    It’s annoying either way! Let me know if you’re coming, if not that’s fine too. I don’t understand why people don’t get that. Perhaps they don’t know what RSVP stands for. Maybe a note saying a respond by such and such date would be helpful???

    BTW, like your new header!

  11. Number 3 made me laugh! What a crazy fellow he was!

  12. Oh I am so with you here. I am a good RSVP’er. Others suck, especially kids parties. I do so much planning and people just could care less about making a call….I am angry now.

  13. Mmmm, those photos are drool-inducing! So delicious. I wish I could taste!

    Oh, I’m so with you on the RVSPing. I have had to ask guests the day before an event whether they could attend. Seriously, what is wrong with people?? Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but I think that lack of basic courtesy is symbolic of the general lack of respect and manners in our present-day society.

  14. This year for my daughter’s birthday party I used evite and was pleased to see how much better it worked. I had all my RSVPs two weeks before the party. I think people feel a lot more pressure to respond because everyone can see whether they responded or not and also it’s a lot easier for them too, just clicking yes or no. And if they forget, an automatic email reminder is sent to them 🙂

  15. I agree the RSVP should make a person contact you and say “Yes” they are coming or “No” they cannot.

    You can’t purposely not RSVP in the hopes that if you don’t RSVP that means you aren’t coming.

    I am totally calling people before parties and ask if they are actually coming or not, and they would say “Of course I am coming, I just thought you would know!” Ummm… how the hell am I supposed to know if you are coming or not coming unless you RSVP!

    I am super sensitive when I get invited to something, I call/or e-mail the day I get the invitation so I don’t forget or at least let the person hosting the party know you aren’t coming!

  16. The dish looks absolutely divine. A warm, soul-satisfying dish.

    As for RSVP….I don’t use a formal RSVP approach. I tend to use email to reach out to those that I have not heard from- I am not sure why people have so much difficulty responding or just saying no, I/we can’t come. It seems so simple.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  17. I love stews like this one: easy , very tasty & that is what it all is about!!

    MMMMMMMMM,….a comfort dinner: delicious!

  18. This look absolutely yummy! Love the pictures so tasty!. gloria

  19. I am very strict about RSVP-ing (not a true verb…)

    I always do it right away or sometimes send a maybe.

    People who don’t bother to RSVP to my parties seldom get invited more than twice.

    I don’t use evite (tho I see the appeal, what with the auto reminders) — I just email everyone — BCC!! — and follow up with another email, if necessary.

    I have had an issue with throwing Sunday afternoon parties. During the summer, our home is best enjoyed in the mid-late afternoon. Last time I stipulated the start and finish time of the party, and people just showed up any old time (late). It was a bit weird just sitting around with a couple of early birds (well, on-time birds) for almost the entire duration until a few stragglers showed up later. Not one of my best events!

  20. RSVP as soon as possible and do whatever it is you said you would do. Of course, it is rude not to respond or not to show up or to cancel at the last minute.

    I want the recipe though. I love peppers and sausage and some chicken can only make it better.

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