Today Julie shares a few practical things she has learned about hospitality over the years…
Go with your strengths…
- Do you like a more formal dinner or casual? Don’t try to be what you are not comfortable with.
- Do you like to have a buffet or family style or serve a meal plated?
- Budget wise…maybe you should just have dessert.
When planning your menu…
- A simple meal served by a relaxed hostess is preferable to an elaborate meal with a worried and anxious hostess.
- Choose recipes that are equal to your cooking skill level.
- Pick one or two items to invest time into. Make the other parts of the meal less labor intensive.
- Make the food you love and everyone will love the food you make.
- Hospitality is about giving, not impressing. It creates an atmosphere that makes you want to sit, eat, drink and linger around a table for a long time
- Develop a plan or schedule, working back from when you want to eat.
- Be light hearted. If you feel anxious, your guests will not feel at peace.
- Our children are watching what having people over is like for us. Do the heart work for it to be a true joy.
- Accept that things rarely turn out the way you imagine.
- Approach meals with the thought that this is like family. People are blessed just to be in your home.
- There is a learning curve so start simple!
- The good hostess is the person who makes you feel welcome, relaxed, and part of his or her life.
- Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t enjoy cooking with others watching, then plan to have everything ready.
- Plan your time realistically. Making things ahead of time while leaving a few things that need to be done last minute.
- Create a check list of things to be done and your menu. There have been times when I’ve made food ahead of time, stored it and then forgotten to put it out.
- Leave yourself 15 minutes before guests arrive to clean up all the pots and pans. Starting with an empty sink makes for a peaceful start.
- Think of things that people can do to help if they ask…chopping, finishing salad, getting drinks.
- Start with your dishwasher empty.
- As far as cleaning in preparation, concentrate on the kitchen, the room where you’ll be eating, and the bathroom. People aren’t coming to inspect your cleaning skills.
- Gradually acquire large serving pieces. I pick these up at Marshalls, T. J. Maxx, Ross for under $10.00.
- Consider purchasing plates, plastic ware, cups from Sam’s or Costco to have on hand.
- I have sought to gradually get enough dishes to serve our extended family, plus friends. It took some time and saving, but has really served us.
Well, summer is here! Let’s talk to our husbands and get some dates on the calendar. Hospitality doesn’t need to be one more thing to do. It is an opportunity to build friendships, influence your children, and bless others. There are few more relaxed ways to get acquainted than over a meal. What a joy it is to bring glory to God through this gift He has given us.