Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hospitality: The Personal Touch

One of my favorite books on hospitality is "The Personal Touch" by Rachel Crabb. The subtitle is, " Encouraging Others Through Hospitality."

This slim little volume is packed with heart and with practical tips. I reccommend that you read it for yourself to absorb everything that it has to offer. I would like to share a few quotes, though.

"Though the Lord is still working on my pride and helping me to learn to relax and keep the most important thing in mind -- practicing encouragement, not just hospitality-- I have also tried to gather as much ammunition as possible to be prepared for making the most of every opportunity.

Here are some points I try to remember:

1) Concentrate on people, not preparations.
2) Keep supplies on hand for putting together one impromptu meal.
3) Have some type of small refreshment on hand: a flavored tea or coffee, cheese and crackers, or cookie dough for quick preparation.
4) Keep my sense of humor and lose my sense of pride. A few years from now, will guests really remember if the bathroom mirror was spotted when they dropped by?

"Three reliable impromptu snacks are popcorn, ice cream (I like to keep at least one topping on hand), and pizza."

"Here a a few sample menus to give you ideas for what to have on hand for impromptu guests. Today, there is a strong emphasis on serving healthy menus. When in doubt of the diet your guests may prefer, consider broiling a piece of chicken or fish and serving fresh vegetables and fruit. (My note: This list of meals is based on many quickly preparedpre-packaged items, so that you can serve guests on short notice. However, with some creativity and planning, you can make a stock of homemade items which can be brought out for unexpected guests).

Canned ham
Box of scalloped or au gratin potatoes
canned, fresh, or frozen veggie
rolls or bread
microwave cake

Spaghetti sauce
Spaghetti or other noodles
Frozen pie

Frozen chicken kieve
frozen broccoli
pacakged rice side dish

pizza crusts
pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese
olives, mushrooms, pepperoni, onions, etc.

"One delicious item to keep int he frezer is balls of homemade cookie dough. Whenever I ahve surprise gusts, if even just for acup of coffee or tea, I can stick a pan of cookie dough in the oven within minutes of their arrival. I believe aprt of practicing encouragement means making my friends feel special. If eating a cookie warm from the oven makes my guests feel special, taht helps me encourage them."

"My home-frozen peaches have become a reliable emergency menu ration. My family has become hoooked on these peelsed, clisced and packed fresh peachs in light syrup, which are tucked awy in the freezer for winter enjoyment. I can mix them with other frozen fruit for an appetizer or fruit side dish or sppon them over ice ream for dessert."

"A quick salad that guest enjoy is prepared by draining a can of mandarin oranges and place the orange sections and sliced almonds on lettuce, then topping with a sweet dressing, usch as poppy seeed or mayonnaise mixed with honey."

"Here's an emergency dessert: Caryl's Frozen Yogurt Pie: Mix together 8 oz of whipped topping with 16 oz of yogurt. Put mixture in graham cracker crust or a nut or cookie crust and freeze."

"Let your guests pitch in. It is often fun to invite your guests to help with the meal. Ask everyone to bring something, or provide the meal and ask your guest to bring the dessert. Why not supply pizza crust and cheese or baked potatoes, and let your guests bring the toppings? Or proivde lettuce while your guests bring chopped vegetables and dressings"

(My note: A fun thing to do is to make "hobo stew", otherwise known as "stone soup". You provide cooked ground beef and soup stock, or, if you do not eat meat, provide a good vegetable stock, in a huge pot. Ask everyone to bring a can of something that you would find in a vegetable soup. When each guest arrives, add his contribution to the pot. It will be fun to see the soup taking place as you add the ingredients. You always end up with something slightly different. Yet, it never fails to be delicious.)

"Be creative and flexible. Plan a style of entertaining tha fits your budget and your lifestyle. The improtant thing is not to put off practicing hospitality because your home isn't finished or the carpet is threadbare or your cooking skills aren't perfect or your children are too young. It's too easy to think of a hundred-and-one excuses for never inviting anyone over to your home. If you just start somewhere, you'll really enjoy sharing yourself and your home with others. Don't become so involved in preapreations that you forget to enjoy this opporutnity to let Christ shine through you."



plainandsimple said...

Isn't it funny how, for us women, pride and hospitality go hand in hand? We so want to be the best cook, the best at housekeeping, the best decorator for too many of the wrong reasons. I like the idea of relaxing when we have guests. If we relax in their company and pay attention to their needs rather than showing off our skills we are well on the way to being a good hostess!

Elizabeth said...

Well said, PLain and simple