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Mar 10, 2010

COMPANY'S COMING

We had guests over for dinner on Sunday. Hooray, I was so happy. We used to entertain often but since I have started working full time we have not had anyone over. A whole month with no guests. Withdrawal symptoms galore.

When we have company at our house it has always been a pretty relaxed affair. I work well under pressure and know what needs to be done to pull off a delicious meal with relaxed guests. I can do it with an hours notice and I have.

Nothing is worse than your guests feeling like you are stressed out and tired from creating a meal for them. It makes them feel like a burden when they should be feeling like part of the family.

So how do I prepare for guests? First we decide who to invite. Only people we enjoy spending time with. We figure this out first because sometimes there are dietary restrictions. Once I cooked for guests who's special needs were: no salt, no nuts, no spicy food and no dairy. I don't remember what I cooked.

I work out the menu and often try new recipes. I can tell by looking at a recipe if it is a good one or if it is going to be watery, or bland or too much trouble. So far I have not had any new recipes that have failed. I don't like to make a lot of appetizers because it ruins guest's appetites for the main course and dessert. If there is an appetizer then often I don't serve a salad.

I do plan on extra food because leftovers are a good thing. The surprise guests I have been presented with are not a good thing. Has anyone ever done that to you? Just brought someone along without asking? It has happened to me a few times. That is so rude. I don't care if you are friend or family you don't do that. I have never been too short on food because as I said I cook extra. 

We share good wine (I am fussy about that) and we laugh lots and eat even more. Sometimes we stay at the dining table and yap and pick or play a game or else we move to the living room where I can put my feet up. I never clear the table after dinner, my BB Guy does it. We also don't clean up the kitchen while we have guests here. It can wait until they are gone or even until the next day if we are tired. Life is too short and the dishes will wait.

We have fun at our house and our guests often put their feet up on the couch or coffee table, relaxed and at home. That is a successful evening for us. The best compliment of all? They always come back.

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16 comments:

ssomerville said...

Wow, you and I entertain so much alike it's freaky deaky! The only problem is you sound like you stress way less than I do, lol. I love trying out new recipes on guests, and like you can pretty much tell if they are going to be good or not. Also don't believe in loading on appy's, although some of our guests would prefer to eat nothing but appy's.

Glad you found time in your busy schedule to entertain again. It makes working worth it! (miss your regualr posts, but understand you're a working woman now).

artsyshell

3 Men and a Lady said...

I wish I could do that. I'm just the kind of person that's at ease having guests. I wish I were, though. How do you handle the extra guests? I'm sure with grace, but do you ever mention it to the person who brought them? That would irritate me, too.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Your a smart cookie Lori and I bet your guests appreciate your hospitality!
Cindy

mbkatc230 said...

So when's the next party? Sounds like you know how to host a great evening. I just wish I could learn to leave the dishes 'til the next day. But I never clean the kitchen while the guests are there, I might miss something :) Hope that work is going well! Kathy

vignette design said...

Lori, You entertain the same way we do! We love to relax with good food, music, conversation and of course really good wine! My job is to set the table (no problem for me!) and Gary cooks the meal! We always do the dishes the next morning. Lately, we do all our entertaining at our home up north. In the summer, we go outside after dinner and stare at the stars.

Bill said...

Hi Lori,
Loved the photo of the bear waiting for you to serve dinner!
Your post should be required reading for anyone who loves to entertain friends and family at home (or is considering giving it a try). Your sensible approach is admirable, and you're very considerate to let the dishes wait. I can see why your guests always come back!

I've never had guests bring extra people, but I've had them show up with wines, appetizers, and desserts that "compete" with the ones I'd plannned on serving (and require additional and/or different dishes/glassware ... when I had everything I planned to use carefully laid out). I know there's no obligation to serve them, but I hate to hurt their feelings.

Cheers,
Bill

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I love having guests, and it is quite the challenge in our small space. We have learned to dance around each other very well.

Sounds like your house is the place to be, and everyone comes away with great memories. Where do you get the extra energy to entertain, and work full time?

Jen

Lynn said...

It sounds like you are a wonderful host! Relaxed and gracioius and enjoying her guests -- you can't ask for anything better :) Thanks for sharing your hosting philosophy.

MiMi said...

How sweet that you were actually missing having guests.
I'm so anti-social that I DREAD having guests.

Deb said...

I like your way of thinking...dishes can always wait...you know my daughter and I were talking about that today...we are friends with several hispanic families..and they are so laid back about their gatherings...they will invite you along to weddings and parties of people you don't even know...they have the feeling...the more the merrier...we tend to be more fussy about parties...using invitations and only inviting a certain amount of people...they always welcome everyone...it is fun learning about others and how they do things....

Sigrun said...

I'd love to be a guest at your house. But I would insist on helping with the dishes.

hummer said...

I have been busy working with the National Genealogical Society and have not gotten by lately. I just finished reading about the mourning rings. Fascinating. I knew about lockets, but did not know about the other.
How nice you get to kick back and have friends in. Working really cuts into life. Sounds like you have a very laid back homey atmosphere. I would expect that of you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Vivienne said...

The bear at the picnic table makes me think of my boys sitting at the table, waiting to hurry up and say grace so they can eat! :) You entertain like I do and I always make too much food as well. I think that's more attributable to genetics (I'm Italian) than it is to good planning. I like your philosophy about KP too!
:)

matron said...

I do all the cooking at the castle and everything is timed to perfection.I leave Pam and John to entertain the guests while I get everything ready to serve.It annoys the hell out of me when guests are late,I don't mind the odd extra guest,though inconvenient,but some food can not be held for long with out being spoiled,as a perfectionist,being late with out a good excuse is an insult to me.
We did have a guest come a few years ago,who had a life threatening allergy to black pepper.The other guest who had brought this lady did not let me know .I use freshly ground pepper a lot and I could not serve her anything I had cooked so had to make up a salad.
I enjoyed reading this post,we are very like minded in regards to entertaining.

Sue said...

Lori, I LOVE to entertain and always guests know that they will get the best dinner when they come over. I try to be 100% ready by the time the first guest arrives so I can spend time with them prior to dinner. I enjoy finding new dishes to prepare, I love my wine, and I don't care if no one helps me with the dishes before they leave. It's a party, and they shouldn't be expected to work. Glad you had company and a good time! hugs, Ethel

podso said...

What a great post; your home would be a joy to come to. The relaxed way of treating your guests is the best in my book. I also enjoy cleaning up after they leave; it's a relaxing time for me; I put on some good music and remember the good time we had while I put everything away.

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