Friday, March 6, 2009

Secrets Of Hospitality

How welcoming is your home? Being a great host or hostess is not about having a pristine home or a gourmet menu, whatever Martha Stewart may say.

At our house we often have company on short notice, and if your house is anything like mine (suffice it to say, less than pristine) it is crucial to master the art of the 10 Minute Tidy. My husband may joke about my "Sarah piles," but neatly stacking books, papers, clothes and dishes into manageable piles creates an instant sense of order. This makes it easier to deal with the serious cleanup one stack at a time, and if company is due any minute it will do for a short-term fix.

Whether friends are dropping by for coffee or perhaps you spontaneously invited family back for dinner, it's helpful to have a quick dessert on hand. (You can always order pizza or Chinese takeout for the main meal.) 10 Second Coconut Custard Pie is a sure bet if you have an hour to spare (baking time), or Moist & Chewy Low-Fat Brownies can be made in half an hour (including prep time) while you visit.

The best thing you can do is keep a well-stocked pantry, and know that the secret of hospitality is not in perfection but affection. If you can stop worrying about your less than perfect home or lack of meal planning and instead focus on being good company, you will be a great host / hostess. At the end of the day, hospitality is about making people feel cared for and welcome, however great or small your resources.

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