My friends also mentioned major trepidation surrounding their cooking and baking skills. People often don't feel comfortable cooking or baking for people, because they either don't know any good recipes, feel that theirs are inferior, or the whole process just takes too much time and energy.
Overall, the consensus is that the process and time associated with cleaning and preparing food for guests is just too stressful! So, they don't often entertain guests. Period.
Hence....the genesis of this post. Because...here's the deal. Similar to the issues the modern man or woman faces when staring into the face of airbrushed perfection via magazines or larger than life window decor, we also face that same pressure for perfection when viewing model homes, Better Homes & Gardens, and Food magazine. Sure, I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy passing through the pages of a well illustrated food magazine. I could personally look at them for hours.
But amazing recipes, clean houses, and beautiful food aside.....I encourage you to think to the heart of the reason that people visit each other in the first place: relationship. People love to feel invited and welcome. From my own experience - when I enter a home that appears "lived in", I simply feel relaxed and at home. I don't have to run all of the guilty and insecure thoughts through my head regarding why I can't also constantly maintain such a standard....(despite having 4 small kids at home).
So, I implore you to ask yourself the following questions next time you feel hesitant to call someone for a morning play date or a last minute dinner invitation:
- How do I feel when I walk into someone's messy home? Am I disgusted and judgmental?
- When I am invited to someone's home, am I upset when the food presented before me is not perfectly presented or gourmet?
- Does it bother me when someone else doesn't cook with all organic or whole grains?
- Am I insulted if I'm not offered muffins or treats every place I visit?
- Do I truly mind if the coffee I'm offered isn't the best?
Might I then suggest, my friend, that you start with a simple cup of coffee. Some like cream and sugar. Some like it black. Instructions either come with the pot or are on the bag of coffee. Most resources say 2 Tbsp ground coffee per 6oz water. We all have our preferences. If coffee seems like too much - offer tea. It can't get much easier than hot water and a tea bag. Even a glass of water will do.
Once you have broken your initial entertaining "comfort barrier", you can experiment by slicing up fruit, baking a simple cookie recipe, or having pizza and salad for dinner. I hope you'll find some great recipes and entertaining ideas here on my blog!
Opening your home to guests can be a fun, rewarding experience. It can be a chance to dabble in the "art of food", to decorate and explore, to try new things. You can delight and surprise your guests with details meant to make each of them feel special. However, before any of this can take place....you first have to be willing and comfortable to invite.
So....to a simple cup of coffee.....and friendship!!