Having people over, or more formally entertaining, is energizing, nurturing, exhilarating, fun and thrilling. As a host you put on a small production when you have people over. it all can be more or less elaborate, more or less involved, depending on your personality, experience and adventure spirit. None of us are Martha Stewart, but as the host you create an opportunity for people to meet, connect, talk and enjoy life while eating and drinking. Nothing more simple and satisfying than that.
Entertaining is both an art and a science. The science lies in the planning process, the art lies in the perfect people combination, food selection and setting. While it can seem a bit intimidating to be responsible for a bunch of people’s good time, people are very forgiving, and always grateful for the initiative. We all crave real face-to-face connection beyond screen connection! My parents entertained often, both for pleasure and business (restaurant entertaining wasn’t a thing then). When my sister and I were not invited, which was actually quite rare, we had a sixth sense for when the guests left, and got up in the middle of the night (for us) to find the dessert leftovers in the messy kitchen and have a delectable midnight snack. Regardless of whether we were invited or not, we learned the art by watching and participating in the menu planning, meal preparation, table and atmosphere setting – music was always in the background.
Nowadays much of home entertaining has become quite casual and easy to put together, especially since, at least where I live, it’s very common for guests to offer to contribute to the meal even if it‘s not outright called a potluck. You only provide one or two dishes and the setting - easy. Bonds are forged over food and drink. Meals are a great way to cement business too, because you get to know people on a personal level. The format doesn’t matter, whatever the season and your enthusiasm inspire you to do is good. People love being invited, people love to connect – the other night we spontaneously invited friends over for a glass of wine after an outdoor concert – and stuck around until 2am.
Just this morning we decided spontaneously, as we often do these days, to drum a few friends together for a picnic and campfire in our backyard. Check out a recent article in the Times Herald Record on how to throw a successful summer BBQ together with some easy and simple recipes. And candles, lanterns, twinkle lights, votives with tealights, or a fire make it magical. It’s not complicated, it simply takes initiative and a bit of effort, but it’s soooooo worth it.