Today I will write about one of my favourite words “hosting”.
I come from a big family, we are 4 sisters and 1 brother ( I won’t consider the animals as family in this post although most of the time they are included…😂); My house was always full of friends, different ages, different nationalities (we all studied abroad). A quite weekend after a bell ring and a couple of calls could all of a sudden turn to a lunch with 30 people around the table, a pijama party and a sunday brunch. Those are the advantages of living in a big farmhouse, being a big family and having a mum that loves cooking and a dad that loves wine 🍷 and hosting. Therefore… when I think of hosting, those beautiful childhood memories come back. (That probably explains my passion for the hospitality world.)
Wikipedia defines a host or hostess as a person responsible for guests at a event or providing hospitality. I think hosting is a much deeper word, hosting is a blend of responsibility, feelings, details, observing, noticing needs, anticipating, organisation, knowledge of your guests, inviting,…
I recently realised that hosting, something that is in my blood and feels so easy to me, is not as easy for everyone. I realised hosting is an “art”, that is why I call it “the art of hosting”. Following I would like to share some tips.
Hosting is a responsibility: you are responsible for your guests, you have to make sure they feel comfortable in your home. It is important to constantly keep an eye on the table, if there is empty bottles or the bread is finished… anticipate their needs and refill before they have to ask (some guests might feel uncomfortable asking).
When you are inviting it is important to know well your guests. Find out wether they have any allergies, if they follow any diet (pregnancy, vegetarian, vegan…) or if they have any religious food taboos. (If you are already a mum I guess you can remember those 9 month waiting for that beautiful creature when the doctor wouldn’t let you eat raw meat, ham, cheeses made with raw milk… Can you imagine the feeling of being invited to a meal where you could not even try half of the dishes? 👎😞)
When it comes to organising the meal and choosing the food, it is important to choose food that most of the people like. If they are close friends and you go often to restaurant you probably know what they like and what they don’t. If you want to serve uncommon food like oysters or cultural delicacies such as snails 🐌 prepare something else in addition to that, not everyone will like those and some will not even want to try it. Do not think for yourself but think of others.
I consider the food portion very important. I believe it is better to cook extra-food. Most of the dishes can be frozen in small portions and you can have it with your family another day. Guests leaving your home with an empty-stomach will give them a very poor image of your hosting abilities.
When inviting guests I am fond of presenting the food in big portions in the middle of the table (or if there is a lot of food variety and a lot of people you can even set a buffet) so each one can serve as much as they want of what they like best. Before removing the food and dishes from the table invite them to serve themselves more food (some guests will feel shy to take more) but do not push them too much (some might not want more because they are already full and others might not have liked a certain dish but they won’t say it).
When setting the table decorate with flowers to freshen the ambience or some seasonal decorations such as pumpkins during fall. They can be combined with candles if the event is at night (do not use candles for lunch events). You can also add name-tags or any other DYI to personalise the meal.
Attention to those details will provide warmth to your guests and they will leave your house with a pleasant feeling that cannot be described in words. Each and everyone of us likes it when someone takes good care of us. ❤
Photography by Mercè Rial
Settings and decoration by me.