Happy Hosting

Free week here and I had an idea for a post, but with it being the day after Thanksgiving, I know that most people are too busy  to pay my usual Friday post a visit. So, I’ll not talk  writing and books, but hosting.

I hope everyone in The U.S. had a great Thanksgiving. That is the one thing that visitors or newcomers from other countries find that they can really get into:  A holiday of food, friends, family, and hopefully, faith.

I usually make a huge spread, plus have meal and snacks prepared for guests through the weekend, (even if they are immediate family members). However, this year I am still on the mend and no one is coming from out of town. In fact, few family members that are in town will make a showing.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t cooked this year; I have. I would have felt terrible if I had not made the effort and done something creative for the holiday. I cut way back, but something new has been added.
Son #1 has found that several of his less-than-perfect health problems are linked to gluten.

Where all of the gluten sensitivity has come from, I have no idea…GMOs?

Nevertheless, I made my grandmother’s corn pudding with corn starch instead of the tablespoon of flour that her recipe calls for. (I have the letter that she sent to my mother with the recipe on it. My father’s mother wrote two recipes, for the corn pudding and for sweet potato pudding; I have not made that in a long time, but corn pudding is always made for Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas, too.)

I made an apple crisp with a walnut–oatmeal-cinnamon top, (while most others will have apple pie).

I made a small, rectangular pumpkin pie with an oat flour/almond meal pressed-in crust for him.

The one thing that this Son was sure that he would really miss was dressing, but I made a separate baked dressing, prepared with all of my standard dressing ingredients, however, instead of cubed bread I used quinoa. It seems to be pretty good, (if I do say so myself).

And so he can take some of the family-recipe spaghetti sauce home with him, I substituted firm polenta for pasta.

His diagnosis was quite recent, so I had to hustle, but it wasn’t hard. I’s never let it look difficult, anyway.

That’s the key to successful hosting: Never let it look hard, never let your guest, (or family), think that you are being put out.(This only holds for HOSTING. It they are putting you out or it’s too hard, tell them.)
For two Thanksgiving Wednesdays-Saturdays, I hosted an out-of-state cousin and her family. Her husband has multiple food allergies. Fortunately, I knew this, and I outright asked for specifics. That’s a major secret to making your life and your guests’ lives easier: ASK“Do you have any dietary restrictions?” That way, you haven’t made cashew chicken if they have nut allergies. You won’t have them staring at your lasagna when they are gluten intolerant and they won’t need an EpiPen if they can’t handle seafood and you have put shrimp in your sauce.

(I once hosted an out-of-state boss of my husband’s, who had a heart attack and was on a completely fat-free diet. He sent Christmas cards for years afterward thanking me for my meals and the ideas I gave to him for his own food preparations.)

Never ask a guest: “Can I make something SPECIAL for you?

Never let your guest feel like a burden.

Make as much of what you serve your family of the rest of your guests the same as what your guest needs, and have alternatives ready.

To have a little heads-up is a real help.

An old friend of my husband’s used to come in when he was passing through. He was an active man and a big eater, so I had a good-sized meal and heavy dessert ready, until I overheard him taking to my husband about his recent back injury, how inactive he had become and how he was now eating lean and healthy.

I had to hustle.

I don’t make fatty foods, so that wasn’t a problem, but I switched dessert to fruit and nuts, then  I had to quickly think, change and repack the snack I had for him to take with him on the road.

Gluten-free for my son?

Piece of (flourless) cake!

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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6 Responses to Happy Hosting

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Your gluten-free menu sounds delicious. I’m sure everyone enjoyed and appreciated your efforts. Hope you have time to rest now.

    Like

  2. Jeff Salter says:

    You are very considerate of your guests. I hope all the others appreciate it as much as that gentleman who took the time to thank you repeatedly.
    I fear the notion of the consummate hostess may die with the generation you and I represent. I see hardly any signs of this quality in the millenials, for example. Of course, I’m sure there are a few exceptions.

    Like

    • NO one even knows that they can BE a host or cook, Jeff. They just assume that it takes too much time or that nobody cares. It has the same bad connotations any more as “dinner party”.
      My son was very grateful to be able to eat a pie again and for the dressing. (Joe even went looking for it today, but it wasn’t here.I sent it home with Son#1( with two shopping bags full of food), since Son #2 and Grandson didn’t make it in to town.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like you had it all under control. I feel like I was completely overwhelmed this Thanksgiving. I had invited my parents, then my brother called to ask what the family was doing for Thanksgiving (it was his first since moving back home) so I invited him but informed him that the menu would be gluten free because I did not want Wyatt (who is 9) to feel left out because he couldn’t eat something. The brother and his family came with an extra turkey and some stuffing. All he did was complain about the gluten free food and refused to eat any that I had spent a lot of time making. I decided I won’t be hosting a family dinner again, not after that.
    However mine and Wyatt’s gluten free cornbread stuffing was pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, well, you can be as good a host as possible, but a terrible and insensitive guest is not your doing.
    There are many people who have many things that they cannot eat: I became allergic to eggplant just about 5 years ago, but that doesn’t mean that no one in the family can ever eat eggplant again. I was severely lactose intolerant for some years, but no one needed to do without dairy on my account. My cousin’s husband (and my son) only needed to be warned as to what had something that would bother them. Wyatt will be around people eating gluten all of his life; he will have to learn to ascertain what he can have and what he can’t. You should not have loads of goodies around him that he can’t have, (he’s just a kid, after all), but there should be no reason why if you have a good gluten-free dressing that you can’t have another type, too. He has to be used to the idea that if people have something that he can’t, he should not take it personally, as long as an effort is made for him to have nice things, too, that others will partake of.

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