With summer just around the corner, more people will be entertaining and having company come visit. So I figured a post about entertaining was in order! Last fall I stumbled upon the Sandy Couglin’s blog, the Reluctant Entertainer. I was intrigued because that described me. I like to entertain and would like to do so more often but my personality can sometimes be an all or nothing approach. And that can create some pressure. Will the house be clean enough? What will I serve? Will everyone like it? Do I have the right serving ware? The thing is, when I go to friends’ homes I’m not sizing things up thinking that any of those factors don’t quite measure up. Sometimes there are dishes in the sink. Many times the food is take out or a simple sandwich and some fruit. And what do I remember the most? The company we’ve enjoyed. The conversations and the laughter. Because that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? And since one of our New Year’s Resolutions was to entertain more, the Reluctant Entertainer couldn’t have come at a better time (truthfully, we haven’t kept up with our resolution like I had hoped–hopefully this will reinspire me!)
Coughlin starts the book busting excuse of why not to entertain: choosing whom to invite (and fearing rejection if they say no), not knowing how or what to cook, blaming being too busy or not having enough money to entertain. She goes on to highlight the Ten Commandments of Hospitality. Things like “Hospitality is not about you. It’s about making others feel warm and welcome.” Or “Avoid Perfectionism. Put fear aside—it’s a robber of anything good.”
The balance of the book gives tips on setting a nice table (and giving budget-friendly tips for making it look nice for less), provides tips on conversation starters and games and how to keep things simple from the planning to the menu. Lastly, while the main focus of the book is about hospitality, Coughlin provides a section of her favorite recipes within the main book and in a special section at the end of the book. One final note: there are some Christian undertones sprinkled throughout but it’s certainly not a major part of the book (in case that doesn’t appeal to you).
All in all, the point is entertaining does not need to be complicated or expensive or difficult. What it can be is fun and nourishing not only for the tummy but for the soul.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. I picked up this book at my local library and the opinions expressed here are my own.