Thursday, July 8, 2010

When Company Is Coming

This Sunday is Miriam's baby dedication at church (Mennonites believe in adult baptism.  Dedications allow the parents to commit to teach their child about Christ and the church congregation to commit to support the parents in that task. Teenagers, young adults or older adults make a decision to get baptized when they're ready to make that commitment).  We have family coming in from out of town for the occasion.  So, there is food to make, a house to clean and an outside to be made to look decent.  We don't do all this because we have to.  We know our family would love us even if we didn't, but it's all part of saying 'thank you' to loved ones who've driven far to participate in our lives in this way.  And we say 'thank you' happily.

 We're also celebrating Miriam's first birthday (a little late).  These are shoofly cupcakes- the first dessert her little tongue will taste.

When we have company, I want to be free from as many responsibilities as possible.  I just want to sit, talk and be lazy with my guests.  I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen, even though I know guests would be glad to sit on our kitchen bench (an old pew) and visit with me (or even help me).  At times, I wish I could be that kind of hostess.  The kind who flutters about her kitchen, sporting a vintage apron, laughing and talking away with her company while peeling potatoes or sauteing onions.

Ready to brew a large batch of mint tea with fresh stevia concentrate so we have plenty to drink.

Alas, that is not me.  I need to stay focused when I'm making food or disasters can happen.  And, for me, it's stressful to be surrounded by dirty dishes while following a recipe and carrying on a conversation.  So, I make as much food ahead of time as possible.  Like, several days before.  Much of it goes into the freezer so that the day or two before everyone arrives can be spent cleaning.  I can't clean the house ahead of time and put it in the freezer to remain untouched until I'm ready for company to see it.  I wish.

Stuffed shells with Swiss chard instead of spinach

Now, I can handle cooking up a vegetable or assembling a salad in front of guests but I have no interest in plating fancy desserts while my guests are waiting.  I want to pull things from my fridge and sling them into the oven.  I want to set a thawed cake or chilled pie on the table as soon as dinner plates are cleared.  But that's just me.

Wacky cake with this icing (Jamey's favorite).

When we have people here, I want to be with those people.  Undistracted.  Fully present and with no fear of mucking up their food.  This is how I do it and it works great for me. Pin It


  1. I like the idea of cleaning the house and sticking it in the freezer. I wish!

  2. I think you've got the right idea when it comes to hostessing. And, I could take a lesson or two from you! Having items prepared ahead of time so you can actually visit with guests is an art I still need to learn. I tend to be the harried, stressed-out hostess, running around trying to get stuff together. And, I pretty much miss out on the fellowship part.

    Also, I'm thinkin' I need to try those shoefly cupcakes! I've actually had a hankerin' for a yummy wet-bottom shoefly pie the last couple weeks. Maybe the cupcakes would be a good compromise...and one my children would eat too. I checked out the link to the recipe & saw that you mentioned visiting Lancaster County as a child. I'm a Lancaster County girl, so it was kinda cool to see my hometown mentioned!

  3. what GREAT planning. I know exactly what you mean about being with the company. those desserts look delightful!

  4. Everything looks awesome, what wonderful food you've prepared. I love Wacky Cake too, glad to see that others appreciate it!

  5. I have out of town company coming, too, and your idea to freeze meals is genius! Thank you for inspiring me with some delicious recipes. I love your site and always look forward to a new post:). Have a great time this weekend!


  6. I too like to prepare food as far ahead of time as possible - and yes if only we could do that with the house as well.

    Thanks for the comment yesterday I went home and was telling my mom about the Shoofly Cupcake idea and she was beside herself. Growing up in Pennsylvania with a PA dutch mother she never heard of it but loved the idea. I'll have to show her the picture you posted.


  7. I so wish I were more like constantly inspire me! Your food looks absolutely delicious. Happy Birthday AND Congratulations, Miriam...I hope all goes well this Sunday.

  8. Very clever!
    But I do want to know: how do you keep the regular stuff going while you do the extra and stow it away? I have good ideas for working ahead like that (company or no), but I can't always fit the work into the regular days.

    Enjoy the baby dedication - such a special time.

  9. Margo, I just plan on making easy and simple dinners the week prior. I don't feel guilty because I know we'll be eating like royalty during the upcoming weekend (the whole family chips in and brings food- good food). And, I do things in stages- make the stuffed shells stuffing one morning, then cook the pasta and stuff them the next. Lists help. I'm a planner:-).

  10. Me too! I have to concentrate...I know there are people who like to cook with a group etc...I'd SO majorly screw up a recipe when doing this.
    Everyone looks so good...can I come too? :)

  11. How blessed your guests are! AND I *love* your pew bench in the lovely! :)


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