Monday, October 26, 2009

"A guest should be permitted to graze, as it were, in the pastures of his hosts kindness, left ever to his own devices, like a rational being, and handsomely neglected."
-Louise Imogen Guiney

I am full of thoughts on hospitality today. I was raised in a generous and hospitable family, and am now married to a generous and hospitable man. I am looking back now on the times when I have been a guest -those times when I was most comfortable as a guest, as opposed to those times when I've been least comfortable. The visits I've enjoyed most of all are the one where I am welcomed joyfully and allowed to fully enter into the life of my hosts.

As a hostess myself I love to provide an abundance of good food, good music, and good conversation for my guests, as well as good books and time alone to explore. I especially appreciate the Russian concept of having a zakuska - a table that is a permanent fixture, constantly replenished, always avaliable. I try to keep this custom in my own small way. Currently our table offers garlic bread with dipping oil, Russian teacakes, and small slices of banana-nut bread, as well as tea and coffee. Our little zakuska makes me happy. I know that any guest, no matter how unexpected, will at least be able to nibble away at his appetite while I make a true meal. I also enjoy the constant table - it gives me an opportunity to display food, reminds us to break for tea, and gives the whole house an atmosphere of hospitality.

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