Great post over on 43 Folders about entertaining.
When I have people over to my home I try not to get too stuck in the kitchen but its tough as I love to cook and I usually have people over because I want to cook for them. However since I am in the kitchen people love to gravitate towards the kitchen so I put them to work. This can be a perilous decision with some people so I have ‘test’s’ for them to check their culinary aptitude:
- I will ask them to grab something from the fridge like Squash or anything out of the ordinary. This tests their knowledge first of all, but I also understand that not everyone paid attention in Home Ec class and use it as a motivational test. If they ask me for help it means they really want to help. If they bring me something just to bring I thank them and get them a drink and move them to the living room.
- If they past the first part I move them to the next step of washing the item or opening it. This test confirms their mechanical skills. If water or whatever was packaged goes all over the place I get them a drink and send them to the living room, after they clean up.
- Now we have seen that they are motivated and competent with tools. This is the big step and only used if I am really behind or they have shown a lot of promise: I hand them a knife and have them cut vegetables. I watch them closely at the start to see how their technique goes. I may give them a few pointers if I think they are good, but it they worry me at all I get them a drink and send them to the living room.
- If they can handle a knife and I am comfortable then they have passed the Interview and can be considered my Prep Chef. I may let them work with heat and mixing ingredients together as this allows me to get out of the kitchen for a bit, but this usually requires a few sessions where I am able to watch them and feel more confident in them.
These are things I try to work on to be a good host. I think that the big thing is to keep the action happening. I make sure to introduce new arrivals to everyone and let the conversations begin.
When you are a guest try to act like a host or the host’s assistant. They will appreciate your help and you will be the life of the party.