Being a Host

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.