Sometimes I am tempted to think that the goal of entertaining is to impress people with elaborate food and intricate decorations, and while I thoroughly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, if my friends leave feeling like I was too wrapped up in all of the details to enjoy being with them, I have completely missed the point.
When I was nine years old, someone stole our car. When the policemen came to file the report, I expected my mom and dad to send them on their way quickly to find it. Instead, my mom invited them in for a leisurely breakfast. We enjoyed our time, and there was not a frantic feeling wondering if and when they would find our car. The house was inviting, with the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
My mom didn't prepare anything elaborate that day. She simply made eggs and toast with coffee. The thing that stood out in my mind was her example of hospitality and kindness. She didn't have to take the time to cook anything at all, but she chose to do so, and they accepted. On the other hand, she could have fussed over them because of their status in the community, trying to put together a gourmet brunch, but she focused on making them feel comfortable.
This was one of the earliest examples of true entertaining for me, and it was at that time I aspired to follow her example. Recently, I have been thinking about special friendships, and have started keeping a journal of people I have enjoyed hosting in my home, along with some of the food I have made, because for me, finding just the right recipe adds even more enjoyment to these interactions. I decided to start recording some of these times into my blog.
My mom probably had no idea at the time how closely I was watching her example, and what a pivotal experience this was for me. I will always be grateful for the role she has played in my life.