Who made having friends over to your place for a meal, an afternoon, or an evening a major event? Was it Martha Stewart who decided that everything in your home must be upgraded to a state of designer perfection before you can entertain? Was it HGTV with House Hunters who turn up their snobby, little noses at any kitchen lacking granite and stainless steel? Was it the Facebook culture of one-upmanship?
We have this kind of setting when we rent a very nice vacation apartment. The rest of the time our home looks lived-in.
Get Over It!
Yes there are people who have perfect homes where they hold carefully planned, sit-down dinners and well-managed fundraisers for their favorite charities. However I’ll bet your friends would have more fun sitting on your living room floor playing with your dog and sharing a pulled-together meal of what everyone happened to have in their pantry or refrigerator.
Times they are a changin’. Kindness, warmth, and friendship are a currency in high demand. Most of us will gladly take those gifts over a house tour of perfection and a competitive meal designed to show off chef-level skills.
Leading the Way
One of the newest magazine success stories is Spoonful magazine which subheads itself as “A Guide to Food & Laughter.” Writing for Mother Nature Network, Robin Shreeves describes the publication as, “... inspiration for when people gather in my home and I practice my scruffy hospitality.”
This quick roof deck evening with friends came together with some appetizers and cheese from Trader Joe's and a bottle of wine that was in our wine rack!
What Is Scruffy Hospitality?
In a related article, Shreeves quotes the Rev. Jack King who explains, “Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together.”
You can also take a walk together and pick up a lunch. The friends visiting from out of the area wanted lobster rolls, so we all went to Luke's Lobster and brought home a feast.
What’s more ...
Who cares who hosted the last time? We all remember when growing up there was one house that was a gathering place for most of the kids in the neighborhood. In most families there is one person who does most of the hosting. As long as everyone pitched in with food and helped out, no one seemed to mind.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2017 Penny & Ed Cherubino
(Adapted for BostonZest from one of her Fresh & Local newspaper columns.)