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Old 11-12-2013, 08:06 PM   #1
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Entertaining Guests?

I'm trying to learn to be an excellent hostess when my friends come here for meals.

I know the table must be inviting, and I know each guest must be greeted very nicely and offered a beverage and an appetizer.

I tried to find a part of the website for proper entertaining but I found none. Where must I post my question?

It's not about cooking, but it has much to do with food I think, yes?

With love,
~Cat

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Old 11-12-2013, 09:39 PM   #2
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You are right Cat, entertaining does have a lot to do with food. I tried to locate a thread, what I found were a Couple of etiquette threads, which perhaps contain a few entertaining pointers. I am not good at inserting "links", but if you search "etiquette" you will find them. I see no reason why this topic wouldn't make a good thread, so I say go for it (build it and they will come) ;)
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:45 PM   #3
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Perhaps this could be a subforum of general cooking? I need to make eveything perfect for Mamma and Papa when they arrive. Etiquette will help me!

Thank you so very much!

With love,
~Cat
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:26 AM   #4
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There's a forum for Special Event Planning where these questions could be posted.
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:34 PM   #5
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Cat, one of the things that seems to help me when I want to entertain is to have as much of my meal/food prepared ahead of time. This serves two purposes. One, I can be more relaxed, knowing that I won't have to rush around in the kitchen. Secondly, doing this allows me to spend time visiting with my guests, which is something they came to enjoy along with the food.

For a first "entertaining" experience don't try to do something ultra-complex or super fancy. It will only serve to stress you and that can lead to mistakes, which leads to...

Well, you can see where that can end up.

Prepare dishes that you are comfortable/familiar with and do well. You will gain confidence in your hostess skills this way without having to worry about what you are cooking.

Take baby steps. Don't try to be the "greatest hostess in the world" the first few times your entertain.

If you are entertaining family or dear friends, they will forgive any small boo boos and can offer gentle and constructive points on how my could change what you did/do and what might be done differently next time.

It's a learning experience and we all evolve at our own speed and...we are all still learning. There's no final exam that I'm aware of when it comes to being a good hostess.

Have fun with it and enjoy your time together. What you may perceive as an horrific mistake will end up being a memorable "laugh" in the years ahead.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:15 PM   #6
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To add to what Katie posted, when you're entertaining is not the time to try new recipes No matter the source, sometimes a recipe doesn't turn out quite right, so if you make it a few times first, you will know whether it's reliable and any tweaks you want to make.

And please try to relax! These are your parents you're talking about! They want to see you and spend time with you, not watch you run around like crazy, worrying whether everything is perfect! IIRC, they will be with you for over a month, so this visit is more than just an evening of entertaining.

IMO, the number one responsibility of any host or hostess is to make his/her guests feel relaxed and welcome. If you're stressed out, your guests will sense that and things become awkward and uncomfortable. Just prepare as best you can and keep your sense of humor

P.S. I just realized that this thread is actually in the Special Events section I think that's right where it belongs.
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:33 PM   #7
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Good advice above, Cat. Just have fun and go with it. Your family and friends are more likely to remember the socializing than the food, and if you are relaxed and having a good time, they will too.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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And hopefully forget about the food poisoning also, yes? Ha!

I'll copy and paste these replies onto a notepad. Thank you so much!

I re-donated the flatware I had for my new dishes to Goodwill and bought a different set at a regular store. This new set has plain handles, which I think look better. Mamma, Gwen, and Lakisha all said the former set was too "busy" for the dishes. All three of them like these very much better!

I'm letting the dishes splash the color onto the table. I have bought chargers and plain tablecloths and placemats, and the glassware is fairly plain also, but nice.

In America, do you frisk your dinner guests before or after you steal their coats?

Just joking!

Katie, may I please copy your photos of your tables? Can anyone else show me ideas for decorating the table also, please? I'm running out of time to put this all together.

I know I should relax about this, but it's hard. It's why there is nervous humor in my posting.

With love,
~Cat
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:34 PM   #9
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And hopefully forget about the food poisoning also, yes? Ha! I'll copy and paste these replies onto a notepad. Thank you so much! I re-donated the flatware I had for my new dishes to Goodwill and bought a different set at a regular store. This new set has plain handles, which I think look better. Mamma, Gwen, and Lakisha all said the former set was too "busy" for the dishes. All three of them like these very much better! I'm letting the dishes splash the color onto the table. I have bought chargers and plain tablecloths and placemats, and the glassware is fairly plain also, but nice. In America, do you frisk your dinner guests before or after you steal their coats? Just joking! Katie, may I please copy your photos of your tables? Can anyone else show me ideas for decorating the table also, please? I'm running out of time to put this all together. I know I should relax about this, but it's hard. It's why there is nervous humor in my posting. With love, ~Cat
Depending on the guest, sometimes they get tackled and frisked as soon as they are in the door, never mind the coat! In our house, the cats steal everyone's shoes as soon as they are taken off, so jackets don't usually get stolen :crazy:

You have lovely dishes, which with the rest being more neutral, makes for a pleasing and inviting table to look at. I'm sure your parents are looking toward to seeing your home, and spending much time with you. I will see if I can find some pictures of table set ups to share with you.

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Old 11-13-2013, 09:37 PM   #10
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Oh no! 13 days until Mamma and Papa arrive! I must get some menus going!

They will be arriving around 4pm. That is 11pm Romanian time.

I'm thinking they will be tired, and so perhaps a light meal is in order. What do you think?

With love,
~Cat
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:40 PM   #11
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Depending on the guest, sometimes they get tackled and frisked as soon as they are in the door, never mind the coat! In our house, the cats steal everyone's shoes as soon as they are taken off, so jackets don't usually get stolen :crazy:

You have lovely dishes, which with the rest being more neutral, makes for a pleasing and inviting table to look at. I'm sure your parents are looking toward to seeing your home, and spending much time with you. I will see if I can find some pictures of table set ups to share with you.

Toff
Oh thank you so very much!

That is very funny! You must be very proud of your cats for making visits to your home memorable for your guests! Ha!

With love,
~Cat
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:12 PM   #12
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Cat, what color are your tablecloth, napkins and placemats? Are you going to use both the blue and the red dishes at the same time? (I think they are lovely and you should mix-n-match them. Your table will be beautiful with just your pretty dishes and a simple vase of flowers or even branches. Try to relax, you are probably right that your parents will be tired and may just want a light meal and then to get some sleep. As long as you provide something to eat and a place to rest you will be a perfect hostess. Since you likely know what your mother and father each like to eat for breakfast, if you have that available for the next morning you will again have done your duty as hostess. Really, since this is family you are entertaining there isn't a need for a lot of formality. Your parents expect you to be your sweet self, all they really want is your love and respect and to know that you are happy. Cheers my dear!
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:24 AM   #13
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Cat, what color are your tablecloth, napkins and placemats? Are you going to use both the blue and the red dishes at the same time? (I think they are lovely and you should mix-n-match them. Your table will be beautiful with just your pretty dishes and a simple vase of flowers or even branches. Try to relax, you are probably right that your parents will be tired and may just want a light meal and then to get some sleep. As long as you provide something to eat and a place to rest you will be a perfect hostess. Since you likely know what your mother and father each like to eat for breakfast, if you have that available for the next morning you will again have done your duty as hostess. Really, since this is family you are entertaining there isn't a need for a lot of formality. Your parents expect you to be your sweet self, all they really want is your love and respect and to know that you are happy. Cheers my dear!
Thank you so very much! I have 2 tablecloths. One is a beige lace tablecloth, and the other is a plain white linen tablecloth.

I do plan to use the dishes in an alternating pattern, one blue, one red, and so forth. The placemats are some red and some blue, alternating.

Thank you for helping me! Yes, I thought of a very nice breakfast when they are rested, and perhaps a simple plate of boursin cheese, cocktail rye bread, and tea may be for them upon their arrival.

Thank you! My parents are so kind and they are happy with anything. Mamma and Papa know I do love them and I respect them.

You are so very kind to me. Thank you again. I will keep your advice.

With love,
~Cat
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:44 AM   #14
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A light meal like that sounds perfect. Some juicy grapes always go well with cheese and bread/crackers. And if you want to do something special, you could make your own crackers. I made the Rosemary, Cheddar and Walnut Icebox Crackers on this page once and they're easy and delicious: Crazy for Crackers | The Daring Kitchen
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:24 AM   #15
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Katie, may I please copy your photos of your tables? Can anyone else show me ideas for decorating the table also, please? I'm running out of time to put this all together.


With love,
~Cat

Yes, Cat. You may copy the photos of the tables. Just use them as a guide and set your table to reflect "you."
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:28 AM   #16
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If it were me arriving to you from where I live here in Europe I would much prefer something light and tasty on arrival at that sort of time Cat..Grilled cheese on toast perhaps or a good soup with lots of crusty bread. I genuinely don't think that I could do a big meal the justice it should deserve. A cup of tea and lots of hugs with my daughter would be a total joy in itself so in my humble opinion, I would be thrilled if you said that 'in a day or two' you were going to cook something special for us. One tip in general, I always ask if I am cooking for someone the first time if there is something that they can't or would prefer not to eat. I jot that down in my mini notepad so i always know in the future if I need to avoid something.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:36 AM   #17
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Cat, do a search for "fall table settings" on Google Images. Then you can add other words to the search to narrow the results, by color or style, and get lots of ideas that way. Here's one I found that is nice and simple so it would go nicely with your brightly colored plates:
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:47 PM   #18
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Oh my! I have received such good advice! I'm very grateful for this.

I know Mamma and Papa love cheese and crackers, especially Boursin. I'll look at the website; I think it would be a nice touch of welcome to make my own crackers for them.

That table and Katie's tables are so very pretty. Perhaps also a Horn of Plenty as the centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table? I like the pumpkins. Oh, I do love this website! You all have given me so very much support, help, and ideas. I promise I'll make you all proud of me also!

I know Mamma and Papa will be very tired from their journey on the plane. I was. DA gave me a nice bowl of her cinnamon-apple oatmeal and tea, and I went to bed! I arrived here on the very last flight at 11:00pm. It was 6:00am Romanian time.

I learned from this to serve something light. The oatmeal is very heavy and I just could'nt finish it. All I wanted was a few mouthfuls and the tea, and I went straight to my bed. I did'nt unpack; I slept in my underwear.

It does take about two days to adjust to the local time. Mamma and Papa are older, so they may need a longer time to adjust. I know what their favorite breakfast is and I'll make this for them! They love a lot of fruit, bacon, toast, and grapefruit juice. That shall be their breakfast when they finally crawl out of their beds. I remember dragging myself from bed the first day. I felt as if someone had fastened a boat anchor to my butt.

I thought of a fresh fruit bowl of cut oranges, green and red grapes, pitted cherries, cut pears, sliced banana and cut up apples. We all love whipped cream, so I can put this on the top of the fruit. Then some very nice bacon, whole wheat toast with honey and butter, and the grapefruit juice and coffee. I do not like coffee. I went today to the Walmart and bought a nice coffeemaker for them. Also, Lakisha and Tyler and DA like coffee. DA drinks the instant coffee, and this makes my taste buds on my tongue to protest! Uckkkk!

How am I doing so far? What are better ideas? Thank you all so very much for your help! Please tell me if there is something amiss of this, or something I can do better.

With love,
~Cat
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Old 11-15-2013, 03:12 AM   #19
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That sounds wonderful Cat. I think making the crackers is a great idea, maybe buy a jar of mixed pickles to go on the side?
Also, what a fabulous breakfast you have planned. I think I would prefer the cream in a separate dish so that I could help myself or even a good creamy yoghurt to go with that fresh fruit salad as it's breakfast.
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:46 AM   #20
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Cat, keep something in mind. If you were going home to visit your parents, what would they be doing for you? Just turn it around and do for them, what they would do for you. I know you want to impress them. And that is admirable. Just don't lay so much on yourself that you can't enjoy your visit with them. Relax and enjoy your visit with them.
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