What Would You Serve To Your Guests?
Before I start, I'd like to wish everyone Happy New Year! At the time of writing, it's 2023 everywhere in the world, no matter where you live, so I wish you a better year than the previous one and let all your dreams come true.
Sometime around Christmas, I had a conversation with @galenkp about food or what to serve guests. It's a current topic these days as we had Christmas and New Year's Eve and regardless of your location, during this week there's always a party, a family gathering, where food plays an important role.
Selecting the right dishes for an occasion becomes more difficult, when you have guests from another country, or another continent. The culinary world is a wonderful one, but the number of fussy people is also high. Having the family at the table is already a challenge as one doesn't like raisins and Turkish delight, the other doesn't like greens, some are not allowed to have salty food due to high blood pressure, others can't have vinegar due to stomach problems and so on. As a host, it's your responsibility to do everything in your power for your guests to feel at home and leave with good memories and avoid remembering you for the horrible lunch or dinner you served.
Over the years I've had guests from quite a few countries and each time I had to work out a menu to check every box. This is a dream honestly, because many times these guests were new and you never know what they like, don't like and what they are allowed to eat.
The safest menu would be one they are familiar with, something traditional in their country, but it would be the worst too. Years ago I was part of the team visiting a well known company in a neighboring country. We knew they are going to treat us like royalties and they did indeed. We were expecting some famous local food, but instead we got dishes traditional in my country. Although we all appreciated the gesture and the hospitality, the slap on our face was huge.
I'm not sure why they decided to serve us our traditional food, you can't ask that, but after lunch, we went straight to a local, restaurant serving traditional food and had another lunch. That was an experience I will never forget.
Some prefer to take their guests to the restaurant. This option has some advantages as it saves you from the trouble of cooking, serving and cleaning and also give them the chance to choose from a greater variety of food. However, sometimes it can be seen as a lazy act from your part and labeled as lack of hospitality.
My strategy is to host them at home and serve traditional dishes, but only the ones that can not seem extreme, which reminds me of a conversation I had a couple of days ago with a friend of mine on Discord. We have a winter dish recently, called meat jelly, which is popular in Hungary as well, but I'm not really a fan of it. My friend told me to remind him to eat before coming to visit me as he's not going to eat meat jelly. There's no need for that as I would never serve such a dish to foreigners, unless I am asked to.
Choosing the right menu for guests is an art and one can only wish to make the right choice. So far I had no problems with anyone, most of the times my guests could not have enough of what they were served. We have a German friend who is giving me the list of dishes he would like, in advance. I don't mind at all as he saves me from the headache and it's a joy to see him filling his plate several times.
So what's your strategy? Are you cooking for your guests or taking them out to a restaurant?
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Happy New Year to you.
I'm not a good cook and I have no interest in cooking either. Eating yes! Cooking no! Anyone, who visits me ends up having a salad because I can't burn that, or I order a takeaway. Trust me, it's safer for my guests. 😁
Happy New Year to you too!
😂 So you chose safety first. Not a bad strategy. Better safe then sorry.
I like my friends too much to push my cooking onto them. 🙂
They ars happy to have you ☺️
That food looks very delicious..I will try it. Thanks for sharing the post..
Happy new year to you and your family. Mostly in Pakistan, if the guests come in the afternoon, they are mostly served curds and bottles. And if someone comes at night time or invites him, then rice is mandatory in the middle, followed by chicken pakoda and custard. All the food looks very tasty.
Happy New Year to you too. Looks like everything is well established in your country.
Happy new year. You had an interesting discussion. Infact choosing the kind of dish for visitors from different country will be very stressful. As you've just said it will be unethical to some visitors sending them to a restaurant and as humans we're not equal. To me, I'll see it to be normal because you don't know the condition of the host.
Happy New Year to you too. Everyone thinks differently, what is normal for one, may not be normal for others. Customs differ from country to country, sometimes from region to region.
When I’m invited, I’m not complicated as I’m a sort of gourmet...
But when I receive, depending of the season, it’s often some composed salads or stews, with meat or not !
But anyway, I love to cook, so no one left the house without a smile !
Empty plates and big smiles after dinner are the biggest compliments to the host.
Always ! But... what happens if the dinner is only made of empty plates and big smiles ?!
Your food looks delicious and all the while I have followed your blog, you've been feeding my eyes with those lovely dishes. Happy new year Ma, wishing you the best this year can offer bye.
Happy New Year to you too and thank you for the nice words.
Happy New Year to you too. Your food does look delicious, I'm wondering ... what is the food on the first photo you posted?
And yeah, fussy people. We see them from time to time and in the most unexpected places as well, right?
As for serving food to guests, I never have got any complaints so far, but maybe my guests were too polite. Lol.
Happy New Year to you too Hetty! The one on the first photo is creamy rice with chicken, one of my favorite.
Lol, polite guests are good. I only had one guest over the years that told me that the sausage they have in her city is far better than what I served 😂
fehappy new year, it really happens to me that in my home some diners like one thing and others another. especially the typical foods of these dates in Venezuela. I manage to please myself family, that's why I prefer to cook with a lot of love for them. regards
Happy New Year to you too. Pleasing the family is easy as you learn about their taste. However, when it comes to foreigners, things get complicated.
It is true that there are many different tastes and gastronomies.
For me, cooking is not a problem, but it is difficult to know what kind of food people like. Especially if they come from another country or even another continent. In that case I prefer to take them to a restaurant and let them eat what they want. Let them think I'm lazy rather than not eating what I cook haha.
Also I know that I already celebrate but I want to say again and nobody can stop me! Happy New Year!
Lol, Happy New Year to you too my friend. Not everyone thinks the host is lazy if you take them to the restaurant so you may get away with it. No worries.
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I cook because I enjoy it, and when I have guests I really like to experiment, which isn't always good. I don't have guests from abroad and that's why I don't mind cooking something from their country. I like to cook a lot of dishes so that my guests and friends can each find something to their liking and not leave hungry...
Happy New Year, @erikah!
Happy New Year to you too Bluemoon. Having a great variety of dishes can save the day for sure. It's a good strategy.
Wow😍 @erikah your food looks delicious and yummy.. I believe your cooking skills is very much inspiring..
I love to cook also but not that expert like you☺️.. Thanks for sharing...
Thank you for the nice words but I'm not an expert either, I just like to cook. Nothing more.
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This topic is so interesting, I sometimes get confused on what to serve my guest because here in Nigeria our well known meal is rice and stew or jellof rice but is something almost everyone eat in thier different home, so most time I try my native soup or I try making pepper sauce with some cow skin just something different that will make my guest want more 😉.
Happy new year @erikah 🤗, The dish looks very good, I want to be a guest at your house😊, to be able to try those pastries
Well, this is a cool topic. A lot of things I would say here.
In my opinion I think it depends on the guests many times.
My strategy is: I usually cook something I feel familiar with and I know I can't fail, a dish I always make it right. And as @bluemoon said, I like to have many options to feel covered. Variety means everyone usually find something to like and thats something to consider.
And when possible, I always consider what my guests would like and how they eat.
For example our relatives from Canada were coming over (a lot of times). I'm talking about 2-3 families. They are Romanians living in Canada for over 20yrs but they like Romanian food so no big deal when visiting. Still, when one of these families come over with 3 kids I knew the kids are not eating Romanian foods like their parents so I made for them something I knew they can eat like Mac and Cheese. That was plus what I have cooked for the fam.
And yes, sometimes I take my guests to restaurant. But usually just young friends. Me and my husband love going out and eat at restaurants and I know a bunch of friends/cousins loving it too. So many times we go out to eat instead of spending hours on cooking.
I would say in summer you can't go wrong with grilling. Everyone love a good grill. Meat, veggies and salad is pretty much covering all needs for everyone.
And as desserts, the same. I do the ones I like and I consider my guests would love them too.
Big P.S. many many times, despite finding the perfect menu for everyone, I found those recipes that involves not toooooo much work in the kitchen. :D:D
I almost forgot to reply to you 😳
I hope you have survived the holiday season and had enough sarmale, cozonac and what you usually have 😂
Yeah, making a bit of everything is a good strategy.
Those who emigrated from our country are easy to please as they will gladly eat traditional dishes. The problem is when you have people who has never been in our country :)
Anyway, so far so good, no one has complained yet, on the contrary, so I hope to maintain the good record.
Romanians are...Romanianas after all! 😄
Yes, agree on that.
For example, my mom has a lot of "elvetieni" guests and she always has to prepare different food for them. Like ALWAYS.
I'm glad you didnt have complains. Same here!
P.S. If you wouldnt reply, I wouldnt have mind, just so you know. SOmetimes it just happens.