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Let Me Entertain: Having a House Guest

May 22, 2010

My friend Amanda is coming to stay with me for the weekend. Z is going home to spend time with his family now that his finals are done, which is the perfect opportunity for gushy girly fun.

Having a house guest used to mean I would be eating out for every meal. I was intimidated by the thought of making more than just dinner for them (which usually took weeks of planning!). But as I’ve learned more about cooking, I realized that eating in with your guest saves money and makes them feel right at home.

Feeling comfortable entertaining for more than 4 hours at a time takes some getting used to, but here are some tips to help you turn your apartment from a fast food joint to a bed and breakfast.

Tip 1. Make a good plan…

As smooth as it may seem to be spontaneous, you’ll think twice when you end up feeding your guest Lean Cuisine for dinner. Make a plan, even if it a general one, such as which meals you will eat in and when you will eat out. You’ll ensure you friend won’t wish they were at a Holiday Inn.

Tip 2. …yet be flexible.

You can plan your weekends meals down to the parsley garnish, but sometimes plans change. If your guest decides they want to try that new seafood restaurant for dinner don’t fret about the chicken in the fridge. Put it in the freezer when you get home and save it for next week.

Tip 3. Make food you rock.

It may sound like a dream to serve cheese souffle on your friend’s first night in town, but unless you’ve mastered it you might end up serving cheese soup. Make your signature never-fail dish (or at least something simple) and you’ll be guaranteed success.

Tip 4. Make it special.

So you make your signature dish? Don’t eat it on your lap at your desk while you catch up on some blog reading. Sit at the table, add some flowers and nice silverware; a simple meal becomes a special event.

Tip 5. The extra bits.

Meals aren’t the only important foodie items. Make sure to have your guest’s favorite staples (orange or apple juice, coffee or tea, red or white wine) and some good snacks around for between-meal catch up time or quality TV watching. Especially after a long day of traveling, an excellent appetizer when they arrive will start your guest’s visit off on the right foot!

Tip 6. Be home-y

Make your guest feel at home. Make food they enjoy. Always offer them something, even if you aren’t hungry. Tell them they can help themselves to your fridge. If your guest feels at home, the pressure is off, so even if you do attempt that souffle, a fail wouldn’t be so bad.

The most important thing to remember is that house guests will try to make your time as simple as possible, and often respond with lines such as “I’ll eat anything!” or “Whatever you want!” The key to being a good host is anticipating things, and not accept that your vegetarian sister “Doesn’t care if there is bacon in that”. A little time and effort will make your meals better than any unlimited breakfast buffet.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2010 4:46 am

    Great tips. I always like to take my out of town friends to weird places in Boston that most tourists don’t go to like Davis Square or Central Square. They have great restaurants in both and you can sit in Davis and just people watch all day while licking ice cream from JP Licks.

  2. May 22, 2010 12:17 pm

    I love having house guests!! I have so much fun prepping our guest rooom and planning fun activities. These are great tips.

  3. May 22, 2010 12:24 pm

    House guests are always so much fun. I love your tip about having snacks. It’s such a nice touch for a guest to be have a few options if they have a snack attack!

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