Feast with guests

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Feast with guestsAny celebration in the family is simply unthinkable here without a feast. They are accompanied by general holidays, and meetings with friends for no particular reason ... Speaking of a feast, we mean exactly a long sitting at the table, as they say, "bursting" from the abundance of food and drink. As a rule, few of the guests leave without being “overloaded”, at least with food.

Realizing the negative aspects of this tradition, nevertheless, we will not condemn it out of the blue: we have become too familiar with it, and, whatever you say, there is a special charm in our feasts ... Therefore, now it will not be a question of giving up or sharply change everything in a different, rational way. Let's see what and why in this tradition needs to be changed and what we would like.

If you happen to host receptions of guests 2-3 times in a row, you inevitably come to the conclusion that it is not only costly, physically difficult, but also ... boring. And people are nice, and you have a lot in common - you can talk to each one individually at least half the night - but such is the specificity of mass feasts that the special dissolves in them, the external remains on the surface: the ability to maintain a conversation on general topics, to react correctly to a joke, by the way praise the hostess for her culinary art ... Well, maybe also sing a song in chorus ... Some kind of vivid manifestation of individuality at a party is often inappropriate: increased attention to one person can offend others, and he himself may not want to for one reason or another ...

So the monotony of traditionally organized feasts is natural. But what if you break it without, naturally, affecting the main principles of our hospitality - hospitality and sincere hospitality? Perhaps it will seem to someone: organizing the table differently than usual is a lot of troublesome business. But that's just the beginning. The efforts expended by the owners to establish a new one will pay off handsomely. First, new is always interesting; secondly, your home in the perception of friends will become much warmer, because not only the number of snacks will indicate your disposition to them. And finally, in yourself and in familiar people, you will discover, perhaps, a previously unknown, because, as psychologists say, changing behavioral stereotypes is greatly helped by changing the usual environment.

The first experience is always an experiment, so it is better to conduct it with the help of loved ones. We usually arrange a party with friends when we meet or by phone. This time, let's choose a different kind of invitation - written. Generally speaking, it is customary to send written invitations on special occasions - to weddings, anniversaries. Now we will use them for one purpose: to set the tone for a future meeting in advance. On the one hand, this will "warm up" the interest of the guests, on the other, it will prepare them for the unexpected, because there are people who are painfully aware of breaking any stereotypes. It is possible that there are some among your loved ones.

So, we are preparing invitations. A frankly jocular, deliberately official, ordinary, friendly style of writing - you need to choose, in accordance with the nature of the relationship between you and your own mood. Let's dwell on the most unpretentious one: "Lena and Sergey, come to us on Saturday for a cocktail."

Instead of a cocktail, you can promise a dinner "a la buffet" or tea with Russian pies - depending on what you have chosen.

Feast with guests
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In addition to the traditional, there is another type of table setting - in the form of a pantry. Swedish is one of the varieties of such a table. The guest himself takes a plate and cutlery and treats from him. They eat while standing or sitting where it is convenient. (The owners should provide that there are enough such comfortable and, if possible, cozy places.Ideal: 2-3 small tables in the same or an adjacent room.) All this makes the atmosphere more relaxed, creates conditions for warm communication for all guests and individual interlocutors.

What is served on the buffet? Initially, guests can be offered a cup of hot broth. Cold appetizers, salads, sauces, butter, pates, bread and pastries, drinks - all this is placed in the middle of the table. Snack plates are placed "in a pile" along the edges, here, in rows or triangles, there are glasses, wine glasses. Cutlery can be arranged beautifully or simply placed in a suitable vase. The owners make sure that dirty dishes are cleaned on time and that the plates for snacks are not empty.

“A la buffet” - people eat standing at this table, so it is more convenient if it is higher than usual. There should not be a single snack that needs to be cut with a knife, because "a la buffet" in translation from French means "fork". In addition to cold snacks, you can serve baked food - julienne, hot sausages, small cutlets.

Cocktail Table - There are no snack plates or cutlery, just wood and plastic sticks or mini forks. Nuts, fruits, salted biscuits and sandwiches - canapes - the best snack for cocktails. (We will tell you how to make canapes). It goes without saying: we prepare cocktails only in the presence of guests.

By the way, the pantry principle can also be used in the case when the food is organized in the usual way. A writing table or some other suitable table can be served for dessert, so that those who wish, at the invitation of the hostess, can take fruits and sweets without waiting for the dining table to be cleaned.

You can invite guests for tea or coffee. At the same time, even very scrupulous housewives should not worry that people will leave home hungry. After all, you can serve hearty pies with various fillings to the tea table; pastries, cakes, salty and sweet sandwiches, berries, fruits, ice cream.

Of course, there are times when you need a traditional table. For example, if your guests are mostly elderly people or when you are having a banquet - a gala lunch or dinner on the occasion of a wedding, a "round" date or some other important event for you. Let us recall the rules for setting such a table.

In a straight line along the edge of the table, we put 2 plates for each guest: for hot food and on top - a snack bar; we lay out the devices (on the right, the knife with the sharpened side of the blade to the plate, on the left, the fork with the concave side up). Near each device - in a row or in a triangle - a glass for vodka, another for wine, a glass or a glass for mineral water or soft drinks. Place plates with cold appetizers and salads in the middle line of the table. When a hot dish is brought in, the cold appetizers are removed, leaving the vegetable salads. Shared utensils with hot food may not be placed on the table, but offered to each guest on the left side. Before dessert, if you did not use the idea of ​​a pantry table, all dishes and cutlery should be removed, the tablecloth should be changed or the crumbs should be thoroughly removed from it.

You can diversify the holidays not only by choosing one or another type of table setting. Why not arrange evenings of national cuisine from time to time? For example, Russian. Okroshka, dumplings, pies or pancakes, pickles, tea infused on a currant leaf, from a samovar, with bagels and lollipops ... - such an evening, no doubt, you will want to repeat ... Or you can look “beyond the horizon” - even more so, one of the friends recently returned from a tourist trip to a foreign country, let's say Italy. Under the fascinating story of an eyewitness and the sound of Toto Cutugno's record, the "minestra" soup will seem wonderful, albeit slightly unusual in taste, Milanese chops, home pasta with Sicilian sauce...

Inviting you to change the stereotype of receiving guests, we have not yet said about the most important thing - for those families where children grow up.

Very often our little ones find themselves "excluded" from family celebrations. Without them, there is preparation, without them - a feast. The main concern in relation to the child of a "wrapped" mother: to be full and ... not to get in the way. We send the children for a walk, "stuff" into the nursery, if there is one. If not, they wander among self-centered adults, perceiving with all their feelings and subconsciousness, absorbing the given model of the relationship between children and adults: "we" and "they". And then they will repeat it on their children. And are such cases rare when even the birthday of a daughter or son becomes just another reason for an immoderate feast of adults, by the end of which everyone completely forgets what reason they have gathered ... Again: everyone except the child. And this is also a lesson for him: this is how it should be ... But it is not so, it is not so necessary! Saying goodbye to the hosts on the doorstep, remember the saying: "Do not be afraid of the sitting guest - be afraid of the standing one."

Any holiday in the family can and should be a holiday for everyone. If possible, invite adults with children. There will be two social circles - large and small, but just do not think that this gives you a reason to switch to your problems with a clear conscience. Children need to be taught, as they say, in practice - how to receive guests, entertain, treat.

There is an opinion that children have nothing to do at a common table. But is it legitimate? Rather, the fear that this opinion gave rise to is legitimate: they say, they will see enough of the wrong one, they will hear enough ... So after all, children hear and see us when we do not suspect it, and only complete isolation from each other would not allow them to be "inherited" what the parents do not want to convey. Isolation ... or our restraint, self-control. They say children are excellent educators. Let's let them show this innate ability and see: the win will be mutual. We will sit down at the festive table together, together we will learn the culture of feast and communication. If someone is very sick of drinking alcohol in the presence of children, you can serve it to adults before lunch aperitif... (An aperitif is a drink that opens the evening, the first treat, the purpose of which is to set a relaxed tone, to induce appetite.) And while we are at the table together (children usually take a little time to satisfy their appetite), let only soft drinks be in use. The fact that the holiday is common, adults need to remember during conversations, not to fence them off from children. Common table - common conversations.

Feast with guests
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It will be a pity if someone regards this proposal of ours as the sophistication of bigotry. We usually understand "respect for age" as respect for elders. But the younger ones deserve the same, the phenomena are interdependent: there will be no one - there will be no other. Respect for young age in this case means: not to hide the existence of something from which we would like to protect children for a longer time, but also not to demonstrate this undesirable in front of them. (It has long been noticed: among children's games there is one - a feast when kids portray drinking adults, imitating their movements, demeanor, even intonations of "shabby" conversations.)

The tea table can be set separately for children. Here the little hostess or the owner will be able to demonstrate once again what they have learned in the matter of hospitality from their elders. Giving the child freedom, it would be nice to unobtrusively observe how he copes. Maybe correct it in time, maybe return later in the conversation to this moment.

But the most important thing: be sure to include festive "events" in the evening program, in which adults take part with children. It can be a small amateur concert, a lottery, some kind of general game. Do not be afraid that in this situation adults will not have time to communicate with each other, because children are tired of us, they will definitely want to close the door of the nursery and "stew in their own juice."

The greatest scope for imagination is given, of course, by the celebration of the New Year. But isn't the meeting scheduled for March 8 or February 23 (the day that has become our "male" holiday), cannot have its own face? It is also better to prepare for them in advance, like for the New Year. You can, by agreeing with friends, distribute responsibilities: on March 8, the male part of the company, regardless of age, “serves” and “pleases” the female, on the Defender of the Fatherland Day - on the contrary. Naturally, it is necessary to discuss the details with the active participation of children; they should not be passive performers of the imposed role, play according to an "adult" scenario. A bright mosaic of the holiday will only be formed from the combination of different energies, fantasies, desires to do something pleasant for other people.

"What now, neither on weekdays, nor on holidays, is it impossible to rest from children?" - and a dissenting voice is heard. It is possible or not - only the parental heart decides. Another mother, exhausted from worries, dreams of great happiness for at least a day, at least a week to live “as you want”. But if suddenly such a week really falls out (for example, the grandmother took the children with her), then it turns out that there is no “great happiness”. “How are they there? Have you caught a cold? Do they sleep well? What if they fall off the swing? Will they go to the river ?! " Apparently, the only real happiness for a mother is always to be with children. Both on weekdays and holidays.

And yet ... So sometimes I want to "relax". If only in order to feel with renewed vigor the acuteness of the eternal connection with your children ... It's good if you have such an opportunity at least occasionally. But this is still only an exception to the rules of life. This means that we must learn to rest from worries, not throwing them off and not shifting onto other people's shoulders.

Useful Tips

The hospitable and polite hostess will not let go of even a short-term guest without offering him a cup of hot tea in winter or a soft drink on a hot day.

When you are going to a house where you are not expected, think carefully: will the owners be happy with an uninvited guest? After all, they already have some plans for this day or evening, and the mood may not be suitable for receptions. If you are not sure that people are ready to postpone any business for you without regret, do not rush. Discuss the day and time of your arrival with the hosts by phone or when meeting.

An uninvited guest has come to you ... Do not keep him on the doorstep, thereby making it clear that you are busy. Invite him into the room, offer to sit down. If your business is really urgent, explain it by apologizing.

Having received an invitation to a big celebration - a wedding, an anniversary - be sure to inform the invitees in advance if you can come. Calculate your desires and possibilities so that you don't have to change your decisions at the last moment. It will be both unpleasant and costly for those who invited it.

If during a feast you accidentally knocked over a glass of wine, do not explain loudly and for a long time the reasons for your awkwardness. Apologize to the hostess - with a gesture, a look, a few words.

The plate should be empty after meals. If you are a guest - take a little food, if the host - beware of playing the role of one of the heroes of the famous fable about the ear and Demian.

Sashina E.Yu. The ABC of Home Economics

Table decoration and food decoration   Drawing on material using fruits and vegetables

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