At an American home / В американском доме


John and I have lived at our present home almost sixteen years and have had at least twelve thousand guests tor dinner. It's not something I wish to brag about. It is something I have been privileged to do. From family dinners and festive occasions to bridal showers and wedding receptions, we have enjoyed them tremendously. The number of people at these occasions has ranged from one to three hundred at a time. Our goal has always been to make people feel welcomed when they arrive and satisfied when they leave.

The menus I've planned for various gatherings were simple crowd pleasers. I used lots of hamburger, spaghetti and meat sauce, tacos with trimmings, chili, and beans. These meals were economical and easy to prepare. I can repeat them as often as I want because we have had different people every time.

Eventually, through lots of planning for the party at our home and cooking, I've learned that hospitality is always well received. Here some simple steps to begin your own adventure in that:

  1. Decide who you would like to invite to dinner (or any other mealtime).
  2. Invite your guests at a time that will be easy on your schedule. Don't create additional stress for yourself.
  3. Plan you menu several days in advance. Choose something that is not difficult to prepare, and try not to be exotic. Home cooking is becoming a rarity
  4. Make you grocery list. You can do a lot on a tight budget. With the right attitude and a spark of creativity you can make a little go a long way
  5. Do your shopping early. Don't wait until you are close to your dinner date to get necessary items Shopping early will also allow you to make certain dishes ahead of time.
  6. Set the table the night before. This step is almost a must You would be surprised how much time this will save, not to mention the peace of your mind.
  7. Make a time schedule for all the dishes you are going to prepare.
  8. Be ready early. Make sure that the meal is in the oven an hour before your guests arrive. Doing this leaves thirty minutes for you to get ready and thirty minutes to check on last-minute details without pressure.

You must know that these are guidelines I have developed to help make dinners easier to prepare. You may have many of your own ideas. I encourage you to be creative in finding ways to make this time as easy as possible. The key is to be flexible and keep your eyes set on the motive of your event.

(Adapted from "The King's Daughter" by Diana Hagee)


hospitality — гостеприимство

festive occasions — праздничные события

tremendously — очень сильно; потрясающе; великолепно

taco with trimmings — тако с гарниром (мексиканское блюдо в виде тартинки, сложенной вдвое, с мясной начинкой)

to plan smth in advance — планировать что-либо заранее

a rarity — редкость

on a tight budget — скромный бюджет; на скромном бюджете

a spark of creativity — искорка фантазии; искорка креативности

to make smth ahead of time — сделать что-либо раньше срока

to be flexible — быть гибким