"We had gone to catch a movie in the nearby multiplex last evening. We were quite surprised to spot there my husband’s colleague Gautam, with his family. After the movie, as we adults were talking, the kids seemed to get along like a house on fire. Nobody wanted to go home! So I did the only right thing to do, and invited Gautam and his family for dinner. Though I spoke out the invitation, I wasn’t really expecting them to accept! Now I had four unexpected dinner guests, and no idea of what I would be cooking…”
Sarita is not the only one to have unexpected guests at home, who stay on for dinner. Many women suffer panic/anxiety attacks when faced with unexpected dinner guests. The first thing to remember is that there is no need to panic. After all, “Atithi Devo Bhava.”
When you have unexpected dinner guests to take care of, you have two things to worry about:
1. The food
2. Making your guests comfortable.
The food is really a secondary issue, for you can always order in if cooking seems to be too much of trouble. It is more important to know how to take care of your guests. Since they are unexpected guests, they would probably feel a little guilty about accepting your hospitality and putting you to trouble. This is one area you need to take care of. There are others.
Don’t Go Overboard When you have unexpected guests, do not strive to serve an exotic or extravagant food. Keep it simple and casual, so that they do not feel guilty or intimidated. This will also help you bond with them by establishing a comfort level. If ordering food, again keep it simple. Pizza is the best choice here!
No Fancy China Please Since this is not a formal dinner occasion, please avoid using your fancy and expensive china. Use something less fancy to serve the food. Melamine dinner sets work just fine. The idea is to make your guests feel at home.
Involve The Guests From deciding the menu to helping you in fixing and serving the dinner, you can involve your guests. Usually, it is considered polite for the guests to offer help. So if your guests offer to help you in setting the table or fixing up the salad, do not refuse. If you let the guests participate, they will feel more comfortable and less out-of-place.
Kids Zone For the adults to have a proper conversation, it is a good idea to let the kids have their own space. Whether they want to play computer games or watch cartoons, let them do it in a separate room. It is a good idea to even serve the dinner to the kids before adults sit down to eat.
Switch On The TV Sometimes there is a lull in the conversation that is difficult to break. Turn on the TV so that everybody can enjoy the silence or talk about the TV show, if they please!
Organize Games The kids will usually find their own games to play. But to make your adult guests comfortable and happy, organize a few games for the adults as well. As you get the dinner ready (or wait for the pizza), the games can keep everyone occupied.
Keep The Conversation Light There is no need to discuss politics or have overheated discussions about God, religion, terrorism etc. People usually get emotional in such conversations and this can often lead to friction. You don’t want yourself or your husband to get into a fight with your guests, Right? So keep tabs on where the conversation is going.
Now that you have made your guests comfortable, it is time to worry about the chow! So do visit Memsaab again to read our next article in the series. In the next article, we will discuss ways in which you can fix up an interesting menu for unexpected guests. Voila!!!