Welcome to the to part three of the unofficial series on hospitality. In part one I looked at why hospitality matters in motherhood and in part two we explored the idea of spontaneous hospitality. Now we will get a little more practical and answer one of the most common questions: What should I serve?
Why Hospitality Matters
I won’t spend to much time on this as I have other posts that go into greater detail but I do want to do a quick recap. Hospitality matters because that is one of the ways we see the church body grow in the days of the early church. We see Christians in all walks of life being encouraged through relationships developed through the practice of hospitality. We see men from the Bible literally entertaining angels by welcoming strangers into their home. And finally, we see that hospitality allows you to serve Christ by serving others in need. (Matthew 25:37-40)
The Big Question
Once upon a time, figuring out what to serve at a gathering was as simple as just doubling whatever you are planning on making. But in today’s day and age, with all the various food restrictions and diet plans, it’s hard to know if everyone in the group will be able to eat a lasagna. So, what do you do?
Ask the next big question. My oldest son has a peanut allergy, so I know the frustrations of having to tell him he can’t eat something with peanuts in it. So I do my best to make sure I ask those coming over if they have any restrictions. It may feel a little weird at first, but those who do have restrictions are typically quite appreciative of your consideration. If the answer is no, then move along with whatever you already had planned. Just double (or triple) the recipe. If their are food restrictions, call an audible.
Plan ahead a little. If the gathering is a spontaneous one, this might seem a little contradictory. But even these special times require a little thought and planning for the simple reason above, there might be food restrictions.
When I say plan ahead, I mean to say that you should stock up on staples for some go to meals that work well when serving groups of people. Some of these staples include ground beef/turkey, chicken, beans, pasta, pasta sauce, cheese, flour, and tortilla. (This is not an exhaustive list, just a few suggestions.)
The Other Question
Now, you know about food restrictions, what kinds of foods can you have staples on hand for that can fit with most dietary needs?
Soups. I love soups, especially in the winter. And there are so many recipes that are gluten free or can be modified as such with a little creativity. Just search gluten free on pinterest or check out a few of these cookbooks for more inspiration.
Tacos. Who doesn’t love a good taco night? Tacos are a wonderful hospitality meal because you can easily double or triple it and it’s extremely customizable so those with dietary restrictions can leave off what they want or need. Just make sure you season with a gluten free seasoning to be safe.
Breakfast for Dinner. Another really easy go to for a get together is breakfast for dinner. This could mean literally anything. I personally love doing pancakes and always the ingredients on hand. But for those who may have dietary restrictions, you can include scrambled eggs, sausage and/or bacon, and fruit to give everybody a nice variety.
Pizza. We do homemade pizza (almost) every Friday night so we tend to serve this the most. It’s easy to couple a batch and make extra crusts and again, customizable to please almost everyone. But what about those with gluten allergies? I would recommend purchasing a few frozen cauliflower pizzas. You can find them pretty much anywhere. This may not be the best choice if you know there is a dairy allergy.
It doesn’t have to hard
You don’t need a big house or fancy dishes (honestly, I recommend paper plates and cups. Cleanup is so much easier!). You don’t even really need to serve dinner, maybe just coffee. You just need an open heart and an open door. It may be weird and uncomfortable at first but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Start small. Pick a meal that’s easy for you to make and invite just one person/couple over and get to know them. The invite another person/couple the next month. You can do this!