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The Art of Hospitality

There is a tale in the old testament.


A story of when guests or travelers would come from lands far away to visit Abraham and his wife Sara. Before they would enter his home, he would wash their feet. The highest form of hospitality, wouldn't you agree?

I can hear the jokesters jeering, “nah, he just didn't want them soiling up his house with their worn, torn feet or sandals”. Maybe, but hey, he washed their feet! Now, you know, how good that feels! Am I right?

I am not suggesting that we break out a basin full of warm sudsy water when our dinner guests arrive (or am I?), but I do want to offer some suggestions to boost your hospitality game.

If you've been following me for awhile now, you know that a very colorful part of my heritage, one that has certainly influenced the recipes I create, the menus I curate and the manner in which I take care of my clients and guests, reigns from my family's Iranian roots. Without question my Iroonie homies have the science down on entertaining, throwing a party and putting on that hostess with the mostess game face.

I know you know this, my American peeps, because I have been tickled pink to see your spirits lift when I serve "Tah-dig" at many of our catering affairs. No one, and I mean no-one, can deny the joy that ensues from crunching on some crispy basmati rice or the added bonus of potato slices that accompany this delicious dish.

Besides the food, always served family style, which adds to the feeling of community and belonging, when you are invited to a Persian Dinner or Persian Celebration, no matter their economic demographic, you are showered with warmth, a drink, and literally dozens of opulent dishes. One more tantalizing than the next.

Having seconds is unheard of when you've already been handed your fourth plate of mama djun's Lule Kabob or Khoresht Ghormeh Sabzi. Seriously, what were you thinking?!!

If you're beginning to understand that the Art of Hospitality is in cahoots with Graciousness and Giving. Bravo! You're on your way to becoming the home that everyone wants to be invited to.

In entertaining the act of giving is far more rewarding than receiving. Goodie bags to take home with you after dinner? Say yes, it just makes your host so happy.

The Art of Hospitality transcends the dinner invitation too. In my book, if someone holds a door for me, or helps me load a 50 pound bag of flour (yes, every month!), or offers to walk me to my car, it is less about my inability or being the fairer sex (weaker sex), it's about graciousness.

I joke that I know more women who behave like 007 (not the bedding part; although...?), in the manner of being on the alert for each other's safety, their collective kids safety; helping a mom out when she needs a break, and yes, even being a badass when necessary.

Yes, I can see how my tendency to be an overgiver, in some situations, may stem from my desire to be liked (what can I say, childhood trauma is hard to shake), or not price my work, my art, worthy of my talent, (I've gotten waaaaaaay, better at this!), it still feels great to give.

So, in summary, bring a hostess gift, lend a hand to a shopper with their arms full, give more than you take. Offer goodie bags, be unique, be kind, be gracious. Add an extra 5% to the gratuity you leave. It's all good energy. Good karma. We need more giving and understanding in this world. It all starts with you.

Sending you good vibes and lots of blessings.

Chef Elizabeth

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