Entertaining isn’t a sport or a competition. It’s an act of love, if you let it be. You can twist it and turn it into anything you want – a way to show off your house, a way to compete with your friends, a way to earn love and approval. Or you can decide that every time you open your door, it’s an act of love, not performance or competition or striving. You can decide that every time people gather around your table, your goal is nourishment, not neurotic proving. You can decide…
Shauna Niequist speaks my language. I love that quote.
(Sidenote: I promise I will not turn my whole blog into repeated statements of “Go read Shauna Niequist’s books. Now!” But seriously – I make no guarantees about this specific blog post. Go do it. Now.)
I love this quote, not because I am incredibly good at chilling out when people come over, but because I need to be reminded to Chill. The. Crap. Out. most of the time. All of the time.
For the past several years – pretty much since I moved to LA and wanted to meet tons of fabulous people – I’ve hosted girls’ breakfasts off and on.
Saturday mornings, 9:30 to whenever.
I always make the coffee first. Sometimes I have two friends there. One time I had 30. Usually most everyone knows at least some of the people there, and so I do a round of introductions and make another pot of coffee and scurry off to the kitchen to make crepes while listening to my sweet friends, laughing and drinking coffee and mimosas.
Without fail – I panic at least once. What if someone’s bored? What if I burn the crepes? What if I didn’t buy enough eggs for the frittata? What if my house isn’t clean enough? What if I didn’t buy enough food in general and someone gets stuck with a bowl of cereal? What if people think I’m a terrible hostess?
And the truth is – no one really remembers exactly what I made. No one comes in, staring at their watch and chastising me for being 10 minutes late because – oh yeah, I should probably turn the broiler on to toast the bread. I’ve burned stuff and spilled coffee and had to stretch the berries across 12 plates instead of 9 because unexpected guests joined in for the morning. I’ve also pulled off nutella crepes and apple cinnamon muffins and tiny Elvis brownies (chocolate, peanut butter, honey, bananas) and fresh whipped cream stuffed into cored strawberries dipped in chocolate and frittatas with a beautiful toasted parmesan crust. But all of that is beside the point.
The point is the beautiful friends all sitting around my kitchen table.
And so I give out hugs and mismatched coffee cups. People offer to brew a round of coffee or cut the fritatta or wipe the kitchen counter down because it looks like a powdered sugar monster descended and ran amok – and I say yes. And thank you.
Despite all my neuroses screaming otherwise – I don’t need people to think I’m perfect.
I want people to come into breakfast and feel like there’s a safe space to share and fun food to eat and excellent company all around. I want you to meet her because she’s an excellent photographer and you’re searching for one. I want the two of you to meet because you have an equally passionate love for Justin Timberlake, and I want them to meet up because they’re both about to be moms for the first time.
I hope that friendships are renewed and restored and started over a couple cups of coffee and some mimosas. I hope everyone laughs.
And in the meantime – I’ll be calming down over here.
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