One of the most common misconceptions that I encounter about hospitality is an assumption that hospitality is a thing we do, a role we play, a switch we flip. We think of hospitality as hosting a party or shower or holiday meal, and in these situations we view ourselves as “doing hospitality.”
In that same vein, I hear a lot of frustration centered around the idea that hosting is hard, the challenges of cooking and having everything ready at the same time is insurmountable, and the stress of it all leaves us feeling like hospitality, while a pleasant idea, is a rough reality better suited for other people.
When we approach hospitality like a weekend DIY project, an every-so-often event, a rare wild-hair idea that we execute, then yes, hospitality is overwhelming and hosting will leave most of us wrung out and wondering why we bothered.
The issue isn't the skill. The issue is the approach.
Hospitality doesn't begin with special events. Hospitality begins at home. I have written a lot about the order of operations related to establishing a lifestyle centered around hospitality, and spoiler alert, hosting grand occasions is the very tip of the iceberg and quite honestly the rare expression of hospitality rather than the common occurrence.
Hospitality begins not at fancy dinner parties or holiday gatherings or elaborate showers, but in the way we live our daily life, the way we keep our home, the way we feed our family, the way we establish our regular rhythms and routines. We practice hospitality by first creating space for ourselves, then extending that care to the people in our home, and finally hosting gatherings and welcoming others.
It is through the practice of the ordinary that we develop the skills required for the extraordinary.
There is not a shortcut for this work. The muscle memory only develops when we do the daily work, and when called upon to host friends or welcome others to our table, we find our daily practice has been training us for the special occasions in small, incremental, attainable lessons.
As I share a new video with you this week of me in my home kitchen cooking a special menu, I want to encourage you to take time to learn how to create moments of hospitality for yourself and your family at home in the most ordinary of times. They are, as it turns out, where the sweetness of hospitality is born and where the gift of sustainability resides.
Ina's Weeknight Bolognese is beloved in our house, and comes with the added bonus of actually being weeknight-friendly which means it comes together in a flash and requires easy ingredients.