04 September 2011

from How to Run Your Home without Help, chapter XIX, Entertaining with Enjoyment (Kay Smallshaw)

'Having friends in' or 'throwing a party' according to your vocabulary and the kind of hospitality you like to offer, can be one of the pleasanter things in life.  It can also be disappointingly hard work.  No one really enjoys being entertained when the preparation has obviously tired out the hostess in advance.  Yet the welcome seems to lack some warmth when no effort has been made to make the occasion something a little out of the ordinary.  Single-handed, you mustn't be too ambitious, although very naturally you want your guests to feel that visiting you is a delightful event in every way.

The kind of hospitality you offer will depend upon your own temperament, as well as your pocket.  If you're gregarious you'll like to have plenty of visitors, even if it means that there can't be very much in the way of refreshments.  On the other hand, you may get more satisfaction from inviting one or two friends to tea, or to a little dinner-party every so often, knowing that, in a simple way, everything is perfect.  So set your own style; and choose your guests to match.  Then if you plan carefully, everyone, host and hostess included, should have a good time.

But whatever the usual programme, you'll want to show, once or twice at least, what you can do in the way of a sit-down evening meal.  In-laws will like to see the new home, and you want to exhibit your skill as both hostess and cook.  Combining these two rôles successfully is quite a test, but if your husband says afterwards: 'You did wonderfully', everything will have been worthwhile.

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