As I was visiting with a young mother the other day, she lamented the fact that people don’t cook and practice hospitality as they once did. She is an example of someone who still does that. From what I can tell, her efforts are greatly appreciated, though not often reciprocated.
When I was a girl, I won a copy of The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook, probably a prize in a 4-H contest. As you can see, it has not withstood the years so well. Even the new “binding” I glued and taped on decades ago has worn off now.
My cookbook is dated in many ways besides the cover. The copyright is 1959. The authors are “The Women of General Foods Kitchens.” According to the introduction, anytime you see the General Foods seal (as seen on the cover above), you know that the seal “stands for the approval of the women of General Foods Kitchens.” The introduction also states that the book reflects visits and correspondence with thousands of homemakers across America. The authors express their hope that the book will “add to your family meals, the entertainment of your friends, and your service to the community.”
I can remember days gone by when I loved to pore over my lone cookbook (I’ve added many, many others through the years). As I wrote this for you, I found topics I’d never noticed before, such as this one: “The mealtime atmosphere. (Conversation, companionship — and manners).” What I remember most were the menus for one kind of hospitable event after another. Here are some examples I found when I scanned my cookbook this time:
Come and bring the children.
Before we go to the rink.
Back from bowling.
A real old-fashioned sewing bee.
When the committee meets at your house.
Tea for two . . . or 200.
Why don’t you stop by after church?
Why don’t you stay overnight?
Election night party.
Family reunion picnic.
Sunday school kindergarten party.
Mrs. Russell’s sick in bed.
New neighbors are moving in.
If you’re like me, when you read a list like this, you have a combination of thoughts, something like: “Hmm…. that sounds like fun” and “Oh, when would I ever have time to do that?” Still, deep in my heart, the list stirs me and makes me want to slow down and spend more time face to face with God’s only creation He made in His image — people.
I recently heard about a woman who complained because her husband was having to take occasional turns on a few weekends to help take care of his mother. That story made me think about my precious husband Ray who has hosted my mother with hospitality for almost three years now — without complaint.
Hospitality is in the heart. A basic human need is for someone — or even better, many someones — to say, “Welcome. Come on over — into my heart. There’s room for you here.”
Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
1 Peter 4:9