Recently I was invited to speak on hospitality at a Mother’s Of Pre Schoolers (MOPS) group in my community.

This was a special opportunity to talk about nourishing bodies and souls at our tables, and that practicing hospitality is not as complicated as we’ve come to believe.

Our culture – heavily influenced by foodies and social media –  has convinced many of us that hospitality and entertaining are the same thing.  But I am certain that they are not.

Entertaining is what I do for family and friends at the holidays, or to celebrate milestone events.  I love to entertain.  But I always make myself (and my family) a little crazy every time I do because I want everything to be so perfect.  At the end of the event I usually collapse into my comfy chair, happy but exhausted.

Hospitality is what I do for our weekly community dinners.  Hospitality is opening up my front door and inviting people to my table for dinner and conversation that is authentic and real.  Messes and all.  At the end of the meal, even if I’m tired, I still feel like the cup of my soul is full.

I created this chart to clarify the difference:

Hosting a party. Sharing real life.
Striving for perfect presentation. Hoping for authentic connections.
My home is “company ready”. My home is tidy for my family.
Everyone is on their best behavior. Everyone is themselves.
My family looks their best. My family looks like they do on any average day.
I prepare my best dishes. I prepare my everyday dishes.
A fancy, elaborate menu. Simple meals.
Start cooking at least one day before. Start cooking an hour to an hour and a 1/2 before.
Focused on food and presentation. Focused on people.
Several shopping trips to get precisely what I need. One shopping trip, and then I make do.
My family and I do most of the work. Everyone eating with us helps.
When everyone leaves I am exhausted and happy. When every one leaves my soul feels full.


  1. Very interesting separation of the 2 types of gathering people together. Being conscious of the differences gives me “food for thought”.
    I do both and often end the evening feeling frustrated that some of my expectations were not met. Using your insight gives me a fresh new way to think about why I make plans to bring people together and renew the joy of socializing with a different focus depending on the group.


Leave a Reply to Wendy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s