Monday, April 25

The Best for Guests?

A friend posed a question to me on Facebook tonight that really got my wheels spinning. She asked how I felt about serving/not serving one's usual local/organic foods to dinner guests whom you know eat conventional/industrially processed 'foods'. Is the expense of doing so justified for those who don't care (with 'care' meaning without the knowledge, means or determination to eat differently.) I've certainly pondered that myself and thought it might be an interesting question to pose here.

My answer is that I serve guests exactly what I serve my family. So much so, in fact, that I worry that others may not like it. After all, fresher, mindfully-grown foods do taste different. For the most part, they taste better but sometimes they require a palate adjustment.

The cost of feeding a group the foods we eat is certainly a consideration. Meats, especially. As our diet has changed, so have some of our eating habits. For instance, we don't consume nearly the amount of meat we used to. For me, that's easy. I don't really crave meat. My boys are a different story. They could eat it at every meal but, thankfully, they don't complain about vegetarian meals as long as there aren't too many consecutive ones.

Another opinion on meats is that I cannot justify supporting the industrial meat processors. While a vegetarian may argue that no meat processing is humane (with which I won't necessarily argue), the life of the animals we consume is of great importance. Since I am a carnivore, I care deeply that the animal that gave its life for my supper lived in the manner for which it was created -- it breathed fresh outdoor air, basked in the warm sunshine and ate what God intended.

But I digress...

For a crowd, I'll often make things in which the meat in dispersed throughout such as lasagna or soup as opposed to burgers or chicken breasts (the latter runs about $7 per serving - even for just our family of five, that's a pricey homemade meal.) But, again, that's the way we eat so I'm not really doing anything different for company.

My reasoning behind this is twofold. First, I'm a southern girl who loves to love people with food. Just as I make recipes I'm confident about, I use ingredients I trust. Secondly, I'm passionate about food and the way the health of the plants and animals it comes from manifests itself in our own health. If someone can come to my house and leave feeling truly nourished and a seed of change is planted, then that makes me very happy.

All that being said, I do not think about all this when I'm a guest in someone else's home. I'm food nerd not a food snob.

In the end, it's really as simple as this -- I eat a certain way at home but, when eating out or at someone's home, I'm just grateful to get out of dishwashing duty for a night!

Do you have thoughts on this? Please share!


  1. Renee',
    me doth think that you worry about too much stuff. (just like me) but we're really proud that you are concerned about your family eating healthy. When having guests over for a meal, simply serve what your family normally eats, and don't be overly concerned. Keep up the good work!

  2. I think your outlook on this topic is correct. Just as you would with cooking for a guest in general, are you going to go terribly out of your way to find the exact recipe that you know your guest loves that his or her mom fixed when they were a child. Or are you going to fix your own delicious family approved and loved concoction and introduce them to something new. I always ask if there is something my guests are allergic to or that they truly dislike. From that, I will fix something we find yummy and believe our guests will too. I only expect the same basic questions when we go to visit someone else. Not everyone has the same eating habits. It doesn't mean we can't get along. :)

  3. I agree that I'm just happy to be with friends/family, and I don't think about where the food they feed me comes from. However, when I'm feeding others, I'm kinda selective with what I make. I myself have cut down on my bacon intake since it costs 2-3 times what I used to pay for it (bye bye BLT's with 6 pieces of bacon!) So I wouldn't say I go stock up on cheap, synthetic food, but I also don't plan meals with the more expensive ingredients. And I wouldn't expect anyone else too, either. Great topic for discussion, Renee!!