“Show me how you feed your guests and I will show you who you are.”
A wise person in history should have said this, seeing I have said this that means I am the wise person, I might not yet be in a history textbook but patience.
I grew up in a house where if you served three drumsticks of chicken as dinner for three and a knock on the door signalled a visitor arriving to be the fourth dinner guest, it meant someone would be going without (either the one who cooked or the one who dished up 🤔 if it weren’t the same person). You would even greet the visitor with a compliment on their skills in being a good hunter, for arriving in time for a meal being served.
This is also why I have never liked the open floor plan, where you can see what’s going on in the kitchen. What if I drop the chicken (accidentally of course) or maybe I pretend I don’t care for chicken so the visitor doesn’t feel guilty that they are the reason it wasn’t enough. What if I would rather hide from the small talk with a fortifying beverage for company instead. What happens in the kitchen should stay in the kitchen.
Even though it is an unspoken rule to feed your visitors; as a guest, you should never take that for granted. When food is being served you look suitably surprised you were included. If there is a TV you better look engrossed in whatever is showing oblivious to the plate of food being brought to you.
Of course, this is a habit long instilled from when one is a child. Our mothers would tell us not to eat food when we were visiting. If you got offered food you were supposed to refuse and say I have already eaten, never mind that you were starving and your stomach is making sounds like a dying whale, you said no. But no one ever really does, besides its rude to have a guest turn down food after all the drama behind the scenes to make sure they get a plate –only for them to refuse–
If you are a truly welcome guest, your hosts will insist you stay, that food is almost ready, even as you hear someone being instructed to go and catch the large chicken outside and prepare it. That’s how you know you. Growing up I kinda looked forward to having welcome guests because it meant you would get to eat food that was usually reserved for special occasions, like Christmas.
As I said initially show me how you feed your guests and I will show you, who you are. The Swedengate scandal has shown us a whole new side to the neutral state. The scandal started after a Reddit post became a viral internet post about how in the Swede culture, visiting kids would be confined away while the family had their meals.
Apparently, meal times are sacred family times for the Swede and guests should not intrude. If I have any Swedish readers I would love to know your side of the story. Anyway via Swedengate its also emerged how Sweden was also the leading European exporter of iron chains. Iron chains you ask? Yes, the ones that slavers used.
So how do you feed your guests?
Week 2: Stories of Africa WinterABC