Of The Politics Of Feeding Your Guests

“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

African Mothers watching you say you would love to eat when offered food
African Mothers watching you say you would love to eat when offered food

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

17 Comments

  1. We rarely if ever have guests but our last guest showed up in the morning, my wife was already making her apple pancakes and she insisted my friend indulge in the hearty breakfast. He had no complaints. People usually offer something. I remember as a kid my buddy stayed overnight and my family had a steak dinner, he was fed well. When I stayed at his house we had boiled in beer hot dogs which were actually quite good, but my dad wasn’t happy to hear that lol. Thinking back I think my family was a bit more well off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the fine art of not overstaying one’s welcome and also not just showing uninvited and unannounced at people’s abodes should be a finely drilled skill that would save a lot of awkwardness and embarrassing encounters.
      And I think as kids we dont even read too much into what happens at other people’s houses.
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am an African pure and truly African. I really can’t tolerate people who do not feed their guests wanted or unwanted. I was brought up with the spirit of ubuntu deeply ingrained in me. So we share whatever food we are eating in my house wether its just nuts or a big steak. Whatever we have we share. Thats the beauty of my African culture.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. An interesting topic.
    Open floor plans are just a gimmick for real estate agents to sell smaller spaces that look bigger. And for those very rich who have a crew that keeps the kitchen immaculate and brings the food ready for them.
    I always liked the idea of a cafeteria window from the kitchen to the dining room. Of course, you should be able to close the window and open it only when needed. Easy for dishing things out but still keeps the kitchen hidden.
    That’s why my mother/grandmother always cooked more – we would have it for the next day, OR could feed someone who stopped by unexpectedly. Me? I just pretend I’ve already eaten if someone arrives and I don’t have more.
    When I went to visit friends, I, too, was taught to say no – I ate/ am not hungry/dinner is waiting at home. But of course, if they insisted, I TRIED whatever they offered (enough not to offend but not enough to leave someone else starving). My parents had me figure out when to go to friends to avoid that. We would purposefully meet after dinner, or I would leave as they sat down to eat. The tricks we played…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and now I have a perfectly good reason to welch out of being looked into a deal over an open floor plan – I have always felt the idea was oversold, and once an idea is oversold, there’s got be something be a gimmick.
      Also yes they do make the smaller spaces look bigger its quite an innovative space saver as long as you dont simply market it as a stylish, modern, minimalistic asthetics I start sneezing because I am allergic to BS 😂
      A cafeteria window or some sort of sliding partition (maybe with one way glass or drapes or beadwork) that can be opened and closed could also be a cool feature to have the best of both worlds, so you can either have a small opening to the kitchen or you can open it completely or close it away totally… I could definitely work with that.

      Oh the tricks we play into not making others feel awkward ^_^

      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Generally in Zambia we also compliment those “just-in-time” visitors as good farmers. But we also have a tribe that will not allow such a visitor to disturb the game that is already in play. They would rather prepare a seperate meal for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha sounds like it may be a Southern African tradition will have to find out from other peeps.
      So one would best avoiding that tribe during meal times to avoid complications
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

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