What’s for dinner? – Sharing summer hospitality

By Barbara Klugh

Maybe it’s not quite on the calendar, but it sure feels like summer. As most of you know, Daniel encouraged us to share summer hospitality by hosting dinners for folks at Grace.

Cooking together can be silly.
Cooking together can be silly.

He suggested a mix of those we know well and those we’d like to know better. I thought eek! This sounds like a great idea, and maybe some exceptionally gifted and talented people can pull it off, but what about the rest of us?

How can it really work without adding a ton of stress for people who may be already frazzled and over-scheduled, live in cramped quarters, inexperienced with cooking, have unruly children and/or dogs, think their house is too cluttered, work long or erratic hours, are on a very tight budget, have a reluctant spouse—well, you get the idea.

Cooking together can be messy.
Cooking together can be messy.

Then, how do we cope with the issue of dietary restrictions or preferences of the guests—gluten free, no soy products, vegetarian, low-fiber, no dairy, no spicy, allergic to nuts, no seafood, no carbohydrates, no grapefruit, low-fat, no raw fruit or vegetables, no beans, salt-free, no Aspartame, caffeine-free, no mushrooms. How can we accommodate everyone without going crazy?

If the purpose is to socialize and get to know one another better, how can we make it happen in way that’s fun for everyone?

Eating what you've cooked together is always fun!
Eating what you’ve cooked together is always fun!

One idea is to have monthly potlucks at Grace with everyone bringing a dish they themselves can eat, and share it with the group. If we could gather the recipes, we can make up a booklet that will help us in the future. Could we make it a rule that you need to sit by folks you don’t know very well? A monthly potluck would make it make it possible for people to get acquainted with the folks who attend other services, too.

Maybe we could celebrate the monthly birthdays and anniversaries. Potluck picnics? What do you think? What are your ideas? Please share your suggestions and comments on the website, or email me at litlrivr@chartermi.net. Let’s find a way, or several ways, to share stress-free hospitality and socializing this summer.