The Art of Simple Hospitality

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. And for this, three kitchens stand out in my memory. That of my maternal grandmother, our pastor’s wife in Colorado, and an older couple from that church. But what was it about them, that made them stick in my heart?

It couldn’t have been the fancy cabinets or appliances, because though I don’t remember them well, I know they weren’t fancy. And it wasn’t that they turned out gourmet cooking. Good and nourishing food, yes. But nothing really special.

So what was in those kitchens? What about them said, “Come in! We’ve been waiting for you!”

All the latest gadgets? Hardly! Even the furniture never changed. Same cabinets, same table and chairs, for as long as I knew them. But even without fancy fare or magazine looks, there was something special about them.

They had that warm and homey feel. It enveloped you the moment you walked through the door. With a warm hug and hot cup of coffee, they showed how glad they were to have you.

That kind of warm welcome, even for surprise guests, is something you don’t find often anymore. Everyone’s gotten so busy. And with so much stuff to tend to, visitors are almost an annoyance. Just another thing to add to our to-do lists.

But that’s the kind of kitchen I want. One where the tea kettle is always on.  Figuratively speaking, because I don’t even have a tea kettle; I got rid of it 😉 And here in Italy, it’s the espresso pot anyway!

So what does it take to make such a kitchen?

Based on those special kitchens, I’d say:

  • Simple, durable furniture that lasts a lifetime (or nearly). Even better if old; then we don’t have to worry over keeping it perfect!
  • A simple life. One that helps find both time and energy to welcome people with real enthusiasm!
  • And right priorities. Which help us see that the most imporant things in life are not things at all. But that good times with family and friends are the most special, and those which create precious memories.

That’s what I want. Just a simple, cozy kitchen. One where people may never say, “What a beautiful kitchen!” But where everyone, I hope, will say, “Oh how I like coming here!” And one they will continue coming back to, helping us to create happy times together, which will become treasured memories! Just a simple life, with a simple kitchen that allows me to say:

“Come in! We’ve been waiting for you!” (And I’ll put the espresso pot on!)

Every house where love abides, And friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home, for there the heart can rest. (Henry Van Dyke)

[Image ©TheScorziellos-Sheila]

4 thoughts on “The Art of Simple Hospitality

  1. I love this post! Parts of my kitchen seems to be falling apart, but we make do. But sometimes I wish we had a newer this or that or bigger space. But then, someone will come over for a visit and say, “I remember being here when we stayed up late talking and laughing and making grilled cheese sandwiches together.” Stuff like that is what people remember … it’s what I remember when I visit a home.

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    1. How true! The good times, the warm welcome, and feeling enveloped in love and care are the things that stick in our hearts! And it’s always what you’ll be able to rebuild when you get a new kitchen, because the furnishings don’t make a difference!

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  2. I still have lots of dishes that I inherited, and know I have to make some decisions about that. Just a few days ago I sent some pictures to my niece (hoping she’ll want my mother’s ‘holiday’ dishes) — if not, next stop: cousins, then, (cousins of the world…) Goodwill.

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    1. Stuff just has a way of sticking around, doesn’t it? And to me, at least, it seems like it attracts other stuff! Otherwise why is it so hard to get to the bottom of it? Good luck with the dishes!

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