Begin with the freshest available ingredients. Variety and freshness are essential! I only prepare foods that I like because it is much easier to make items that appeal to oneself. Locally purchase or raise fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits — I always laugh and say, freezer sections of the market are wasted space. As my great niece says, “pork to fork” with no stops in the freezer. I also stay out of the canned isle as much as possible. The best tip for cooking is to be organized and clean as you prepare. Also, enjoy yourself!
Whether small or large gatherings, a key aspect of entertaining is to select an interesting mix of guests. Carefully select persons of varied backgrounds who enjoy meeting new people. You do not need to be a gourmet chef…you do not need an expensive wine/bar list…you do not anything but interesting guests and fun on the agenda. One great benefit of the bed and breakfast business is the continual flow of the most interesting guests. We delight in taking time to visit with our guests during the 5:30 pm Owners’ Hour — so do our wonderful neighbors and friends.
Begin by making yourself a map of your grounds – highlighting all the current plantings. Next, dig up and give away or dispose of anything that you do not enjoy. Now, you are ready to plant new items. I love to use oversized pots within the gardening beds; they add interest and are easy to resituate for a new look. Be careful with pots of great plants that must be wintered inside. Quilty! I always have too many porch plants to bring inside in the fall. No matter what you plant, cutting flowers to herbs to vegetables, be sure to plant more than you can consume…half the fun of gardening is sharing the bounty of your labors.
The hospitality industry, specifically etiquette and protocol, is a passion of my life. Let it not conjure up thoughts of stiff white shirts and seven forks to the left. Etiquette and protocol are steeped with good manners which have been a part of our lives for thousands of years – existing in an ever evolving world. From grocery shopping to the prayer bench, there is acceptable, gracious norms for all of us to practice. Recently, I have been having great fun with teaching classes at Laura’s Tearoom and at The Buckley School of Public Speaking.