As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Monday, October 22, 2012

{31 Days of Hospitality} Day 22 ~ Brenda's Hospitality Pantry

Please welcome my guest today, Brenda who blogs at Coffee Tea Books and Me.  

As I told you last week, I have been reading Brenda's blog for quite some time, and her thoughtful posts are often a source of inspiration.  Her musings can be anything from books to grandchildren, from cooking to living with a chronic illness, from beautiful thrifted dishes to preparedness, from homeschooling to gardening! 

Today, I have invited Brenda to share her thoughts about a simple, but ingenious concept of hospitality.  

The Hospitality Pantry

I’ve written a lot through the years about keeping a Hospitality Pantry.  It is a subject near and dear to my heart as it allows me to extend hospitality when someone unexpected stops by or to invite someone over when I’m not feeling my best.

If you read my blog, you will recognize much of what I’ve written below but I’m repeating it here as it reflects how I view a Hospitality Pantry… and how I stock such a pantry. 

I think it was in a book by Emilie Barnes that I read about the concept of a Hospitality Pantry. Since then I've seen the idea in other books about hospitality. It differs from keeping items in our normal pantry. 

These items tend to be special and more perhaps on the gourmet side...not all but some of the items. It is set aside from our regular pantry so temptation does not overcome us.

For instance, something I always like to keep in a Hospitality Pantry are a couple boxes of Pepperidge Farm cookies. Because they can be pricey, even though I normally wait for a good sale, I will be less likely to open them up during a carb attack because they are more expensive.

These items are kept in their own area, not in with the regular pantry items to make certain they are there when needed. If I could make myself forget where they are and remember only when I need them...that would be a good thing, indeed. 

In my regular pantry, I have a few boxes of mixes (brownie mix, cake mix, etc.) that I use from time to time. I prefer making things from scratch but there are days if I don't use a will not happen. In my Hospitality Pantry, I make an assumption there will be no time to bake something (added: I have collected some great recipes that start with mixes).

I also like to keep frozen baked goods in my deep freeze which are very easy to defrost and serve.  The only problem with keeping baked goods in the freezer is keeping them away from the family (or me for that matter!).

Normally I will raid the Hospitality Pantry when someone I'm not expecting stops by for a chat. However, it is just as good to have on hand for last minute tea parties with the children (or grandchildren), hubby has a bad day at work, the family has received news that is difficult to handle, and generally...when comfort is needed. Having these items on hand make it possible to put together a special "party" for one special person or our own dear family members.

My list for such a pantry will most likely be different than yours. Here is my basic list and the "deep" list...only given as an example to spark your own creativity.

Hospitality Pantry

Coffee and Tea 
The small packets sold at the grocery store and coffee shops are perfect for this. Be certain to have on hand at least one packet regular coffee, one decaf, and perhaps a flavored coffee. I keep these even though I normally have coffee on the shelf. Of course, you can store an unopened can of coffee or unopened bag of beans. If you only store one, make it decaf.

I always have teas on the shelf but I like to keep one or two boxes of Bigelow teas in this pantry. One box of a black tea like Earl Grey and one box of an herbal tea, especially one children can drink. Bigelow is best if you are putting back for storage because they are individually wrapped in foil and last for a very long time.  Otherwise, any favorite brand used regularly is fine.

Other beverages as desired: hot chocolate mix, lemonade mix for hot weather, etc. Remember, we are assuming "last minute" preparations.

Artificial sugar packets (I prefer Splenda) for those who cannot have regular sugar.

If you don’t keep Half and Half or whole milk in your refrigerator, it would be a good idea to keep a can of Milnot evaporated milk (which can be used as cream) or a shelf stable powdered cream for coffee.

A little something sweet
I know I’ve already mentioned this but having good quality store bought cookies or home baked items in the freezer is a very good idea!  Most of the time I have a friend over, it is for coffee, tea, and “something sweet”.

To "deepen" your Hospitality are a few ideas, I’m sure you will have your own:

A jar of Devonshire cream  (or soft cream cheese in the frig)
Very good quality jam
Scone mix (gourmet mixes are very easy and quick but can be rather expensive)
Fancy crackers
Summer sausage or salami that stores easily
A packet of shelf stable pepperoni slices
Can of good quality canned chicken, small jar of Mayo, small jar of relish
--instant chicken salad for the crackers
Pepperidge Farm cocktail breads  (I keep one pkg. of these in the deep freeze)

It can be fun to keep an eye out for items which can be placed in the Hospitality Pantry, fancy paper napkins and plates, serving dishes, and obviously fun and tasty foods.  This is an area where we are limited only by creativity and budget... well, perhaps space.  :)

I like to purchase paper plates, napkins, and such right after a Holiday when they are often half price.  Last year I found red and white paper plates at the after Christmas sale at Tuesday Morning.  Since they did not have a seasonal design, red plates can also work for Valentine’s Day and the 4th of July.

I also love to collect dishes at thrift stores and Goodwill, especially those I can use in the various seasons.  They make me want to invite friends over just to set a pretty table!  Showing hospitality is a very real and special form of ministry to your family and friends… and even the occasional angel in disguise.

Thank you, Brenda, for visiting here today...and for inspiring us with a great idea!

Readers, are you inspired to begin a Hospitality Pantry?  Or have you already begun?


  1. Great reminder to go check the Hospitality Shelf in MY cupboard. I've made a few withdrawals lately w/o depositing :)

  2. Yes, I am inspired. I need to add a few things to my hospitality pantry that is already begun thanks to reading Brenda's blog. I really like the idea of being able to make something for lunch. Thanks so much, Cheryl and Brenda!

  3. This time of year is great for adding items to a hospitality pantry! Baking items especially are on sale, or will be soon. I also like to get M&M's in seasonal colors. Its fun to put out for guests!


  4. This is such a great idea..Why didn't I think of that..There has been so many times I have had visitors stop by and have nothing to offer them...

  5. Love this! I have a little basket with napkins, teas, sugar packets, etc but not an entire selection of goodies. And I always try to keep a brownie mix or two on hand. It's a great idea.

  6. I never use mixes but I make sure I have supplies on hand to bake brownies or cookies. It's good to be prepared for unexpected guests.

  7. I too make most things from scratch but also find that having some box mixes on hand is really helpful! I like having already baked items in the freezer because those can be thawed in the microwave while the coffee or tea is brewing.

    Great tips Brenda!

  8. Thanks Cheryl & Brenda for the great ideas today. One thing that is always in our pantry is Nutella. There are so many recipes out there for Nutella on places like pinterest but it also makes great frosting for mini cupcakes or cookies. I've even made tea sandwiches with it on raisin bread. Mix it with a little bit of cream cheese and pipe it into a fresh strawberry. Yummy!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...