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
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 mix...it 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.
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
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
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
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.
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 Pantry...here 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)
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?