Once upon a time, there are an old lady, she was trying to offer her hospitality at the lowest possible cost, so she would ask her guest: "Do you want to eat", and then whisper - in a low voice -: "Or not want to", in 9 cases out of 10 Guests said they did not want to eat.
Perhaps the story told us that we do not have to wait for the guests’ requests or ask them questions that may make them appear the opposite of what they actually desire.
Comfort and entertainment must be provided to them without embarrassing them by asking, rather the guest must be given the necessary greeting, handshake, and honor by following the rules of hospitality etiquette, which we explain as follows:
- Hospitality etiquette at home.
- The art of serving guests.
- Etiquette of serving fruits to guests.
- Etiquette of serving tea to guests.
- Etiquette of serving coffee to guests.
- Etiquette of serving sweets to guests.
Hospitality etiquette at home
There are two main trends in hospitality, you can choose one of them or combine them to create your own style of honoring your guests.
The first trend, in which the host cares about the perfect meal and the perfect appearance with unparalleled decorations, and attention to the smallest details while concealing the details of daily life in his home, which is the most common in our Arab countries.
The second trend involves setting a table where everyone feels comfortable while allowing time to sit with the guests instead of standing in the kitchen for long periods in order to prepare perfect meals. It’s about dealing with our guests as if they are special to us. Here the house does not have to be perfect, but it is enough that it accommodates its guests and gives them love and comfort.
In all cases, there are rules of etiquette that you must follow:
- Ensure that you are wearing appropriate clothes to receive guests.
- Make the comforts available, you can for example give them login details for their Wi-Fi account and how to operate any smart devices in the house they might need, and give them space to take a break from their trip.
- If you have guests who don't know each other you can introduce them to each other, and then gracefully withdraw to leave the room and let them have a conversation.
- Make sure all guests are given the same attention, so no one feels left out.
- Of course, guests will need to use the bathroom at some point, so make sure it's clean, smells nice and has proper hand towels.
- In the event of a heated dialogue on one of the topics, the owners of the house must intervene calmly and tactfully to get out of the topic, the cause of the difference without prejudice to one guest without the other.
- Make sure your guest rooms are clean and open to welcome them, and you can plan ahead with ideas you know your guest will enjoy.
- Honoring the guest is the duty of everything you can do to make them happy and make them comfortable.
The art of serving guests
Honoring the guest is one of the good qualities of the Arabs that we must possess and preserve.
The art of hospitality means creating a space that your guests want to stay in. Have you ever thought about how to make your guests enjoy their time in your hospitality, this could be through:
- Warm conversations and fun.
- The informal atmosphere of the visit.
- Delicious dishes are served.
- Feel the freedom in your own home.
- Make your guests feel that you as the host also enjoyed their presence.
Of course, all are simple things that you can do without having to spend a lot of money, or buy expensive things, and other things that make your guests feel comfortable in your home, such as:
- Don't show your nervousness if you have guests, and try to relax as much as possible, because their stress while you host them will make them feel uncomfortable, keep it comfortable, warm and simple.
- Make your home clean: As a clean home appears welcoming to its guests, you can also use some soft linen and furnishings to make your guests feel comfortable and make them feel at home.
- Serve Simple Meals: Hosting your guests wouldn't be the best time to try preparing a new recipe you just saw and like. Make sure you prepare simple meals that you're used to cooking and favorite with your family and guests. Cooking some everyday meals allows your guests to feel intimate and informal.
- Enjoying food, meeting around the table, and sharing stories and laughs makes them feel part of your family, you can make your home cozy and inviting by lighting a candle or making cookies with a pot of coffee, the aroma of your home will make your guests warm as vanilla, coffee or fresh bread let your guest know they are welcome.
- Have a hospitable heart and be yourself: do not allow the devil to make you feel angry and you do not need to welcome your guest, always make sure to extend a helping hand so that you develop a hospitable heart that does not know grudges, and be yourself.
Here, it should be noted that food is the symbol of hospitality in the Arabian Gulf as part of the Islamic and Arab culture. As for extravagance and waste, it is far from the Islamic and Arab cultures.
We must eliminate this phenomenon. Saudi Arabia occupied the first place in food waste globally, and the value of wastage in the Kingdom reached 49.8 billion riyals annually, according to a paper presented by the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture in a workshop on reducing food loss and waste.
In the UAE, food waste has reached 10 billion dirhams, according to a statement by the Director-General of the Preservation of Grace project in the Red Crescent Authority, and in Kuwait, the waste reached 400,000 tons of food annually, according to the report of the 2021 Food Waste Index of the United Nations Program.
These are terrifying numbers compared to the increasing rates of poverty. After the number of the poor reached 1.3 billion people in the world, the Corona pandemic has pushed more people into poverty and deprivation, and it is expected to push more; With the closure of the informal economy that was giving the poor in many countries opportunities to survive.
Hence the importance of rationalizing food consumption, even when receiving our guests. We have to honor them, but without extravagance or extravagance.
Etiquette of serving fruits to guests
Serving fruits to guests requires following some guidelines such as:
- Chop up fruits and make fruit salad, or serve the fruit ready to eat.
- You should choose smaller fruits for serving such as peaches, strawberries, cherries and apricots, and it is preferable to serve fruits without seeds.
- Don't forget to bring some towels while serving fruit, especially with fruits that can make a mess.
- Grape bunches can be cut using kitchen scissors.
- Strawberries can be cut and served - sprinkled with powdered sugar - in a plate or cup with a spoon and a plate of whipped cream next to a strawberry dish or on top, as well as different types of berries and cherries.
- Larger fruits, such as watermelon, should be peeled and cut into cubes or slices.
- For nuts and serving, either serve them peeled or leave enough nutcrackers on the table.
- You can arrange the fruits on the stand in an attractive way.
- You can serve fruits using wooden chopsticks in a new and innovative way.
Etiquette for serving tea to guests
Tea is on the throne of hot and cold drinks, and it is a popular project popular in many countries, and there are many ideas and recipes for serving it, such as Karak tea and Kashmiri tea. Here are some tips to help you serve tea:
- It is preferable to serve tea outdoors. Whether, on the balconies or in the garden of the house, you can use the tea thermoses to keep your tea hot outside, and there are a lot of luxuriousness, elegant thermoses.
- The table should be well arranged so that everyone can have their cup freely.
- It is preferable to serve tea with cookies, sable, or baton salle, and it can also be served with cake, gateaux or biscuits.
- The tea should be stirred gently and without noise, and be sure not to put the spoon in the cup after the completion of stirring, but rather it should be placed on the side of the dish attached to the cup, with its hand in the same direction as the hand of the cup.
- The different flavors of tea can be displayed such as clove tea, mint tea, or cardamom.
Etiquette of serving coffee to guests
First and before serving coffee, you must make sure that it is prepared well, by acquiring fresh coffee beans and grinding them directly before eating them. Tips to help you serve Turkish coffee well:
- Make sure the assigned coffee crew is well cleaned.
- Serve the coffee in the designated cup with the cup saucer.
- Serve a cup of water with coffee, as many prefer to drink water after coffee.
- Your guests are delighted when they find a bowl of chocolate to eat before or after their coffee.
- A jug of hot milk can be served with coffee for those who prefer it with milk, especially with breakfast.
Serving Arabic coffee has rules and origins that have been inherited by generations from parents and grandparents, and the following are the most important rules for serving Arabic coffee:
- It is preferable to place small tables in front of the guests, for easy placement of coffee cups on them.
- Serving Arabic coffee in its own cup, which is a cup without a hand and without a plate.
- Holding the “dallah” must be with the left hand while the cup is held with the right hand.
- Start pouring for the oldest guests.
- The cup should not be filled with coffee, Especially Saudi coffee, as there is “Sabbet Al Heshma” which means if the cup is filled, that may give the impression to the guest that he is not welcome.
- You must pour coffee for a guest more than once.
- If the guest shakes their cup, that means they don't need more.
- Do not pour to the guest while the cup is in his hand.
- It is not recommended to put more than one coffee set on one tray, you can use a tray for every set.
- You must make sure that the material of the tray does not cause the cups to slip.
Etiquette of serving sweets to guests
- Whether you are going to buy a ready-made dessert or make it at home, it should all be done before your guests come.
- Your guests feel cared for when you make your own custom dessert at home.
- It is preferable to prepare the dishes or glasses before the arrival of the guests so that they are not distracted with preparing the dishes.
- The cake pieces can be placed on the main serving plate, and then the pieces are distributed on small plates, so that guests can eat more if they wish.
- A napkin should be placed next to each dessert plate, and more can be placed on the table.
- A hot or cold drink can be served with desserts.
- Choosing the size of the plate in accordance with the quantity and quality of the sweets offered. Sweets can be placed on flat plates, while desserts that contain syrup or caramel, must be used with plates with edges.
- You can use the dessert stand to beautify your table, while also keeping in mind the creative placement of desserts on the plates.
- The color consistency on the serving table is also very important to keep in mind.
- There are two main directions of hospitality that you can choose from.
- The art of hospitality means creating a space your guests want to stay in and having a hospitable heart that knows no grudges.
- You can observe hospitality etiquette at home by following a few rules, all of which are of course simple things that you can do without the need for a large expense.
- You can follow a certain method and simple rules for serving food to guests, as well as tea, coffee, fruits and desserts, which are guidelines that help you to present the best of you to your guests.
Hospitality at home may be somehow stressful for the host, but mastering hospitality etiquette helps you reduce the burdens on you through the necessary planning, and it also helps the guests to enjoy every moment in your hospitality, and this is what you may wish for by hosting them.