Since you know that I'm a perfectionist, you won't be surprised to hear that entertaining is not within my comfort zone. When we have guests, I stress for at least a week about planning the perfect menu, cleaning up the house, and getting everything ready. I love to spend time with friends and family; I just don't enjoy the impossible pursuit of perfection.
Sandy Coughlin, whom you may know from her Reluctant Entertainer blog, has written a book with the same title. Subtitled, "Every woman's guide to simple and gracious hospitality," this book eases some of my doubts. It could have been written for me, as she covers topics like Simplifying Entertaining and Overcoming the Pitfalls of Perfectionism. (That chapter includes a quote from Sandy's husband, who said, "Perfectionism is a jail cell locked from the inside, creating your own misery." How true!)
The Reluctant Entertainer includes about 50 recipes, but the heart of the book is the reassurance that most guests don't care whether the house is spotless or the pasta is slightly overcooked. It doesn't matter whether we serve linguini or lobster. The key is to make guests feel welcome and appreciated, and one aspect of that is being comfortable ourselves. If I'm stressed out, how can my guests feel comfortable?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It inspired me to think about inviting someone over and not making a big production out of it. I'm not quite there yet, but Sandy has set me on the right track.
For more information, visit the Bethany House product page. There you'll be able to see the Table of Contents, read an excerpt, find purchasing links, and learn more about author Sandy Coughlin.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links: if you click through my Amazon.com link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Thank you!