We recently had a visit from K’s family. His parents and brother came to visit. Since they’d never visited us while we’ve been married I was very nervous! I wasn’t sure what to expect from the visit, especially because they had been here before and already done most of the sight-seeing. It’s always a little weird having house guests, especially with ones you are close. You want to keep them happy, but they also want to be easy guests. This means that you might ask what food they want while here, but they say “whatever you want”. Eek! I need strict guidelines. Tell me you want squid, and I will give you squid. If you want chocolate, well, you know I have a lot of that. ;-)
With K’s parents, they always insist on doing everything when we visit them. I tried doing it a bit here, but they still wanted to be more in charge (especially because I’m pregnant). Luckily, they let me cook some and do most of the cleaning. I wanted them to feel like they were on vacation and not needing to work. And I feel funny having other people clean in my house. Do you feel that way?
One of the things people expect from me is dessert. I kind of wish it wasn’t the case, because sometimes it’s hard to know what people want. K’s dad loves chocolate, but his mom not so much. She likes white chocolate, though, so I decided on two treats they could have while here. It turned out that we didn’t end up having much dessert while they visited because we kept filling up on the main courses (not the worst thing).
Some treat guidelines I use:
- I like having cookies as an easy guest snack because often you make the dough in advance, and bake when you want them. This gives you time to make the dough before finishing your cleaning/etc., but allows for the cookies to be fresh for the guests.
- Chocolate is a divider…some people must have it for dessert, and some would rather have fruity desserts. If having lots of people, make one of each kind. Otherwise, go with the majority (or pair up with someone else to please all palates).
- Make them fuss-free. Often, guests might not even have the treats (full from meals, eating dessert out, etc.) so you don’t want through a lot of work only to have it not appreciated.
- The treats should be easily accessible (on the counter or on an easy to spot shelf in the refrigerator.
- Let your guests know what you’ve made and remind them once or twice while they are visiting, but don’t be pushy.
- Have some of the treats yourself. Your guests will feel more welcome to them if you are also enjoying them.
- The above bullet also means that you should make food you like. Once your guests leave, if there are leftovers it will be up to you! It’s ok if you don’t love the treats as much as your guests, but don’t make food you hate.
An easy chocolate treat I whipped up last minute were s’mores bars. I melted chocolate and spread it on wax paper in a dish. Then, I chilled it until it was hard. Next, I took some marshmallow fluff and spread it on top. I sprinkled graham cracker crumbs on top and again chilled it. Finally, I poured more melted chocolate on top and sprinkled it with kosher salt (the large, flaky kind) and mini marshmallows. Again, I chilled it until set. Use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces. You can store it at room temperature.
I also made the Blueberry and Cream Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar.