Sunday, October 16, 2011

"House Gifts," What Do You Bring When Invited for a Meal?

Here in Shiloh, we're part of a Shabbat/Holiday social scene.  There are various neighbors, couples and singles we have over.  Some also host us.  There are no hard and fast rules about what to bring, though it is expected that the guest comes with something, either wine or food.  Some guests have shown up before Shabbat/Holiday with flowers, too, which are very welcome.

Among those of us who cook, upon being invited, we usually ask if we should bring a portion of the meal.  Sometimes the reply is very specific, and sometimes we're told:

"Bring whatever you want."

We used to bring wines, but since not everyone drinks wine, and both my husband and I eat a lot of vegetables, I usually bake a tray full of delicious, healthy, low calorie vegetables.  For eating at home I make them in a nice-looking "bake and serve" pyrex or pottery, but when I'm bringing it to neighbors, I bake in a disposable aluminum pan.  We then carry it on a large baking pan, after learning the hard way how easy those trays are to spill and leak on clothing.

Yesterday, we brought baked vegetables to add to our neighbors' super-delicious lunch and then later in the afternoon, we brought a simple compote of apples, peaches and cinnamon (no sugar) to another neighbor.  The trick to keeping the vegetables naturally sweet is to add minimal water.

Sometimes the meals almost seem like a "pot-luck" event, but that's part of the fun of having such wonderful neighbors.

PS This post is in the Real Foods Succot Festival.


Sarah Likes Green said...

i made baked veggies for chag also!

but generally dessert or salad or a side dish is what we take if asked and people bring to us if they want to contribute. otherwise wine and some friends bring candies.

Batya said...

Sarah, I'm sure yours were delicious! Candies don't go here, but some guests (and I when abroad) have brought nuts.