Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The Gentle Art of Hospitality
In the past year, Alda Ellis has become one of my favorite lifestyle experts. I was already acquainted with her lovely gift products. Then I heard her give a presentation at the World Tea Expo. Then I met her in person and found her to be just a warm, down-to-earth person. Then I read her beautiful, idea-packed book "Sentimental Living from the Porch." This week, I've been enjoying a new Alda Ellis book, "The Gentle Art of Hospitality," and I heartily endorse this as a primer to get your senses ready to celebrate the holidays.
With Alda, it's the little things that mean so much. You can tell she really wants guests at her home to feel embraced, and she doesn't advise you to run out and spend a lot of money to make this happen. She decorates her home with family keepsakes and simple touches likes branches and berries picked up on a fall walk through the woods. I also like her idea about putting a Mason jar in a carved-out pumpkin and filling it with fall leaves, berries and grasses. She likes to tuck something in the hands of guests as they leave (a small gift, a recipe), and I can tell this is second nature to her because at the tea expo, I left her booth with this small glass bowl of jeweled sugar in my hand, a gift from Alda. I treasure it now. Scripture verses throughout the new book focus on the joy of showing hospitality to others, and you'll be encouraged to find new ways to share your home with family and friends.
The book also has some recipes, including one for the Pineapple Cookies shown here. I love this recipe! It uses a small can of crushed pineapple (with juice) right in the batter, and these cooked up absolutely perfectly from first batch to last. I'm taking them to work today to share, and somehow, I think Alda would be pleased. She also has a new blog, at sentimentalliving.com, and it's a great place to pick up more ideas for homekeeping and entertaining.