IT is said that for comfort, there is no place like home. This does not necessarily mean that the beds and chairs elsewhere are hard, but one gets accustomed to certain things, certain surroundings and routine, and it is the mere fact of not having them that is so unsettling. One is not so free when away as when at home, for it is usual to fall in with the arrangements and suggestions of ones host and hostess. It should, therefore, be the aim of a hostess to make everything as comfortable and pleasing for her guests as she possibly can. If they are treated as friends, and not as visitors, they will feel far more at ease. The Guests Bedroom The guests bedroom should look as cheerful as possible, and present a welcome to its occupants. The room should always be turned out either the day before or on the day of the guests arrival. Clean bod-linen, dressing-table mats and towels, one face and one bath towel for each visitor, should be given. The bed should be carefully made so that there are no nasty, untidy corners or uncomfortable creases in the bottom sheet. If there is not a basin with hot and cold running water in the room, fresh water should be put in the jugs and hot water brought to the guests on their arrival and in the mornings. A fresh tablet of soap should always be given to visitors and a bottle of drinking water, with two glasses. The latter should be refilled every day. Flowers, not too strongly scented, always give an extra touch of homeliness. Do not be Over-anxious TF space will permit, it is very useful to have a writing-table or bureau in the bedroom, equipped with notepaper, pen and ink. It is much nicor to sit down in ones room to write a letter than to accommodate oneself where people are talking. A comfortable chair is also very acceptable.
Many hostesses are not nearly attenti ve enough in the matter of their guests comforts. While others are over-anxious. Both are failings. While it is necessary to look after the comfort and interests of guests, it is not kind to them to be always worrying after them; this makes them feel that they are in the way and causing a lot of trouble.
ON arrival, visitors should be told the times of meals and whether or not they, are expected to change for dinner, and also be asked at what time they would like tea brought up in the morning, and when they like to take their bath.
When inviting friends to stay, do not send indefinite invitations. They are unsatisfactory, both for the hostess and guest. Say which day you would like your visitors to come, and for how long you expect them to stay. A few days may moan any period. Avoid this, if only because friends do not like to ask when they are expected to leave.
The thoughtful hostess leaves nothing to chance. On the other hand she will not obtrude her efficiency, for the simple but sufficient reason that it detracts from the charm of homeliness.
WHILE it is unwise, especially where there is only a small family, to cater for more than the actual number expected for luncheon or dinner, it is possible to be prepared for those visitors who choose to call when they are least expected. If people call on the chance of finding someone at home, they cannot expect a hot or elaborate meal ready for them; on the other hand, the hostess is bound to feel awkward and inhospitable if she has nothing to oiler.
Whatever, may or may not be in the house in the way of provisions, do not show awkwardness, because this will immediately put your guests ill at ease. To appear uneasy and worried does not give the appearance of being wholeheartedly pleased that your friends have called. Above all, a hostess should be gracious and give her guests a warm welcome.
The fear of not having anything to offer friends who casuaily call at most unfortunate moments is really easily settled without causing extra work or waste of any kind. During the last few years the canning trade has come to the rescue by perfecting the methods of preparing and sealing various meats and fruits so that they will keep for many months, providing they are left unopened. The time has passed when people were afraid of utilizing this wonderfully convenient way of always being prepared. Canning is done under ideal and hygienic conditions, and the ingredients used are selected and the best obtainable.
There are many different kinds of foods which can be bought in tins, to be served cither cold or hot. In the latter case, it is only a matter of putting the contents into a saucepan, placing it on the gas or electric stove and allowing it Id get thoroughly hot.
In winter, it is not very appetizing to have a meal consisting of all cold foods put in front of one. This is not necessary, cither. Soups of various kinds can be bought in tins ready to be warmed and served really hot. In summer or warmer weather, grape-fruit is a very popular first course. This is also obtainable in tins, and even though it is cut into quarters, should be served in the proper grape-fruit glasses and a cherry placed in the centre. Ox tongue, bought iu glass containers, is quite suitable for the meat course. Salad, with mayonnaise, adds greatly to this dish. If salad is unobtainable or not in season, tinned peas make a good substitute. These are bought ready to be eaten hot or cold. Tomato ketchup is a substitute for tomatoes.
The sweet course is easily settled. There is a wide and varied selection to choose from. Fruit salad, peaches, apricots, pears, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, plums, and gooseberries come to mind. These can be obtained in either bottles or tins. Cream bought in sealed bottles is useful for whipping and putting on fruit. Cheese is kept in most houses. This should be served with biscuits and butter. Coffee, served in the lounge when the meal is over, is always appreciated.
While it is not correct to have a too-elaborately-iaid table for an impromptu meal, it should be laid with care and made to look attractive. A good appetite can be spoilt by a badly set-out meal, and especially a soiled, crumpled cloth and dead flowers. Rather leave the flowers off the table than put withered ones on. Fruit, artistically arranged in a bowl or stand, is a good substitute, though there is nothing nicer than floral decorations.
Parsley on the meat and butter-dish gives the finish which is so often forgotten. Fancy biscuits are useful to keep in the house as they make an extra dish for tea, or can be served with coffee in the evemng.
Offer your friends real hospitality. When they choose to call of their own accord, the are prepared to take things as they find them: they do not come for what they can get, but to see you. A true friend will not take offence at any little imperfections.