Humble Hospitality …

Meet my Guest:
Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen

I’m so happy to introduce to you today my friend, Robin Sue, who has an excellent blog (Big Red Kitchen) and is a great cook (look at her mouth-watering recipes!). What I love about Robin is that she is passionate about food and people! And yes, I even love her silliness!

When I read this statement, I knew right away that we shared similar views on hospitality: Perfection is pride stepping on your creativity.

And so today Robin is sharing a great story and some yummy food ideas. Thank you, Robin!

I remember when I was first married having a long discussion with my mother-in-law, Mary Lou about hospitality. She shared with me that one of her favorite memories was when a friend of hers invited she and Dad along with a bunch of other couples for dinner. Mom remembers all the ladies piled in the woman’s tiny but cozy, cluttered kitchen watching her make fresh ravioli. The glasses were miss-matched mason jars, some with handles, others without. She recalls that they had the best time chatting, laughing, and telling stories.

Contrast to that story is another woman who hosted she, Dad, and others many times but had to have everything perfect. Mom said the group felt as if they could not live up to that lady’s expectations and eventually broke up. Sad isn’t it?

Mary Lou taught me that hospitality has nothing to do with a perfect home, matching china, or gourmet food, it’s how we make our guests feel welcomed and comfortable in our homes. Simplicity. Friendliness. Selflessness.

This is a meal I remember served to my family and me by very good friends of ours as we were passing through their town on our way to Boston. The meal was simple, thoughtful, and delicious. Thoughtful in that it was kid-friendly and very hearty. I have shared it to my own guests who joked that we are having a Wedgie Bar because everyone loves a good wedgie. Do you have friends with whom you can be silly?

Wedgie Salad Bar
1-2 heads iceberg lettuce cored and cut into wedges-use a plastic knife so the lettuce does not brown
Ranch Dressing- recipe follows
1 pound Crispy crumbled bacon
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1-2 cups shredded cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped

Place lettuce wedges on a large platter and drizzle with Ranch Dressing. Place all other ingredients in small bowls around the platter. Let your guests pick their own wedgies because picking your friend’s wedgie is never a good thing. Serves 8.

Ranch Dressing/Dip
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk, only 1/4 cup if making dip
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 t. dried chives
1/2 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. dried dill weed
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried onion flakes
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper

Whisk all together and chill for at least 2 hours. This can be used as a dressing or a veggie dip.

Turkey and Cheese Panini
1-2 pounds lunch meat turkey slices- amount depends on thickness of sandwich desired
8 slices provolone or Swiss cheese
16 slices fresh artisan bread
Butter for spreading the outsides of the sandwiches
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grainy-brown mustard
1/2 T. dried thyme

Preheat and lightly grease skillet or grill. Layer cheese and turkey over 8 slices of bread. Mix together onion, mayo, mustard and thyme until well blended. Spread the other 8 slices generously with mayo spread. Place on top of turkey and cheese. On outside of each sandwich, smather with butter and grill on each side until golden and cheese is melted. Makes 8 sandwiches.

It was a joy to place my thoughts on your website Sandy and therefore meeting your first commandment- Hospitality. Thank you for your hospitality.

Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen

(This post is linked to Jen’s Tasty Tuesday!)

21 comments on “Humble Hospitality …”

  1. I love to entertain and do fuss…but that is my thing. I don’t expect others to try to keep up..I like to cook, they tolerate it.
    Getting together is the most important part! ( a pretty table can’t hurt though..;)

  2. I love wedge salad!! Oh, that picture makes my mouth water!!!!

  3. Sandy – what a great guest post from someone who shares your heart for hospitality….it’s so true. :)

  4. What a fantastic idea! So simple. I’m trying this one for our next get-together.
    .-= Amy from She Wears Many Hats´s last blog ..National Food Bloggers Bake Sale =-.

  5. So true! I think people just like feeling like “family” that down home welcome feeling that looks beyond the trappings and at the spirit of the people.

    Yummy sandwich and LOVE the wedgie bar! How funny.
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Everything Should Taste Like Bacon! =-.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this story! I’ve been trying to re-connect with some of my friends over the past several months after being ‘out of the loop’ after having a baby. The original idea was to invite everyone to my home once a month for coffee, but I’ve been having everyone meet at my husband’s office instead, partly because of space and partly because I’m embarrassed by my kitchen. It’s rather hodge-podge, and I cringe every time I think of others coming over. This post has inspired and motivated me to just provide a welcoming place, as best I can, and not worry about those little things like matching coffee cups. Additionally I am reminded by this woman’s example of what’s really important: the personal connecting with others, not impressing others with my decorating skills! Love the story! :-)

  7. It’s hard as a hostess (for me) to let go, relax, and not driving myself crazy trying to make everything perfect. I do on the other hand make a perfect guest! :) Hint, hint….yes, I’m hoping for an invite to the Big Red Kitchen! :)

    PS, that wedgie salad is a very cool idea!

  8. Hi Everyone!
    Thanks so much for all your kind comments and some of your own stories. Thank you again Sandy for letting me guest post here. I did make your Cookie Brittle today and love it! You all SHOULD make a batch of your own and yes, you do have to share it!

    Robin Sue
    .-= Robin Sue´s last blog ..Not Here But Over There… =-.

  9. Love the wedgie bar idea, that’s too much fun! A salad everyone would love! :) I love your quote that Sandy highlighted for us, that’s so true and something we all need to remember! Blessings to you!
    .-= Stacey @ The Blessed Nest´s last blog ..The Blessed Nest on Facebook =-.

  10. Hi Robin! Nice to see you over here! I love your wedgie bar idea, and I agree with it doesn’t matter if your tablecloth is perfect, or everything is Martha Stewart, I don’t think a lot of people pay attention to that anyway (well, at least my friends don’t!)

    I think that’s good advice

  11. What a great post…loving the wedgie bar!! What a great idea!
    .-= Aggie´s last blog ..Beans, beans, beans… =-.

  12. Love it! All of this post, I love. I spend a lot of time trying to have everything just so..matching, etc…It’s sooo not necessary! It’s not the point. I’ll strive to do better. Love the wedge salad idea!
    .-= Alyce´s last blog ..Mashed Cauliflower =-.

  13. The Wedgie Salad bar really caught my eye, such a fresh alternative to a salad bowl. Very clever. I’ll definitely be giving that a try! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Robin, what a blog you have! Thank you again for the great message today and for being my guest …
    .-= sandy´s last blog ..Humble Hospitality … =-.

  15. Wow, sounds so yummy! And what a great post. Guest should feel completely at home and relaxed. I love the quotes shared as well. I’m off to check out the Big Red Kitchen site

  16. A group of girls at work used to go to a local Italian restaurant for lunch and order their wedge salad. All morning long we’d joke about how we couldn’t wait to get our wedgies!!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Cookies =-.

  17. I was tempted to not post my citrus juice because it was too simple but we probably all need to have more simplicity. :)
    .-= Laurie Mitchell´s last blog ..Citrus SuperFood Juice =-.

  18. I had wedge salads growing up from my southern mama. It’s so quick yet very elegant at the same time. Love the idea of simplicity while being hospitable. Perfection is a cruel master.
    Thank you.
    Laurie @

  19. Thank you so much for the title of this post. You have me thinking that hospitality should always be humble. Too many times I’ve gone to more trouble to make things look good than to make my guests feel welcome. I’ve wanted my so-called hospitality to reflect well upon me, rather than wanting it to be a blessing to my guests. And that’s not the spirit of hospitality at all.

    Thank you for making me stop and think about what I’m doing! I pray for strength to move myself off the throne.

  20. Great thoughts to remind us that it is about the way we treat others instead of making ourselves look good. It made me think back to when I was a little girl….I remember so many occasions when my parents would have people over after church on Sunday evenings. Meals were always simple, usually grilled cheese and tomato soup, a pb & j sandwich or even scrambled eggs. Whatever it was, I always remember a lot of laughter and fun in the kitchen.

    The recipes you shared are great (we love ranch dressing!), and Thank you for sharing the reminder for a this new generation.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..{Digging} in the Dirt =-.

  21. Hi Robin,
    Thanks for sharing your story. It reminds me of a meal we have which is a sort of really large salad. We always call it a ‘Monem Salad’ because it’s one of the meals our friend Monem often made when we stopped by.

    He was one of the most welcoming hosts and always made you feel at home. I’ve never known anyone who can turn a salad into a proper meal like that.

    I love the wedge idea, it looks great. Plastic knife for the lettuce to stop it going grown – I never knew that! Thanks for the tip and the recipe, I’ve never tried to make ranch dressing before but I do love it.
    .-= Jade @ No Longer25´s last blog ..My Monday Memory – Thinking Day =-.

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