Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 5:22 EDT

Holiday Meals? The Rules Are Relative…

December 15, 2011

KERRVILLE, Texas, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Laity Lodge retreat center Chef Tim Blanks regularly turns strangers into family. Now as holidays reunite far-flung family members, he serves up insider family-dining tips to “feed the soul, and not just stuff the body”:

1. Set your table with love. Picture who’s coming and remember: comfort and conversation trump matching china.

2. Use a tablecloth. Placemats divide, tablecloths unite. And keep tablecloths interesting. This weekend, Chef Tim spread out a Guatemalan fabric.

3. Never mind fancy. Just know informal from sloppy. “Humans have chips inside and out,” says Tim, putting himself atop that list. “If your wonderful bowl has a chip, don’t run to replace. Let it speak.” And the message: real people welcome.

4. Never fear simple food. In a frenetic world, simple is good. “A large loaf of crusty bread broken amongst friends has power like no other food,” Tim says.

5. Slow down. Allow time to prepare and serve diner. Guests who help prepare food meet at the table having already shared an experience.

6. No phones. Repeat: no phones. “My wife and I recently drove two hours to dinner with old friends who spent the evening on cellphones. Why’d we bother?”

7. Be open to new conversation. Liberate guests to exchange opinions and ideas. As a recovering alcoholic, Tim knows the power of honesty and acceptance.

8. Be open to new people. Holidays are lonely for many; add fresh faces to your table–right next to relatives you never see. You never know!

9. Have traditions. Familiarity breeds comfort. One example: “Our dining room has a large blackboard on which we write the menu or a quote. Even that small smile brings people together.”

10. Practice safe honesty. Safety is not a place, it’s a person; assemble a safety zone. When diners can speak from the heart, that’s hospitality.

Laity Lodge was founded in 1961 along the Frio River Canyon outside Leakey, Texas, and hosts speakers, musicians and artists of the highest quality from around the country.

For more about Laity Lodge and The High Calling of Our Daily Work, visit www.LaityLodge.org and www.TheHighCalling.org — both programs of the Foundations for Laity Renewal, founded by the H.E. Butt Foundation.

Monique Sondag 214-536-4319

SOURCE Laity Lodge

Source: PR Newswire