Why Being a Hostess Is So Important
By Sandra Garson
Facing the Fear of Death. We’ve come to the coldest, darkest days of the year, which means holiday time, and there’s a reason for its peculiar tsunami of food, drink and partying. It’s the same reason meetings and seminars any time of year inevitably set out snacks and water in a “hospitality room.” Hospitality —a Latin word that means “to meet the needs of guests”-- is as old as humankind, likely the reason we are still here because the primary survival need of any guest, any body, is food and water. We may know where the closest supermarket is, but our nomadic, hunter/gather ancestors could not be certain about their next meal, especially far from familiar tents. Survival totally depended on kindness in an encounter with strangers, and the IOUs that kindness created. To not give someone food, salt and water was tantamount to murder, which is why hospitality became the basis of morality. It’s written into the precepts of all religions, its goodness being as close to godliness as we can get. Here are everyday examples.
Sandra Garson is the author of Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking and How to Fix a Leek and Other Food From Your Farmers’ Market. As a longtime student of Tibetan Buddhism and well-known cook for Dharma centers from Maine to Mongolia, she became the first food historian to explore the Buddha’s influence on how the world now eats. This led to exploration of more religious beliefs about food.