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Secrets of the Spontaneous Host |  1 2 

Ever notice how, in any given circle of friends, there’s always one person whose home becomes unofficially designated as the default hang-out? Ever longed to make your home that favorite gathering spot, the sort of cozy, comfy, fun-facilitating place where friends feel welcome to spontaneously stop by, semi- or completely unannounced? The first step, then, is to get yourself prepared …

1 Stock no-prep snacks in the pantry
No one will expect you to keep your kitchen stocked with fresh-baked cookies or elaborate hors-d’oeuvres (although if you’re so inclined, it certainly wouldn’t hurt). Cheap munchies that require no or minimal preparation, tend to keep well, and are almost universally appreciated, include:

tortilla chips and salsa
raw veggies and dip
cheese and crackers
hummus and pita
(hint: if you find you’ve got stale pita, try steaming the bread… it becomes nicely chewy and sweet)
assorted nuts
ice cream/sorbet

Keep a couple of these items on hand and you’ll never have problems feeding surprise guests.

2 Have an array of beverage options
Water is a fine, thirst-quenching beverage, but let’s face it, not terribly conducive to fun. Having juices, soda, beer and, for extra brownie points, a decently stocked bar, will inch you one step closer to becoming everyone’s favorite host/ess.

3 Keep your hang-out space presentable
No one likes lounging on a sofa surrounded by week-old pizza boxes and dirty socks. No need to go insane with the feather duster (as if any of us actually owned one anyway) – excessive meticulousness is off-putting; the occasional quick vacuum/sweep will suffice. Keep magazines and newspapers confined to a single space, bring dirty dishes and glassware to the kitchen sink, empty your recycling and trash bins regularly. Fight the chaos; keep your living space in some semblance of order and cleanliness.

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