“Don’t neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so some have even entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
It was actually something my husband and I discussed quite a bit before we got married – hospitality. I was raised around a table that often had guests seated at it and I wanted to continue that practice in my own home. Alex took that a step further and said that we must always have a spare bedroom for the guests who needed a place to stay the night. He lives with the assurance that we could travel nearly anywhere in the United States and have a bed waiting for us, his friends and relations are scattered across the map and would welcome us. He wanted to be such a spot on the map, a place of promised welcome.
In the almost two years of our marriage, our little home has been pressed into service more times than I can count. There is an empty bed and several empty chairs waiting for company, and that’s exactly what how we want it. We have had the privilege of entertaining friends, family and strange angels alike and hope to do the same for many more as long as we have a roof and food to share.
The meals are often far from perfect (like my soupy lasagna, or the lemon pie with the inedible cardboard crust) and the spare room isn’t always completely free from storage (guests can go to sleep after counting boxes of diapers and spare cookbooks), but I like to think that we make up for that in warmth and good conversation!
Our little son is turning into quite the host, giving our visitors his best grins and entertaining them with long stories about his morning bath or nap time woes before demonstrating the strength of his tiny lungs or the great size or his appetite. I think his charm is going to go a long way towards smoothing over the rough edges of imperfect cooking! This past week we had one of Alex’s childhood friends over for dinner. Mike lives in California now and was back in the area visiting his family and we asked him over for the evening. We had baked chicken, wild rice pilaf, and roasted butternut squash and then ice cream for dessert. Alex said that the squash was one of the more delicious things I’ve made to date so I thought I would share that recipe. Squash is a perfect side dish this time of year. You can get all different varieties of squash at the local markets, but our favorites are acorn and butternut. I have used this recipe for sweet potatoes, too and found it quite delicious!
Roasted Butternut Squash
1 large or 2 small butternut squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup maple syrup
13″x9″ baking dish
350 degree oven
Peel and dice your squash into 2-3 inch chunks – seems like a simple enough task, but I’ve been trying for years to find an easy way to go about this. So far, the most tear-free way I’ve found is thus: peeling the squash with a sturdy veggie peeler then using my Big Knife to halve it and chop it into cubes after the ‘guts’ have been scooped out with a sturdy spoon.
Toss the cubes into the waiting baking dish and add the remaining ingredients. Give it all a good toss to mix it together before popping it in the oven for about an hour. It’s ready to serve when the cubes are easily pierced with a fork or knife.
This is a good season for opening our doors to family, friends and angels, even as the windows are closing and cold weather is setting in, you never know who is going to bring an unexpected blessing with them. The food doesn’t need to be complicated as long as the hearts are warm that offer it! Enjoy…