My brother-in-law and his family (gorgeous wife included) came to spend 2018 New Years with us. Because leaving So Cal’s delightful weather to sit in -12 degrees is an act of true brotherly love. We had a great time together. When it came time for them to leave, I panicked. Their flight was not going to leave until 855pm but we had plans to tackle the Mall of America before they left. How could I give them a “To-Go” bag of food? We were going to be at the mall for hours and we wouldn’t have time to come back to my house before I took them to the airport. Did I mention that it was -12 degrees? Anything left in the car would freeze. It took much thought before I let it go - almost too much thought. I finally had to let go of packing a to-go bag of food which is my way of giving a thoughtful pinch of hospitality.
I always appreciate a visitor. Especially because I feel like if anyone has any time off to go anywhere, Minnesota is not a top bucket list vacation spot. I love where I live and fully appreciate what the state has to offer, but I know it takes a lot to come out here. Once our guests arrive, they almost always find the Twin Cities to be charming and very full of opportunities to have a good time. Because I’m grateful that we have friends and family who love us enough and are willing to come visit, I make it a point to continue the hospitality even up to the point of dropping guests off at the airport. I like to send them off with a packed bag of leftovers. I usually have plenty of food because I can’t help myself from cooking army-size portions whenever we have visitors.
When I prepare the to-go bags - I include napkins, plastic utensils, mustard, mayo, salt and pepper packets if needed (admittedly we have plenty of these on hand because we always pick up food). These thoughtful pinches are most commonly given out days following Thanksgiving so the to-go bags contain turkey sandwiches, potato chips, fruit and a dessert. I always pack a dessert. I know that packing them a heavy bag is more of a burden to carry through security rather than a good thing. So I keep it reasonably light. However, if I know there is a layover, or I’m dropping them off earlier than needed, I include extra snacks in the bag. I also keep the to-go bags very disposable. Everything can be tossed in the trash.
Again, the win-win in this hospitable gesture is to hopefully prevent my family and friends from having to wait in lines, spend more money than they need to and/or keep them from eating something unhealthy. We have all experienced this - we think we ate a good lunch but when we get dropped off at the airport we are suddenly STARVING! Why is that? We end up eating stuff that is expensive, high in salt and we had to stand in a long line just to get it. Why not chill with the earbuds in and a snack packed just for you? My win is that I’m not left with a fridge full of food.
I have been Googling because I wanted to share an article that I read but I can’t find it anywhere. I learned that there are two incidents when people’s senses are heightened: 1. attending professional sporting events and 2. traveling on airplanes. Since our senses are heightened, airport and stadium food contain more salt so that the proportionate amount of flavor matches the heightened senses. Otherwise, the food would taste bland. Because of this theory, I think sometimes my sandwiches don’t have much flavor when my guests eat them at the airport but I hope that the upside is that they’ll be more grateful not to have puffy fingers and faces when they land.
In my Google research, I came across this article and I had to chuckle out loud. It was written in May 2016 and I’m hoping that since Minneapolis is hosting the 2018 Super Bowl, maybe the ranking has changed since then. https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-the-airport-food-trap-inescapable
When you host overnight guests, nothing is too small to offer them. Hospitality comes in so many shapes and sizes. Some people offer up their good towels, leave their luxury hand soaps in the bathroom, put candy in dishes next to the guest bed, display fresh flowers in the guest room, become personal Uber drivers for their guests and/or pack to-go bags of food. I'm pretty confident that none of this is news to you. This post is just confirmation that if you host visitors, then you are hospitable and that means you are already a thoughtful person.
My fingers are crossed that I get a "do-over" and in February, I will be packing a bunch of thoughtful pinch to-go bags for my in-laws!!