Tip No. 6: Avoid asking if someone needs help in a kitchen or at a party, just start helping.
“Same goes with dishes. (Actually, if you don’t want to help, you should ask them if they need help. No self-respecting host or hostess will say yes to that question.)”
Some people find the kitchen an inspiring environment in which a particular artistry is practised and refined; I typically look at it as the room where I open cabinets and flick buttons to make food ready for my mouth. When it comes to helping out, I’m a chronic asker, mostly because I often have no idea how to be of service. You’re making a soufflé? Cool. I’ll stand here and… be quiet? I don’t really know what else goes into the making of a soufflé.
My friend Emily made us dinner tonight. I asked her if she needed a hand. I couldn’t help it. She politely refused, and I promptly turned my attention toward the dishes. Dishes are an area I’m comfortable with. Sponge in hand, I leapt into action and didn’t stop scrubbing until everything in the general vicinity of the counter was spic and span.
This is what Emily prepared, by the way – butternut squash galette, complemented with brussel sprouts and mustard butter. Yum:
I’ve been travelling a fair bit lately, and I’ve been fortunate to eat meals prepared by some great friends who have also provided me with a space to crash. Helping them out in return is the least I can do. It’s more than that, though. I’m grateful for the chance to spend that extra bit of time with them. I don’t get a mess of opportunities to prepare meals with others these days, or to put myself to use beyond my own day-to-day needs. It’s a pleasure to help, but it’s an even greater pleasure to feel relied on, even a little bit.
According to Emily, helping out with the dishes made me about 45% more awesome, so mission accomplished. One more tip to go.