Sunday, August 11th, 2019
As we approach mid-August and the middle of the summer season, I reflect on the practicalities of accepting too many guests at once. I love a good party, and the table laid for eight in this picture is very pretty, but cooking Full English for eight people who all want to eat together is, to put it bluntly, an absolute nightmare! This was for a private breakfast party of guests attending a local wedding, but normally, six paying guests is the maximum I am legally allowed to accommodate overnight. Breakfast for two is a doddle. For four, it’s something to keep me on my toes. For six, it’s a challenge. For eight, it takes me a day to recover. To do this regularly, I would need additional, or different, cooking equipment. The very nature of an English breakfast, with all its disparate elements requiring different cooking treatments and times, does not lend itself easily to mass catering. From now on, eight people to breakfast will have to settle for Continental-style breakfasts only, unless they are prepared to stagger their eating times. By chance, last week I hosted a couple of Australian guests who had run a five-room B&B for seven years before the days of online booking. They welcomed about 8,000 guests during their tenure, working flat out and doing everything themselves including the cleaning, catering and laundry. They had full occupancy for most of the year, and I simply can’t imagine the amount of work involved. We exchanged many stories and I take my hat off to them. Fortunately, I have no more large parties booked this season, so can go back to enjoying the more leisurely approach of hosting two or four guests at a time, which I now have down to a fine art.