Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 10:56 IST
A cake might not seem to hide a hospitality lesson. But in her book Be My Guest, Priya Basil tells the story of a German friend who went to visit the family of his future wife in Denmark. A freshly baked cake was produced and, as the guest of honour, the German man was first handed the knife.
“He accepted, and following his German proclivity, proceeded to equally portion up the entire cake, chatting all the while, oblivious to the looks of dismay being exchanged between the family members.” Later, he was told that Danes just cut off slices for themselves, leaving others to take as much, or as little, as they want.

Why this story

The concept of unquestioning hospitality is both subject to a culture at a certain stage of development and probably less generous than it was imagined. Most communities, however generous they like to pretend to be, have limits on it

Copyright © 2022 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service.