Books

Be My Guest

A nonfiction book by Priya Basil.

Priya Basil

The dinner table, among friends, is where the best conversations take place — talk about the world, religion, politics, culture and cooking. In the same way, Be My Guest is a conversation about all those things, mediated through the medium of shared food.

We live in a world where some have too much and others not enough, where immigrants and refugees are both welcomed and vilified, and where most of us spend less and less time cooking and eating together. Priya Basil invites us to explore the meaning and limits of hospitality today, and in doing so makes a passionate plea for a kinder, more welcoming realisation that we have more in common than divides us. (From Canongate Books)

From the book

We begin as guests, every single one of us. Helpless little creatures whose every need must be attended to, who for a long time can give nothing or very little back, yet who — in the usual run of things — nevertheless insinuate ourselves deep into the lives of our carers and take up permanent residence in their hearts.

Our early dependence is indulged in the expectation that we, in turn, will become dependable. Maybe reaching adulthood really means learning to be more host than guest: to take care more than, or at least as much as, to be taken care. Implicit in this outlook, it seems to me, is still an assumption that each person will, eventually, become a parent — the ultimate role, at least in cultures where the nuclear family is considered the foundation of society. A role I decided to forego. A choice that left me questioning what my part can be in the life-play of hospitality.


From Be My Guest by Priya Basil ©2019. Published by Canongate Books.

 

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