I remember eating in the cafeteria as a Freshman in high school. What exactly I was eating escapes me, but I remember my friend saying to me, "Janna, people like their food, but you make love to your food." More than slightly embarrassed, I thought about what she must have observed in order to have said that. As I paid greater attention to how I might eat food differently than the average person, I realized that not everyone analyzes every bite before eating it, or smells their bread before taking a bite.  Also, I realized I probably forwent a certain amount of tidiness or decorum in the spirit of true enjoyment. For years my mom tried to get me to address what was stuck to my lips before finishing what was in my mouth. If I close my eyes I can see vividly the expression of increasing disbelief she'd give me that said, do you not care that people might see you?  I guess when you add this over-the-top love of food with extroversion and a love of creating, you get someone who loves to host.

I can't call myself a "natural" when it comes to hosting. I've just loved the joys of creating good food to eat with good friends enough over the years to continue working past the blunders. And I think I'm starting to get the hang of it! In the hopes that my experiences will be valuable, or at least enjoyable in some way for others, I've created this blog.

Along the way, I discovered the importance of music when hosting. Having the right tunes playing before your first guest arrives is your best friend. It means that even if you're not totally ready, they won't feel uncomfortable wondering if they're too early for you; if there's music, the party has begun. Music sets the mood even in the absence of a perfect table setting or elaborate decor. A carefully designed playlist can signify when it's time to wind down so that you don't have to come right out and say it. I will never think the music is as important as the food. I mean, please. But I've found it to be such a helpful sidekick that I decided to devote to it a portion of my blog. Use my playlists for your own gatherings, by streaming the music directly from my site!

Welcome to "Eats and Beats" where I hope you'll find the inspiration and help you need to start your own love affair with hosting.