Over the last six months my daughter has had her friends over more often. Especially her friends who are boys. This is not a problem as they are all perfectly nice, well-mannered kids who are even sometimes amusing to listen to and/or hassle.

Two things that took getting used to with teen boys: First, they seem to take up so much more space than girls. They are all a lot bigger than my petite sized daughter but even the ones who only as tall as me seem to take up more space. In my opinion, three boys are a crowd.

And second, they eat more. I know this is a basic fact of life but aforementioned petite sized daughter eats small portions even compared to her girl friends so I was not prepared for “boy scale” with snack foods. Once I understood they were indiscriminately wiping out my San Pelligrino Aranciata Rossa (looks like orange soda doesn’t it?) I knew something had to be done.

I rearranged the basement pantry and put a set of shelves for food that my daughter and her friends were welcome to graze on. Several kinds of soda pop, crunchy things, sweet things, mac & cheese, the usual. That way they will not decide that the over priced organic blue corn chips look yummy, leaving me without an ingredient for a planned weeknight meal.

In my mind this is just common hospitality. I have always kept items in the house with specific company in mind – Sweet & Low and Lipton teabags for my Aunt Bev,  diet coke for one friend, cashews for another – much like others keep a pack of veggie burgers at their house for me. So its no hardship to shop the junk aisle at Target for assorted boy food.

My daughters friends also feel free to open our fridge and help themselves. This is completely foreign behavior to me and the first couple of times it happened I was surprised.

I was raised that you don’t help yourself to something that should be offered as a courtesy. It was considered very bad manners to open someones frig or ask for something to eat or drink. This included my mothers frig once I’d left her house. All my relatives followed this rule, so I still reflexively ask before opening someones cupboard or frig.

In my house, when teenagers, friends, the children of friends, or other guests open my frig, or serve themselves, I know it is because they feel comfortable and welcome. A tribute to my hospitality.