“My name is Evan Garfield and I am cooking a dinner for a group of strangers. There’s a lot of trust involved in that for sure, you know… me trusting strangers to come here and not kill me and them trusting me to not poison them, so you know, it’s mutual.”
What’s the difference between a guest, a host, and a stranger? Not much, according the Proto-Indo-European root ghos-ti- which means concurrently: guest, host, and stranger. The Latin root hostis meant “enemy” and hospes meant “host.” In Old French, host meant army. Evidently it was hard to tell whether your dinner guest will kill you, which sounded a lot like an episode of Game of Thrones. Entertaining but unpalatable. So why risk it?
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, may it be filled with the joy of kinship and the excitement of that first meeting: full of potential.
Even the Old Testament spoke about hospitality: thou shalt not oppresse a stranger: for yee know the heart of a stranger, seeing yee were strangers in the land of Egypt. But Bedouin hospitality doesn’t mean simply not poisoning your new dinner guests – it means treating guests as one’s own because it’s a sentiment as old as time itself: no one likes being the stranger at the table. Luckily, we’ve dined at many tables as strangers and made friends out of hosts. We’ve also been hosts to strangers and turned them into long lasting friendships so old we have difficulties remembering that moment when they transitioned from strangers to kinsmen… but isn’t it nice that they did? That’s the best part about meeting and eating among strangers: one day, they may be more than just friends, because there’s no such thing as a stranger among a shared meal.
Shot and Directed by Marcus Ricci
Edited by Soo Kim
Music by Conveyor