As miserable weather encroaches, the argument surrounding the subject of removing your footwear upon entering someone's house – or forcing guests to do so – starts to get messy.
On the one hand, no one can contest the inelegance of folding oneself onto a floor pillow that's sitting on a damp and gritty carpet. Yet wading with socked feet through a boggy front hall littered with shoe-and-boot land mines isn't much better. Solution: a temporary shoe caddy that you set up when company comes. It provides a safe, clean spot for guests to stow their clogs, keeps the entryway clear and ensures dry floors.
You can even tuck darling little slippers into its pockets for guests to wear while they shuffle between the makeshift bar and the platter of shu mai. At the end of the evening, send them home with their new slippers, a full belly and the valuable experience of having modified their habits. Maybe they'll be less inclined to grouse the next time.
Chef Michael Tong is the owner of Toronto's Sublime Catering.