Helloooo, Memorial Day. Summer officially kicks off on June 20, but Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to the best time of the year when it comes to simple recipe preparations and casual entertaining—a trend that is especially welcome right now given that some of us may be a bit rusty when it comes to hosting gatherings.
So it should be no surprise to learn what everyone is asking us about this month…Eating. Out. Doors. It seems that most folks have had it up to here with cramped kitchens, fussy recipes, and long-haul cooking projects. So set that sourdough starter aside and get out on your patio, deck, patch of lawn, front porch or stoop. Here’s the simplest list of eats, drinks, and hosting plans to get you pumped. BYO sunscreen.
Whether you need to wipe down your fire escape or power-wash your cabana, get ‘er ready. We’ve got the patio furniture you need right here. After the year we’ve all had, please feel free to splurge on a proper (whatever “proper” means to you) setup. Maybe this is the year you invest in an umbrella for shade. Perhaps you need a soup-to-nuts patio situation. Maybe you’re breaking out a kiddie pool and buying $1 flip-flops for friends so you can drink margs with your feet “in the pool.” The vision is yours as you appreciate every little breath of hard-earned fresh air. We’ve got 10 of our top little hosting splurges right over here. (Check that super-chic raised wooden cedar beer cooler!) But get everything clean, have caddies of the stuff you’ll need (like utensils) handy, and maybe snag a spare pair of shades, just for chilling.
Got a kid? They know we’ve had one heck of a weird year, too; even toddlers are likely grabbing you by the paw and dragging you “OUTSIDE!” Kids know when they’ve been cooped up too long, especially those who have been Zoomed for a whole school year. So do it up. Get them outside whenever you can. It can be as simple as bubbles and chalk for the littles, or a Slip ‘N Slide for the big ones. Produce ice pops whenever possible. (We have the coolest molds, and even a popsicle puzzle they can make… while eating popsicles.) Think about finally buying an ice cream maker. Figure out what the heck unicorn sundaes are, and make those. Get them into gardening with a kids’ gardening kit that might even get them to eat their vegetables! (Hey, it’s summer; dream big.)
There are those who produce chips and salsa and beer and call it a party. 2021 is your year, guys.
Those who tend to do a little more, like fret over the hand-cut crudo, the homemade duck liver mousse for the charcuterie board, the outdoor pizza party… hi, guys. It’s always great to see you, but can take a deep breath this year, because you, too, can be a chips, salsa and beer person. We want you to consider the easy outdoor menus, throw hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and get the BBQ delivered. We want to see you hosting BYO picnics, or throwing happy hours that are just batch cocktails and appetizers. When in doubt, consider vegetarian party food, like a simple vegan bean dip that will stay good even if gets hot out. If the simplest fruit desserts feel like too much, make panna cotta in advance, or just set out fresh fruit! Do cocktails feel overwhelming? Seltzer and liter bottles of cold rosé, friend.
Be a chips and salsa person. Embrace simplicity. But get outside.