One of my absolute favorite movies is “Calamity Jane”, with Doris Day and Howard Keel; the cowboy version of Cinderella, comes complete with a dashing hero, a pretty transformation and lots of recycled calico. After sweeping out the dust, curtains become a tablecloth, a painted door welcomes you in, and a few wild flowers become a centerpiece. Life never felt so easy.
With Summer almost here, we crave a little simplicity outside. We want to entertain, and have friends over, but we don’t really want to try so hard. In the final hour, we don’t want to run back to the store (again) for fancy decorations and that special, organic iced tea that only Aunt Matilda will drink. So, why not take things slowly, enjoy the time with your friends, and borrow a few, home-spun ideas from my hero, Calamity Jane…
- Plan the simplest menu that you can get away with, and buy everything the day before. If in doubt, go with picnic food that can be served at room temperature (fresh bread, real butter, cold meat/chicken, cheese, apple pie, quiche, fruit, vegetables etc). If you have extra time, and feel inclined, bake something for dessert, or make a homemade drink (iced tea, lemonade, punch etc).
- Check that your picnic area is relatively clean. Sweep the patio/deck, mow the lawn, throw away any dead plants/twigs, and hide any broken/damaged items.
- Grab a tablecloth, blanket (or sheet) from the house, to put on the main table. Use something colorful, unexpected, or just go with plain white or lace.
- Pick a big bunch of anything – flowers/twigs/branches/buttercups – and put them in a vase or a glass on the table.
- Light some candles if you have them (again, just grab ones from the house – even a silver candelabra would be lovely).
- Use your regular (or fancy) cups, platters, bowls, glasses, plates, napkins and cutlery for everything.
- Bring chairs, pillows and blankets outside for extra seating and comfort.
Curl up, eat, have fun, and enjoy!
Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Picnic photograph borrowed from Better Homes and Gardens