When I was a kid, the neighborhood Moms would take us to the park and we would eat our lunches sitting on a giant dinosaur, our favorite playground fixture. Our mothers would supervise from afar and enjoy a more civilized meal together on a nearby picnic blanket. I forged lifelong friendships over those PB&J meals and so did our Moms. Those lunches taught me eye opening facts about the natural world, tidbits such as a dandelion’s down are the seeds of the plant or that pollywogs will grow into frogs, and helped me realize the joy of dining outdoors.
Entertaining in the fresh air still feels special to me and it can be so easy, even when we need to be socially distanced. Outdoor eating can be as basic as opening a window and leaning out so the cookie crumbs fall down for the birds on the fire escape. Or having lunch on the front stoop with the neighbors to share the latest news. Eating al fresco doesn't have to be complicated and keeping it simple also keeps it sustainable, especially when everyone brings their own napkins and cutlery. It can also be a great opportunity for everyone to put away their phones and devices and just talk to each other and enjoy their surroundings.
Here's my advice for joyful eating outdoors:
Choose a spot where you can see some greenery, or put a potted plant or cut flowers nearby.
Include local foods from a farmstand or your CSA box for the freshest flavors of the season.
Bring beverages in thermoses and use fancy cups.
Use some of your favorite vintage tableware and linens to create an elegant outdoor space and make your meal special.
Pack your food in jars or wrap it up in your favorite tea towel or napkin or pop your dry snacks in a bread bag.Put away your devices, listen to the birds and be curious about the world that surrounds you.