This month in our series about what really goes on in a home, Clare Gogerty grabs a plate and invites us to eat out in the garden.
Eating every possible meal in the garden is one of the most blissful things you can do during the summer months. The simple act of sipping a cup of tea on the doorstep while listening to the birds and feeling a warm breeze on your face can transform this humdrum activity into something special. Pile a tray with toast and coffee and head outdoors for breakfast and suddenly it feels like you’re on holiday. And a glass of rosé and some nuts dished up on the patio or a balcony becomes a celebration.
Meals in the garden are simultaneously liberating and fun. Entertaining family and friends takes on a more chilled dimension when you sit beneath a tree, children and animals run around your feet and the light gradually dims. The only rules about eating alfresco is that there are no rules: the more relaxed and informal the better.
“Picnics always taste so much nicer than meals we have indoors”
Five Go Off in a Caravan by Enid Blyton
- Put on a buffet: ideal for larger groups of people who can heap up their plates with your delicious food and then settle on rugs to eat it.
- Use brown paper instead of a tablecloth. Then scrunch up and dispose of it when everyone has gone home.
- Keep tableware relaxed. Nobody wants elaborate settings when they are eating in their shorts.
- Invest in a garden parasol to keep sun and rain at bay.
- Platters of cold meat, bowls of salad, chunks of cheese, bread on boards and jugs of drink (alcoholic and non) are probably all that’s required, food-wise.
- Stock up a drinks trolley with glasses, drinks and trappings, then wheel back in when stocks run low. Have lots of ice handy to keep drinks cool.