Monday, June 23, 2014

Picnics Made Easy

Life and entertaining are easier in the good old summertime. To insure no-fuss I keep supplies in my picnic basket ready at a moment's notice. Then, when the weather cooperates, I can set a summertime table without any hassle. 

Several outdoor tabletop products have resurfaced this summer that you may remember from picnics with your grandmother. I believe that enamelware, melamine, and rattan have come back into vogue, because they contribute to easy entertaining. 

At the core of my summer place-setting is enamelware and cutlery made by The Golden Rabbit. Years ago, I purchased the set because I knew that someday--in the far distant future--the whimsey of the ants crawling across the plates, knives, forks, and spoons would capture the imagination of grandchildren. The far distant future is now, and I was right! The plates and cutlery are favorites of the little people in my life, and they are unbreakable!

Enamelware originated in the mid-1700s in Germany; then it grew in popularity here in the mid-1800s. Do you remember your grandmother's spatterware tea kettle? Well, today, enamelware is manufactured in China and Indonesia, but can be purchased in the United States anywhere from Walmart to Neiman Marcus. 

The Golden Rabbit company no longer makes my pattern, but they have replaced it with a vintage-looking spatterware pattern,

as well as more contemporary patterns. 

A number of companies make enamelware, and the public has jumped back on this bandwagon. No wonder; being shatterproof, it is perfect for outdoor use.  
MacKensie-Childs enamelware available at Neiman Marcus.

A second easy-to-use staple I have added to my picnic basket this summer is melamine.
The Food and Drug Administration has pronounced melamine safe for kitchen use
with the caveat that it should not be microwaved or used for acidic substances.

Neither big kids nor little kids can break these "glasses". However, these aren't your grandmother's melmac dishes. No, they are thinner, have more texture, and come in prettier colors. Actually, they are quite current. I have seen melamine plates and glasses in almost every store carrying summer tableware. Again, this is no surprise. Melamine is light-weight, dish-washer safe, and perfect for easy entertaining.
Rope pattern melamine on sale now at Pottery Barn.

Finally, the last items I added to my picnic basket this summer are rattan chargers. Nothing says summertime quite like wicker and rattan. Let me encourage you to stick woven chargers into your picnic basket. They add a layered dimension to your table without adding to your laundry basket. Ah, the simple life.
The best chargers for quality and cost can be found at World Market. 
They are well-made, sit level, and are reasonably priced. 
So far, on the east coast, summer 2014 has had perfect picnic weather, and my no-fuss picnic supplies have allowed me to easily entertain out-of-doors. Alfresco dining done simply fits the lazy, hazy days of summer!

1 comment:

  1. Your table setting looks so fun and fabulous! I love summertime meals served outdoors. Think I need that MacKensie-Childs set for Maine :) Cheers!