Image source Hostess with the Mostess
Summer entertaining can be as easy or hard as you choose to make it. Channel your inner Martha and spend hours on perfect place settings and casual canapés, or make the drinks strong enough and trust that no one will care (or remember!) if that gorgeous side of salmon sticks to the grill.
Cookout entertaining advice abounds this time of year, but it doesn’t usually rock the boat; Have a drink before your guests arrive. Grill corn on the cob. Don’t leave mayonnaise-based dishes outside for long periods of time. Invite people you actually like. The real chestnuts are rare, but IMHO the world needs more than Sandra Lee cheeseball tablescapes and Giada’s perfectly-grilled Portobello mushrooms. While important to take Amy Sedaris’ advice with a grain of salt, cooking hot dogs for a crowd on a rake is brilliant. More realistic, but equally kooky, is a tip from Dave Becker, the awesomely goofy chef and owner of Needham favorite Sweet Basil, from a Boston Globe roundup of local chef’s tips. Two words: Bat House.
To battle bugs at backyard gatherings, skip the citronella candles or cans of industrial-strength repellent and invite some bats to the party. Build a bat house, an enclosed wooden structure where bats love to hang, at the beginning of the summer and you’ll keep bugs at a minimum all season. Bats get a bad rap, but each one can eat 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour, so they make great pest-fighting neighbors and an excellent topic of conversation at your next cookout.
You know you want one. If you’re handy with a hammer, here are free (!) instructions on building your own. If you’re not, Dave says you can buy one at Home Depot.
And if the idea’s just a little too out there–or shall we say batty–for you, forget everything and buy yourself a bubble wand. While it may not help with your cookout, it’s hands down the best ten bucks you’ll spend all summer. Cheers!
Posted by Susannah