(A Garden Party at Woodrow Wilson House. Used without permission, let me know…)
I could have entitled this post “A Satisfying Saturday” just as easily, but it was Sunday when Mrs. E. and I were invited to brunch at a neighbour’s house and with Easter Sunday fast approaching it seemed a fine time to mention brunch
Brunch (for our foreign readers, “brunch” is a combination of breakfast and lunch, generally taken around eleven o’clock in the morning) or luncheon.
Or drinks and snacks in the garden.
The idea here is to enjoy a leisurely afternoon. It was much needed as we had Mrs. E.’s and Corporate Creature’s birthday extravaganza the evening before and yard work the day of (have you cut back your monkey grass yet?)
Sunday’s late morning or early afternoon nosh can be a simple or as complex as you have time to prepare. Our hosts treated us to a feast of artichoke, egg, pepper, onion casserole and hash browned potatoes that rivaled anything I’ve had in a restaurant. Bloodies (Zing-Zang mix provided the base for us to work up into our preferred versions) and Mimosa’s before made the day take on that more leisurely tone. The 70ºF and sunny weather just added to the feeling of torpor that began to steal over the group. Thankfully, our little crowd had in common a love of laughter and that alone kept us from drifting off to lotus land.
Two weeks from now our garden gate will be open to our friends who are taking the air with a leisurely Easter Promenade, as our once lively parade has become. We won’t be serving a full meal, but we will have nuts, a cheese board, perhaps some ham biscuits and something sweet arranged on a white table cloth covered card table placed in the shade of the backyard. A beverage tub will be indispensable for keeping a half case of pop (Champagne), beer, ice tea and bottled water chilled at any one time. The cooler of ice will be hidden under the card table along with reinforcements.
I’ll use cloth napkins, of course, and my appetizer plates to hold any foods that may be a bit messy. Sterling salad forks will be shoved into a juice glass for ready access. A vase of flowers will seem redundant, but carry the garden onto the table. While we’ll use real glass flutes and glasses for the adults, I’ll have plastic stadium cups on hand for the kids (and for adult “go-cups”).
Hats, naturally, will be de rigeur.
What are your key ingredients for a successful garden party or brunch?