Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

En Plein Air

Sunday’s Easter promenade was a lot of fun. Although not everyone dressed, our little crew of revelers acquitted themselves admirably. It was nice to see them standing under the branches of the dogwood tree or clustered around the drinks table, children zipping around the yard buzzing with excitement and sugar. A lot of fun, so much so that I forgot to set out the iPod and speakers or to take a single picture.

But let me set the scene and make a recommendation for a very old fashioned piece of kit.

Our guests climbed the four stairs into our back yard where the coral umbrella and wicker chairs offered some relief from the sun and constant ambling about. The umbrella also shaded the small cocktail table and porcelain beverage tub which was filled with sparkling wines.

A drinks table was set up a few feet away. I used a pie crust table covered in a celadon tablecloth over which was a starched white damask number. The large silver and Formica (less to polish, easy to clean up in the event of spills) held the pitcher of lemonade, the large bottle of Lukasowa vodka, a bottle of tonic water and the Patrick Henry’s Revolutionary Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, the only one I’ve found that’s perfect right out of the bottle. A silver julip cup held the celery stalks and a little white bowl, the lemons. An insulated ice bucket, large silver spoon and a mixing spoon rounded things out.

Now here was my predicament… pie crust tables are smallish. Too smallish to hold all those bottles and glasses. The beverage tub was too small to hold cans of soda, bottles of water and beer. Which meant that I had to leave a cooler in plain view; sort of half hidden by the branches of the weeping cherry. I balanced a wicker tray full of glasses on a little round side table, a precarious situation at best. Miraculously, it remained there without incident throughout the party.

Which brings me to my recommendation. Find a good looking, sturdy, foldable card table. My ideal — for use as a portable drinks table — would be a parson’s table design, but finding a folding one might be a bit difficult. There are a number of other options, here’s a wooden one by Cosco.

A Samsonite model, presumably strong enough to stand up to jumping gorillas (remember the commercials for the luggage? Oh no, that was American Tourister)

They are a far cry from the beautiful card tables of yore.

But in the event of rain…. I’d rather not ruin my desk.


(Editor’s note: I have not purchased from or used the services of the companies whose product images I’ve featured and cannot, therefore, endorse them. Buy at your own risk.)

5 thoughts on “En Plein Air

  1. Thanks for providing us with your beverage menu. My favorite non-alcoholic drink is tonic water, a firm squeeze of lime, and four or five dashes of Angostura bitters, which is my favorite flavoring! BTW, what is a pie crust table – the same as a card table?

  2. Hello DD, sounds delicious and refreshing. I would add that Angostura bitters are alcoholic, but only mildly. I’ve added a link to a photo of a pie crust table. It’s round and has a pinched raised edge like a pie crust. The top tilts for storage.

  3. Another option for an outdoor serving table is wrought iron with glass top. We store ours in the space above the garage (a challenge indeed moving it, but we have no where else to store it). Great thing about wrought iron is that you can paint it every few seasons and keep it looking like new. I use a high gloss oil base in what I have dubbed “Estate Green,” a very, very dark green with a little black mixed in to give it more depth. I will be heading off to a Tea Party today–I am one of those “dangerous, extreme radicals” who happens to think that tripling the deficit this year was not such a good idea. Any suggestions on what to wear?

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