Dining al Fresco (Eating Outdoors)

By Cindy Argiento

On a bright, sunny, windy day, we had our first outdoor meal of the year.

In anticipation of our al fresco dining experience, my husband bought an adjustable umbrella. Any time the sun changed direction or the wind grew bothersome, he would adjust it. The man spent more time adjusting the umbrella then he did eating.

Our neighbors also ate in their backyard, only instead of an umbrella, they had a pop-up gazebo. The wind repeatedly knocked it over. The first time it collapsed on the kids’ heads, they screamed and ran for safety. By the tenth time, the kids just kept eating, figuring they better finish their meal before it flew away.

One must deal with the elements when eating outdoors. During one backyard barbecue, the wind lifted a paper plate like an alien spaceship, skimming across the table and onto my son-in-law’s shirt, splattering it with ketchup. He should have known better than to wear a good shirt to an outdoor meal. I recommend Hawaiian print shirts that help to camouflage various spills, drips and culinary accidents.

Anticipation is the key to successful outdoor dining. When I go to a picnic, I dress for mess. I dress in anticipation of ketchup and mustard stains. I dress in anticipation of spilled drinks. I dress in anticipation of squished ant stains on the seat of my pants. (I imagine the ant sitting on the bench minding its own business, only to look up in the face of a gigantic descending butt.) I apply bug spray in anticipation of mosquitoes. I wear a sweater in anticipation of chilly weather and sun block in anticipation of sunburn.

Preparation time for eating outdoors: one hour.

Time spent eating: Thirty seconds.

I didn’t anticipate the weatherman being right about the rain.

Cindy Argiento is a freelance writer. She is a public speaker for her book “Deal With Life’s Stress With ‘A Little Humor.’“ Contact Cindy at cargiento@nullaol.com or visit www.cindyargiento.com.


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