August is my favorite month to have friends and neighbors over for outdoor gatherings. The days are long, the garden is in full bloom, and the weather generally cooperates. We get together in the backyard, share a delicious meal, tell stories, and laugh a lot. We catch up on family news and show each other photos on our phones. We’re amazed at how the kids and grandkids have grown and changed. I look forward to these summer parties every year, and now, with Covid restrictions easing, I’ll enjoy and cherish them all the more.
When I call people to invite them over, the first thing they always ask is: “What can I bring?” In the past, I’d dive right into the details of the menu planning. But this year, I think we’re all in the mood for a more relaxed approach. So my answer will be: “What’s your favorite summer dish to make? Is it a starter? A salad? A dessert? Bring that—whatever it is—and we’ll take care of everything that goes on the grill.” This will give people the freedom to make something they love, and what’s the worst that could happen? We’d end up with a whole table full of delicious hors d’oeuvres or veggies or desserts to sample.
To set up the backyard buffet, I’ll bring out an array of Michel Design Works melamine serveware, just in case people don’t bring their contributions in table-ready containers. Then I’ll put out stacks of coordinating melamine plates and bowls, which—to me—have an advantage over the paper versions. They don’t collapse the way paper products do when food is heavy or juicy. And they’re washable and reusable, so they don’t end up in the garbage.
Michel Design Works offers a wonderful array of designs in this serveware—and matching paper napkins as well. So there’s something for everyone’s taste and palette. I love all the options, but this summer, two designs called out to me and insisted that they appear on the table. The first is an obvious choice. It’s called Summer Days, and it celebrates the lush, colorful flowers and the birds we see and enjoy in this season. The second is just plain fun. It’s called Wild Lemon, and it features endearing, whimsical plants and animals paired—unexpectedly—with a sophisticated leopard print. I think both designs will make people smile, and that is something we can all use these days.