Childhood memories of picnics, dinner on the patio, or dangling our legs off the pier with hotdogs in hand are amongst the reasons I love serving meals outside. Family gatherings at long tables cracking crabs was not just a meal, it was an event, a happening. Somehow it stuck that everyday CAN be an occasion. Much later I realized that practice and readiness make for the hostess that is totally relaxed and prepared for a spontaneous dinner or cocktail party. As a designer, I see setting the table as another chance to decorate, and that’s just fine with me.
Today, in Easthampton we have lunches on the terrace everyday where I am surrounded by my garden. Pear and plum espalier frame the terrace on two sides connected by a zinc fountain providing us with background music. The breezes, the sound of birds, the occasional waft of roses or lavender are all appetite enhancing. I collect whatever is available for centerpieces, roses with tomato leaves, white cosmos with ladies mantle, or just a handful of leaves.
Before dinner parties we enjoy cocktails in the garden. Oftentimes a small group will walk through it with me pausing, talking, inspecting and questioning. Being in the garden is the most important thing you can do.I have taken that heart for as many meals as weather permits.