How to Dine Alfresco

I once read a piece in the NY Daily News about dining alfresco. The article quoted the queen of hospitality herself, Martha Stewart, who had plenty of tips for staging your next impromptu tete a tete outdoors. It included citrus-infused water, multiple beverage stations (so your guests don’t have to wait for refills), and homemade insect repellent made from essential oils.

I remember mentally taking notes while reading the article because I hoped, one day, I might host an alfresco party of my own.

This imaginary party included white topped tables and glowing lanterns.

I envisioned good-looking friends wearing Brooks Brothers blazers … maybe even a nautical cardy (on the right person, naturally).

I envisioned breezy evenings, bug-free, of course.

It would be a casual affair with light banter and good laughs.

Little did I know that only a few years later my dreams of alfresco dining would come true – albeit a little different than expected.

Instead of elegant dishes and beverage stations, my guests gobble up pizza on plastic plates and drink from sippy cups.

Instead of Brooks Brothers, my stylish (and somewhat slobbery) guests are adorable twin brothers (who, incidentally, don’t like the bugs my seating area has to offer.)

Exhibit A: discovery of an ant.


Exhibit B: return of the ant.

Instead of light banter and witty remarks, our party includes lots of silly faces and subsequent giggling.

Martha, you might be the queen of hospitality, table linens, and A-list guest lists.

But I suspect that your perfectly planned parties are missing one thing:  smiles like these. Bugs or no, I wouldn’t trade this dining experience for anything.

 “He makes grass grow for the cattle,
    and plants for people to cultivate—
    bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens human hearts,
    oil to make their faces shine…”

 Ps. 104:14-15

About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.