Often, we look to our friends and family to lift our spirits, but with social distancing rules in place and limits on face-to-face gatherings, we find that to be more and more difficult. But it is possible to enjoy intimate, physically-distanced gatherings with others – especially outdoors – if protocols are followed, including sitting apart from one another and abiding by suggestions that involve the sharing of food.
That’s where your local caterer comes into play. By hiring a caterer to prepare the food for your small outdoor event, you can safely enjoy gathering with others without worrying about what you’ll serve, how you’ll prepare it, and whether your guests will be comfortable eating it.
Organizing your get-together
Because outdoors is the safest place to share a meal these days, start by perusing the outside space you plan to use and then plan accordingly. If you have a large yard, that’s a good place to consider. It seems people are most comfortable hosting at their own home because they are better able to control the environment there. If not, consider a park or other large outdoor location.
However, the most important thing to consider is making your guests feel comfortable with their surroundings.
- Be sure you have ample space to spread out, allowing for about 2 meters between guests
- Choose a time of day (and a place in your yard) when your guests won’t succumb to the elements, like too much sun or too much wind.
- Suggest that guests bring their own chairs. They can also bring a small tray table or something else on which to place their food if they’d rather not balance it on their lap.
- Think about restroom use beforehand. Are you okay with your guests using a bathroom that’s close to your outdoor spot? If so, make sure it’s stocked with soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. If you’re in a public space, is there a bathroom available? If not, let your guests know beforehand.
What about the food?
Of course, when you invite someone over for a picnic, the food should be the centerpiece of the event. Even in this time of Covid-19, you can present a good, tasty meal for your guests without compromising their health or safety in any way.
One of the best ways to serve food during this time is in individual servings. Gone – for now – is the buffet table, which is fairly unsafe, given everyone will need to approach the table for their food and use the same serving utensils. A sit-down meal is okay, but still carries some risk.
However, with one-person servings packaged individually, you or your caterer can simply deliver one pre-made meal to each person, which they can open themselves. Think about the Japanese bento box and picture something like that. Your caterer can organize a creative box for each guest, with food beautifully arranged so that it’s a treat both for the eyes and for the stomach.
There are all sorts of possibilities as to what you put inside, from colorful salads and fancy sandwiches to fun desserts that everyone will enjoy. Talk to your caterer about your ideas and meld those with his or hers to come up with a menu that your guests will love.
You might also want to include bottled soft drinks, hard cider, wine coolers, or beer and can consider keeping those in insulated coolers where guests can avail themselves of their choices. Let guests know that you’re doing this beforehand in case they’d prefer to bring a bottled drink from their own home or a reusable bottle filled with their favorite beverage.
These days, it’s all about being creative. We’ve come up with new ways to do many things during this trying time. Being a party host isn’t the same as it was 6 months ago, but by thinking out of the box, you can safely organize small picnics and other gatherings that are sure to bring smiles to the faces of your guests and have them feeling connected once again.