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How to Dine Al Fresco

Cooking for the Outdoors

  1. 1Keep your recipes simple. Eating outside is about letting the atmosphere flavor your food. Most of the time, if you’re able to eat outside, the weather is nice, and fresh produce is in season. Let it shine with simple preparations, such as grilled corn on the cob with butter, a simple chopped fruit salad, and sliced tomatoes with a sprinkling of salt.[1]
    • Plus, keeping it simple will allow you to enjoy your time outside, as you won’t be as focused on getting the meal completed. You’ll have more time to relax.
  2. 2Add fresh tastes. Eating outside creates a feeling of freshness, and you can incorporate that in your food. Try adding fresh herbs to your favorite vinaigrette recipe or add finely chopped mint to your fruit salad. You could also add a fresh squeeze of lemon over a piece of grilled fish.[2]
  3. 3Have as much food ready as possible. If you’re hosting friends or even if you’re just having a quiet dinner at home, it’s best to get everything as close to ready as possible before you head outdoors. If you’re eating an oven- or stove-prepared meal, you can have the whole dinner ready.[3]
    • If you’re planning on grilling, get everything prepped and ready to go on the grill before heading outside. That way, you are ready to start grilling as soon as people are there.
  4. 4Invite people to bring food. If you’re having people over, keep it simple by asking everyone to bring a dish. Most people won’t mind, and then you’re only stuck doing a main dish and a few odds and ends.[4]
  5. 5Don’t forget the drinks. When you’re outside, you’re going to work up a thirst. Have lots of iced beverages on hand, such as ice water, iced tea, or lemonade. You can also have a signature alcoholic drink, such as a sangria or fruit punch, or you can just have a bucket of beers over ice.[5]

Method2Keeping Food Safe to Eat

  1. 1Scrub down the table. Even if you’re putting a tablecloth down, it’s best to scrub the table clean with disinfectant first. That way, you won’t risk transferring bacteria from the table to your food while you eat.
  2. 2Keep your food at the right temperature. If you’re cooking outside, make sure to hold the meat (pre-grilling) and other cold foods in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Similarly, keep salads in the fridge and hot foods warm until you’re ready to eat.[6]
    • Keeping foods at unsafe temperatures for too long increases the risk of bacteria growing in your food.
  3. 3Wash your produce. When you’re out on the patio, you may skip washing that luscious looking peach because you want to dig in. Therefore, it’s a better idea to wash and scrub everything ahead of time when you’re inside, so you don’t have to worry about it when you get outside.[7]
  4. 4Keep raw meat separate from other foods. When you’re cooking outdoors, it’s easy to get distracted. If you get distracted, you may not notice that you used the same tongs for the vegetables that you did for the raw meat. Make sure to keep everything separate, and bring out extra platters and utensils, just in case you find yourself in need of a place to stick something that’s not contaminated.[8]

Method3Making the Outdoors More Enjoyable

  1. 1Add some light when it gets dark. If you plan to be out in the evening, you’re likely going to end up needing some light. You can turn on the porch light, but you can also add strings of lights and candles or torches to create a fun atmosp