There are so many photos floating around of elaborate dinner parties held at immaculately set tables in the middle of the woods or some other ridiculous location, lit with glowing paper lanterns, that you can only imagine are attended by a bunch of impeccably dressed models sporting $500 outfits and slightly tousled hairstyles. In reality, I assume these dinner parties rarely come to fruition for a few very simple reasons, most of them having to do with mosquitos, humidity, and the fact that no one actually has the time, energy or logistical skills to set something like that up for anything less than a wedding.
To me, the point of eating outdoors in the summer is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the last hour or so of daylight — the air begins to cool, the fireflies begin to twinkle, and the sky turns those saturated shades of orange, pink, purple and blue. I don’t have a formal dining table on my patio, but I do have this comfortable conversation set that suited us just fine for dinner a few Sundays ago. Real dishes, flatware, serving bowls and glasses from the kitchen made this meal feel special, but the remnants of sand on our feet and salt in our hair didn’t feel one bit out of place as we scarfed down rotini with my homemade meat sauce, garlic bread, and one of my favorite cabernets.