With your last three day long summer weekend peeking towards the horizon, I only have one piece of advice to offer; don’t work too hard. A lazy Labor Day is the most ideal way to spend your last extended summer weekend with your pals, drinking and relaxing and not grilling a thing. My suggestion, make it a group effort and buy as much pre-made as you possibly can.
Make your friends provide sides. Encourage them to check out small shops that make specialty side items and unique preparations of traditional food. Shops like Star Provisions, Alon’s Bakery, Spotted Trotter or even Whole Foods (if you choose to go corporate) have dozen of exceptional food offerings and creations to spark interest at the picnic table. I go crazy for the sausage made at Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand, and Whole Foods has at least three different takes on potato salad at any time.
If you do decide to grill, think simple, hot dogs and hamburgers should do it; chicken requires too much focus and effort. A few packs of Nathan’s hot dogs should please everyone and salt and pepper in your ground beef never flavored a hamburger better. If you want to add interest to your burgers, add barbecue sauce to the meat before you grill them. A minimal amount should do; too much causes the meat to break a part.
Another minimal effort delight would be a fruit salad. Add interest by hollowing out a watermelon and filling it with cut fruit. It looks pretty and only requires you to move your knife wielding wrists in a delicate up and down motion to create bite sized nibbles of fruit. Pour white rum or vodka in the watermelon fruit bowl for an adult fruit salad.
Whatever you decide to make, try you damndest to cook everything in foil. That way when it’s done, you can either wrap it up in itself or toss it in the trash can and not have to worry about clean up.
Celebrate the end of summer relaxation by filling up your space with all the things that you love about summer. And remember, simplicity is key on Labor-less Labor Day. A traditional red and white-checkered tablecloth should work just fine to anchor your Labor Day theme. Not much else to do from there. Fill up old glass jars and vases with fresh flowers from your garden or local flower shop and spread them around the table. They won’t be around much longer so enjoy them.
If you have an outdoor patio space, lounge in style. Think hammocks, lounge chairs, blankets, pillows; laziness to the extreme. And don’t forget your citronella candles. The mosquitoes are also well aware this is the coming of the end and they are out for the kill.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure minimal effort is at the forefront. I’ll be working on Labor Day and it will make my heart glad to know you are enjoying your last day off before the winter months close in on us.