Dog Days of Summer

As the month of August draws to a close, us West Coasters are left scratching our heads wondering when summer started and trying not to be too bitter. In all honestly it has only been a few weeks since the weather began acting the least bit appropriately for the warmest season of the year. And I plan on taking full advantage of the good conditions to cram as much summer in as possible. This includes camping, country fairs, trips to the beach, BBQs galore…and of course the ultimate summer picnic.

According to Wikipedia, a picnic is defined as a “pleasure excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors (al fresco or en plein air)”. Stemming from the French term pique nique, the concept of dinning in the open air is one that has been around for centuries. Typically it involves a communal contribution and sharing of food, and can involve a cookout (hot food prepared through grilling) or simply consist of cold items such as sandwiches. Some people also believe that if you say the word “picnic” you are increasing the chance of showers by 42%. Food for thought.

Despite temperamental weather conditions that border on lame, British Columbians are fortunate to have gorgeous surroundings that offer a plentitude of picnic spots. We opted for a day in Crescent Park, and in terms of food I decided to go for a more retro menu that consisted of fried chicken, biscuits, coleslaw, macaroni salad, and good ol’ fashioned brownies.

The timing for our picnic corresponded with my receiving a shipment of sample eco-friendly disposable palm leaf plates courtesy of Marx Foods, which are the latest trend in tableware with a conscience. No one disputes the negative effect of traditional plastic or polystyrene plates and utensils on the environment, but sometimes going disposable just makes more sense (especially when feeding a large group). Nowadays consumers can choose from a wide selection of reusable or recyclable options; including paper plates, ceramic dishes, bamboo or a variety of plant-based renewable materials. So what makes palm leaf plates a good option? They are a durable, upscale option of disposable party plates that are made from naturally discarded sheaths of the leaves of the Adaka palm tree. That’s right – the materials used to make these dishes are collected from the forest floor, so no tress are required to be cut down.

All in all I found the palm leaf plates to be nice and sturdy, and I appreciated their rustic appearance (each plate is unique with its own individual pattern). They would be great for entertaining purposes as it lends a more upscale and interesting twist to your gathering, but unfortunately the price point is rather high which could be a deterrent. I like how the dishes (and utensils!) are compostable and thick enough to cut directly upon the surface. But because each dish is unique, they are not always flat which can be irritating as it means the plate can be rocky.

In conclusion our picnic was a success! The food turned out amazing (see links for recipes below), the pesky critters stayed away and didn’t ruin any of our fun, the palm leaf tableware was a hit and everyone left the park full, happy and satisfied. Doesn’t get much better than that folks.

Click here to read about how the palm leaf plates are made!

Fried Chicken
Macaroni Salad