There I was, just now, my afternoon was rolling along: Offspring-related tasks. Kitchen conquests. Refinishing a bookcase for the Washington nursery, drinking cold, old coffee from a pleasant-enough cup to make the experience passable, stumbling upon an article entitled, "How I Learned to Appreciate Cat Naps," and snickering to to myself as I hit the "Next!" button and chugged the rest of my (seriously inadvisable) caffeine requirement. That key stroke yielded the photo now in evidence.
At first, I thought; Fun! I love to be outdoors. Then I thought, it's cute, kids would love it and who cares if they wreck the joint, everything is impervious. But then, screeching tires, black smoke, music hits an off key and the sound of instruments falling to the cement could be heard; Whaaaaaat is that? I tell you, Amy Vanderbilt had no idea what truly makes a modern Hostess incredulous. Consider it a puzzle: Can you find all the visual assaults and environmental weapons in this photo?
In case you were not able to discern it in the first shot, there is also a close up of the offending scenario (exhibit #2):
The tabletop includes the stylists' suggestion that you color coordinate tonalities in your ironed napkins and then set them out with your plastic utensils and squeeze bottles. But, for those us who are not landfill-builders in our spare time and look to set a visually pleasing outdoor grill buffet without bottles, we could think creatively regarding the setting and squeezing. And please do not get me started on those utensils. I die. And not in a nice way. Look, a barbecue does not equal an invitation to wage open war on taste and the planet.
Those squeeze bottles, they need to be remedied. What about these?
Olive oil bottle, here.
Bee hive cruet, same as above.
A good option if you do not want glass outdoors. Here.
And the labels, there are so many pretty options if you feel you need them, though in my experience people recognize condiments in the same way they know green means go and red means stop. But, these people have about 100 options which wash off in the dishwasher for the next party, here are a couple of examples:
Place all the bottles in a clean beverage bin, copper bucket, or planter near the center of the table and if there are children around, this will keep the glass bottles corralled and out of their hands.
Now a word, or fifty, on grilled food garnishes: Below is a great option, normally used on the bar to keep the garnishes cold but use it for burger or grilled taco toppings instead:
Sur La Table
I did not select a condiment tray as I would indoors as it is not covered and cannot keep anything that needs it, like mayonnaise, cold. The drawback is that is not visually appealing. But you could drop it into a long, sided bread basket or a long (clean) planter. Like so.
Yes. A planter. I have one plenty wide enough and incidentally, it came as the base to a fruit and cheese basket from a vendor one Christmas, very useful. Mine is faux pewter or some other mutt but very pretty. Anything with the correct dimensions would be fine:
A little ingenuity is all it takes. Here is the condiment bar for your block party. Maybe you have been looking for other uses for Granny's planter? Be sure it is immaculately clean.
A little rustling around in the basement would no doubt yield any number of other, creative options to plastics that are visually more appealing and/or not environmental offenders, as would a restaurant supply store. I mean, get completely outside the box and help me save the planet, okay? I am only one Hostess.