Man in the Kitchen: A Moveable Feast for Unmoveable Times 

Man in the Kitchen: A Moveable Feast for Unmoveable Times 

al fresco dinner
© rawpixel/123RF

What kind of wine do you serve with political discourse? Red or white with a healthy portion of “The Donald?” Perhaps a nice Rosé with Hillary? And if Bernie is still on the menu? I’d suggest something crisp and dry with a lot of bite.

Of course, heated debate is hardly limited to the brownstoned streets of BrooklynNY. A stroll through Les Jardins du Luxembourg reveals Paris’ state of “high alert,” and I can’t imagine the Brexit goes down easily at a London soirée.

We have been rooted in dark days and endless news loops for what seems like a very long winter. But new jobs, kids’ accomplishments, and births and graduations are blooming like the first crop of spring onions.

Wasn’t it Dickens who said, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times?”

al fresco dinner party
© Ken Carlton

What’s a person to do? My humble suggestion – throw an al fresco dinner party. If you are one of the lucky few with a habitable terrace, throw open the shutters and invite four friends per square foot. Lively is the stuff of success.

But if outdoor real estate is not in your social portfolio, les BoisBois de Vincennes and Parc de la Villette all offer varied settings to calm wagging tongues and tempt conversational palates. Why not air out our differences with good company, good wine and the simple pleasures of a picnic basket? A sunny forecast, a group text, or a Facebook entreaty on a Saturday morning could yield the impromptu joys of a much-needed social harvest.

open door to grillPerhaps we all just need to swing open the doors and let the musty air out of this year’s litany of bad news, like dust mites broom-beaten in a crisp June breeze.

We recently gathered in my neighborhood for a late Sunday afternoon barbeque. Unplanned, à la carte, and as unpredictable as a late day shower, a grill was fired up and everyone brought something. Kids joined adults and their opinions left us wide-eyed and smiling. Our investment was a few hours and an open mind. The return was a sense of camaraderie, a delicious meal, and a renewed appetite for the simpler things in life. The lazy days of summer can’t be far behind, can they?

macaroni saladKen’s Macaroni Salad

I don’t think I make an easier dish that is requested more often. Whip it up for your next barbeque! FULL RECIPE HERE

Ken Carlton is founder and editor-in-chief of Beyondish, a food review and storytelling website. He is the author or ghostwriter of eight books, including the award-winning memoir, THE HUNGER, the story behind Greenwich Village’s celebrity hotspot, The Waverly Inn. Ken wrote the "His Point of View" column for Cosmopolitan and appeared as a dating expert on OPRAH. He still muses about food, relationships and parenting at his website, Food for Marriage. A New Yorker and Parisian at heart, he has scripted conferences in Paris for CNN and Fortune magazine. Ken and his wife, a professor, split their time between Brooklyn, NY and Chicago. You can follow him on Instagram @foodformarriage



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