Grilling By the Pool for 22
Our Father's Day celebration, being in Texas in June, is always by the pool. We generally have our party on Saturday so the guests can have their own family's Father's Day celebration on Sunday. For the past seven or eight years the menu has been the same - steak and tail. Guess it just seemed like a "manly" menu. To go with that, we always grill fresh veggies from the garden. This year it was corn-on-the-cob and zucchini, both green and gold. Cold sliced tomatoes from the garden, undressed except for salt and freshly ground pepper, was also on the menu as was 7 layer dip for everyone to snack on while the grilling was in progress.
Since we were serving 22, I used four round tables with 5 chairs at two of them and 6 at the other two. The base layer was a navy to-the-floor cloth with square vintage 1940's toppers from my collection.
Each topper was different but all had the same bold primary colors on a white background.
The next layer was bright orange, round, woven place mats which kept the look tropical, casual and fun.
The plates are made of a heavy-duty plastic, great for poolside, and in the same tropical primary colors as the toppers.
Napkins matched the base cloth and were held by antique red Bakelite rings. As you can see, they were not exactly alike. Some had flat edges, some rounded. Some were wider than others and they were slightly different shades of red. But, that's the appeal of antique tableware! My brother, who was with us for a few days before the party, is always asking to help so I put him to work applying the rings while he watched the US Open on TV.
Iced tea glasses were also plastic. One can find pool-side plastic tableware that is much prettier and more stylish now than in the past when it was very plain and functional only.
The silverware I used was the set I keep at the pool. It is stainless with white plastic handles that have decorative embellishments. It looks nice with both new and antique dishes, won't get rusty like some antique flatware might, won't break if dropped on the stone floor, and goes in the dishwasher. I used plain white ramekins for the drawn butter for the lobster tails.
For our corn-on-the-cob, I used antique Bakelite corn holders. I have a large collection in all shapes and colors.
Each table had a set of vintage red salt and pepper shakers. The most appropriate one being the lobster claws that at one time were a souvenir of some one's trip to Maine.
I made the centerpieces out of sand buckets, metal fish, and different colors and sizes of pinwheels, all from the local craft store.
For the food buffet, I used the table that stays on the covered patio area between parties but moved it to the back so the round tables could all be grouped in the middle. I covered it with a rectangular vintage 50's cloth with a Mexican theme. Since most of the vintage 30's - 50's cloths are square, rectangular ones are harder to find. Snap them up if you see one! The larger they are, the more expensive they generally are. If you are planning to actually use them, don't buy vintage tablecloths with large light yellow stains or with any damage. They are not worth the cost because the old stains can sometimes be lightened but generally won't come out entirely. Damaged cloths, even if it is only a small hole, will just get bigger every time it's washed.
I used all the Dad's gifts as the centerpiece for the buffet table along with a beautiful bowl of flowers from the florist and put the food platters on the front edge.
To keep with my color theme, the florist used bright orange roses and tulips with blue hydrangeas in a round, navy blue bowl.
One of the other wives was kind enough to bring pies made with pecans from their trees in the Fredricksburg area and vanilla ice cream. I used a navy blue dessert plate in one of four mix-and-match patterns that go with the dinner plates.
Our view of the pool complete with vintage European beach chairs that I got at Canton's "First Monday" fair years ago, with new fabric.
Recipe for 7 Layer Dip
(Note: this is an old recipe, popular many years ago. I don't know why some dishes go out of style. If they were great then, they're still great now!)
1-10 oz can Rotel tomatoes, drained & liquid reserved
1 1/2 cans refried beans
1-16 oz container guacamole
3-8 oz containers sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning
1-8 oz bag shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1-2.25 oz can sliced black olives, drained
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, all of white and some green
Tortilla chips for serving
Reserve 1/4 cup of drained Rotel tomatoes. Blend remaining tomatoes and their juice with beans in a medium bowl.
Spread bean mixture on the bottom of clear glass 9"X13" cake pan or trifle bowl.
Spread on guacamole next, bringing everything to the edges so each layer shows through the glass.
Blend together the sour cream and taco seasoning and spread on top of guacamole.
Top with a layer of the shredded cheese.
Sprinkle on top, the olive slices, green onions, and reserved 1/4 cup diced Rotel tomatoes.
Chill before serving. (Making a day ahead is just fine.)
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY ROBERT!