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Summer Party Etiquette

Summer has officially arrived. There’s no better way to enjoy the warm weather and extended hours of sunshine than to attend an outdoor BBQ or get-together. Inevitably, these parties often include messy food fare and new faces that can make for tricky social etiquette.

Joan Hanson, test kitchen director at Hormel Foods, offers helpful hints to guide readers through the ins and outs of party etiquette as they navigate the outdoor entertainment season- including messy eating, awkward introductions and suggested hostess gifts so your readers don’t show up empty handed.

Avoid Messes

  • Take control: When hosting an outdoor party, forgo paper plates in favor of sturdy stoneware. Assorted tea towels make great lap mats. Strategically place rolls of paper towels/towelettes for the inevitable drips and spills
  • Dress smartly: Avoid light colored clothing and instead wear patterns to disguise spills

Break the Ice

  • Come to the rescue: Carry a stain stick, and offer to help a stranger who’s had a run in with a messy food or drink
  • Get involved: Encourage guests to help prepare their food – top pizzas, thread kabobs or smash up S'mores – these activities encourage interaction and are downright fun!

Give an Outdoor Gift

  • Accessorize: Grill tongs or a colorful serving tray are both functional and fun
  • Show good taste: Potted fresh herbs and homemade seasoning blends add flavor and can be used at future get-togethers