Jules Kendall shares the sweet and savory at her blog, Pancakes and French Fries. She almost never writes about food. Instead, she focuses on her improving her health, decluttering and simplifying her home, and life with two loud boys and one quiet husband. She is the creator of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that encourages people to have nothing in their home they do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
Summer entertaining almost always centers on outdoor dining, as well it should. The weather is too nice to stand next to a hot stove indoors when you can be outdoors swinging on a hammock while your dinner cooks on a grill. The only challenge is moving past hamburgers and hot dogs, which are great when you want something quick. If you have a little more time or are hosting an outdoor party, consider looking around the world for inspiration for a meal with international flavor.
In Korean, barbeque is called gogigui, which directly translates to "meat + roasting." That's pretty much what you do to thin slices of meat (typically beef, though chicken is common, too) using gas or charcoal grills. The meat is either marinated or grilled plain. Some restaurants have grills built into the tables, while others give small portable grills to each party. You don't need anything fancy to recreate something similar at home. This indoor/outdoor grill is perfect for a Korean BBQ-themed meal. It also works great for those with limited backyard space.
Jamaican jerk barbeque is a dry rub that blends allspice with one of the hottest peppers in the world, Scotch bonnet peppers. If you are a fan of spicy foods, authentic Jamaican jerk barbeque will quickly become one of your favorite meals. These rubs taste best with white meat, such like poultry. So consider rubbing a butterflied chicken with some jerk spices. Grilling something as large as a whole chicken will be much easier with a large grill basket. When you aren't grilling whole chickens, this one is also great for large quantities of hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken wings.
All of South America is famous for their barbeque. But since I was born in Argentina, I am going to be completely biased when I proclaim that you haven't lived until you've wrapped a perfectly good piece of rib eye in soft French bread and dipped the whole shebang in chimichurri, a parsley and garlic dipping oil. Steaks are often served with much fanfare on something similar to a fajita pan.
If you're looking for a delicious, yet totally healthy meal, look no further than Mediterranean cuisine. Meat and fish are usually marinated in olive oil, citrus, and herbs. Once they've been grilled to perfection, they're served alongside pita bread, hummus, fluffy rice, and vegetable salads tossed with herb-infused oils. Load up gorgeous handpainted platters (I love Le Souk's platters!) with your yummy food and set them atop colorful table clothes for a vibrant look.
I'm not sure everyone in life will experience a Hawaiian luau, but I'm sure everyone will have at least heard of one. The centerpiece of a typical luau is the underground oven lined with leaves and hot rocks, called an imu, that is used to roast the meat, typically pork. I doubt you're going to dig a hole in your yard anytime soon, but a crockpot can do the same thing! (Especially one that comes with a clay insert like this Vitaclay model.) How cool is that? Not only does it mimic an earthenware cooking style, you circumvent the nasty aluminum health hazards that have been in hot debate the last few years. I'm putting this one on my Christmas list!
There you have it: five international themes you can try the next time you entertain outside. You don't have to limit yourself to these countries, the possibilities are nearly endless--I wish I could could say the same for summer.